Plot transparency and Xerox printers

We had new printers in today, they were Xerox machines. They are quiet neat but not particularly useful when printing from AutoCAD. The reason why? Because for some reason AutoCAD and the Xerox drivers do not play nice with each other when printing with transparency.

When printing with transparency checked in the plot dialog the Xerox printers just print a small section of the page, about a 5th. Without that checked all is good.

The reason seems that AutoCAD prints vectors normally but when transparency is checked is prints rastors. For some reason this does not play well with the Xerox.

On this post on the second page are some settings but they are not on my driver version. I will investigate some options and update if I find a solution with the newer drivers.

Nested XREFs and layer states

If you use a system of drawing sheet and drawing model in your practice where both are seperate files and the sheets are like a piece of paper with the drawing information pulled into it then this is something you might have come across already, if not then this might help you in the future if you encounter it.

So generally you will attach one or two external drawings to a sheet file and then adjust layers to suit in the sheet file. However occaisonally you will set up a drawing with an XREF, usually an overlay type of drawing (not to be confused with overlay type of XREF) where you have a base drawing and the layers are adjusted to be simplistic and then further information is drawn over the top, e.g. a fire drawing or drainage drawing.

Xref_layerinfoattached

This is where it gets complicated. There is now a chain of drawings. Drawing A (the base drawing) –> Drawing B (the overlay type of drawing) –> Drawing C (the plot drawing). [Note: the arrows indicate XREF attachements]. This chain of XREFs is called nesting.

The problem comes when you want Drawing C to look the same as drawing B does. When you attach Drawing B to C all the layers on drawing A change to when they were first attached to drawing B, all the changes in drawing B seem to be lost. But when you go back to drawing B it still looks as it should. Confused?

The problem is AutoCAD pulls in XREFs (external references) from their source files and not through the nesting. So any information for drawing A setup in drawing B will not be imported into C as drawing C as the information is directly pulled from drawing A.

Xref_nestedlayerinfoattached

In order to circumvent this annoying behaviour layer states export and load should be used. Or you just reset them up if its only a few changes, but if lots of colour changes and layer adjustments have been made then this is the method for you.

This is taken from this page: (Copyright AutoDesk).

To export layer settings

  1. At the command prompt, enter LAYER.
  2. In the Layer Properties Manager, click Layer States Manager.
  3. In the Layer States Manager, create a new layer state or select an existing one. Click Export.
  4. In the Export Layer State dialog box, enter a file name and specify a location for the file.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click OK to close each dialog box.

To restore layer settings

  1. At the command prompt, enter Layer on the command line.
  2. In the Layer Properties Manager, click Layer States Manager.
  3. In the Layer States Manager, select a named layer state.
  4. Select the settings that you want to restore.
  5. Click Restore.
  6. Click OK

Now you should have the correct layer information in drawing C!

Zoom extents ucs follow

Autodesk, oh Autodesk. Why do you not bother to fix major bugs? There are two zoom extents bug associated with UCSFOLLOW. One is one hatching and the other is when double clicking in the viewport. Whilst the viewport one can be controlled by locking the viewport, the hatching one can only be solved by turning off the UCSFOLLOW command. Which is silly really.

Grip edits not working

Introduced quite a while back for polylines and a while back for hatch, these allow you to add, edit and stretch existing lines by editing the blue square grips.

Gripedit01

However sometimes on polylines the edit menu for removing does not appear. This is usually due to two overlapping grips being present in the same space.

Gripedit02

To solve this problem, move the grip between the two points that don’t work to reveal the hidden overlapping grips. Now you should be able edit the grips again.

Gripedit03

Imperial dimension – metric drawing

One of my colleagues noted that she wanted all her measurements to be in imperial when dimensioning for her client. The drawing had been drawn in metric mm.

Whilst there are ways to convert the drawing in its entirety into imperial and visa versa, there is very little information on temporarily change the units or dimension style.

So here is how to place an imperial dimension on a metric drawing.

First go to the dimension style manager (_DIMSTYLE) and then select your dimension that you will be starting with. In our office we have a dimension style for each scale the drawing will be printed at (we have not got to annotative objects yet…). So I started with 1:100.

Metric Dimstyle, Primary Units tab
Metric Dimstyle, Primary Units tab

Click on new and it will create a new style based on the 1:100 dimension style selected. I renamed the new style to 1:100 feet so its clear that it is a different style but has the scale of 1:100 and is in feet!

Then leave every other setting alone and go to the Primary Units section. Change the unit format to Architectural and the Precision to 0′-0″.

Then change the scale factor to 0.0393700787. This scales the mm in inches. It is the basically the conversion of 1mm to 1inch.

Imperial Dimension (for metric drawing), Primary Units tab
Imperial Dimension (for metric drawing), Primary Units tab

Save style and that’s it. You now have a dimension style that outputs feet and inches from a metric drawing. Even better you can have both metric dimensions and imperial on the same drawing with this method.

Hollow Dimensions

My colleague asks me today, “why are my dimensions hollow and not filled?” I thought, maybe FILLMODE is not set. But that was OK.

It turns out that this can be caused by non-flat or “elevated” drawings. I.e. 2D drawings that extend into 3D space. Usually caused by UCS not being rotated properly and it being skewed into 3D space.

The solution is to change the UCS in the modelspace or paperspace viewport so it is flat and things should be back to normal!

MTEXT Slow to Start

If you have decided to place all AutoCAD items in a central location and link each machine across the network to those locations by adding them to the “Support File Search Path” then this is for you!

I was experiencing really slow mtext editing, slow loading of options dialog and slow loading of the hatch editor. I did some digging and found very few solutions. Only one that caught my eye where the response was “Maybe that’s part of the problem. ” I thought, lets test that. I removed the network paths from the support path and voila! Everything is blisteringly fast again.

Next step, work out why the network bit is slow!