Jump to content
freek

Synchronizing tool palettes on modification

Recommended Posts

freek

Hello community!

 

First post ever. I've been spending so much time trying to figure this one out that I kind of gave up. Now I need your help.

 

I have 4 computers sharing tool palettes on a network. Whenever a user updates the palette with a new block, he has to export the .xtp file on the network and every other users has to reimport the palette in order to see the changes.

 

We're in the middle of a big clean up since we just got our new Autocad 2011 license and the palettes change pretty much every day, whenever we find time to reorganize it.

 

Is there a way to skip the export/import part when modifying a tool palette? I mean we are all using the file on the network right, so why doesn't it update on modification? At first I thought the palettes would update on startup, at least, but it seems that every single user has to export first and then import the .xtp file every morning or so.

 

It feels like once the palette on the network has been imported, the modifications we apply on the said palette are local, as if autocad would copy the one on the network instead of running it live, which makes it harder to keep it synchronized on every machine.

 

I'll stop my post here because I don't want to further confuse anyone. I hope the problem's clear. I hope there's a way to work around that export/import sequence and get this whole palette thing to work in sync.

 

Thanks for reading this,

any help is appreciated
8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
I have 4 computers sharing tool palettes on a network. Whenever a user updates the palette with a new block, he has to export the .xtp file on the network and every other users has to reimport the palette in order to see the changes.
Don't use this method.

 

Is there a way to skip the export/import part when modifying a tool palette?
Step 1. Tell an IT admin to create a directory on the network giving you full permissions, and everyone else read only.

 

Step 2. Copy the current Tool Palette directory to it and all associated DWG files that act as a block repository.

 

Step 3. Add the new networked path in the Options > Files > Tool Palette File locations support directory. When the Tool Palettes come up, repath the Blocks as necessary.

 

Step 4. Add the new networked path to all the other users.

 

That's it. Now when you make a change, all the other users have to do is restart CAD and the changes will update when opening the new session of AutoCAD. If you need more info hit me back up in this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
natoy

We have setup done this way, but some tool palettes are not updating without deleting and importing. Also, when new tools are added, they are located on network computers to the bottom of the palette.

We have not setup network drive for "read-only" mode. Need to try to do it and see if it helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
We have setup done this way, but some tool palettes are not updating without deleting and importing. Also, when new tools are added, they are located on network computers to the bottom of the palette.

We have not setup network drive for "read-only" mode. Need to try to do it and see if it helps.

No you don't need to "try" it, you need to "do" it. If everyone has full permissions then if you make changes to the Tool Palettes the files are not written until you close the session of AutoCAD. This means, if another user has AutoCAD opened, and closed the program AFTER you have made the changes, they will overwrite the new additions you just made. That's why everyone else needs to be read only, so that you (assuming you are considered the CAD Manager) are the only one who is in control of the additions and/or changes to the Tool Palettes.

 

Now, on to the other problem. Autodesk for some reason isn't smart enough to have the Tool Palettes update the organization and group hierarchy. It only maintains this through an export/import. The data is still there, you'll just have to go to each workstation and make the necessary adjustments to get them visually all in sync. Bummer I know, we've been dealing with it for years but it's still better than export/import.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
natoy

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek

Thanks Stykface,

 

I'll be "doing it" first thing next Monday and then get back to you with results.

 

Until then have a good weekend!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

Let us know how it works out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek
Let us know how it works out.

 

As promised, I'm coming back with some news. I had to convince my supervisor that ONLY ONE employee should have read acces which didn't suit him at first, but I kept insisting that every single morning, the whole office would work with up to date palettes by only starting up autocad. He is now pleased with how it works out, so again a big thank you!

 

Now I don't know if I should start a new thread for this next question, but I'll ask it here first. We all know profiles are very useful for keeping the same work environment and settings on different machines, etc. I personnally have a home profile and a work profile on my laptop. Most of the stuff I use at work is on a shared folder on the network, for example "P:/blabla/blabla/Support/ToolPalette/Palettes/palette.xtp". At home, all my stuff is located on drive "C:". Profiles help me deal with file location on pretty much any level, however the tool palette (.xtp file) uses absolute paths to locate the .DWG and image folder. See where I'm going with this? When I get home, I have to use a second set of palette mapped on drive "C:" instead of "P:" which is not synched with the ones I have at work. I either have to send the .xtp files via email or transfer them on usb drive before I leave and then run a find and replace command on my palettes.xtp in notepad and update all "P:" for "C:" ( so I get C:\cad\blocks\blocks.dwg instead of P:\cad\blocks\blocks.dwg). Is there a way to make items in a palette use RELATIVE paths to the .xtp file ?

