Saturday, December 31, 2005

Get the latest feed icon

Get the latest feed icon that is used in Firefox and now will be embraced by Microsoft and others to follow. Download the Feed Icon Package from

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Convert C# to VB.NET code

Maybe you are like me mostly using either C# or VB.NET and not developing full time so the syntax is not there in your memory to easily convert back and forth between the languages. You might have found a nice snipped of csharp code and want it in VB.NET.

Here are some options I've used.
Here is a free online converter:
The free converter can also be downloaded and run offline.
Another online converter can be found here:
and her:

Another option is to use the free Open Source .NET IDE SharpDevelop that has functionality to also convert code. Look at Tools>Convert Buffer C# to VB.NET and Convert Buffer VB.NET to C#.

Autodesk asks 'How often do you read blogs?'

WorldCAD Access comments about the Autodesk blog survey.
Autodesk is asking about your bloggin' behavior at One question is a bit too modest in its breadth: Q: Approximately how often do you read blogs that are directly related to your industry or profession?A: Every day -- 1-6 times a week -- 1-3 times a month -- Less than once a month -- Never They left out this option: Several times a day.
I would say that they also left another option and that is if you read blogs with a reader like Bloglines or RSS Bandit you can be notified when there is something new to be read.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Meet the interactive Autodesk advisor Diana

I found about this at Lynn Allen's blog: Visit Diana on I found that Diana recommended that we should change from ADT to Revit Building. ;-)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Lock the users from messing with your dynamic blocks

Here is a tip from one of my classes at AU.

Since we started using AutoCAD 2006 I've added this row to our acad.lsp that loads for all users. (setvar "BLOCKEDITLOCK" 1)

By setting the system variable BLOCKEDITLOCK to 1 you disallows opening of the Block Editor and editing of dynamic block definitions. In a multiuser company it can be useful if you have prepared a lot of dynamic blocks and don't want the users to mess with them.

From the help documentation about BLOCKEDITLOCK: Disallows opening of the Block Editor and editing of dynamic block definitions. When BLOCKEDITLOCK is set to 1, double-clicking a dynamic block in a drawing opens the Reference Edit dialog box. If the block contains attributes, double-clicking the block reference opens the Enhanced Attribute Editor 0 - Specifies that the Block Editor can be opened 1 - Specifies that the Block Editor cannot be opened

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Architectural Desktop 2006 Expert Certification

Here at are the Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006 Certified Experts listed. And I'm one of them after taking the exam at AU 2005 in Orlando, Florida. ;-)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Autodesk University Main Stage Presentation download available

This post is via RobiNZ that I met at AU. We had to fly quite a lot to meet each other. Robin's distance Auckland, New Zealand - Orlando, Florida 13007km/8082miles Jimmy's distance Gothenburg, Sweden - Orlando, Florida 7730km/4803miles

Autodesk University Main Stage Presentation download available By RobiNZ on CAD Autodesk University Scott Sheppard has posted video of the Autodesk University Main stage presentation. ... It’s a big, or huge, video file to down-load but well worth seeing. If you want to view it as presented at AU you’ll need a 20 x 80 ft screen, but it still looks great on a desktop monitor

Autodesk – Discussion Groups – DWF – Autodesk University Main Stage presentation.

DWG and PDF are alike

Or the title could be "Autodesk and Adobe are alike". When reading this blog post on Acrobat and PDF Clones: What you should know . . . I immediately thought about Autodesk and DWG and the DWG Clones existing for good and bad. Don't you?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Visual Studio Add-Ins Every Developer Should Download Now

Link to article. Each of these add-ins works with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and most of them already have versions available for Visual Studio 2005.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Kill a process in VB.NET

I have had problems with processes that are not closed correctly. This is what I've done after trying to close it the correct way to ensure it is killed. In this case it is Acrobat that I have run.
res = AcroExchAVDoc.Close(False)
Dim myProcesses As Process() = Process.GetProcessesByName("acrobat")
Dim myProcess As Process
For Each myProcess In myProcesses
If myProcess.MainWindowTitle = "" Then myProcess.Kill()
Next myProcess

PS. I have not tried this yet but it could be worth trying to use Marshal.FinalReleaseComObject(AcroExchAVDoc)

Microsoft and Autodesk Broaden Strategic Alliance with DWF

From this press release:
The MSN Search and retrieval support of DWF’s is scheduled to be available in early 2006 and Autodesk’s support of Microsoft XAML is planned for early 2007.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Handouts from AU 2005 classes

PDF handouts from my classes can now be downloaded from AU Online (They where updated with the latest yesterday so if you already downloaded them, do it again to get the latest) I had two Plant Design classes PD12-1 (Multidiscipline CAD Usage at an EPC Company) and PD13-1 (Plant Design Tips and Tricks) To get the files I used in the PD13-1 class log in to AU Connect. You will find the files on the group Plant Design. Look for Shared Group Files.

I also had the chance to assist three classes that where interesting: Hands-On Migration Class with Bud Schroeder People, People, Everywhere: Build your own graphical facility Phone Directory with DWF with Brian Mathews Introduction to dbConnect for Facilities Management with Scott McFarlane

I also attanded several classes and labs as well as some usability studies. But there were so many other classes I would have loved to go to so it's great with having so much posted on Au Online. So now I can continue my AU studies from home.

Update: The PD13-1 session was unfortunately not recorded in good quality and will not be available to view.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Take the Autodesk blog survey

Autodesk is conducting a survey on industry related blogs. This is now on the front page of Be Our Brain Trust Take a short survey about blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, and other new ways of communicating.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Calcinput changed in AutoCAD 2006 SP1

Set CALCINPUT to 1. At first when AutoCAD 2006 was released the End key was used to evaluate a function in an edit control. But because End also can be used normally to move to the end of the text in the edit control the End key changed in SP1 to Alt+Enter.

For those that want to try this draw a Circle, open Properties and select the circle. Enter something like =1000*1.4 in the edit box for the radius value. Then press Alt+Enter and the result will show up. No need to open the calculator in this case. This can also be used in dialog boxes like the one for the Array command

AU 2005 recap

I'm back from AU 2005 since a few days ago. This was the first AU I've been to and naturally the first I spoke at as well. Me and my wife stayed at the Swan hotel some days before the event and some days after to have a chance to see Disneyland and the surroundings of Orlando. Since it was nearly 5700 attendees the hotel was real empty and deserted after AU. I wished I could duplicate to be everywhere since so much where going on at the same time.

I was great to meet many of those I've not met in person as well as a few I met before. Shaan Hurley, Robert Green, Mark Douglas, Mike Perry, Melanie Stone, Beau Turner, Mark Kiker, Nate Bartley, Jerry Milana, Lynn Allen, Jon Beltran, Lee Ambrosious, Bill Glennie, Chris Yanchar, Darren Myles, Robin Capper, Bud Schroeder, Brian Mathews, Scott McFarlane, Misha Belilovskiy, Jonathan Knowles, Mark Fritts, Peter Quinn, Christer Johansson, Darren Young, Heinz Baumann, Richard Binning, Shawn Gilmour, Julian Gonzalez and many many more as well as many I didn't get a chance to meet among all attendees. Good to meet you all!

AutoCAD is getting more 3D power, new products that might show up like Vespa a non photorealistic illustration tool, 64-bit processing and multithreading is something that will be supported for many of the products. I had also the chance to see things that I cannot speak about right now other than more is to come.

The AUGI Wish List Top Ten for AutoCAD was released

  1. Multiple leaders
  2. Translucent/transparent layers
  3. Spell check improvement
  4. 3D dynamic blocks
  5. Dynamic linetypes
  6. Greater control with tabs
  7. Improved tools for manipulating layouts
  8. Paragraph spacing in Mtext
  9. Easier way to add sheets to a sheet set
  10. Improved support for dual monitors.

Let's see within some month what ends up in AutoCAD 2007.

Of these 10 ones I want most are Translucent/transparent layers as well as 3D dynamic blocks. On my top wish list is better graphic performance when working with large 3D models, better performance working with Sheet Set Manager and Reference Manager. Something like a VISRETAIN=2 would be needed to be able to handle nested xrefs in several levels. Etc...

