Friday, August 31, 2007

3D Crosshair color settings in AutoCAD

There are some ways to change the crosshair color in AutoCAD. I made this post since I saw a user in the newsgroup having problem to see the dark blue color on the Z axis.

Tools>Options>Display>Colors and you will see the Drawing Window Colors dialog box that gives you quite many options. This is available in AutoCAD 2006 and later.


2D Wireframe


No tint used


tint used and another color 

This works for other elements like the crosshair in 2D that normally look like standard look  but when tinted white it look like this  white tinted  and if tinted green it look like this green tinted .

Unfortunately it's not possible to change the colors on each of the axes but changing the color and using Tint for X, Y, Z goes a long way.

Now this works great in 2D Wireframe mode and in model space (tilemode=1).

If Conceptual is active or if you are in a layout all axes are in one color.


But there is a way to get color if you don't have. This might depend on your graphic card.

Tools>Options>System>Performance Settings>Manual Tune>Uncheck Enable hardware acceleration

This helps at least in model space. Not in paper space. But you will most probably lack of performance using software acceleration.

software acceleration 

From the help file on Tint for X, Y, Z:

Controls whether X, Y, and Z axis color tinting is applied to the following interface elements: crosshairs pointer, Autotrack vectors, ground plane grid lines, and drafting tooltips. Color tinting applies pure red, blue and green hues using the luminance (lightness) of the color you specify while increasing the color saturation by 50%.

Floating license reports and SolidNetwork License (SNL)

I got a question if JTB FlexReport supports license reporting and statistics from a SNL Server using SolidWorks Network License (SNL). The answer is yes. It does because SolidWorks uses FLEXlm (or actually FLEXnet nowadays) to manage the use of SolidWorks network licenses (floating licenses).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1

After some beta testing AutoCAD 2008 SP1 is released. Make sure to install it.
You should not worry about installing SP1 because if you got any new issues that you cannot live with you can uninstall SP1 without having to reinstall AutoCAD 2008 completely.
Knowledge Base document: AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1
Knowledge Base document: AutoCAD LT 2008 Service Pack 1
One thing that did not make it in SP1 is the issue described here with DWG to PDF.pc3. Another thing is that the Search tab still does not work in the Developer help file.
Instructions on how to install SP1 silently are available in the readme.
_VERNUM is now "B.219.0 (UNICODE)"
Known Issues With This Service Pack
  • Problem: After applying the Service Pack 1, all dashboard control panels are displayed regardless of the selected workspace.
    Workaround: Make the desired workspace current.
Via Between the Lines: AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1 Officially Released Today

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Interviewed by Franco Folini at Novedge


The complete interview is found on NOVEDGE blog and comments on Between the Lines and RobiNZ CAD Blog.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Extra Territory Rights for Autodesk Subscription

Finally Extra Territory Rights have been added to Autodesk Subscription as Ancillary Services. In short it means that for 90 days you are allowed to use your own license of for example AutoCAD in another country when traveling with your computer.

As long as you are current with Subscription for your software program, you may temporarily Access the software program outside your Territory for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days during each calendar year provided that you comply with the details in the terms...

PS. Did you know that most countries in Europe are treated as one territory, namely those in the European Economic Area (EEA). So if you purchased in Sweden there is no problem to use it in United Kingdom for example.

See this Terms of Extra Territory Rights document for all details. Notice that if you have special circumstances you might be able to get a written approval from Autodesk for example be allowed to have this extended for more than 90 days. With borrowing of network licenses allowed to up to 6 months or if you have stand alone licenses it might be useful if you have engineers/users traveling a lot and want to comply with Autodesk's terms.

Lines, ovals, and rectangles on forms in Visual Basic 2005

Some basic controls where missing in Visual Studio for a while but now they are included in the released Microsoft Visual Basic 2005 Power Packs 2.0.


The workaround to draw a line before was to use this tip in the post "Draw a line at design time in Visual Studio".

Sunday, August 26, 2007

NavisWorks class and lab at Autodesk University

I'm really a fan of the great NavisWorks applications that now are part of Autodesk. It's good news to see that a class and a lab has been added to AU 2008.

Via BIM Manager

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vista virtual address space usage hotfix

Will this hotfix improve memory usage when running CAD programs like AutoCAD?