 

I keep looking for something similar to a "ROOT" system variable. Is there such a thing? I don't really mind updating paths from "P:" to "C:" with find and replace every once in a while when palettes get significant "upgrades", but most people I work with are not that... patient... or technologically at ease to be polite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
I had to convince my supervisor that ONLY ONE employee should have read acces which didn't suit him at first, but I kept insisting that every single morning, the whole office would work with up to date palettes by only starting up autocad. He is now pleased with how it works out, so again a big thank you!
You mean ONLY ONE employee has Read/Write access, correct? :)

 

Profiles help me deal with file location on pretty much any level, however the tool palette (.xtp file) uses absolute paths to locate the .DWG and image folder.
*.XTP is not a Tool Palette extension. This is an exported Tool Palette extension. The proper file is a *.ATC file extension. But all you need to do is map the folder, not the file, in the Tool Palette Support Path directory.

 

Is there a way to make items in a palette use RELATIVE paths to the .xtp file?
There is not a way, however, I can share with you my personal workaround. :thumbsup:

 

I too work from home a lot. If you work off a mapped network drive at work, then off your local machine (eg: Laptop) when you are home, then all you need to do is copy the Tool Palette directory from the network into any location on the local C:\ drive of your liking. This includes ALL SUPPORTING FILES, such as any DWG file that acts as a block repository.

 

In doing this, the tools and commands will still work, but the blocks will not work since the path is saved to the networked drive. So, my workaround is this: I use EditPlus Text Editor to open up each Tool Palette file (*.ATC files), do a batch "Find/Replace All" option. I simply "find" the current directory, and "replace all" with the new directory which is simply copied to the local machine. It's a quick, easy way to edit all the paths all at once. EditPlus is not free, but I do think Notepad++ will do the same thing and it's a free program.

 

If not, you can always open each *.ATC file in Notepad and with Ctrl+H you can do a Find/Replace All of the paths and save each file one by one.

 

Basically, I personally make a complete copy of the entire "networked AutoCAD directory" onto my laptop. From time to time when I make changes, I'll copy it over, overwriting the directory altogether, then make the changes to the paths. I have a Profile saved for switching to my local machine when I am at home or onsite. That way all my tools, blocks, ACADDOC.LSP file, etc is always in sync. It's a bit of a manual process but it works.

 

Hope this helps. 8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek
Hope this helps. 8)

 

It does! I'm glad to hear that I was basically doing the right workaround. It's more of a lack of functionality from autocad than I lack of knowledge from myself. Sweet relief :wink:

 

Thanks for the quick answer! I guess I'll see ya around soon enough. It should be only a matter of time before I get "stuck" again :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek

Just in case the thread isn't quite dead yet...

 

I'm back for more info on .ATC vs .XTP.

I understand that .XTP files are exports of the tool palette, which is the actual .ATC. However, I don't really get the .ATC file. When is it created? It seems that it keeps on duplicating in my shared folder on the network (read only for everyone else than me). I get a bunch of "SYMBOLES_0F56C1F8-DC59-4C87-A7A5-3FDF4EF5A2C6.atc" and such with different temp ID numbers at the end.

 

Basically, I should export the .XTP files only to have a back up version somewhere safe in case something goes wrong, right? If so, then where do I get the .ATC from my computer so I can put it "online" for my coworkers to use them. I feel like I'm pretty close to the result that's been explained above, but not quite there yet.

 

Everyone (including myself) should map their Tool Palette Support Path directory to the FOLDER online (not the files)... Which means if I put a bunch of .ATC files in there, Autocad should be able to work with them without problems? Should I also include the image folders I get from exporting the .XTP files ?

 

I'll stop there, I dont want to further confuse you, dear reader :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
Basically, I should export the .XTP files only to have a back up version somewhere safe in case something goes wrong, right?
Correct. Forget all about the XTP files unless you're just backing them up, but if you follow my further answer this will no longer apply.

 

If so, then where do I get the .ATC from my computer so I can put it "online" for my coworkers to use them. I feel like I'm pretty close to the result that's been explained above, but not quite there yet.