I also took the ADT exam and I am now a Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006 Certified Expert.

Maybe I see you at next AU (not in Las Vegas) or somewhere else.

/Jimmy Bergmark

Introducing CADMAN+Tussilago cartoon strip

Do you know how your wife or girlfriend looks at you? Now you can get a hint.

I am Jimmy, a CAD and computer nerd. Therése, my wife since 1993 and the cartoonist of CADMAN+Tussilago knows by experience. CADMAN+Tussilago is a cartoon strip on how it is to be married to a computer nerd like me from my wife's point of view. The strips always makes me smile and sometimes gives me a little kick in the butt.

Maybe you too recognizes yourself. Have fun! Click here to see the first cartoon strip.

CHARACTERS CADMAN - A typical CAD and computer nerd. Tussilago - The wife of CADMAN. Here name Tussilago comes from the Swedish name for the little yellow spring flower coltsfoot.

TRIVIA CADMAN+Tussilago was first introduced to the public in November 27:th 2005 at Autodesk University 2005 in Florida as part of Jimmy Bergmark's business card and at the end of the handouts and presentations for the classes he held.

Reproduce CADMAN+Tussilago Permission to reproduce CADMAN+Tussilago on your Website, blog, corporate Intranet, publication or other means is granted on a case-by-case basis. Fees and restrictions vary depending upon usage. For rates and availability, contact Therése Bergmark at

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Autodesk DWF Viewer 6.5 Released

Last post before leaving for AU 2005. I can really recommend the latest DWF Viewer after testing it quite a lot. It's not a question of if you should wait to upgrade or not. It includes a lot of useful additions.

What’s New in DWF Viewer 6.5

  • Section 3D Models
  • Move and Rotate 3D Components
  • View Combined 2D/3D DWFs (the ability to combine DWF files will be announced)
  • User Interface Enhancements
  • Microsoft® Office Drag and Drop Support
  • Windows Explorer Integration: Preview, search, print, and email DWF files directly from Windows Explorer.
  • Email a DWF: Email DWFs from DWF Viewer, with a link for recipients to easily download and install the free DWF Viewer.
  • Customer Error Reporting: Easily generate a report that summarizes errors and submits the information directly to Autodesk.

To get the updated Autodesk DWF Viewer 6.5 go to

DWF Writer 3 is also released. Get it at

Silent installation of Autodesk DWF Viewer If you want to deploy the DWF Viewer you can use these command line switches:DwfViewerSetup.exe /qor without the progress dialog boxDwfViewerSetup.exe /q2

More about deployment here.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Set an environment variable using VB.NET

I found that there was no easy to use .net class to set an environment variable. So here is what I ended up with:
Imports System
Imports Microsoft.Win32
Imports System.Collections

Module Module1

    Public Declare Function SendMessageTimeout _
            Lib "user32" Alias "SendMessageTimeoutA" _
            (ByVal hwnd As Long, _
            ByVal msg As Long, _
            ByVal wParam As Long, _
            ByVal lParam As String, _
            ByVal fuFlags As Long, _
            ByVal uTimeout As Long, _
            ByVal lpdwResult As Long) As Long

    Public Const HWND_BROADCAST = &HFFFF&
    Public Const WM_WININICHANGE = &H1A
    Public Const SMTO_ABORTIFHUNG = &H2

    Sub SetUserEnvironmentVar(ByVal EnvName, ByVal EnvValue)
        Dim resApi As Long
        Dim regVersion As RegistryKey
        regVersion = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey("Environment", True)
        regVersion.SetValue(EnvName, EnvValue)
        SendMessageTimeout(HWND_BROADCAST, _
                            WM_WININICHANGE, _
                            0, _
                            "Environment", _
                            SMTO_ABORTIFHUNG, _
                            5000, _
    End Sub

    Sub SetSystemEnvironmentVar(ByVal EnvName, ByVal EnvValue)
        Dim resApi As Long
        Dim regVersion As RegistryKey
        Dim subkey As String
        subkey = "SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment"
        regVersion = Registry.LocalMachine.OpenSubKey(subkey, True)
        regVersion.SetValue(EnvName, EnvValue)
        SendMessageTimeout(HWND_BROADCAST, _
                            WM_WININICHANGE, _
                            0, _
                            "Environment", _
                            SMTO_ABORTIFHUNG, _
                            5000, _
    End Sub
    Sub Main()
        SetUserEnvironmentVar("USERVAR1", "Test Value")
        SetSystemEnvironmentVar("SYSTEMVAR1", "Test Value")
    End Sub

End Module

Code snippet to convert RGB to ACI

Here is a VBA function for AutoCAD that converts RGB values to ACI.
Function RGBtoACI(r As Long, g As Long, b As Long)
  Dim color As New AcadAcCmColor
  Call color.SetRGB(r, g, b)
  RGBtoACI = color.ColorIndex
End Function

Sub test()
  Debug.Print RGBtoACI(63, 127, 111)
End Sub

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Exclusive: Full text of Gates email, Ozzie memo

Here is some recommended reading on where Microsoft is heading. Via Dave Wine - Exclusive: Full text of Gates email, Ozzie memo

AddNode acquires CAD-Q

This is a news for the Nordic countries. CAD-Q is the Autodesk reseller for Pharmadule Emtunga where I'm the CAD and Database Development Manager so I'll see how that can affect us. Technia that is part of AddNode is also an Autodesk partner as well as a PLM solution supplier. It will probably show up in english here. The Swedish press release can be found here and more about it in this memorandum.

LEGO Digital Designer

Have you too played with LEGO once and would like to do it again or do you have kids that likes LEGO? LEGO Digital Designer a free software that let you build LEGO models virtually in 3D.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

VS 2005 Express och SQL 2005 Express for free

Make sure to download VS 2005 Express that is free for a limited time. SQL 2005 Express will continue to be free. I'm starting to download now...

Organize files in Windows to mimic the Today file listing

Now this is a tips I've been looking for since Today was yesterday and removed from AutoCAD. I've used the grouping in Outlook 2003 but never though of its existance in Windows Explorer. Now I can group files based on date in the Open dialog box as well as in Explorer.
"When you're ready to open a drawing, you choose File > Open to get the Select Drawing dialog box. Place the cursor over some white space in the area where the files are listed, right-click, and choose Arrange Icons By > Show in Groups. If the files weren't already sorted by name, click the Name header. (If you don't have any headers, click Views at the upper-right corner of the dialog box and choose Details.) To see the files by date, click the Date Modified heading."
Via Kent Elrod and Ellen Finkelstein's AutoCAD Tips RSS feed.

Silent installation of Autodesk DWG TrueConvert

Do you want to distribute the new DWG TrueConvert for a lot of users?
Here is how it can be done.
Download it from and extract the zipped file DWGTrueConvert.exe.
Locate the setup.ini file and edit it. Change the this row:
INSTALL_CMD_ARGS=/L*v "%temp%\DWGTrueConvert Install.log"
INSTALL_CMD_ARGS=/qb! /L*v "%temp%\DWGTrueConvert Install.log"
/qb! is installing DWG Convert showing a progress dialog box that cannot be cancelled by the user.
/qb let's the user cancel the installation.
/q doesn't show any progress. Completely silent.
I prefer to use /qb! because the user can see that something is happening. If /q is used the installation can use up the processor but the user don't have a clue on what's going on.
To start the installation run Setup.exe and it will use setup.ini with the settings you have in it.

Convert DWG's between different versions without AutoCAD

For those that need to batch convert DWG files between different file format versions. Convert to any DWG version to R14, 2000 or 2004 DWG format. No need to have AutoCAD installed.
It's free and available here:
Via Shaan's blog post at Between the Lines

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Hatch Mott MacDonald, Philips Research among others selects JTB FlexReport

Elcoteq and NetHawk in Finland, PT Freeport Indonesia, ACT Engineers, Inc. in USA, Philips Research in USA, Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers in USA, Université de Franche-Comté, Maison des Sciences in France, Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory in UK, ATK Space Systems in US, EEF in Switzerland, Tractebel Engineering in Belgium, Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. US and worldwide, Nestor in Norway, Hatch Mott MacDonald in US, Teleca Ltd. in UK has recently purchased JTB FlexReport as their solution to have better control on their network licenses based on the FLEXlm or FLEXnet technology. E.g. details on what users are using the product most or least can be reported on as well as graphical reports as seen below. This is done for applications like SoldWorks, AutoCAD, MagiCAD, Novapoint, Mathcad, ProE, Matlab, Rose, ESRI ArcGIS, Leica Erdas Imagine and others.

