Going... going... Xref Filter

Gone... in about 15 minutes.

I'll be on vacation for about 2 weeks, going out to visit the great Northwet (no, that's not a typo). 
I am looking forward to a little time off. I might pop up and post if I find some time. I might be too busy laying around doing nothing, though. ;)

Again, I wanted to have some sort of 'wisdom' to impart... but... alas...

I have included this picture that I was given by Jack Hopson (he's an instructor at a local tech school who has been very supportive of our local users group). Yes, that is of a bunch of Autodesk product cd's... now THAT is a work of art. 

External References

I do have one handy thing to say about xrefs in 2006. If you don't want to see all of the x-ref layers in your layer dropdown box, go into the layer dialog, and in the pane on the left-hand side where you see the filters, select the one which says Xref (if there is more than one file attached you'll see a + to view the layers separately, or all together), so you select that filter, then go down to the bottom and choose to invert the selection and apply to the toolbar. 

Happy CADDing all, I might post some pictures on my return. 

Speaking of pictures, the Annual Photo Contest is occurring here at work... I enter ever year, and every year I lose. This year, I have a digital camera, so I won't be hampered by the whole waiting/developing, etc delay. Wish me luck. 
It's not just winning the iPod (although I'd like to do that and I hope it comes in pink), it's having bragging rights over the medical staff.


Funny thing... Don McMillan

As you may or may not know, I'll be going on vacation for a couple of weeks, starting this Friday. So, I do my usual run of the newgroups before work and during lunch. This is how I normally come up with ideas of questions that people are asking, or repeating problems, etc, to post up here. Since I won't be posting much in the coming weeks, I wanted to find something like really good, really helpful in order to help you! ease a little autocad frustration...

But! I got nothin... ~shrug~ what are you going to do?

So, if I can't help expand your mind... I will help you relax with a little laughter... 

So, as of last year's AU, the following is my favorite comedian of all time (sorry, George, you're out)... Don McMillan, engineer turned stand-up comedian. You can download a little video clip of his routine as well as see a couple of his powerpoint slides up on the website. 


"Don: Plain & Tall" was awarded "Best Feature - Comedy" at the Back East Film Festival. The movie will be showing in other film festivals throughout the year. Don has also appeared in the feature length films: "Air Bud III—World Pup", "Life Without Dick", "Macon County Jail", "Party Crashers", and "Fanatics". Don has guest starred on the TV series Star Trek: Voyager", "Babylon 5", "City Guys", and "Step by Step". 
He has also been profiled in both "Entertainment Weekly" and "TV Guide".

So, go over to his site... check it out, order a CD. I think his two cd's are only 10 and 12 dollars apiece, so, WELL worth it. 

I've raided my internet explorer favorites, for some other humourous sites, and pasted some links below... enjoy.


CAD/Tech Blogs

Assuming you are here reading this because you like blogs... here you go, all of my shortcuts for CAD and related blogs out there... if I've missed any good ones (which I'm sure I have) please let me know by posting a comment or sending me an email...

I've tried to sort them alphabetically by the name of the blog, or by the name of the addy... I thought about trying to sort them by product or field, but, that would be too complicated for those that cross over at a given time... 

CAD Blogs

To help you keep a handle on it all…


Wishlist for AutoCAD

Some may or may not know that AUGI (user group officially recognized and supported by Autodesk) turns a product wishlist over to Adesk every year at AU.

So, all year long, AUGI members post things that they'd like to see in an upcoming release, and other users provide feedback, ask questions and rate the wishes in the Wishlist forum.

BUT! Did you also know, that sometimes Autodesk representatives post questions in there to gauge user opinion? 

If you aren't a member of the beta program, then this is a easy way to provide your real-world experience to the right people.

Also, here is a link for Bug Report Submissions, and don't forget to send in your crash reports when Adesk fails, and provide as many details as you can so the programmers can find the problems.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend.