The fix "reduces virtual address consumption" and speaks about "Existing games and other graphics applications". Especially for "Applications that use graphics APIs that are earlier than DirectX 10 and that target GPUs that have large amounts of video memory can easily exhaust their virtual address space."

Here is how it can be downloaded:

If anyone dare to try share the result.

PS. It's now even more easy to download it. Download here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SQL query syntax invalid or unsupported - solution

Here is a solution to a problem that is described more in detail in this thread:

The problem is related to deployment of AutoCAD 2008 using group policy (GPO). The event error is having ID 107 and the description "Software Installation was unable to read the MSI file \\path\acad.msi. The following error was encountered: SQL query syntax invalid or unsupported." ERROR_BAD_QUERY_SYNTAX 1615 might also show up in some logs.

The solution is to use Orca that can edit the MSI file.

Download the free Orca from

Orca is a GUI .msi file editor that is provided with the Windows Installer
SDK. It provides full access to the Windows Installer database tables.

A set of Help files are provided with Orca. To obtain the orca.exe and Orca
documentation you must download and install the Windows Installer SDK, which
is provided as an Orca.msi file. After you install the Microsoft Windows
Software Development Kit (SDK), double click the Orca.msi file to install
Orca. (Installing the SDK can take quite a long time, up to 30 minutes. Make sure to deactivate your antivirus during the installation. You can also only install the minimum needed that includes Orca.msi.)


Orca.Msi is then typically found here:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0\Bin

Run Orca and open the MSI file
Select Tables>Add table>select and add the Upgrade table.
Save the MSI file

That's it.

Trivia. Did you know that that Orca is the acronym for One Really Cool App. The story of Orca.

Lisp company first with a domain in 1985 was the first domain registered back in 15-Mar-1985. Looking at the site I saw this sentence. "The old Symbolics was the premier producer of special-purpose computer systems for running and developing state-of-the-art object-oriented programs in Lisp." Did you notice Lisp? I thought it was pretty funny being a Lisp programmer.

PS. My jtbworld domain is only from 2002.

Via The 100 oldest domains on the internet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WinZip E-Mail Companion 2.0 Beta

WinZip E-Mail Companion is a handy application that I just gave a try. Do you know of some free alternatives that maybe supports 7-zip?


WinZip® E-Mail Companion Beta makes it easy to zip (compress) the documents and other files that you attach to Microsoft® Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail e-mail messages. Zipping attachments saves transmission time and disk storage for both the sender and receiver of the e-mail.

If you want to try the beta download it from here:

Update. I found that on Vista and Outlook 2007 the Configure settings are not retained. After contacting WinZip they explained that it is only when accessing configure from within an email message. When using Tools/Options/WinZip E-Mail Companion it works. Hopefully they will fix this in due time.

NOVEDGE blog keeps the interviews coming

Some of the latest interviews that Franco Folini has are:

  • Mary Hope McQuiston, Autodesk, head of the Extended Design Group of Autodesk, the group in charge of all DWF products including Design Review, Freewheel, and the DWF Toolkit.

  • Robert Green, CAD writer that all CAD Managers should read or hear.

  • There are now 28 interesting interviews.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Kaspersky Internet Security - Neutralize all

    I can understand that if a normal user should not get too much information but when I get a dialog box only saying "Security threats have been detected. You are advised to neutralize them immediately." I want to know what it is that I'm about to neutralize. Either I can dismiss the warning or I can click on Neutralize all.


    Afterward I can go in and look at the Reports and data files and try to see what was neutralized but then it could be too late if the security threat was false. I wish I could see more details about the threat directly from that dialog box.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Undo and Redo in Windows Explorer

    This is a trick not many are aware of in Explorer. Especially in Windows Vista that added Redo (Windows XP only had Undo) and you as default don't see the Edit menu. You can quickly activate the menus by holding down the Alt key.

    Here is what I start with as a test.


    I rename the files.


    Then I start using CTRL+Z for Undo. I can undo the renaming of all files in three steps.

    Then I try CTRL+Y for Redo. I can redo all steps.

    Undo and Redo seems to work for some actions like renaming, deleting and copying files. So if you unintentionally deleted a bunch of files and folders you can undo that quickly without having to go to the Recycle Bin.

