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Many years of being a cad technician (and now as CAD Manager) have naturally taken me into the realm of customization.  Anyone that does it every day wants to make it easier, quicker & more user friendly.  Right?  Well, the quest for speed, consistency & accuracy have done that for me. 

I will be posting lisp routines, scripts, menus, 'how-to' articles, and anything else that I feel could be of help to anyone out there.  I guess you could say that I'm going to give back a little to my brothers/sisters at large.  Some folks try to peddle their wares for a (sometimes) small fee, but anything that you find here will always be free. 

I would like to make one request:

  • If there is a line of code that gives credit to an author (either myself or someone else), that line of credit to the author should remain intact.  I don't try to take credit for stuff you do, so please don't try to take credit for something someone else did - especially when you're getting it for free!

NOTE: Along those same lines, please do not have the idea that everything here is of my own creation.  As a matter of fact, none of the items in the management section are mine at all.  This site is only meant as a collection for everyone to have free access without the hindrance of registering and giving up your email address, etc.  If I have given access to a document to which the copyright holder desires that I not post that item, please contact me and I will remove it immediately.  I am not trying to claim authorship to any of these very helpful documents and thus anger the rightful owner(s).

If you have a website and feel that Lukewarm Coffee is worthy, it would be nice if you would place a link to my site on your page somewhere.  If you let me know about it, I will also put a reciprocal link to your site on mine also.  Links make the web go 'round.  I am also willing to post any routines that you feel could help someone else.  Just drop me a line.

Now, lets get on with the show.


AutoCAD 2009 Gold Beta Test Site

ACAD2009Sinclair Pratt Cameron, P.C. was chosen last summer to participate directly with Autodesk and a select group of others as a Gold Beta Test Site for AutoCAD 2009.

It has had it's 'ups' & 'downs' with most of the 'ups' not coming soon enough.  I mean, it was an ever-evolving little monster with its fair share of crashes and expletives, but we all learned a lot about the hard work it takes to put something like this together.  "Enlightening" would be a huge exaggeration.  The number of people they bring together on many different levels to make this happen...  And that is for the software that is pretty much at the bottom of the Autodesk food chain.

"One of only 15 Gold Sites in the world."  --- Autodesk Beta Team Leader

Upside you say?  Plenty.  We get VIP passes for our CAD department to Autodesk University for the next 5 years and 50 cases of Junior Mints.

Get real!  I was just kidding about AU & the candy, but we actively used AutoCAD 2009 in production for 6 months before anyone else and had direct input/dialog with the developers since the beginning. 

Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

AutoCAD 2009 Revealed

Some of the changes for this year include:

  • AutoCAD is getting a complete facelift (similar in look to Office 2007 from what I hear)
  • a Ribbon (courtesy of Office 2007) with completely customizable tabs & panels
  • Menu Browser
  • Quick Properties
  • QuickView Layouts
  • QuickView Drawings
  • Quick Access Toolbar
  • modeless Layer Properties Manager
  • Action Recorder (to create macros for those who are 'lisp challenged')
  • new DWFx format
  • Xref clipping improvements
  • improvements to Find & Replace
  • working with DGN files
  • interactive array preview
  • extended tooltips
  • new tools & icons for the Status Bar
  • enhanced InfoCenter
  • 3D visualization improvements that include ShowMotion, New View/Shot Properties, lighting, Geographic Location, and 3D navigation tools

Would you rather see the full preview??  Here are two PDF files that will fill you in:

                AutoCAD 2009 Preview Guide                 AutoCAD 2009 Cue Cards

Powered by WebRing.

Lisp Routines & Stuff

The day before I submitted this tip to Cadalyst, we had just been talking about getting files from architects and having to "clean them up" so that we could use them. "DWG Demon Exorcism" is the result of receiving DWG files from a client that were in excess of 40 MB per file (they use a CAD program for Mac computers) with the grid turned on and nothing in the initial view.  I came up with this little routine that we now use all the time -- even on our files as a general cleanup at the end of a project.  It performs a Purge All twice, runs an audit, turns the grid off, runs a zoom extents, and finishes with a Qsave.  A few weeks later, there were some interesting follow-ups posted as well, so there are plenty of ways to perform some housecleaning of drawing files.
Link to the original Tips & Tools article
Link to the follow-up Tips & Tools article

This will save you a ton of time when plotting.  It is a tip on plotting using scripts & a toolbar to run them.  With this you can create buttons to plot your common sizes and rarely ever see the plot dialog box ever again.  You can view it in the Cadalyst article about half way down the page. 
Travis Roberts out in Washington (Seattle, maybe?) was nice enough to let me know that the original link at Cadalyst was bad.  They have since fixed the link, but thanks for that 'heads-up' on that, Travis.
Link to the original Tips & Tools article
A sample plotting script

AUTOBIND.LSP - Automatically creates a script file to zoom extents for all dwgs in drawing folder.