Connecting Moonlighters with Clients & a Few Handy Links

Was cruising the classifieds forums over at the Autodesk Discussion Groups today and saw a note for this website: http://www.cadground.com/

Evidently it is a way to hook up freelancers with projects. A customer posts a job, notifications are sent out to the registered drafters who look it over, see if they're interested, respond with a price quote, then the customer picks a contractor from those who respond to their ad.

Sounds very interesting, as I've been told one of the hardest parts of being your own boss is drumming up business.

I wonder how this works... looking around, there is evidently a feedback system where you can give feedback on the service, the customer or the drafter.

I'm wondering if there are fees associated with this, and I haven't come across that information yet. Would the drafter pay to have the opportunity to bid? Evidently you can post your project free of charge as the customer/client, so I would imagine the drafter has to pay for this.
Wait, wait, I found it... when you choose registration, you select whether you are a client or a drafter, then you see the terms... the fee is $99 per year, and they DO NOT ask for any percentage of your fees.

I think this is a very, very interesting setup. Very cool.

Has anyone used this service or another like it?

Looks like some users have tried it and were convinced networking yourself is the best way to drum up work. 

Misc. Links and Resources -


Lookin for LUG's in all the wrong places...

What? What in the world is a LUG?

For the uninitiated, LUG is an acronymn for Local Users Group.
AUGI (the autodesk users group international) has LUG's all over the world, although I'm sure they're not the only ones. We have a Microstation Users Group in the st. louis area as well.
CAD users come together at meetings to exchange tips, and try to gain benefits as a group (such as free/discounted software from vendors), as well as to network, and some provide newsletters with tips and industry articles

Sooo, where should you be looking for LUGs?

The Local Users Group forum on AUGI.com of course!!! I started a thread for users to find one another so that they can connect and form their own LUG, as I was lucky enough to do.

Don't know if there is already a LUG near you or not?
Search the LUG-finder.

There are users looking to connect in the following cities!

I'm in Winona, MN.
I would be willing to travel 30 miles or so, that includes LaCrosse, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota.

We are in Roanoke, VA (Southwest Virginia) and have had a lot of talk recently by people in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville for a LUG
I would be interested in one in the Washington DC/Baltimore Area
I am in the Brenham Texas area.I would consider driving to College Station.
Kansas City, Missouri area
Western New York - Buffalo, Tonawanda area
Las Vegas, Nevada... Seeking others to form a LUG, hopefully with Land Development

Goshen or Elkhart area Indiana. found an inventors UG in ft. wayne. i am looking for Revit users.

Tallahassee, Florida
Montreal, Canada
I am currently working on setting one up. I will need some help!

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Perhaps even one for the entire Province.
Albany, New York area for AutoCAD users would be appreciated - I believe the closest one is in Rochester, and that's too far for me.
East Texas area (Tyler). Closest one is in Dallas which is about 120 miles away, but with the diversification of the software I am finding it hard to find enough users that would be interested. I will put in the time if there is interest.
Northern Colorado Revit LUG
Any Connecticut LUGS? New Haven County? Fairfield County, or Hartford? New London area would be a bit far, but I would still attend when possible...Or also Westchester County New York State, along the 684, 84 corridor, or Western Massachussetts...
North Charleston, SC
Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska
i am starting a LUG in the East Valley of The SunScottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler Arizona
cebu philippines
Detroit Michigan (just plain autocad?)
Houma, Louisiana
southwest part of Kansas in the Garden City area
Dallas, Texas, area
Boise Idaho
Tucson Arizona - there is a lug in my area but is is for ADT and architects, where as I use LDD and LT. I also work for civil and electrical.
Wellington, New Zealand......or more specifically Lower Hutt
We are starting a LUG in the York, PA area
south of Atlanta, I live in Lovejoy, Ga
Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada that use Revit
Columbus, Ohio
ANYWHERE in Wyoming
within driving distance from memphis, tenn
Tallahassee, Florida and would be interested in a LUG for the Capitol area
Hutchinson Kansas area
***Interested in BIM or Architectural LUG (ADT and or Revit) in Southern Oregon...possibly to serve Redding and north Cal as well
southfield or livonia michigan area
St. George, Utah. I would like a LDT LUG

That being said, the Autodesk and Revit Users Groups of St. Louis/Metro area will be meeting tonight. Food and drink will be provided, and we'll have presenters from Autodesk.