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Run-time error '339' component problem solution

    Run-time error '339':

    Component 'acThumb.ocx' or one of its dependencies not correctly registered: a file is missing or invalid

    This problem can show up if something went wrong when installing SmartPurger typically on Windows Vista.

    Make sure acthumb.ocx is in C:\Windows\System32

    Start the Command Prompt as administrator by right clicking and select Run as administrator.


    Then run these commands:

    regsvr32 /u "C:\Windows\System32\acThumb.ocx"
    regsvr32 "C:\Windows\System32\acThumb.ocx"

    Friday, August 17, 2007

    Hide objects when dragging xclipped object in AutoCAD

    Here is a trick that can be useful if you have large xrefs or blocks that are xclipped (xlip command)

    Unfortunately there is a bug (Still there in AutoCAD 2008) that makes everything outside the boundary to show as can be seen below.

    .xlipped xref xlipped xref while dragging

    So if you want to move, copy or do something with these objects without having this problem the workaround is to use the system variable DRAGMODE and set the value to 0 or Off to suppress dragging.

    I suggest you make a button that toggles the DRAGMODE value between 0 and 2.

    A macro like this can be used:

    Here is how CUI can be used for this.


    Related post: Use INDEXCTL and speed up your AutoCAD this is also useful for clipped xrefs.

    CommandComplete bonus tool for AutoCAD

    Here is a great cool tool for AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008. The CommandComplete bonus tool.




    It would be a good addition if also user defined commands where included.

    Well it can be done by editing the commandcomplete.xml file. I use XML Notepad here.


    Now when I add the cool command:

    Command: (defun c:cool()(princ"\nCool!")(princ))


    Notice also when I write the keywoard 'great' it works as well.


    There are also options available if you right click.


    BTW. It's free.

    Via It’s Alive in the Lab: AutoCAD: You complete me. and CommandComplete bonus tool

    Start a Windows application within AutoCAD

    One way is achieved by the AutoLISP function startapp. Notice that the control of what is started is not in the hand of AutoCAD. So if you have an AutoLISP program the code will just continue executing.

    Here is an example how it can be used to open with Notepad the acad.pgp file that AutoCAD uses. If you do edit the acad.pgp file you need to run the ReInit command and select the PGP file check box so the changes will be used by AutoCAD. Or if you want to use AutoLISP: (setvar "re-init" 16)

    Command: (startapp "notepad" (findfile "acad.pgp"))

    33 is the return value. As long as not nil is returned the function is successful.

    Notice that if one of the arguments contain spaces you need to use double quotes like this sample: (startapp "notepad.exe" "\"file with spaces in the name.txt\"")

    If you want to launch Windows Explorer here is one way to open the folder of the current drawing: (startapp (strcat "explorer /e," (getvar "dwgprefix")))

    To open a PDF file in the default PDF reader.
    (startapp "explorer.exe" "C:\\PDFs\\test.pdf")

    If you want to open a PDF file in Adobe Reader 8.0 at a specific page this can be used.(startapp "\"C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Reader 8.0\\Reader\\AcroRd32.exe\"" "\"/A page=5 C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Reader 8.0\\Reader\\plug_ins\\Annotations\\Stamps\\ENU\\StandardBusiness.pdf\"")

    If you want to open a DWF file in Autodesk Design Review here is how:(startapp "\"C:\\Program Files\\Autodesk\\Autodesk Design Review\\DesignReview.exe\"" "\"C:\\Program Files\\Autodesk\\Autodesk Design Review\\Tutorial\\IRD Addition Autodesk Design Review Sample.dwf\"")

    And another one if you want to open a DWF in your favorite web browser:
    (command "_browser" "")

    To run a VBScript this can be used:
    (startapp "wscript" "c:/MyCoolScript.vbs")

    There is also the AutoCAD command SHELL.

    With SHELL, you can execute operating system (OS) commands while remaining in this program. When SHELL prompts you for an OS command, you can enter most valid commands for your OS. When the command has been executed, SHELL returns you to the Command prompt. You can also call the SHELL command with AutoLISP like this: (command "_shell" "dir *.dwg /p")

    Another alternative is if you have DOSLib. In that case you can use the function dos_execute (Runs an external program), dos_exewait (Runs a program and waits for completion) or dos_shellexe (Opens or prints a program or file). You can with these also control how the newly opened window is to be displayed.

