As I was putting this month's column together, I realized that each one of the featured articles were insights that my customers either suggested in training or discovered on their own as they were going through the training workbook. As a matter of fact, I typically encourage my students to show me things that they may have found as they were working through a training exercise.
I will readily admit the CUI is sometimes a mystery to me, but I knew RJ (Sheppard's Business Interiors in Omaha) would have an answer on how to export a toolbar. For the tool palette button this month, the wonderful ladies that oversee all things facilities-related at Lawrence Berkeley Labs asked me if they could put the Express tool feature of Enclose Text With Object on a button… so we did! Then I was training the folks responsible for the space planning of the corporate facilities of Union Pacific Railroad in downtown Omaha, and they encountered a few other things that comprise the remaining topics of interest this month.
Finally, I want to thank Herman Miller for inviting me to speak at their first-ever North Area Design Forum in Chicago later this month. I'll be covering the AutoCAD and furniture-specification areas of interest and I'm looking forward to seeing all those who will be in attendance, many of whom are existing customers.
Bonfires, S'mores, and roasted marshmallows are just around the corner!
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Blessings to one and all,
The Customize User Interface (CUI) has a quirk or two, but once you find out what they are, you can manage quite nicely. In the case of exporting your custom toolbar, you need to have somewhere for the toolbar to go before you can send it there. That ‘somewhere’ is a customization file - a new CUI. The procedure given has been successful in transferring toolbars between AutoCAD 2008 and 2009 (LT versions included).
Insurance Policy Statement: Export AutoCAD 200x Settings. The process of exporting a toolbar involves the Customize User Interface. Prior to modifying the CUI, it's always a good idea to have a back-up, just in case you encounter "unexpected results". To that end, I want to remind you about Export AutoCAD 200x Settings [June 2007]. This utility can be found from the Windows Start button, then . The result is a .ZIP file such that if you gom up the menus in the CUI, use the Import utility to put Humpty Dumpty back up on the wall.
Memo: The following instructions are based upon you having a toolbar to transfer. To create a new toolbar, take a look at Michael's Corner, January 2006.
At this point, you have a .CUI containing a single toolbar. The CUI file can obviously contain lots of additional customization elements, but the point of this exercise is to be able to transfer the toolbar to another system. The next few steps show you how to do just that.
Bottom line, I would prefer that you customize a tool palette which has far and away more potential than a customized toolbar. However, if you're going to customize your toolbar, at least now you know how to transfer it from system A to system B.
Once again, one of my customers came up with this idea, so during training we implemented it. Several years ago (June 2004), I took a couple months to cover some cool Express Tools, one of which was the routine to enclose existing text with the shape of your choice: Circles, Slots, or Rectangles. [ ]. The Facilities Planning team at Lawrence Berkeley Labs found that routine very entertaining, so we automated it.
Memo: The following instructions take you through the setting up of the properties to automate the "Enclose Text With Object" routine. Since the procedure requires the selection of text objects (and since it's not real easy to create a simple routine that knows when you're finished selecting), after creating the button to run the routine, you will need to select the objects FIRST, then click the button.
The name of the command is Tcircle. I selected six text objects, then ran the command. The following is sequence of prompts you will get when using this command along with comments regarding the characters in the above macro.
Select TEXT, MTEXT or ATTDEF objects…6 found
The first semi-colon presses Enter for the selection after launching the command…
Enter distance offset factor <0.3500>:
Second semi-colon for the offset factor prompt…
Enclose text with [Circles/Slots/Rectangles] <Circles>: R
You could use R, S, or C in the macro, then the semi-colon after your choice…
Create rectangles of constant or variable size [Constant/Variable] <Variable>:
The last semi-colon is to accept the default size of "variable"…
6 Rectangles created.
To test the button, select several text objects in your drawing, then click your new button and all the text you selected will be enclosed with the requested object type!
In February 2007 I addressed the saving of a layer state, and in that article I also mentioned - albeit in passing - that you could Export a layer state from Drawing A, then use the Import feature to import those layer states into Drawing B.
As it turns out, my customer at Union Pacific Railroad discovered that, in fact, you need not Export a layer state from another drawing, you can just select it from a list! When checking on the version in which this was introduced, I see it has been there since AutoCAD 2008. Here's what Jim discovered…
Although exporting a layer state enables you to transfer the resulting .LAS to another system, if you have access to the drive containing the drawings of interest, use above procedure to load a layer state directly from a drawing.
Memo: For those of you who created layer states using the Express Tools Layer Manager (LMAN) - and I know there are quite a few of you - when using the above method to load a layer state, any layer state that is listed with the LMAN- prefix will not be loaded. To make it work, if you open the drawing containing the LMAN- states, restore each one, then save the drawing, those layer states are now fair game when using the above method of loading layer states.
As summer winds down, I thought I'd pass along a triple scoop treat, courtesy of my customers at Union Pacific.
In A2009, I had yet to investigate the purpose of that push-pin used in the Recent Documents list displayed when you clicked the big red "A" (technically known as the "menu browser".)
As many of you know, the File menu/Menu Browser retains a list of the last nine (9) drawings you opened. As it turns out, Dave was opening drawings and noticed that when you click the pushpin for a drawing in the list, it won't let that drawing "drop off" the bottom when you have opened 8 additional drawings since you opened that one. It will stay in the listing until such time as you un-pin it!
One of the features I cover in training is the recent feature that enables you to move a layout tab by dragging it to another location.
In my training workbooks, I also mention that if you pick and drag a layout tab to another position… then hold down the CTRL key(!)… you will copy that layout tab.
As Michelle was experimenting with these features, she used CTRL to select more than one tab - something that was in the workbook - but then also used CTRL to copy both of the tabs she had selected. The things you can learn if you just keep pickin' & proddin'.
And finally, when introducing the Revision Cloud as we make our way toward putting it on a palette (see October 2007), one of the things I suggest is to turn off Ortho so you can move your cursor more smoothly to create the revision cloud. It was (graciously) pointed out to me that if Ortho is on when you launch the Revision Cloud command, it is automatically turned off… only available in A2009.
Muscatine's Claim to Fame - Muscatine, Iowa was known as the "Pearl Button Capital of the World". A button company was founded in 1884 by a German immigrant named J.F. Boepple, producing buttons by punching them out of clam shells harvested from the Mississippi River. Hole-punched clam shells can still be found along the riverfront. (Yes, one of my customers, Allsteel, Inc., is located there.)
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Note from Michael: I want to thank all of my customers for continuing to retain my training services (some for over two decades!) and let you know your donations do not go to me personally, but to the ongoing maintenance of the CADTutor ship as a whole and to support the yeoman efforts of my friend and CADTutor captain, David Watson, to whom I am grateful for this monthly opportunity to share a few AutoCAD insights.