CADTutor: The best free help for AutoCAD on the web
Michael's Corner RSS Feed

Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.

This month…

October - One-derful!!!

It's a God-thing.

I had no idea that 14 years ago I would be given the opportunity to make an impact on the professional lives of so many. Only God knew what was ahead, and hopefully, the contributions I have made through Michael's Corner have equipped many of you to be more productive and a bit more savvy using AutoCAD. And apart from all the AutoCAD bashing that is going on, I'm sure it has a long life ahead.

So, in an effort to keep the AutoCAD fires burning, here's what I have for my final installment…

…A reminder on how to customize your hot keys
…Three Power Tools — one for Zoom, one for editing, and one for Layers
…Two Odd Spots — one for Layers and one for Hatching
…Buried text treasure
…And how to Search 14 years of the Archives

As for what's ahead for me, I will continue to present a variety of AutoCAD sessions — Fundamentals, Intermediate, Customizing, Updates, and 2D & 3D. I will also keep training CAP Designer, 20-20 Worksheet, Visual Impression (those three from 20-20 Technologies, Inc.), and some Revit Fundamentals. Next year I'm looking forward to being very involved in training CET (from Configura, Inc.) when Herman Miller joins the growing number of manufacturers embracing this software that is being touted as the ‘Future of Space Planning’. Personally, I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with Donna, my lovely bride of 30 years. When this posts, we'll probably be within days of going on our 30th Anniversary vacation to the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson; Ee-Hah! We had such a good time when we went for our 20th, we figured we'd do it again!

Ah, and I'm hoping to have The AutoCAD Workbench, Final Edition out before snow flies.

And with that, Mike drop! …so to speak.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

This month's articles

Change F1 to ESC
Smoother Zoom
Stretch with Extension
Lock Layers with a Crossing Window
Layer Columns & Hatch Background Color
Text Frame on Mtext

From the Vault

Originally published November 2010

Export Your Workspace or Ribbon Tab via the CUI

With the arrival of a new version of Autodesk's flagship product each year, I am frequently asked how to 'hold onto' settings that have been setup in the prior version. Typically, the Migrate Settings feature handles most of those settings, but what if you got a new computer (don't you wish) and now need to grab your cool stuff from your other system and put it on the new one?

Of particular interest is the exporting of a Workspace, since it is not immediately obvious how that might be done. (For more information on Workspaces, see Michael's Corner May 2009, November 2009, and February 2010). For those of you with a copy of my book, The AutoCAD Workbench (or the PDF), you will find the Workspace coverage on pp. 1 & 2, it's that important.

Here's the definition of a Workspace from the Help files: "Workspaces are sets of menus, toolbars, palettes, and Ribbon control panels that are grouped and organized so that you can work in a custom, task-oriented drawing environment."

Short version: The "edges" of your AutoCAD window.

Therefore, before beginning this exercise, you will first want to save the Workspace.

Note: When transferring AutoCAD features from one system to another, you will be creating a menu file, specifically, .CUI for AutoCAD 2009, or .CUIX for AutoCAD 2010 and AutoCAD 2011.

How to Export a Customization File Containing your Workspace

  1. Type CUI to open the Customize User Interface.

  2. Under the Workspaces node, right-click on the Workspace name you want to export, then click Copy.

  3. Transfer

    Click the Transfer tab.

  4. Paste

    Right-click on the Workspaces node, then click Paste and the workspace will appear under the Workspaces node.

  5. Save

    Click Save the Current Customization File.

  6. Navigate to the ..\Support folder of your version of AutoCAD, give the file a name, and click Save. I'm naming this file CT_ExportWS.CUIX.

If you're taking this customization file (that contains your Workspace) to another computer, copy the .CUIX file created in Step 5 (above) to AutoCAD's ..\Support folder of the target system, then proceed to the next exercise.

How to Import the Customization File to the Other System

  1. Launch AutoCAD on the computer to receive the exported .CUIX, then open the CUI.

  2. Click the Transfer tab, then click Open Customization File.

  3. Workspaces nodeNavigate to where you put the .CUIX file from the previous exercise and Open it. The Workspace name will appear under the Workspaces node.

  4. Right-click on the name of the workspace displayed under the Workspaces node - AU_TOOLBELT in this exercise - then click Copy.