Dynamic Block Forums

Autodesk Discussion Forums now have a place specifically for Dynamic Blocks... there is a note in the intro thread saying that this will eventually be combined back into the 2006 forums. http://discussion.autodesk.com/forum.jspa?forumID=154

I like the way that AUGI has set up their
AutoCAD community (and not just because I helped) with only the newest version having their own general forum, then having sub-forums for major features, such as sheet sets, dynamic blocks, the cui, tables, etc.

Check out this blog:

Also, there was a free course given (ATP augi training program) in June on Dyn blocks... you can download the course material here if you are a member:
ATP076 Dynamic Blocks and Block Enhancements - from customization guru Lee Ambrosius.

I recommend that you check out his website http://www.hyperpics.com/, which is home to loads of valuable information. 

Here's a link to a nice tutorial from Ellen Finkelstein... http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/
link to dynamic block whitepapers from Autodesk http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=5543837

My secretary was telling me this morning of a guy (Paul Harris) she heard on KMOX radio, I did poke around and read some of his stuff which was pretty entertaining, this was amusing to me, offering up ideas for new reality shows.
http://www.harrisonline.com/plain/2003/03/ultimate-reality-show-contest.html this is hilarious... I vote for Miss Personality...



If you only visit one webpage today, make it this one... this is my favorite part of the new AutoCAD Community on AUGI.com... the AutoCAD Frequently Asked Questions forum.

The moderators see questions which have been asked repeatedly then create a post in this forum, and include links to all of the posts which have brought up that particular topic.

It is very informative and worth a quick perusal. Also, check out the Tips and Tricks forum nearby... good stuff there...

Thanks to all the hardworking volunteers who keep the forums organized and well-stocked with good advice!

Have a great weekend, make the most of the life you are given.


Random Tips

Ok... getting past that... my heart and prayers go out to the victims of the bombings in London and their families/friends/communities...
~moment of silence~
Luckily, my fiance', friends and fellow caddies have all checked in alive and unscathed, but, obviously disturbed by this horrific incident. I send my love and prayers to all those touched in any manner by this tragedy.

I Don't have much useful to say today... have seen a couple of interesting discussions on the Autodesk and AUGI boards... I've copied and pasted some interesting tips, and I'll try to get back soon with some links so that the geniuses behind the solutions can be seen (I apologize for the missing links, I can't believe I didn't save them):

I use CROSSREF.lsp to identify nested layers, blocks, linetypes and textstyles. It's very handy when trying to cleanup someone else's drawing.

XLIST from the Express tools menu can also help.

You might want to use INSPECT in some of the vertical products.

What do you do if you need to replace a specific block with another block. However, I need to keep the same contents and rotation of first block.
You can modify the block using REFEDIT to what you want your end result to be and then it would redefine the rest of the same block in the drawing without changing attributes or rotation.
You could also use BLOCKREPLACE from the Express tools menu, if you need to do a total swap-out.

What do you do when you want to compare two drawings? MS Word has a function that will show the differences between two versions of one file.

You can't do this from within vanilla AutoCAD.
Personally (and I work with relatively clean plans and I'm the only one who works on them), I x-ref 1 file over the other and change all of the layer colors to one and make a visual spot check... but, I'm sure it is not as easy for everyone.