BEAMS.LSP - Draws a shortened line, such as the lines used to designate beams on a steel framing plan. The line is shortened at each end by a dimscale regulated distance. Creates linework on beams layer & creates it if not present.

CHKDIMS.LSP - This little gem is for checking to see which dimensions have been fudged - it draws a green box around unmolested dimensions and a red circle with an 'X' in it around dimensions that have been changed. very useful for checking the integrity of drawings you just receive from consultants.   *screenshot*

CONCWALL-I.LSP - Draws reinforced concrete wall with horizontal bars inside.

CONCWALL-O.LSP - Draws reinforced concrete wall with horizontal bars outside.

EXPRESS TOOLS - For those of you still using an older version of AutoCAD that doesn't have the install option for these, here you go.

FEETINCHLSP - A foot-inch calculator for use inside AutoCAD. A very nice tool for adding dimension strings.

GAPLINE.LSP - Line drawing routine which puts a specified length gap at each end of a line.

LAYOUTNAV.LSP - A routine with commands to navigate to the next tab, previous tab, first tab & the last tab in a drawing. Helpful in drawings with many multiple tabs - especially when there are some that aren't visible (i.e., too many to view at one time).

LFD.LSP - Does it irritate you that there are dozens/hundreds of someone else's layer filters when you try to select one in the layer dialog box?  This will delete them all for you (LFD = layer filter delete).

MSBOUNDS.ZIP - how do you know that what you're drawing (in model space) is showing up through the viewport? with this, once you have your viewports drawn, type MSB and a line is drawn in model space that outlines your viewport boundaries with a line on a locked & non-plotting layer. change/stretch/delete a viewport? just type MSB again & watch as the new limits are redrawn. this is sweet! (MSB = model space boundaries)

MTE.LSP - One of my favorites - Tired of using different commands to edit dtext, mtext, dimensions & attributes? And are you tired of entering the command over & over & over again? I use 'XX' to activate it, but it works for editing any kind of text (including different types in the same instance. Also for multiple text edits: instead of "pick, edit, restart, pick, edit, restart, etc." it works like "pick, pick, pick, edit, edit, edit, etc." so you're not going back-n-forth from the mouse to the keyboard. If you use this, let me know if you like it as much as I do.

MTRIM.LSP - a routine to trim multiple lines at a time. It is similar to using the fence option when trimming, but much better because you can choose which side of the trim line you want to disappear - very nice if you have a lot of "close-trimming" to do.

MX.LSP - a routine to extend multiple lines at a time. A very sweet little number.

NEXT-PREVIOUS.ZIP - instead of using "open" & navigating to the next/previous drawing file in a series (i.e., from A-2 to A-3 or from S9 back to S8) use these two routines - very convenient when opening your whole set to plot (open, plot, next, open, plot, next, etc.) - can be used as part of a script/batch job for processing multiple drawings in "unattended mode"

NOMINAL-OFFSET.ZIP - tired of entering the actual distance to offset for the width of a cmu block (i.e. 7.625 for 8" block) or for a wood 2X (i.e. 7.25 for a 2x8)? this dialog-driven routine lets you select the nominal dimension & it enters the correct offset for you *screenshot*

ROUGHEN.LSP - when you want to turn a polyline or line into an irregularly zigzaggy line. For example, you can use roughened lines to designate existing concrete surfaces that have been roughened for better adhesion with new concrete.

SEALS.ZIP - a routine (and DCL file) for any firm to choose different seals from different engineers/architects for different states. You can even choose to have some of those seals already signed for those times when they aren't available.   *screenshot*

SNAP-ROTATE.ZIP - this dialog-driven routine will rotate the snap angle by either picking a line, typing in the angle, or by rise per foot   *screenshot*

SPACING.LSP - multiple spacing routines for lines (you pick a line to offset, then pick the 2 limits to space between): MAX - set the maximum spacing, it offsets the line & tells you how many spaces & what the actual spacing was EQ - you tell it the number of equal spaces, it executes & tells you what the actual spacing was FIL - (for use with wood construction where you need intervals to match plywood) tell it the normal spacing (i.e., 16") & it executes at the specified spacing, leaving the last space odd & it tells you what that last space measured. very nice for joists, trusses, rafters, etc.

SWAP.LSP - swap the positions of 2 items (or groups of items) with this one & select the base point of each group for accurate swapping

TABSETUP.ZIP - this routine is to be used to automatically xref the appropriate title block into the layout tab, set the viewport scale, insert the viewport, & then insert the TBINFO block for automated setup (to be matched with the included DCL file).