More information about JTB FlexReport.

Autodesk University 2005 teaser

I'm working right now on preparing for my class PD13-1: Plant Design Tips and Tricks and even though it's related to Plant Design, most things I will go through can be applicable to any discipline. Things I will cover are a lot of the new functionality that came in AutoCAD 2006 and how to apply this in your daily work. I combine this with lots of older useful functions that you might never used. All in all this will increase your productivity using AutoCAD and it's a lot of fun doing it too. How about this? Convert your old blocks to smart dynamic blocks. Put them on a tool palette. Add them to a drawing a make a BOM that is updatable. Learn some tricks about tables and fields. Connect to external datasources and reuse that data instead of typing it in a second time and when the master data is changed the text on the drawings can easily be updated. Work smart in 2D/3D and make use of CUI. Here is my profile at AU Connect.

Autodesk beta only for honest people

Beta software tracking notice

"Autodesk reserves the right to individually sign (or electronically watermark) each download of this pre-release Autodesk software, and the files created from said software, allowing Autodesk to track its pre-release software, and the files created with it, to its original downloader."

In case you have good intentions and want to be able to make a difference to future versions of Autodesk products go ahead and apply to participate. I recommend it.

Friday, November 4, 2005

One year of blogging

One year since I started blogging and you've been one of the readers. The site meter shows more than 37000 visits. That is not all visits because it doesn't show visits by RSS readers. No matter what the figures says I hope that some of my readers can find my blog useful.
Here are some of the most popular posts among 161 post during the year that has been:
Let's see what the second year will end up with...

Annoyed by having MS Office Research Explorer Bar popping up

Since starting using Microsoft Office 2003 I don't know how many times I've unintentionally started the Research Explorer Bar by using Alt+Click. I tried to find a way to disable Alt+Click or change it but failed to find anything even after spending some time searching on the internet for a solution. So I found that I had two options.
1) In research options deselect all services. This at least stops it from start searching the internet.
2) I then started Add or Remove Programs and clicked on Change>Add or Remove Features. Selected advanced customization and found that below Office Tools it was possible to remove the feature Research Explorer Bar that "Allows you to use the Research tool and its collection of information services from Microsoft Internet Explorer."
I just hope that the next version handles this better.
If you have found a better solution please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

VistaDB 2.1 database for .NET has been released

Since I'm evaluating alternatives to using Access databases maybe VistaDB will be the the way to go.

VistaDB 2.1 database for .NET has been released This 2.1 update includes over 60 improvements, including new support for .NET 2.0 and Visual Studio .NET 2005. VistaDB is a small-footprint, embedded SQL database alternative to Jet/Access, MSDE and SQL Server Express 2005 that enables developers to build .NET 1.1 and .NET 2.0 applications. Features SQL-92 support, small 500KB embedded footprint, free 2-User VistaDB Server for remote TCP/IP data access, royalty free distribution for both embedded and server, Copy 'n Go! deployment, managed ADO.NET Provider, data management and data migration tools. Free trial is available for download. - Learn more about VistaDB - Repost this to your blog and receive a FREE copy of VistaDB 2.1!

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Silent installation of Autodesk DWG TrueView

To install Autodesk DWG TrueView with a click on a button create a VBScript. Then you can just send a link to the file to the users or deploy it with other means. Download the free viewer and extract the zip file to a server location. Open Notepad and enter the following code and save the file with the vbs file extension.

on error resume next
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
runstring="msiexec /I ""\\server\SetupDWGTrueView2\DWGV.msi"" /qb! " & _
"INSTALLDIR=""C:\Program Files\Autodesk\DWG TrueView"" " & _
WshShell.Run runstring,1,true
msgbox "Ready"

You have to correct the path to the msi file.
For complete options to use with msiexec command, see
Using VBScript it's also possible to prepare a profile in DWG TrueView. Make the changes in Tools>Options. Locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\DWG TrueView in the registry. Export it to a reg file and install that prepared profile for the end user. This includes any custom files like ctb, pc3, fonts etc.
You can also make sure that this happens if another user logs in on that PC. Otherwise that user will have the default profile.

Previous post on the release of DWG TrueView.


If the settings in Options should be distributed it should be taken in consideration that some paths are saved pointing to user locations like C:\Documents and Settings\jimmy.bergmark\Application Data. Therefore you have to just take some of the settings. (Update. See the usage of environment variables in the end of the post)

Below <<Unnamed Profile>> there can be several paths that have to be handled. I recommend that these are removed from the reg file or that you just keep those that you actually need to change. E.g.:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\DWG TrueView\R2\DWGV-4001:409\Profiles\<<Unnamed Profile>>\General]
"PrinterDescDir"="C:\\PHEM\\Autodesk\\AutoCAD\\16.2\\plotters\\PMP Files"
"PrinterStyleSheetDir"="C:\\PHEM\\Autodesk\\AutoCAD\\16.2\\Plot Styles"

For adding support paths I instead recommend that you copy what you need to the following paths. Typically you might want to add fonts, shapes, linetype files and so on.

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\DWG TrueView\Support
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\DWG TrueView\Fonts

>>>Update 2005-11-03 based on the comments of R.K. McSwain.

At his blog post he shows the usage of windows environment variables for the support file search path.
%ALLUSERSPROFILE% returns the location of the All Users Profile.
%APPDATA% returns the location where applications store data by default.
%PROGRAMFILES% returns a path like "C:\Program Files".

There is also another way to run the installation and to get all supporting installations installed if needed using setup.exe and run it in a silent mode. Change the setup.ini file and the following rows (changed text is bold):
INSTALL_CMD_ARGS=/qb! /L*v %temp%\DWGVInstall.log INSTALLDIR="C:\Program Files\Autodesk\DWG TrueView" ACAD_SILENT_LICENSE=YES

>>>Update 2005-11-03 Added the arguments INSTALLDIR and ACAD_SILENT_LICENSE

Thursday, October 27, 2005

AU Connect

Shaan Hurley has apparently also looked at AU Connect. An interesting tool to connect with other AU visitors. Shaan also mentions a good IE tips. This is useful for example if you already have IE open and AutoCAD or some other application crashes and after showing CER opens a new URL in the same window.

DWF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Scott Sheppard at Autodesk has compiled this great FAQ that probably answer most of your questions regarding DWF's.
This paper addresses several frequently asked questions concerning Autodesk’s Design Web Format. It was compiled from various sources including internal Autodesk servers, emails, and previously published content. Autodesk discussion group participants will recognize most of the questions as well as their answers. Much of this same information is available in various places on the Autodesk web site.
The latest version of this document is always available at:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Autodesk - Alias and some ADT - Revit

One paragraph in this article on The Deal about the Deal (Interview with Autodesk and Alias) was about ADT and Revit:
Dave brought up a recent acquisition in Autodesk to use as a comparison. He pointed out that when Autodesk acquired Revit for the architecture space users felt it was in direct competition with Architectural Desktop a product they already owned. "Both teams remained intact, both products remain separate, and grow separately still today". This is a perfect example of a sucessful implementation of just this concept in the 3d space.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Take a walk in Stockholm

The Swedish website has a new cool feature when searching for a person or an address you can see the facade of the house and take a walk on the sidewalk. Take a walk on Strandgatan in Stockholm. Click on "Gå till Strandv. 3 »" to continue the walk.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Autodesk's DWG TrueView™ released

Do you want to view and print 2D or 3D DWG or DXF drawings just as good as if you had AutoCAD 2006? Do you want to create high quality DWF files? Get DWG TrueView™ that is now available for free from Autodesk. I've used it and tried it and give it my best recommendations. Read more about it at Shaan's Between the Lines blog

