Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where Do You Think You're Going?

I saw an interesting issue today with a General Line Label. Here's how it looked in the source drawing. A user imported a general line label style and added the label to an existing AutoCAD object in the new drawing. The problem was that the arrowheads were pointing in the wrong direction. It looked similar to this label.

A General Line Label with arrowheads at each end of the segment with the incorrect rotation angle.

I compared the style settings between the source and destination drawing. Everything matched exactly. The only difference between the original label and the new label is that the original label was on a polyline and the new label was on a line that had an elevation of 500 for one endpoint and an elevation of 0 for the other endpoint. Once I set one endpoint elevation to match the other endpoint (both at elevation 0), the label then looked exactly as it was designed to look.

A General Line Label with arrowheads at each end of the segment with the correct rotation angle.

Lesson of the day #1: Sometimes polylines are a better choice than a line for labeling.

Lesson of the day #2: OSNAPZ to the Rescue.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Resize Me!

Sometimes you learn things that you don't realize others haven't seen yet. During the CV6726-P - Attack of the Roundabouts: Conquer Them with Vehicle Tracking class taught by Brian Levendowski, Infrastructure Industry Manager, CAD Technology Center, Inc., I found this to be the case with resizing of viewports in the Model tab. When Brian did this during his presentation, the previously silent classroom was filled with Oohs and Aahs and the sound of pencils/pens and paper immediately followed. Since so many in that class had not seen this feature I decided to share it with you.

Here is the step by step description.
  1. Open any drawing with version AutoCAD 2015 or later, then set the View ribbon tab current. This also works in verticals such as Civil 3D.
    Select the View Ribbon Tab
  2. Locate the Model Viewports panel and left click on the words Viewport Configuration to activate the drop down selection list.
    Accessing the Viewport Configuration drop down selection list.
  3. From the drop down selection list, left click on Two: Vertical (or any other option except Single) to view multiple viewports on the Model tab of your current drawing.
    Select a viewport configuration with multiple viewports.
  4. With the multiple viewports visible, you can now hover your cursor over any of the adjoining lines between viewports, left click, hold, and drag to the desired location. When you get the line moved to the desired location, release the left mouse button.
Here's a video that shows these steps in action.


You can also add viewports by using the + as the beginning point of the left click, hold, and drag location. By dragging an existing viewport near another viewport boundary you can delete an existing viewport. To see this in greater detail, I refer you to Greg Battin's AutoCAD Tips blog post titled AutoCAD 2015 Resize Model Space Viewports.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Autodesk University 2014

After several years away from Autodesk University, I'm looking forward to attending this remarkable event. I'm currently at Austin-Bergstrom Internation Airport awaiting the arrival of the plane that is scheduled to take me to Dallas where I will catch a flight to Las Vegas.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many USB and AC outlets were available for use at the airport this morning. I even found an opening at a table with said outlets so it's even easier to use my heavy, but hopefully powerful enough, new workstation laptop. Arriving for an early morning flight meant I missed all of the US 183 morning traffic. However, the two hours of sleep I got will probably mean nap time during the flight from DAL to LAS.

Another bit of good news is that I'm still a Time Warner Cable subscriber. Though I have my complaints, especially price, I am currently enjoying the free use of the Boingo WiFi HotSpot at the airport. I'm glad I at least scan the many emails I receive from TWC throughout the year that notified me of this customer benefit.

I'm awaiting the arrival of Ishka (@C3Dish). His flight is a later one that mine so he got to sleep later than I did this morning. I'm jealous of that extra sleep right now. He and I were hoping to be on the same flight today. Unfortunately the price difference was too much compared with what his employer was offering to pay. Hopefully next year we can both get approval for the trip sooner so we can schedule our flights together. We both would enjoy discussions of Civil 3D, InfraWorks 360, and 3DS Max during the flight.