 

Everyone (including myself) should map their Tool Palette Support Path directory to the FOLDER online (not the files)... Which means if I put a bunch of .ATC files in there, Autocad should be able to work with them without problems? Should I also include the image folders I get from exporting the .XTP files ?

They (they, being the ATC files) simply need to be on the server at your office in a designated directory. You need to map a drive letter to a folder where all AutoCAD related files go on each computer, and the drive letter should be identical among all connected computers (Follow my previous steps for permission settings with the I.T. admin). When you copy/paste the ATC files over, including the images, all you do is add this path to the Tool Palettes directory to all computers running AutoCAD (In AutoCAD, go to Options > Files > Tool Palettes File Locations and click "Add"). That's it. The only thing you'll need to do as an AutoCAD manager is repath the block locations which I previously explained as well. As far as backup, you'll no longer need to since the server is usually always backed up anyways through the I.T. administrators. Exporting to a XTP file is primarily for (1) ease of use and (2) local tool palettes only.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyke

Just a thought. :unsure: If the ATC files are on the server are simultaneously accessed by more than one person, there could be a problem. When ATC files are loaded they are saved in the cache of the computer involved. When that computer closes AutoCAD down any changes made to the ATC files during that session are then saved to the ATC files on the server. When another user, who had simultaneously opened AutoCAD makes changes to the palettes and then closes AutoCAD down his changes are saved to the server, automatically overwriting the changes made by the first user. This leads to unrest with the users (I know).

 

The best thing to do is make the ATC files write protected and allow just the admin to make changes to them. A bit more work for admin but in the end very worthwhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
Just a thought. :unsure: If the ATC files are on the server are simultaneously accessed by more than one person, there could be a problem. When ATC files are loaded they are saved in the cache of the computer involved. When that computer closes AutoCAD down any changes made to the ATC files during that session are then saved to the ATC files on the server. When another user, who had simultaneously opened AutoCAD makes changes to the palettes and then closes AutoCAD down his changes are saved to the server, automatically overwriting the changes made by the first user. This leads to unrest with the users (I know).

 

The best thing to do is make the ATC files write protected and allow just the admin to make changes to them. A bit more work for admin but in the end very worthwhile.

This was in my first post in this thread. Very valid point and worth repeating since it could wreck havoc if folder permissions aren't set by the I.T. admin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek
When you copy/paste the ATC files over, including the images, all you do is add this path to the Tool Palettes directory to all computers running AutoCAD (In AutoCAD, go to Options > Files > Tool Palettes File Locations and click "Add"). That's it.

 

:geek:How bad would it be if instead of ADDING the path, I CHANGED the inital path for the new path on all computers including mine? Would that ruin the plan? Because THAT is what I did :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
How bad would it be if instead of ADDING the path, I CHANGED the inital path for the new path on all computers including mine? Would that ruin the plan? Because THAT is what I did

No, it doesn't ruin anything. It just takes away the default Tool Palettes installed on the local machine. Me personally, I like to leave these just so they can create their own Tool Palettes as necessary, but I create and maintain the company specific tools.

 

Due to the folder permissions, they can't make any changes to the Tool Palettes at all. But, it looks like they probably never used them anyways from what I'm assuming so it wouldn't matter unless you showed them how it works and they took it upon themselves to start using them for their own benefits. 8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek

Thanks a lot, sir.

Your generosity knows no limit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
freek

Just for the records, everything is up and running PERFECTLY. So if anyone has the same problem as me, just follow carefully every single step and you'll have a garanteed success!

 

Again Thanks!:P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

Now start setting up Templates, an ACADDOC.LSP file, Fonts, Plot Styles, PC3 files, LISP routines, and anything else you can to the directory so you can distribute among the team. 8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
qball

I read over this thread and I have a problem. I had the Tool Palette and Images in folder on the Network called "Palettes". I clicked on the Security tab in the Properties through Windows Explorer and Denied "Everyone" (users) Write permissions. I gave my own Username "Full Control". I hit apply and then the folder disappeared from my screen. I think it was because I am a part of "Everyone". Oddly, my co-worker (set up as Administrator) can still see the folder, but she can't change it.

I was only doing this, not because I thought people would change the Tool Palette, but because I thought the changes I made would be lost when another user closes their ACad after me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...