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pure Text a great free tool

I've been using this little free tool for a while now and it's absolute a must have tool for me. Maybe for you too.
Have you ever copied some text from a web page, a word document, help, etc., and wanted to paste it as simple text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source? PureText makes this simple. Just copy/cut whatever you want to the clipboard, click on the PureText tray icon, and then paste to any application. Better yet, you can configure a Hot-Key to convert and paste the text for you. The pasted text will be pure and free from all formatting

Autodesk University 2005 reminder

I will hold two classes at AU 2005. Even though these classes are on Plant Design I think many other disciplines can find them valuable. Especially the one about how we work with the engineering tools at Pharmadule Emtunga. We have the following disciplines in-house: Architectural, Structural, HVAC, Electrical, Instrumentation, Telecommunication, Utility Piping and Process Piping. What problems have we run into and how have we solved them? What tools have we chosen and why? How have we integrated all this together? What have we developed in-house? How are we improving our time to market? These questions and a lot more is something I will share with you. Welcome! From a previous post: If this sounds interesting sign in for one or both of them. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

PD12-1: Multidiscipline CAD Usage at an EPC Company. Session Type: 1.5 hr. Class Date: November 28 Start Time: 10:00 AM End Time: 11:30 AM Expertise: All Levels Description: This case study will discuss CAD usage at Pharmadule Emtunga. They are aiming for project execution using a mix of CAD applications that best suit their needs. AutoCAD, Autodesk Architectural Desktop, PDMS, third-party applications as well as in-house-developed tools are used. An engineering database application is a hub for the information flow. EDM and ERP are also deployed. A data-centric P&ID application is on its way. Topics Covered - Computer-integrated engineering and project execution - AutoCAD integration with PDMS - 2D, 3D, and BIM - P&ID and engineering databases - Customization of AutoCAD Who Should Attend AEC engineers, drafters, CAD managers

PD13-1: Plant Design Tips and Tricks Type: 1.5 hr. ClassDate: November 28 Start Time: 01:00 PM End Time: 02:30 PM Expertise: All Levels Description: This session is a generic tips and tricks class that focuses on how to use AutoCAD features for plant design. Topics covered will be how new features in AutoCAD 2006, such as Dynamic Blocks, Block attribute extraction, and Tables can be used for creating schematics and isometrics, making calculations, and Bill of Materials. The class leader is the CAD manager at an EPC company with a focus on Plant Design. Learn from his experience, increase your productivity, and learn to have a lot of fun using AutoCAD as well. Topics Covered - How to use your CAD tools in your daily work - Dynamic Blocks - Block attribute extraction - Tables - Fields - 2D/3D - Practical uses of dbConnect and MS Access - Hidden or forgotten gems in AutoCAD Who Should Attend Plant design engineers and designers of all engineering disciplines who want to learn how to better use AutoCAD 2006. There are a lot of other great classes to attend as well. I will assist on some of the labs and attend some others. See you there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Clean up printer drivers

I got problems with a printer so it only printed on A4 even though I selected A3. I called the IT department first but got not much help since I already had tried to delete and add the printer again. I made a quick google search and found this good link that helped me to resolve the problem by cleaning up the printer driver for the printer in question. This helped me and might help you as well:
  1. Open the Printers (Printers and Faxes on Windows XP) folder
  2. delete all of the printers
  3. click File, Server Properties
  4. select the Drivers tab
  5. for each entry: a. select the entry b. click Remove

Friday, October 14, 2005

DWGgateway to create PDFs within AutoCAD

I've just tried the latest version of the free DWGgateway to see how it can create PDF files from within AutoCAD.
If you want to create PDF files for free there are better alternatives in my opinion that also works from any application. I can then recommend
From what I can see DWGgateway cannot be configured much. It forces you for example to plot both the model and the layout to PDF even though I just want the layout. It uses the saved page setup and does not use the AutoCAD plot interface.
Here is what SolidWorks says.
Create industry standard PDF documents from within AutoCAD at no cost.
DWGgateway enables AutoCAD software user to open and edit any DWG file and create PDF documents that can be shared with virtually anyone, at no cost. This new capability, available today at, makes it easy for design engineers to share designs with anyone, regardless of whether the recipient has AutoCAD software. The recipient needs only free Adobe Reader software, nearly as common on desktops as a Web browser.
This capability eliminates the need to upgrade the AutoCAD software to new versions simply to work on files created by users of newer AutoCAD products. In this way, the DWGgateway software tool fosters open collaboration and saves users the time and money of unnecessarily implementing new products. As a result, AutoCAD software users can work efficiently with colleagues, customers, partners, and suppliers instead of receiving "incompatible version" messages. More than 150,000 AutoCAD software users have downloaded the software component from SolidWorks Corporation.
Try it for yourself at:

SyncToy to synchronize your files

A while ago I started to use SyncToy and I'm very happy with it. It's free from Microsoft and available at here.
White paper for SyncToy.
Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store and retrieve files. There are new sources of files coming from every direction: digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to move files from one place to another; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping a mental card catalog in their heads. Others use one or more applications of one sort or another to provide this functionality for them.
Now there is an easier way. SyncToy is a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows XP that provides an easy to use, highly customizable program to help copy, move, and synchronize different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without adding complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of directories at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another. Unlike other applications, SyncToy keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Remove Sheet Set association on a sheet drawing

You might have used Sheet Set Manager (SSM) in AutoCAD 2005 (in AutoCAD 2006 the association is automatically removed) and later on want to remove the association of sheets to the specific Sheet Set.
This can manually be done by deleting the dst file for the sheet set, open the drawing(s) and when prompted for Lost Set Association select the Remove button.
If you have multiple sheets it's possible to script this.
You can use SmartPurger or some other tool to script multiple drawings and run this code to remove the association to the sheet set:
(dictremove (namedobjdict) "AcSheetSetData")
If you are using SmartPurger just save the row above into a text file using Notepad and name it for example disassociatessm.lsp and add it to the Settings>General>Script/lisp file. Then run SmartPurger and select the files you want.

VBscript to deploy AutoCAD 2006 SP1 or the like

Here is a snippet of a VBScript that I used to install AutoCAD 2006 SP1:
on error resume next
Dim WshShell
Set WshShell = Wscript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
PN = WshShell.RegRead(Acad2006 & "ProductName")
If fso.FolderExists("C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2006") and PN="AutoCAD 2006" Then
  Release = WshShell.RegRead(Acad2006 & "Release")
  If Release="" Then
    WshShell.Run """\\it.local\Acad2006\AutoCAD2006SP1.exe"" /q",1,true
  End if
End if

Sunday, September 18, 2005

BazzaCAD CLog

Here's a new CAD blogger with a great stunning UI and useful content starting about CUI. Welcome!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Visual Basic 9.0 and more

For VB developers. Read about 9.0 here: LINQ and XLing looks like something that will be useful for us working with databases. Introducing LINQ:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

License Time-out Feature in AutoCAD

AutoCAD and a lot of other products support the time-out feature for network licenses using FLEXlm. Using this feature can save your company quite many licenses as you can see from this sample graph. If you don't use the time-out feature the usage might look like the blue curve but with the time-out feature on it can look like the green curve. More about License Time-out Feature found in TS67304. This document only mentions TIMEOUT but I recommend that you use TIMEOUTALL instead. This allows you to automatically have any added feature using the time-out feature. I run into this when upgrading to AutoCAD 2006 and found I had forgot to add the new feature to the adskflex.opt file. Instead of using a syntax like below: TIMEOUT 48800ACD_2006_0F 3600 Change it to use: TIMEOUTALL 900 Note also that I use 900 as this is the minimum supported value that AutoCAD handles. Any of the following activity in the active application prevents the client workstation from being idle:
  • Any keystroke.
  • Any mouse click.
  • Any command, Lisp expression, menu macro or script in progress.
  • Any Modal dialog box opened (a dialog box which needs to close before continuing to other tasks).
  • Note: Using the Help system does not keep the session active.