  5. Click the Customize tab, right-click on the Workspaces node, then click Paste.

  6. Click OK to save your changes and close the CUI.

  7. Click Workspace Switching… and you should see the transferred Workspace in the list!

…but what about your custom tab and panel?

The following exercise is centered around the exporting of a customized Tab and Panel in AutoCAD 2010 or AutoCAD 2011. If you haven't created a custom tab and panel, take a look at Michael's Corner from August 2009, then come on back and follow these steps.

I'm using the Tab and Ribbon we will be creating in my class at AU2010 on November 30th… just in case any of you are taking a look at this column while you're there!

How to Export Your Custom Tab & Panel

  1. Type CUI to open the Customize User Interface.

  2. Navigate to the location of your customized tab. I typically encourage folks to put their customization files under Partial Customization FilesCUSTOMRibbonTabs.

  3. Copy new tab

    Right-click on your customized Tab, then click Copy

    Note: When you copy a tab, any panels that are associated with that tab are automatically included in the copied content.

  4. Click the Transfer tab, then expand the Ribbon node.

    Note: Curiously, the following step is necessary to accomplish the task.

  5. New Tab

    Right-click on the Ribbon node, then click New Tab and press [Enter] to accept the default name of 'New Tab'.

  6. Now, right-click on 'New Tab', then click Paste.

  7. New Tab in list

    You will now see the 'New Tab', as well as your custom tab in the list. You will also see any custom panel that was associated with the tab under the Panels node.

  8. Click Save the Current Customization File, then navigate to the ..\Support folder of your version of AutoCAD, give the file a name, then click Save. I'm naming this file CT_AUTAB-PANEL.CUIX.

  9. Click OK to save your changes and close the CUI.

If you're taking this customization file to another computer, copy the .CUIX file created in Step 7 (above) to AutoCAD's ..\Support folder of the target system, then proceed to the next exercise.

Please note: You can include a Workspace and your custom Tab in a single file. I just separated these exercises in case some of you didn't have both, but only one or the other. The following exercise will be similar to the one above regarding the importing of a Workspace, albeit relevant to the importing of the tab and panel.

How to Import the Customization File with the Tab and Panel

  1. Launch AutoCAD on the computer to receive the exported .CUIX, then open the CUI.

  2. Click the Transfer tab, then click Open Customization File.

  3. Navigate to where you put the .CUIX file from the previous exercise and Open it. The Workspace name will appear under the Workspaces node.

  4. Right-click on the name of the workspace displayed under the Workspaces node - AU_TOOLBELT in this exercise - then click Copy.

  5. Click the Customize tab, then navigate to Partial Customization FilesCUSTOM >RibbonTabs.

  6. Right-click on the Tabs node, then click New Tab.

  7. Paste New Tab

    Right-click on the 'New Tab' node, then click Paste and you will then see your transferred tab and panel (AU10_TAB and AU10_PANEL in this exercise).

In the final few steps, you associate the newly imported tab with a workspace.

  1. To add your new tab to a workspace, under the Workspaces node, click the name of the Workspace where you want this tab to live.

  2. Customize Workspace

    Under Workspace Contents, click Customize Workspace.

  3. Now, under Partial Customizations FilesCUSTOM, put a check in the box beside your new tab. You will then see your new tab listed in your Workspace Contents.

  4. To see your tab on the Ribbon, click Done, then click OK to apply and close the CUI.

Hopefully you now feel a bit more confident about retaining your customization files… I know I certainly do!

And Now an Important Follow-Up to the Updating of Blocks on a Palette

This is a wonderful insight and I am so thankful to Kent Elrod (Sumco, USA) for bringing this to my attention.

To briefly recap the condition proposed in Michael's Corner, September 2010, you have a block on your palette named Widget, and you have placed several instances of that block in a drawing named ABC. If the Widget block is modified in its Source file (the drawing file from which it was placed onto the palette), what do you do to update the instances of Widget in drawing ABC? My solution was waaaay too complex and Kent's solution is waaaay easier.

Solution: Open the drawing ABC containing multiple instances of Widget, right-click on the Widget block on the palette, then click Redefine. Most excellent!

Before

Before

After

After

Note: When you change the block definition in the block's source file, right-click on the block on the palette and click Redefine Image to display the correct geometry for the edited block.

Top of page

Local Navigation

Sponsored Links

Accessibility statement

Valid XHTML 1.0!Valid CSS!Creative Commons Licence