    I think you pretty much get the idea. If you have any sample you want to share please add a comment below.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    25 years with Autodesk

    25 years ago in 1982 John Walker & 15 partners started Autodesk. Today Autodesk has over 5,000 employees in 33 countries.

    Take a look at and find timeline, trivia, some customers and a product tree.


    I played the trivia without cheating and I got 12 of 15.


    I started using AutoCAD in 1989 and is still using it.

    Windows Live SkyDrive

    Windows Live SkyDrive from Microsoft gives you 500 MB online storage that you can make personal, share with friends or make public. Upload size is limited to 50MB per file.

    Windows Live SkyDrive Beta

    Here is a sample of how a public folder works.

    Only files can easily be added. If you have several folders, subfolders and files you need to upload them folder by folder.

    Windows Live SkyDrive Team Blog: Introducing Windows Live SkyDrive!

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    Autodesk Design Review 2008 Service Pack 1

    Autodesk Design Review 2008 SP1 is now available to download. There is a lot that has been fixed. See the Readme.

    Knowledge Base document: Autodesk® Design Review 2008 – Service Pack 1

    To silently install this file you can use something like this:
    AutodeskDesignReview2008_SP1.msp /qb-!

    For explanation on the different options you have you can run msiexec /?

    Via Beyond the Paper: Autodesk Design Review 2008 Service Pack is here!

    Autodesk Network License Manager on Windows Server 2003 R2

    Knowledge Base document: Support for Autodesk Network License Manager on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

    This document above mentions that Autodesk NLM that uses FLEXlm® version 10.8 is not supported on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2. It does not say anything about the 11.4 version that actually is included with AutoCAD 2008. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 is not mentioned in the document below so it seems that 11.4 is either not supported on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2. Probably it will work anyway but there might be problems.

    Operating systems supported by FLEXnet Publisher 11.4. FLEXnet Publisher platforms.

    Knowledge Base document: Support for the Autodesk Network License Manager on 64-bit operating systems

    The Autodesk Network License Manager is not tested or supported on 64-bit operating systems, such as Windows® XP Professional 64-bit, Windows Vista™ 64-bit, or Windows Server 64-bit operating systems.

    See also System Requirements for the Autodesk Network License Manager

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Outlook 2007 hangs at Send/Receive Status 50%

    Several times I have got Outlook 2007 to hang when it shows Send/Receive Status 50% or some other percentage. Typically this happens when I start Outlook after having it closed for a while. I have tried different things to get it past this problem but so far the only solution that works is to restart the computer. (Running Windows Vista and not connected to an Exchange server)

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    AutoCAD 2009 around the corner?

    "changes to the user interface and productivity enhancements" - Productivity enhancements is always welcome. Is it time to see the new Office UI including the ribbon in AutoCAD?

    "Users not proficient in LISP or scripting" - I'm pretty sure what that is about... Hints for the above can probably be found among AUGI Top Ten lists like these.

    See more details in the post Attention San Francisco and Denver area AutoCAD users

    PS. If you cannot attend this test drive you can always sign up for the AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 Service Pack 1 Beta

    • Custom scales which exist in the nested xrefs are no longer duplicated in the host drawing
    • Multiline attributes no longer shift positions every time drawings are saved and opened
    • All dynamic block properties are now correctly extracted
    • The In-Place dimension text editor size is now correct
    • and much more is going to be fixed.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    AutoCAD P&ID 2008

    I just mentioned AutoCAD P&ID and now the 2008 version is released I found out on the In the Pipes blog. I wonder if the the new AVEVA P&ID Designer or AVEVA VPE P&ID is based on 2007 or 2008.

    Here are some permanent links according to my list.
    AutoCAD P&ID
    AutoCAD P&ID - Free Trial
    AutoCAD P&ID - How to Buy
    AutoCAD P&ID - Services & Support
    AutoCAD P&ID - Training

    Thursday, August 9, 2007

    Autodesk Completes Acquisition of NavisWorks

    As you can see from the press release the acquisition is now completed. Looking forward to see what becomes of Autodesk NavisWorks 2009 or whatever it will be named.