If you are a user of FLEXlm licenses you might also be interested in looking at JTB FlexReport to further help you optimize your network licenses.

Details from KB TS67304

License Time-out Feature

You would like to know how to use the network license time-out feature.


The Network License Manager can be configured to reclaim a license when a client workstation is idle for longer than a defined time-out period*, or the connection with the workstation is lost.

*This option is not applicable to AutoCAD 2002 based products.

Idle Period

Any of the following activity in the active application prevents the client workstation from being idle:

  • Any keystroke.
  • Any mouse click.
  • Any command, Lisp expression, menu macro or script in progress.
  • Any Modal dialog box opened (a dialog box which needs to close before continuing to other tasks).

Note: Using the Help system does not keep the session active.

Configuring License Time-out

License time-out is configured by implementing an options file with the Network License Manager. For a detailed explanation of options files, please refer to the FLEXlm End User Guide, located by default on the network license server in the following directory:

\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\Docs\FlexUser

A brief explanation of options files is provided below:

  • Options files are created with an ASCII text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad.
  • Keyword statements are used in an options file to configure various operating parameters of the Network License Manager.
  • The options file must be named adskflex.opt.
  • The options file must be located in the same folder as the Autodesk product license file.
  • All text in an options file is case sensitive.
  • The options file is read each time the license manager is started or the license file is reread.

License time-out is configured in an options file by using the TIMEOUT keyword.

The syntax is: TIMEOUT [feature] [n], where:

  • [feature] specifies the application you want to control. The feature code can be found in the license file, right after the word INCREMENT.
  • [n] is the number of seconds before the license server reclaims an inactive license. The minimum value is 900.

Example: TIMEOUT 48800ACD_2006_0F 3600

This line in an options file would configure the Network License Manager to reclaim an AutoCAD 2006 license (feature code 48800ACD_2006_0F), if the client machine was idle for 3600 seconds (one hour).

License Time-out Behavior

If your license is lost because of the idle time-out, the product attempts to claim a new license once you access the product again. If a license is available, the client pulls a new license and continues the session. If no license is available, you will be prompted to save your work before the product shuts down.

Note: The debug log file can be examined to determine if a license has been reclaimed. When a license has been reclaimed, the debug log file will contain a line similar to:

11:43 (adskflex) IN feature user_name@host_name (INACTIVE)

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Print DWF files from Windows Explorer

Do you want to print DWF files from Windows Explorer or be able to print using DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) from a document handling system?

I have made a simple freeware application that uses Autodesk DWF Viewer to do this and that can be used as a DDE Application. Select the DWF's you want to print, right click and select Print DWF. That's it. I hope it is useful for you.
You can download the setup file here.
The stability and functionality is as it is. It works good enough for me even though I cannot say that it will work for you. I have not added subclassing to the application. So if you select multiple DWF's, one instance of the program will be started for each DWF.
For the latest version see

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Find more in AutoCAD 2006

FIND in AutoCAD 2006 now permits the wildcards * and ?.

To find these characters add a reverse quote before. `*AB matches *AB.

All characters that need a reverse quote before are:

# (Pound) that Matches any numeric digit

@ (At) that Matches any alphabetic character

. (Period) that Matches any nonalphanumeric character

* (Asterisk) that Matches any string and can be used anywhere in the search string

? (Question mark) that Matches any single character; for example, ?BC matches ABC, 3BC, and so on

~ (Tilde) that Matches anything but the pattern; for example; ~*AB*matches all strings that don't contain AB

[ ] that Matches any one of the characters enclosed; for example, [AB]C matches AC and BC

[~] that Matches any character not enclosed; for example, [~AB]C matches XC but not AC

[-] that Specifies a range for a single character; for example, [A-G]C matches AC, BC, and so on to GC, but not HC

` (Reverse quote) that Reads the next character literally; for example, `~AB matches ~AB

Thursday, August 25, 2005

AutoCAD 2006 SP1

Now AutoCAD 2006 Service Pack 1 is here and I really recommend you to install it since it solves a long list of problems, probably some you have run into. More about it:

Friday, August 19, 2005

Installations and Virus Scan Applications

We have McAfee VirusScan Enterprise and there seems to be both taking longer to install applications like AutoCAD and ADT when the On-Access Scan is active and there might even be some problems that are related to having the VirusScan on during the installation. The problem is that policies are checking of VirusScan is off and puts in on again after a minute or two. What I did was the following. I have a VBScript that runs the installation including several settings and other customizations. The first thing I do is to run another VBScript using: WshShell.Run """\\share\StopVirusScan.vbs""",1,False "False" in the above row is used to allow the main script to continue. Below is the content of StopVirusScan.vbs:

on error resume next Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") for i=1 to 20 WshShell.Run "net stop ""Network Associates McShield""",0,True WScript.sleep 60000 next

It loops several times and every minute it stops the service for the VirusScan. This continues long enough for the installation to take place.

VBScript formula that uses the ADT API

After reading this blog post by Richard Binning, Beside the Cursor about ADT: VBScripting Resources List I recall a little VBScript for ADT that I've used in a Formula Property Definition in a Property Set Definition. I wanted to schedule the width of the wall that the door is anchored to. These few rows solves this by using the Handle of the door and using the ADT API to get the Width.

on error resume next
Set app=GetObject(,"AutoCAD.Application")
Set aDoor = app.activedocument.handletoobject("[Handle]")
Set anAnchor = aDoor.GetAnchor
Set aWall = anAnchor.Reference
RESULT= aWall.Width

Sunday, August 14, 2005

AutoCAD Wish List Ballot

Make your voice heard on the future features of AutoCAD. The new AUGI AutoCAD Wish List voting is now live By Shaan Hurley on AutoCAD
AutoCAD Wish List Ballot Welcome to the August 2005 Wish List Ballot. We have included 50 or so of the best wishes since the April release of AutoCAD 2006. Now is your chance to rank your top five. The title of each wish is actually a link to the thread in the Wish List Forum. ... The results will be tabulated at the end of the month and the Top 10 will be presented to Autodesk in September. Don't miss your chance to help pick some of the new features for AutoCAD 2007!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

VBScript tips to refresh the desktop

If you are using VBS and is deleting some shortcuts after an installation and then adding your own shortcuts you have maybe problem with having the desktop refreshed just like it automatically is when manually deleting something on the desktop. If the desktop is not refreshed the new icon will be placed after the already deleted icon, not on the same place.
Here is a tips how to do it using VBScript:
' Refresh the desktop to remove the deleted shortcuts correctly
set oShell= createobject("shell.application")
set oDesktop = oShell.Namespace(0)
oDesktop.self.invokeVerb "R&efresh"

Friday, August 12, 2005

Does Google support wildcard searches?

Does Google support wildcard searches? Yes and No. Found on the Google blog.

If you have problems with AutoCAD 2006 read this

AutoCAD 2006 Service Pack 1 Final Release Candidate is just around the corner. If you want to make an impact on it check this post from Shaan Hurley at Autodesk. There is still time to either have critical fixes solved by SP1 or to stop new problems introduced by SP1.
Some of my favorite fixes in SP1 are the following:
-External references (xrefs) that have been unloaded are no longer reloaded when you click a balloon notification in the host drawing.
-You can now run a script to open another drawing after the first drawing has been closed.
-Dot linetypes with line weight are now plotted correctly.
-Plot styles for systems with a large number of plot styles are now assigned properly.
-The time needed to open the Plot dialog box has improved for customers who have a large number of plot styles.
-The name of the layout is now correctly appended to the file name for drawings that are plotted or published to PDF.
-Inability to close the Attribute Extraction dialog box (EATTEXT) under some circumstances has been corrected.
Still there are other bugs and problems not solved as you can see on my AutoCAD 2006 page.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Autodesk University 2005 info

