I know, that title is lame, but it is nice to see Spring on the horizon, nonetheless. A piece of my winter was spent south of the equator, as many of you know. So while my lovely bride of 23 years was taking care of our home in freezing temperatures, I was on a new adventure in Angola.
Several of this month's articles came up while I was there at Chevron's Malongo camp. It has been several years since I reviewed data extraction, so I have a simple overview of the screens you'll see for that process. I'm finally going to address the Double-Click action settings in the CUI this month, too… and this month will be our inaugural foray into the use of animation for an article!
I made an interesting discovery with one of the Chevron drawings involving a 2D Polyline, too, so that's in the Odd Spot. And one of the folks in my training was interested in the ability of splitting the Model view into viewports - a powerful feature that's been around for a really long time that warrants a Basic review.
All in all, it was a fabulous 2 week at Chevron's corner of Cabinda, and I'm looking forward to the possibility of a return trip to work with the many friends I made while I was there.
As always, if you would like to be notified when Michael's Corner is posted each month, just subscribe to our mailing list and we'll be sure to let you know when this critter comes online. There's well over 2,000 of you now and it is an honor to be looked upon as a resource for your AutoCAD well-being. You can also keep in touch using the RSS feed. If you would like to contact me directly, you can do that also.
Blessings to one and all,
Many of the drawing title blocks for the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company drawings are rich with attributes, including revision information, project titles and information, and approvals. One of their Document Control folks was interested in knowing if there was a way to extract that data and put it in an Excel sheet.
In July, 2003 I covered how to extract data from a drawing, but it's time for an update. These procedures work for A2008 & A2009; I haven't checked A2007.
Note: If you use the Data source option of "Drawing/Sheet Set", you can Add Drawings to the extraction process.
Note: If you opt to insert the data as a table into the drawing, your next screen will give you an opportunity to choose the desired Table style and/or formatting structure. See August 2008 for coverage of the current status of Tables.
Obviously, there is much more that can be done with this extraction tool and this has been just a quick review of the steps involved in accomplishing the extraction of data from a single attributed block in a drawing.
Also, if you find that the result is agreeable and you would like to repeat the process for another drawing or group of drawings, when you launch the Data Extraction dialog box, you will notice there's an option to "Use Previous Extraction As A Template".
One of our readers contacted me recently regarding editing dimension text and commented that once upon a time you could double-click the dimension to edit the text. Nowadays, you double-click a dimension and get the Properties window for that dimension.
I figured this would be a perfect application for creating your own double-click action.
Keeping in mind that AutoCAD 2010 is on the horizon, you will want to set this action under CUSTOM in the CUI so it will translate over when you upgrade to the next version.
Bom! (That's a little Portuguese I learned from my friends in Cabinda)
If you prefer your tutorials in video format, take a look at the Double-Click Action for Dimensions video tutorial (opens in new window). This is an experiment and we'd be interested to know what you think, so let us know.
The Chevron Facilities Engineering Department at the Malongo camp in Angola receives hundreds of drawings from outside contractors. One of the drawings was nearly 90Mb but contained very little geometry; truly perplexing.
Using the Quick Select window (QSELECT command), I noticed in the list an Object type called "2D Polyline".
Note: Many versions ago, Autodesk optimized polylines in drawings, so now when you List a polyline, you see it's referred to as an LWPOLYLINE (Light-Weight Polyline). By default, when an older drawing is opened, the old polylines are automatically converted into the new LWPOLYLINE.
Curiously, AutoCAD's Help feature adds this tidbit regarding old polylines… "Polylines containing curve-fit or splined segments always retain the old format."
Dilemma: I have several polylines that were obviously created with a curve-fit or splined segments.
Solution: The EXPLODE command; seriously. If you Explode one of these fat polylines - depending upon their original creation method - they may revert to lines or arcs (which you could then Pedit back to normal polylines). In the figure below, the curved shape on the left is an old polylines. When exploded, it becomes a series of arcs… and the file size becomes smaller.
Obviously, this is not a desirable solution for every circumstance, but simply something you may want to consider.
Credit: As I was completing this article, David Watson (the intrepid captain of the CADTutor ship), passed along the optional use of the Convert or Convertpoly commands. Both of these commands should be considered as you seek to optimize your drawings… and I was not familiar with either one of them! Thank you, David!
Whether you're working on large drawings, or simply have a need to be zoomed in to more than one area in the drawing at a time, one approach is to split the Model space window using the VPORTS command. [ ]
When I was training the CABGOC team in Angola, Maria, Mateus, and Pedro found this feature particularly useful for working on their 3D piping drawings.
Note: The arrangement named "Three: Left", means Model space will be split into three viewports, with the big viewport on the left. The illustration with the floorplan shows that arrangement.
Note: You can launch an edit command such as Move, in one viewport and select the objects and specify a basepoint, then click in another viewport to place the objects (you may want to turn off Ortho).
Fruit Bats - The fruit bat is the largest of bats, and one of the most important to humans. Many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy on our table would not exist without these bats. They disperse the seeds and pollinate the flowers of many plants. My visit to the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company base in Malongo was punctuated by the presence thousands of fruit bats in the morning and evening.
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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.