TEXTMAKE.LSP - this one has commands to change text (either dtext or attributes) visually instead of continually changing the textwidth factor: select the text, pick the point for the other end of the text. it also contains routines to draw a rectangle around dtext, change dtext to an attribute or change dtext to mtext just by picking the text.

UDB.LSP - a routine to update a block by picking it.

WALL-CLEANUP.ZIP - 3 different routines for 2D walls to cleanup wall intersections for an "L" intersection, a "T" intersection, or an "X" intersection. these can be buggy at times. if someone takes the time to fix the bugs, PLEASE let me know!

WORDMOVE.LSP - this lisp routine moves one word from first string to a second string: if first selected string is below the second, the routine moves the first word up, otherwise it moves the last word down.

XREF_OPEN-UPDATE.ZIP - I primarily use keyboard commands because I prefer to remember 1 or 2 letters instead of all of those little icons. So instead of using the refedit toolbar & buttons, I use XO ("xref open") to open an xref by picking on it & XU ("xref update") to update/reload all xrefs in a drawing.

XRLIST.ZIP - identify (block name, linetype, color, layer, etc.) or freeze layers embedded deep within xrefs.


Check back often to see when new items are posted! 

Send me your routines so I can include them here (with full credit to you, of course)!

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CAD Management Downloads

* NEW * What We Should Really Be Teaching in the AutoCAD Classroom - Part I

* NEW * What We Should Really Be Teaching in the AutoCAD Classroom - Part II

* NEW * LISPing on Purpose - Part I

* NEW * LISPing on Purpose - Part II

* NEW * Hands-On Introduction to Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD

* NEW * Unleashing the Power of Dynamic Blocks

* NEW * Productivity Power of AutoCAD Tool Palettes

* NEW * Publishing DWG Data to Google Earth

* NEW * Becoming an AutoCAD Power User

* NEW * The 12 Hidden Secrets of AutoCAD Productivity

* NEW * Passionate Scripting for Everyone

* NEW * Data Extraction in AutoCAD


* NEW * Exploring the AutoCAD Sheet Set Functionality - Part I

* NEW * Exploring the AutoCAD Sheet Set Functionality - Part II

* NEW * Stop Wrestling and Start Dancing with AutoCAD

* NEW * Managing CAD Standards with AutoCAD

* NEW * Annotating with Intelligence in AutoCAD

* NEW * AutoCAD Secrets Exposed

* NEW * Tips and Tricks For AutoCAD

* NEW * Creating 2D Drawings from 3D AutoCAD Models

* NEW * AutoCAD Its a 3D World After All

* NEW * 3D Visualization and Solid Primitive Conceptual Design in AutoCAD

* NEW * The Autodesk File: Bits of History, Words of Experience

CAD Manager's Handbook 2008, Part 1

CAD Manager's Handbook 2008, Part 2

CAD Management – Ground Zero

CAD Management Tips and Tricks from the Trenches

Preventative CAD Management

AutoLISP for CAD Managers

Business and ROI Skills for CAD Managers

Data Drives Our Decisions – CAD Management from A to Z

Human Resources for the CAD Manager

Windows Vista - What CAD Managers Need To Know

Fundamentals of AutoLisp

Advanced Autolisp Tricks for CAD Managers I

Advanced Autolisp Tricks for CAD Managers II

The AUGI Lisp Forums Greatest Hits for Newbies

Seven Lisp Functions of Highly Effective CAD Users

There's an Error in My Visual Lisp Code - Now What?

All you need to know about good programming you learned in kindergarten

Automating Boring Mundane Tasks Using Windows Script Host

Changing Hundreds of AutoCAD Drawings in a Hurry

Migrating from MNU to the CUI

Creating a Web Based CAD Manual

The CAD Managers Training and Standards Guide

Automating CAD Standards

CAD Leadership Beyond the Standard

CAD Standards & Detail Management

I Want You To Want Me: Embracing CAD Standards

Organized Chaos: Keeping Standards with Flexibility

Windows Vista - The New Frontier

Enabling a Remote Workforce

How To Use Outside Drawings Effectively

The Art of Juggling Multiple CAD Systems


Check back often to see when new items are posted! 

Send me more helpful articles so I can include them here for everyone!

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By downloading/accessing items that you found on this page, you are acknowledging that you have read my Legal Page which says (short version): you understand that I am basically not responsible for anything, some of this material is copyrighted and some isn't, you can't do this and you can't do that, yada, yada, yada.  It's pretty much the usual stuff to cover my backside, but you never know.