I will hold one additional class at AU 2005. So now there are two classes. If this sounds interesting sign in for one or both of them. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. PD12-1: Multidiscipline CAD Usage at an EPC Company. Session Type: 1.5 hr. Class Date: November 28 Start Time: 10:00 AM End Time: 11:30 AM Expertise: All Levels Description: This case study will discuss CAD usage at Pharmadule Emtunga. They are aiming for project execution using a mix of CAD applications that best suit their needs. AutoCAD, Autodesk Architectural Desktop, PDMS, third-party applications as well as in-house-developed tools are used. An engineering database application is a hub for the information flow. EDM and ERP are also deployed. A data-centric P&ID application is on its way. Topics Covered - Computer-integrated engineering and project execution - AutoCAD integration with PDMS - 2D, 3D, and BIM - P&ID and engineering databases - Customization of AutoCAD

Who Should Attend AEC engineers, drafters, CAD managers PD13-1: Plant Design Tips and TricksSession Type: 1.5 hr. ClassDate: November 28 Start Time: 01:00 PM End Time: 02:30 PM Expertise: All Levels Description: This session is a generic tips and tricks class that focuses on how to use AutoCAD features for plant design. Topics covered will be how new features in AutoCAD 2006, such as Dynamic Blocks, Block attribute extraction, and Tables can be used for creating schematics and isometrics, making calculations, and Bill of Materials. The class leader is the CAD manager at an EPC company with a focus on Plant Design. Learn from his experience, increase your productivity, and learn to have a lot of fun using AutoCAD as well. Topics Covered - How to use your CAD tools in your daily work - Dynamic Blocks - Block attribute extraction - Tables - Fields - 2D/3D - Practical uses of dbConnect and MS Access - Hidden or forgotten gems in AutoCAD Who Should Attend Plant design engineers and designers of all engineering disciplines who want to learn how to better use AutoCAD 2006.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

buildingSMART (get over it)

I recommend reading this article by Mario Guttman, HOK about buildingSMART, BIM, ADT, Revit and real life common sense.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Blog Explorer

Put your blog on the map or see others worldwide. Take a look at Blog Explorer!

Monday, August 8, 2005

Realize Your Ideas Tour archived Webcasts

Due to time zone differences I've missed some of the Autodesk Realize Your Ideas Tour Webcasts but can now see and listen to them as they are archived. You can find them here.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Randall S. Newton is having fun

Bentley: You are hereby ordered to stop conducting body-cavity searches for hidden money when customers come calling. Autodesk: Retire AutoCAD immediately. Someday the unwashed 2D masses will thank you for it. AVEVA: Stop acting so veddy veddy British with your snail’s pace development schedule and your fakey Monty Python Voice of God corporate announcements. Get busy or I’ll turn you all into Frenchmen. More at: It's funny, still with a bit of seriousness.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Recommendation for CAD Managers

I can recommend Mark Kiker's site for existing CAD Managers and those wanting to be one. I recognize my self and the work I do a lot when reading articles like the one about hats. There is also a valuable blog that I keep reading.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Compress large Office files with embedded images

I run into a user that had an Excel file that was 114688KB in size and wondered if it was possible to make it smaller. In Excel, Word and PowerPoint there is a command to compress embedded pictures. Open the Picture toolbar and click on Compress Pictures. It does the following:
  • Reduce resolution (to 96 dots per inch (dpi) for Web and 200 dpi for print), and unnecessary information is discarded.
  • Discard extra information. For example, when a picture has been cropped or resized, the "hidden" parts of the picture are stored in the file.
  • Compress the picture, if possible.

After that the Excel file went down below 1000KB.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Add 'Copy to Folder...' to Windows Explorer Context Menu

Here is a little know Windows tips. I know it works for Windows XP.
You can both add "Copy to Folder..." and "Move to Folder..." to the right click menu when having files or folders selected using this little registry hack.
To activate use this reg file.
To deactivate use this reg file.

Update: Corrected links.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

ctrl+alt is equal to alt gr

Here is a tips if you are using Microsoft Remote Desktop or some other applications that might give this problem.
On my Swedish keyboard I use the alt gr button to enter characters like \, @, £, $, and ~
Sometimes this doesn't work when using Remote Desktop but a workaround is to use ctrl+alt instead of alt gr.
It took some time before I found out this solution so I just wanted to share it in case you too have had this problem.

Dynamic Block Wish List

Do you have any wishes regarding Dynamic Blocks please let Mark Douglas know. I know one big wish and that is full support for 3D. I know it's possible to do this to a little extent.

Kids Programming Language

I love programming and with KPL your kids or someone elses might learn the fun of programming. Or if you just want to begin learning programming. KPL is a freeware and can be found here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Autodesk Architectural Desktop Customer Council

See the post by Chris Yanchar on the ADT blog Between the Walls how you can participate in making ADT what you would like it to be. Direct link to ADTCC.

Monday, August 1, 2005

SmartPurger 2.1 released (script files can be run now!)

SmartPurger 2.1 is now released. Download it and try it for free. No upgrade cost for existing customers. Compared to version 1.6.7 and 2.0 beta a lot of things has been added and been fixed. Most notably is full support for AutoCAD 2006 and now you can execute custom script files (.SCR) or AutoLISP files (.LSP, .FAS or .VLX).

Change the way Export to AutoCAD works in ADT

Here is a tips on how to change the way Export to AutoCAD works in Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006.
The commands are ExportToAutoCAD, -ExportToAutoCAD, ExportToAutoCAD2000 (Export to AutoCAD 2000 Format...), ExportToAutoCAD2000Dxf (Export to AutoCAD 2000 DXF Format...) , ExportToAutoCAD2004 (Export to AutoCAD 2004 Format...) , ExportToAutoCAD2004Dxf (Export to AutoCAD 2004 DXF Format...) , ExportToAutoCADDxf, ExportToAutoCAD12Dxf. Some of them are not mentioned in the help documentation and has to be entered on the command line.
Open the Options dialog box using the command Options or select it from the Format menu.
Click on the AEC Editor tab.
There you have some settings that Export to AutoCAD uses.
If you have problem with drawings created using Export to AutoCAD so that the color changes on objects it could be that you have different settings on layers in different xrefs and when using the Insert Method only one of the xrefs settings are used. If the Insert Method is used frozen layers could be thawed and layers can change color or linetype. So even though more layers are created by having the Use Insert Method when Binding xrefs cleared I recommend to have it cleared anyway to get the best result.
Bind xrefs gives you the option to bind the xrefs or not. (This is not in the help though)
Block Properties of Exploded Object applies to Export to AutoCAD commands as well even though it's not stated in the documentation.

From the help documentation:
Under Export to AutoCAD, select Use Insert Method when binding Xrefs if you want all objects from an xref drawing referenced in the file you export to be incorporated into the host drawing.
If you select this option, the names of the xref drawings are discarded when the exported drawing is created. In addition, their layers and styles are incorporated into the host drawing. For example, all exploded walls, regardless of their source (host or xref) are located on the same layer.
Clear Use Insert Method when binding Xrefs if you want to retain the xref identities, such as layer names, when you export a file to AutoCAD or to a DXF file. For example, the blocks that define walls in the host drawing are located on A-Wall in the exploded drawing. Walls in an attached xref drawing are located on a layer whose name is created from the drawing name and the layer name, such as Drawing1$0$A-Wall.
Enter a prefix or a suffix to be added to the drawing file name when the drawing is exported to an AutoCAD drawing or to a DXF file.
Under Block Properties of Exploded Object, select Maintain Resolved Layer, Color, Linetype to maintain the layer, color, and linetype of AEC objects when you explode them.
When you explode an AEC object, you create several primitive objects grouped in a block definition. If this option is selected, any objects whose component layer, color, and linetype properties are set to ByBlock take the layer, color, and linetype of the parent object. If this option is cleared, when you explode an object, properties that are ByBlock remain ByBlock. Clear this option if you want to explode the block definition even further.
For related information see:
AutoCAD 2006 and the included ADT OE

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Vista, Virtual Earch, etc links

Here are some misc links you might want to take a look at:
PC Magazine about Vista -,1874,1786052,00.asp
Microsoft Windows Vista Developer Center -
Visual Studio 2005 code snippets FAQ -
Visual Basic 2005 Starter Kits -
MSN Screen Saver -
"Escape from YesterWorld" with some fun videos -
For NG nerds -
MSN Virtual Earth -
MSN Virtual Earth on Channel 9 -
Acrylic Beta -
DPack is a FREE collection of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 and 2005 tools. -

Google like logo for fun

Make your own at

Monday, July 25, 2005

Located problem with the Drawing Recovery Manager

Here are some free tools I use often when trying to locate a bottle neck, leak, bug, poor performance or the like.
They and others can be found at

I had a case today with a PC that I run a lot of automated scripts on every night.

