For those of you unable to make it to this year's main event—Autodesk University 2014—this month's offering includes a couple items from my AU Hands-On Lab, Click My Ride: Customizing Autodesk AutoCAD for How You Work. I'm really looking forward to showing the 86 registered attendees several of the features that have been presented in previous Corner articles on how to optimize AutoCAD for maximum productivity.
This edition will also usher in the new bi-monthly publication of Michael's Corner. There's a possibility I may be adding a couple other products to my "Training Menu" in the upcoming year, so I figured eleven years of four-articles-per-month would warrant a downshift in my Corner offerings. And although, I'm the one with his face on this page, Michael's Corner is ONLY possible because my tireless colleague, Professor David Watson (the chief cook & bottle-washer of CADTutor.net), takes my lowly Word document and works his HTML magic to create the pages you see here.
So with that introduction, this edition brings you these AutoCAD productivity insights…
…How—and Why—to export a Zip file containing your AutoCAD settings
…Where to find the "Hide-A-Key" ACAD.CUIX file that AutoCAD already has saved for you
…The importance of creating a Workspace early on
…Easy Tab & Panel creation from my AU2014 Lab: Click My Ride
Wishing you all a glorious and joyful Christmas season and I hope your New Year is chockfull of exciting new adventures and opportunities!
If you would like to contact me directly, you can do that also.
Blessings to one and all,
It's a big planet, and Instructors and CAD Managers can't reach everyone at once, but Autodesk University is certainly a significant venue where we get some serious traction in that effort. For those Michael's Corner faithful, here's your fix.
When things go sideways with AutoCAD—not IF, but WHEN—it's really important that you have the proper backups in place.
As soon as you have installed AutoCAD—and BEFORE you have tricked it out to look the way you want it—I would (highly) recommend you Export your settings [originally presented in Michael's Corner June 2007]. This procedure creates a Zip file automatically that you can then Import to another station or yours if you want to start all over.
It would be an even better idea to Export your settings AFTER you have configured all your variables, colors, Ribbon content, etc. Yes, a Profile can hold many of those settings, but if things go sideways, this is your best One-Stop-Shop.
Specifically, here are the files the exported .ZIP file contains:
This feature was also covered in my monthly contribution to AUGI World and appeared in the September 2013 issue.
The night before my AU2010 Hands-on Lab, I lost my Ribbon and Menus. I'm pretty sure I made a wrong turn while I was in the CUI, but regardless, AutoCAD was not coming up roses when I launched it. Cotton-mouth and tingling fingers ensued. Lee Ambrosius came to my rescue and dashed me a quick email telling me where to find the backup of the ACAD.CUIX. That file is the gas in the tank of AutoCAD. No ACAD.CUIX, no AutoCAD.
This location is where the backup lives:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 201x\UserDataCache\en-us\Support
The one that AutoCAD runs with daily is located in:
C:\Users\Your Login Name\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 201x\Rxx.x\enu\Support
Make a (BIG) note. If things get squirrely with your Ribbon and Menus, copy the one from the backup location and put it in the daily location. Back to work.
A lower level recovery tool is your Workspace. Your fingers fly across the screen, and sometimes the (alarming) disappearance of the Ribbon or menu can be fixed by resetting your Workspace… if you had made one after you customized your Ribbon (or toolbar arrangement, for those of you still using Classic; you know who you are).
After configuring the Tabs and Panels on the Ribbon, on the Status bar, click Save Current As.
Give the workspace a name, then click Save.
Gold star tip: To display the name of your workspace, click Workspace Switching, then click Display Workspace Label.
You can never be too prepared for software slippage. In the last few weeks, there have been two instances where my customers were able to return to productivity very quickly because they had Exported their settings once they configured AutoCAD. And several times this year I was able to get my customer's Ribbon content back by having them select the Workspace we saved during training.
After reading this, hopefully you are going to the Start button to Export your settings—you will need to close AutoCAD before you do that, though—and are confirming the presence of the backup ACAD.CUIX.
The Ribbon is initially intimidating, until you understand the mechanics behind the relationship of tabs & panels.
With the desired workspace current, open the CUI.
Navigate to, then expand Ribbon.
Under the Ribbon node, right-click on Tabs, then click New Tab and enter a name. In this exercise, I'm naming it AU13_TAB.
Under the Ribbon node, right-click on Panels, then click New Panel and enter a name. In this exercise, my panel name is AU13_PANEL.
To add a command to your AU13_PANEL, in the Command list, navigate to Browse the Web, then drag it up and drop it next to Row 1, as shown in the figure at the right.
As you have probably noticed, Ribbon tools can have different display styles, and their content can also be customized.
Now click on Browse the Web on your panel to display the Properties. Set the following conditions:
Note: The Macro should read:
Critical Step: To add your PANEL to your TAB, drag the AU13_PANEL, and drop it beside the AU13_TAB, as shown on the right.
…but DON'T click OK yet!
You have to associate the Tab to the Workspace…
To add your AU13_TAB to the workspace, under the Workspaces node, click the name of the current workspace.
You will now see the Workspace Contents area in the upper right quadrant of the CUI.
Under Workspace Contents, click Customize Workspace and the text of the workspace elements turn blue.
Next, under, put a check in the Tabs box to enable the check boxes for Tabs and Panels. You then see the tab listed in Workspace Contents.
Gold star tip: Under Workspace Contents, you can drag your tab to any position.
Under Workspace Contents, click Done, then click OK to apply and close the CUI… and check out your AU13_TAB!
As a reminder, you will find a couple hundred(!) more AutoCAD tips and insights, along with dozens of customizing "How To" exercises in my book (Printed or PDF), The AutoCAD Workbench, 2nd Edition.
Autodesk Company Facts:
From the autodesk.com Newsroom page
…and a Rockin' Annual Event in Las Vegas!
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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.