Cursor Trouble

So you got a nice shiny new machine, an AutoDesk certified graphics card and you’ve just installed the latest version of AutoCAD. All is great, you have lots of new features to help you productivity and you are steaming along. Then you insert an image and this image has a white background. Then your world falls apart. You can no longer see your cross hairs.

You have white cross hairs on a white background.

Don’t worry this problem can be sorted by turning off 3D acceleration. For some unknown reason AutoCAD does not have dynamic cursor colour when 3D acceleration is on!

Type 3DCONFIG in the command line, click “Manual Tune” and uncheck “Enable Hardware Acceleration”. The dynamic cursor colour now works.

Once you have undertaken the task needing the dynamic cursor colour feature you will probably want turn the acceleration back on.

3dconfig box

Paperspace Dimensions

One of my colleagues asked today, how do I get those paper-space dimensions to work?  As I tend to dimension in Model space (I need to research associative dimensions) on differing layers per style I never see the need to use paperspace dimensions.

So after a quick perusal of the Dimension style box, there is a check box to make the style to scale to paperspace. Cunningly called “Scale dimensions to layout”!

Dimension check box for paper space.
Dimension check box for paper space.

However strangely this did not work. After further searching I found that if the paperspace dimension is different when snapped to differing scale viewports then the DIMASSOC variable is most likely to be set to 1. Set it to 2. Then all will be good.

Rotating LT

One of my colleagues asked this morning how to easily rotate the view (and UCS) to help with drawing, now in full version of AutoCAD this is simplicity itself.

Rotate from Viewcube
Rotate from Viewcube

Just click on the arrows above the Viewcube to rotate the view and UCS simultaneously.

In AutoCAD LT this is more difficult, you can either use one of several command line methods, either using PLAN or UCS by object etc.

OR, this method seems to be easier (though it needs a little setting up). And here is how to do this.

Firstly, AutoCAD (LT) 2013 seems to come “out-of-the-box” with certain Panels turned off in the Ribbon. One of which is the UCS coordinate panel (why would they do this?) on View Tab.

Turn on coordinates panel.
Turn on coordinates panel.

Click on the View Tab and then right click anywhere on the panels below, then go to Show Panels, Coordinates. Now you have the coordinates panel which should have been there in the first place.

Secondly you need to make sure the view rotates with the UCS when you change the UCS. To do this click on the little arrow to bottom right of the Coordinates Panel, this brings up the UCS options box, Click “Update view to Plan when UCS is changed.” Click OK!

Enable Plan to Rotate with UCS
Enable Plan to Rotate with UCS

Now we are ready to go! (Phew!)

Rotate about the Z axis
Rotate about the Z axis

Click on the drop down menu which has Axes and a rotate arrow. Click on the Z icon and voila you can now rotate around the Z axis and the drawing will follow. The default selection is 90 degrees so hitting enter after clicking will rotate by 90 degrees.

So now its “one click and enter” to rotate the view and UCS in AutoCAD LT versus the “one click” in full version, hopefully a simpler method than all the command line options!

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).

EXPERT

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.

PLQUIET

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

PEDITACCEPT

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

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.

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.