I tried to manually start AutoCAD 2006 and noticed that it took an extremely long time to start. I actually thought AutoCAD had locked up. Of course I could reinstall or repair AutoCAD but I wanted to find the reason for this so I fired up Filemon, filtered on *acad* but I didn't notice anything strange. I then run Regmon and found that it was a lot of traffic to some keys in the registry.
I took a look at the keys in question and found the cause. It was related to one of the new features in AutoCAD 2006, the Drawing Recovery Manager.
The locations where:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R16.2\ACAD-4001:409\Profiles\\Drawing Recovery
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R16.2\ACAD-4001:409\Profiles\\Drawing Recovery\Unresolved
If where thousands of entries in there pointing to files. Not sure exactly how so many could get in there but since I don't is in need to use drawing recovery manager on that PC I deleted these registry keys and when starting AutoCAD again it was as quick as it should.

It seems like AutoCAD has a hard time to start when there are so many files listed. Not really a bug but something that the developers at Autodesk might take a look at. Especially the reason why AutoCAD thinks that it might need to recover drawings when AutoCAD haven't crashed. I any several users have seen this behavior before. And that looks like a defect to me.

To prevent this from happen again I first though about deleting these registry keys automatically but remembered that there was a new system variable to control this. RECOVERYMODE
Controls whether drawing recovery information is recorded after a system failure.
0 - Recovery information is not recorded, the Drawing Recovery window does not display automatically after a system failure, and any recovery information in the system registry is removed
1 - Recovery information is recorded, but the Drawing Recovery window does not display automatically after a system failure
2 - Recovery information is recorded, and the Drawing Recovery window displays automatically in the next session after a system failure

So I ended up setting it it 0.

Problem solved!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SWECO Grøner AS among others selects JTB FlexReport

SWECO Grøner AS in Norway, FLSmidth in Denmark and DRS Signal Solutions in USA has recently selected JTB FlexReport as their solution to have better control on their network licenses based on the FLEXlm or FLEXnet technology. E.g. details on what users are using the product most or less can be reported on as well as graphical reports as seen below. This is done for applications like SoldWorks, AutoCAD, MagiCAD, Novapoint, Mathcad, ProE, Matlab, Rose and others.

Can DWF files created by DWF Toolkit 7.0 be read by Autodesk DWF Viewer 6.0 and Autodesk DWF Composer 2.0?

In short the answer is Yes. See the explanation that Scott Sheppard at Autodesk posted to the Discussion Group. 2005-07-25 Update: More about it by Shaan Hurley:

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I will speak at the Autodesk University 2005

I will speak at the Autodesk Univerity 2005 in Orlando, Florida. The event will be held November 28 - December 1, 2005 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.

Multi-discipline CAD usage at an EPC company. (PD12-1, Plant Design, All Levels, Mon. 11/28 10:00 am - 11:30 am)

I'll let you know more about the content later.

See you there!

The offical AU 2005 website Here is what some have said about AU before: Autodesk University from 33,000 Feet Between the Lines Beyond the UI

2005-07-19 Update: RobiNZ: My Autodesk University 2004 Summary Lynn Allen: How to justify AU

Windows search of files with unknown extensions

Since Windows XP Find in Files only searches files with known file extensions you can use this registry file that makes the search work as you want it. This is the content of the file: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ContentIndex] "FilterFilesWithUnknownExtensions"=dword:00000001

MSN Search Toolbar rolls out more international versions

This is a great tool that is now also available in Swedish, my language, among others. The most useful part of it is Windows Desktop Search.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

JTB FlexReport minor updates

There has been some minor updates to the FLEXnet/FLEXlm graphic report tool JTB FlexReport.
-The time on the file name on the HTML backup files is more correct now. It was off 10 minutes before.
-Some special cases of the FLEXnet/FLEXlm status file syntax that generated an error are fixed upon users notification.
-Spaces in the user name are now handled correctly.
-There is a undocumented registry fix so the temporary files can be saved in another folder than %temp%. Contact me if needed.
-There is a separate Access database (JTBFlexReportDetailed.NET.mdb) that helps you with detailed reports on user usage.
-Some issues with grouping of users in the grafic report have been addressed.
The update is free for all existing users.
Backup the installation folder to be on the safe side.
Install the latest version from this location:

Free books for VB developers

Here you can find 2 free books in PDF format.
Free Book - Introducing Visual Basic 2005 for Developers
Free Book - Upgrading Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 to Microsoft Visual Basic .NET

AutoCAD 2006 and the inluded ADT OE

This is a great tips (Use AutoCAD 2006 to to flatten ADT drawings) by Shaan Hurley for those having AutoCAD 2006 and that receives or uses ADT drawings. Learn how to use the command -ExportToAutoCAD (remember to include the hyphen character) and how to load the AEC OE toolbar. The included Autodesk Architectural Desktop Object Enabler also includes commands to change display configuration using AecDisplayManagerConfigsSelection and AecSetXrefConfig to change it on an xref. AecFileOpenMessage is to enable or disable a dialogbox warning about opening drawings from older ADT versions. AecFileSaveMessage is to enable or disable a courtesy message when saving to a previous version file. AecObjectCopyMessage is to enable or disable a courtesy message when copying AEC objects into a newer version drawing. ObjRelUpdate is almost like the AutoCAD command Regen. AecVersion gives you the file versions of the Object Enabler files. -DwgUnits allows you to specify the drawing units that will be used with the current file. As seen below the command below is only command line based so it's easy to use in script files. This command is also available in ADT.

Command: -EXPORTTOAUTOCAD File format: 2004 Bind xrefs: Yes Bind type: Insert Filename prefix: ACAD- Filename suffix: Export options [Format/Bind/bind Type/Prefix/Suffix/?] <>:

The ADT OE enables some basic AutoCAD commands to work on ADT objects. If you erase a door the hole in the wall heals. You can explode ADT objects into basic AutoCAD objects. Automatic cleanup is done using commands like Move, Copy, Rotate, Trim, Extend and Array. Node osnap points on ADT objects are also available.

AutoCAD network license and 'heartbeat'

If you want to know the meaning of the term "heartbeat", the below comes from the AutoCAD Knowledge Base. I was notified about it by the new RSS feeds.
Meaning of term "heartbeat" Published date: 2005-07-12 ID: TS66065 Applies to: AutoCAD® 2006 AutoCAD® 2005 AutoCAD® 2004 AutoCAD® 2002 Issue The term "heartbeat" is used in reference to a network license. You would like to know what this term means. Solution When AutoCAD is running, it communicates with the license server at one-minute intervals using a communication method known as the "heartbeat." If the heartbeat connection is missed, the server tries to reconnect. If it cannot, it sends a message to the user indicating a license error. Once the user acknowledges the message, AutoCAD starts a 6 minute countdown to give the user time to save his or her work. When AutoCAD stops working because it lost a connection to the server, you must shut down AutoCAD and restart the program. If the problem causing the original loss of the heartbeat signal is resolved, and there are available licenses on the server, the program starts working again. Note: If you are using the redundant server model, this server model also passes heartbeats between redundant servers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shareware Starter Kit for VB or C#

The Shareware Starter Kit is a sample application of the common features in all shareware applications. I got to give this a from Microsoft

VB 2005 and code snippets

For those starting trying out VB 2005. Here is from Visual Basic IDE Team Blog Visual Basic IDE Tips & Tricks... Cool Ways to Insert a Snippet into Your Code

Monday, July 11, 2005

Finally 250 MB for my hotmail account

Finally I've too got 250 MB for my hotmail account (jtbworldA!ThotmailD0Tcom). I know many of you already have got it but here in Sweden it's now the space has been increased.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Autodesk Batch DWG Converter Beta / SP1 for AutoCAD 2006

Shaan Hurley at Autodesk talks about a new Batch Drawing Converter that doesn't need AutoCAD. There is also an upcoming SP1 for AutoCAD 2006. If you have problems in AutoCAD 2006 and want to influence Autodesk sign up for the beta at

Friday, July 8, 2005

Microsoft's Windows Marketplace has my applications

I just found that a couple of my applications, SmartPurger and JTB FlexReport has been added to Microsoft's Windows Marketplace.

