Flat World

One of my colleagues today could not work out why he could not draw vertically on the screen. All that would happen is the lines would draw horizontally. First I though it was a glitch and restarted AutoCAD but the problem persisted. It was not ORTHO or POLAR problems but actually a UCS problem.

The UCS had been set so that the drawing was being viewed from the side. All lines were being drawn on another plane! A quick, UCS (enter), W (enter) corrected the problem!

They Keep Popping Up!

If you, like me have been using AutoCAD for too long, you will find warning messages annoying as you already know from experience something is wrong. For example when plotting a drawing from another company, you will know that the plotter will be set wrong as you don’t have the same plotter! But a nice friendly pop-up says, “this plotter cannot be found”.

So you want to turn them off? Here’s how!

There are three variables in AutoCAD (that I have found) that control pop-ups. First is EXPERT, second is PEDITACCEPT and the third is PLQUIET. I will go into depth on what they do below.


When looking up these variables in the help system, the answer is quite helpful! These are listed below (copyright AutoDesk).


0 Issues all prompts normally.
1 Suppresses “About to regen, proceed?” and “Really want to turn the current layer off?” (-LAYER)
2 Suppresses the preceding prompts and “Block already defined. Redefine it?” (-BLOCK) and “A drawing with this name already exists. Overwrite it?” (SAVE or WBLOCK).
3 Suppresses the preceding prompts and those issued by the LINETYPE Command prompt (-LINETYPE) if you try to load a linetype that’s already loaded or create a new linetype in a file that already defines that linetype.
4 Suppresses the preceding prompts and those issued by UCS Save and VPORTS Save if the name you supply already exists.
5 Suppresses the prompt, “That name is already in Use, redefine it?” issued by the -DIMSTYLE Save option when you supply the name of an existing dimension style. Suppresses the same prompt issued by the -SCALELISTEDIT Add option.

When a prompt is suppressed by EXPERT, the operation in question is performed as though you entered y at the prompt. Note: Setting EXPERT can affect scripts, menu macros, AutoLISP, and the command function.


0 Displays plot dialog boxes and nonfatal errors
1 Logs nonfatal errors and doesn’t display plot-related dialog boxes


0 Displays a prompt that gives you a choice of converting selected objects into polylines
1 Automatically converts selected objects into polylines without a prompt

Arrayed or Dismayed

AutoCAD 2012 and 2013 use an associative array system which is overtly complex. The old array dialogue was hard enough to understand but the new one needs some serious study.

If like me and several of my colleagues when clicking or typing array are confronted with this new confusing array system and just want to get the old array dialogue back then type ARRAYCLASSIC, this will give the old dialogue box back and all is good.

I have heard good things about the new array system, plus its editable so maybe give some time to learning it!

Plotting in Style

Lineweights and plotting has always been a bit tricky with AutoCAD. Then they added named plot styles and confused it a little further. A while back they added lineweight by layer which really negated the need for plot styles altogether. I have never really understood the use for named plot styles (STB) as they just name a line thickness as “thick” or “road”. But this would be apparent from a decent layer naming system as you have a layer called “road” with the line thickness set in the layers dialogue.

But sometimes someone sends you a drawing using a named plot style without the plotstyle and as its vastly quicker to set up a CTB than a STB (for me anyway) I like to convert them. To do this type CONVERTPSTLYES and then accept the the changes. This is not really an undo-able thing so save before changing!

Lost the Plot

A colleague of mine today had a problem with plotting, all plots came out with a singlular line thickness. First I thought, that will be no plot style being used? Not the answer. Then I thought, all layers set to a really thin line? Also not the answer.

Then it occurred to me! Is it actually plotting the line weights. The answer was no, that box was unchecked! Though you couldn’t check it again as it was greyed out. Huh?

The answer is as follows:

Type PLOT (or CTRL-P, etc), uncheck Plot with Plotstyles, check Plot with line weights, check Plot with plot styles again! Now you will be able to plot with line weights again!

Autocad Plot Dialog
Autocad Plot Dialog with various settings not set

This behaviour does however seem to be fixed in AutoCAD 2013 and line weights and plot styles can be individually checked! Thank you Autodesk!

Poly on the Line

Polylines are very useful and can help drawings immensely. Unless someone decides to fiddle with the settings!

Today I found that someone had changed the default polyline width (i didn’t even know you could do that0# on  drawing I was working on and also turned on show lineweights which made drawing details really difficult!

So if you want to turn the default polyline thickness back to “normal” or make it thin, change the PLINEWID variable to 0.

Really Sketchy Design

AutoCAD apparently does not support visual styles in 2D. Whether this is intentional or not is debatable but you cannot apply the sketchy style to a 2D drawing to get a “sketch”. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t plot. Not particularly helpful.Though I should have realised this as the icon cue for the style is in 3D. Oops.

Visual Styles Pallete (Acad2013)

But apparently you can use Impression to create sketchy drawings.

Thank you to Alexander for the answer to this.

Large Exclamation!

AutoCAD have added another new feature to their software in 2013. One of the guys in the office came to me and asked,

“Why do I have a load of exclamation marks all over my drawing?”

This was because for some reason the associativity of his dimensions had been lost. (Bulk re-associating seems to be impossible but I will look into that).

The new feature highlights the problem so you can fix it. If you don’t want to see this you can set ANNOMONITOR to 0. Then the feature will be off. This works in AutoCAD LT too.