I spent some time yesterday reviewing my schedule and checking for available classes one last time. I've heard many times that an opening in a lab can be found if you keep checking. Yesterday that actually happened to me. I saw an opening in the CM8257-L - AutoCAD Customization Boot Camp: Beyond the Basics Repeat lab. Though I hadn't initially planned on taking this lab, I changed my mind once I read about it. I was looking forward to finally attending a lab this year until I got a scheduling conflict. I decided to pay it forward by selecting this lab and dropping my two lab selections that were in conflict with another event that I wanted to attend. I hope the recipients of my seats enjoy the labs.

I look forward to attending Curt Moreno's CM6160 - Standards for Developing Standards: A How-to for Busy CAD Managers instead. It's probably a better choice for me anyway. I only wish there had been some documentation to review before the class.

I can't wait to arrive in Las Vegas and get registered. There are a few presentations on my schedule for today that should be interesting including:
  • CV6443-P - INFSYM: BIM Best Practices for Designing Better Water Systems
  • CV6627-P - INFSYM: Regional Land Development and Land Planning Projects Best Practice Workflows
  • UT6664 - INFSYM: Did We Build It Right? Utility Project Construction and Collaboration 
They are calling boarding for my flight so I'll see you in Las Vegas!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Got Shifted!

For those of you venturing into the Infrastructure Design Suites that include Raster Design, you might experience an unexpected "feature":

What happened to my shift key?

When working in Civil 3D, I use my shift key quite often. When I began using Civil 3D (with Raster Design installed), I noticed that my shift key seemed to no longer be working in two specific situations, though there may be others as well.
  • Hold shift and select an object to remove it from the current select set
  • Hold shift and select an object to switch between extend and trim commands
The shift key still worked in other cases such as shift+right click to access the osnap right click menu so I was a bit perplexed. Thankfully Mark Martinez with Enceptia knew right away how to fix the problem.

If you have Raster Design installed, there is a special setting that allows you to select an image by holding the shift key and selecting anywhere in the image. This setting can be very useful unless you need to use the shift key for other purposes such as those I listed. Mark instructed me where to disable the Shift+Left click feature that Raster Design has enabled by default. Here's the solution:
  1. At the command line, type ioptions and press enter.
  2. On the User Preferences tab, left click on the check mark by "Shift+Left click image select" to disable this setting.
  3. Left click on OK to apply the setting change.

  4. Select. Left click to disable. OK.
  5. At the command line, type mapioptions and press enter.
  6. On the General tab, left click on the check mark by "Shift+Left Click Image Select" to disable this setting.
  7. Left click on OK to apply the setting change.

  8. Select. Left click to disable. OK.
Hopefully this will keep you from pulling out your hair as I was tempted to do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Do I "EXPLODE" a Group?

I was asked this question twice this week already so I thought it would be good to post the answer for others.

To "explode" a group, use the  AutoCAD command: UNGROUP

Of course "exploding" a group may not be the best choice for every situation. In groups, if you just want to grip edit something within the group, set the system variable GROUPDISPLAYMODE to 0. This setting will display grips on all objects in the selected group. It will preserve the group while allowing you access to grips to make changes to individual objects within the group.

Here are a few images to show the difference between the three settings available in the GROUPDISPLAYMODE system variable. Each image shows a group consisting of an mtext object and a rectangular wipeout that has been selected within a drawing.

With GROUPDISPLAYMODE set to 0, the grips on all objects in the selected group will be displayed. Notice that I can adjust the limits of the wipeout or the width of the mtext object.

With GROUPDISPLAYMODE set to 1, a single grip at the center of the grouped object will be displayed. Notice the single grip at the center? With this setting I can't adjust the limits of the wipeout or the width of the mtext object.

With GROUPDISPLAYMODE set to 2, a group bounding box and a single grip at the center of the grouped object will be displayed. The only difference between this setting and the previous setting is that with the bounding box visible I can see the limits of the objects in the group.