New ADT blogger

I've just added a new (for me at least) ADT blogger to my blogroll. Vision 1 Architects by Craig Stack. There seems to be some good content about ADT 2006 in this blog. I like these kind of blogs.

MSN Search Toolbar support tabs

Have you started using MSN Search Toolbar and the latest support for tabbed browsing? I was a bit late because I just got back from some weeks of vacation and it takes some days to recover from a full email box as well as everything else that has a tendency to make a large pile. I can recommend it after using it for some time now besides using Maxthon. There are some things that I dislike though. There are some flickering when changing tab and when using full screen mode. Give it a try. If you don't want to use the tabs the Search functionality is great in it self. I've indexed all emails, files on the server as well as local files so finding information is as quick as searching on the internet. Blog post: Tabbed browsing is here! Get it here More about it here.

Property Data Location on Spaces in ADT

Here is a tips if you have added a Property Set to a space so that a Property Data Location is added and later on makes changes to the space the Property Data Location might end up at a non intended location. It can happen if you use any of the AEC Modify Tools like divide. If you for example have a door that inherits part of it door tag number from the room space it can be problem as seen on the image. Remember then to relocate the Property Data Location.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Autodesk adds RSS feeds for product knowledge base

Back from vacation I thought about making a new wish for adding RSS feed support for the Autodesk product knowledge bases. To my suprise I read Shaan's blog entry that this has now been added.
This is great news!
Autodesk Inventor Series:
Autodesk Inventor Pro:
Autodesk Vault:
Autodesk Architectural Desktop:
Autodesk Building Systems:
Autodesk Civil 3D:
Autodesk Map 3D:
Autodesk Revit Building:
AutoCAD Mechanical:

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Acrobat 7.0 crash and solution

I have been trying to identify and solve a problem with Adobe Acrobat 7.0.
Here's the story...
When starting Acrobat several dialog boxes comes up saying:
'There was an error while loading the plug-in ‘Accessibility.api’. The plug-in failed to initialize.'
Then it follows with these api files same message:

After that Acrobat crashes and says:
'Adobe Acrobat 7.0 has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience. '

The contents of the error report is:
AppName: acrobat.exe
ModVer: 7.10.3052.4
ModName: msvcr71.dll
Offset: 000017e1

I tried to reinstall and repair Acrobat. Manually deleting files and registry entries. I even reinstalled Windows XP. It worked for a while but at some point Acrobat got this problem. I tried to make a system restore but that didn't help.
I also searched the web for tips but found none that worked.
I called the Adobe technical support and they had no idea. They recommended to install the product with a local administrator user without being in the network domain. I tried that as well.

Finally I found that one in-house installation put AcroForm.api ( into the system32 folder. When I deleted that file Acrobat started to work as it should.

So if you too run into this make a search for misplaced acrobat files like the one I found. Adobe Reader 7.0 also got some problems because of this file.

Bengt Dahlgren AB among others selects JTB FlexReport

Bengt Dahlgren AB in Sweden, Renishaw Group in UK and Multiconsult in Norway has selected JTB FlexReport as their solution to have better control on their network licenses based on the FLEXlm or FLEXnet technology. E.g. details on what users are using the product most or less can be reported on as well as graphical reports as seen below. This is done for applications like ADT, AutoCAD, MagiCAD, MAP, Novapoint, Unigraphics, Matlab and others.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer with Tilt Wheel not recommended for AutoCAD users

This Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer with Tilt Wheel is NOT something I can recommend for AutoCAD users.

Since I got so used to use the wheel to pan and zoom extents in AutoCAD I really cannot recommend this mouse. To hold down the wheel to pan quickly is hardly possible because so much force is needed to hold down the wheel. Double clicking to zoom extents is equally hard to do. Microsoft talks about "Ergonomic Design". For work in AutoCAD this design is definitely not ergonomic.

Other than that I think the mouse ease quite good even though I think the wheel is a bit to hard to roll. The thumb buttons are placed to high though to be easy accessed.

I have to agree with Steven Johnson's comments. With the latest drivers for the Mouse you can get the wheel to "work" in AutoCAD but as I said it's not productive and not easy. For those wanting to know how to set it to "work" in AutoCAD. Set it to AutoScroll in the settings for the wheel button.

Now I have to get hold of the purchase responsible for mouses at Pharmadule Emtunga where I work so no more of these things are bought for AutoCAD users.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Windows Desktop Search finds text within DWG's

AutoCAD 2006 supports search of text within drawings from Windows Explorer. I tried this also with the newly released Windows Desktop Search and it worked great as you can see. TEXT, MTEXT, ATTRIBUTES, LAYER NAMES and more can be found.

AutoCAD 2006 - Solution when editing rotated text

I got this question: "The new TEXT and MTEXT editor in 2006 is great. Problem is I sometimes have to edit text on its side or even upside down. Gets very confusing to edit in this way. Is there some way of changing this new feature so I don't break my neck every time I edit a non-horizontal piece of text? I have tried MTEXTED set to OLDEDITOR but this only works for MTEXT and not TEXT."

There is a new system variable named DTEXTED that specifies the user interface for editing single-line text using the DDEDIT command. When set to 0 DDEDIT displays the In-Place Text Editor. When set to 1 DDEDIT displays the Edit Text dialog box.

MTEXTED can as said be used to get the old version of the mtext editor by setting the value to oldeditor. There is also the alternative to set it to :lisped. This will show a dialog box if the mtext has less than 80 characters. The default editor is used when the value is set to internal.

The new WYSIWYG editor that AutoCAD 2006 introduces is really good for many users but if you have a lot of rotated text it can be problematic. One solution is to use the Properties palette to edit the text content even though it's quite restricted. Another is to use MTEXTED and DTEXTED.

You can also create a button on a toolbar or a tool on the tool palette that runs a custom command.
A simple macro could look like this:
^C^C(setvar "DTEXTED" 1) DDEDIT \;(setvar "DTEXTED" 0);
In that case you can double click on the text if it's readable and if it's too rotated just click on the button or the tool.

A more automated way would be to redefine the DDEDIT command so it shows a dialog box depending on the rotation of the text in relation to the screen. I leave that for you to experiment with.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tips when changing license server

If you have to move or transfer your AutoCAD Network License Manager to another server the users have to be pointed to this server as well.

Instead of having to manually update all users LICPATH.LIC file I have a VBScript that runs when the user logs in that solves this. Otherwise also Group Policy Object settings can be used.

On Error Resume Next
Set WshShell = Wscript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
Set WshSysEnv = WshShell.Environment("SYSTEM")

When ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE, the registry, and licpath.lic are used, the order of precedence is:
  2. registry
  3. licpath.lic
  4. License Finder dialog box is displayed
When ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE, LM_LICENSE_FILE, the registry, and licpath.lic are used, the order of precedence is:
  2. registry
  4. licpath.lic
  5. License Finder dialog box is displayed
JTB FlexReport can help with your network license management.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

AutoCAD 2006 and how to start AutoCAD with different Workspaces

Here is a tip on how to start AutoCAD 2006 with a specific Workspace.
There is not direct way to start AutoCAD 2006 with a specific Workspace but it can be done with a script file.
Create a shortcut with this Target:
"C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2006\acad.exe" /b "C:\CustomWS.scr"

CustomWS.scr holds this row where CustomWS is the name of the Workspace:
(if (/= (getvar "wscurrent") "CustomWS") (command "wscurrent" "CustomWS"))

The reason for why I made the code above like this is because of performance. It just set wscurrent to CustomWS when needed.

Then you can add as many shortcuts as you want for your different Workspaces.

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