If you have DWF Composer, there is a trick you can do. Using any DWF, you can create your own custom symbol. So what you do is take a DWG, generate a DWF for it, insert the DWF as a custom symbol for DWF Composer. Suppose you have two DWG files, V1.DWG and V2.DWG.
1. Use AutoCAD to generate V1.DWF and V2.DWF from the two versions of the DWG.2. Use DWF Composer to insert V1.DWF as a custom symbol.3. While viewing V2.DWF, insert the custom symbol created from V1.DWF. Save the markup by saving V2.DWF.4. You can now go back to AutoCAD 2006 and load V2.DWG. You can use the Markup Manager to load V2.DWF. The Markup Manager lets you toggle the markup on and off. In this case, the markup is the previous version of the DWG (the DWF created from V1.DWG). So it lets you compare the old and the new versions of the DWG.

Anyone who compares visually on their monitor might be missing changes (we are only human).
Some prefer a color plot procedure.
Start a new drawing. Xref in the old version and change the colors to green. Xref in the new version and change the colors to red.
Print to a color plotter, with Lines Merge set to 'on'.
Items that are unchanged appear black.
Items that are green are items that are deleted in the new plan.
Items that are red are added in the new plan.

It looks like there might be a Drawing Compare application for subscription customers of some products.

There is also a newer product, Toolpac's Drawing Compare utility.


Cars, TARGET, Extract Pline Area & Access 97

What a day... my car wouldn’t start this morning, so I was looking for a service station…

I found a nice little Q&A about car maintenance here – http://www.bigbendautocenter.com/tips.htm

Also, I was poking around looking at stuff about alternators and found out that weird noise my truck makes in the morning is totally normal for a Blazer, according to dozens of other owners… http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/ForumsLanding

Sanity Savers

About AutoCAD, I saw two questions about TARGET today, one on the Autodesk Groups, one on AUGI… interesting. Just further proof that if you've got a problem, someone else does too... that makes me feel less self-conscious about my long toes.

I also saw a really super-handy tip on the Autodesk Groups about putting the area information from a pline into a field:
Right-click in a cell, choose "Insert field" , select 'object' from the 'field' names, click the button next the "Object type", select the pline, click "Area" under Property, then OK.

MS Access 97
Display a startup form when a database or application opens
1 On the Tools menu, click Startup.
2 In the Display Form box, click a form from the current database.
3 If you don't want users to see or use the Database window, which appears behind the form, clear the Display Database Window check box.
Even if you clear the Display Database Window check box, the Database window may still be accessible.
Changes to these settings in the Startup dialog box won't take effect until the next time the database or application is opened.
If all you are seeing is the switchboard and forms, and you want to access tables or queries, etc… just hit F11.

Reminder, the Gateway AUG will be having a big meeting on the 12th. Two of our three presenters are from Autodesk, and there will be refreshments provided. Doors open in the cafeteria at hagerman at 5:30, meeting starts around 6.
The Cafe is on the lower level of Three City Place, just off the entrance. Three City Place is the middle building with the fountains in front.
Hope to see you there!


Finding CAD Blocks

Are you looking for blocks in addition to those that come with AutoCAD?

I have just been sent in search of some Mechanical, Plumbing and Fire Protection blocks.
The first thing I’ll do is search some newgroups to find out where other CAD people go… some sites might be free, while others might charge.

If you’ve used any of these sites and have any opinions on the quality of their content, please post a comment.

search autodesk discussion groups for download free block

Or search AUGI for the same:



CAD Block Exchange Network

A Gallery of 3D Art & 3D Textures


Thomas Register




Archivio Tecnico Grafico

PIRS Online

Design & Drafting

Computer Aided Design, Graphics web sites

abscissa 3D CAD Models



of course, you might need a way to organize your blocks…

The Block Catalog Generator in ToolPac 7.0 will let you build a multi-page (layout) drawing ready to plot. http://www.dotsoft.com/toolpac.htm
DotSoft's DwgBrowser 1.0 will prepare a html document that can be brought into word and printed. http://www.dotsoft.com/dwgbrowser.htm

Remember that you can also build a tool palette from a selection of blocks, from within the Design Center.