    Related posts:
    NavisWorks Autodesk and a lot of questions
    Autodesk to Buy NavisWorks

    DragonDropProcessFolder Virtual PC problem

    If anyone have a solution to this problem please leave a comment.

    To be able to drag and drop files between the host and the virtual PC Virtual Machine Additions needs to be installed.

    Earlier I have had no problems to copy files from the Virtual PC to my host (Windows Vista) but recently it has stopped working. What happens is that a folder is instead created named DragonDropProcessFolder.

    I have tried different tricks to get it working but failed so far.

    Uninstalled Virtual Machine Additions
    Uninstalled Virtual PC 2005
    Rebooted the host
    Reinstalled Virtual PC 2005
    Installed Virtual Machine Additions
    Rebooted the host

    The following error shows up on the Virtual PC. "Virtual PC has encountered an error on the host while copying files. An error in Virtual PC has occurred (d3)."

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    Collaborate in Freewheel

    I've was just in a session with several participants trying the collaboration functionality in Freewheel. Already it's useful. You can add any DWF file or publish directly from AutoCAD, Revit or Inventor.Freewheel collaboration

    Notice how you can sketch, highlight, add callouts and even apply Impression styles like above where I used Pen Wiggle.


    The new navigation wheel (also seen in Autodesk Design Review) helps so you can navigate in both 2D and 3D. It is really user friendly.

    Freewheel wheel

    If you create a session you can keep it active even though you close down your web browser. A day later someone can log in, add some comments and so on.

    Of course there a some glitches here and there and features that you would like to see so just send the labs team an email and let them know. BTW. It is free! Give it a try.

    AutoCAD P&ID platform for AVEVA P&ID Designer

    I noticed the below sentence (bold by me) in the press release from AVEVA.

    Bruce Douglas, Vice President Industry Solutions at AVEVA said "Our approach is to provide the maximum choice in the selection of engineering authoring tools. The open approach means that P&ID data can be uploaded to the AVEVA Schematic Model from any P&ID system that can deliver P&ID data in the ISO 15926 format. Currently supported P&ID formats are: AVEVA VPE P&ID; AVEVA P&ID Designer; Smartplant P&ID.  AVEVA P&ID Designer, jointly developed with Autodesk, is based on AutoCAD P&ID".

    Interesting to see products being realized after earlier news like this one and this one.

    There is no question that BIM is the future but AutoCAD has its place as platform for AutoCAD P&ID as well as AVEVA P&ID Designer. Yes, Piping & Instrumentation Drawings (P&IDs) are part of BIM in the process industry.

    Monday, August 6, 2007

    IE7 and Start++ crash solution

    After finding how easy it is to download a hotfix from Microsoft I tried to see if a newer version of Mshtml.dll solved the crash problem I described in the post IE7 crashes when clicking on drop-down boxes.

    I first tried KB936953 but there was nothing for Vista but the KB935775 article describes that a newer version is available even for Vista and I downloaded it using this link, installed it and found that now it works. No more Internet Explorer 7 crashes in Vista when running Start++.

    Saturday, August 4, 2007

    Download a Microsoft hotfix

    Often you find this information when you look at a Microsoft KB article.

    Hotfix information
    A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the problem that this article describes. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.
    To resolve this problem, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

    I have tried that and gave up several times.

    Now there is a better way. Use the link below and you can request to be emailed the hotfix. You just have to enter the KB Article Number and some other basic information.;en;1410&WS=hotfix

    I tried and it really works. I did get response real quick. I even got an email asking me to confirm some additional information that were needed. Soon after I got an email with a link so I could download the hotfix.

    Friday, August 3, 2007

    Adobe will remove "Send to FedEx Kinko's..."

    Finally according to a press release from Adobe.


    Adobe will remove the "Send to FedEx Kinko's" service and functionality, currently available to US customers in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. The versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat that are scheduled to be released in October will not contain the feature. We are implementing these changes as quickly as we can. However, we need time to write and test the software. Adobe Reader and Acrobat are critical pieces of software for tens of millions of customers and we have to be sure the software we deliver is up to its usual quality.

    The press release also talks about "Moving forward Adobe is setting up a Print Advisory Council to investigate how best to integrate third party print services into Adobe products, as more partners invest in online print infrastructures."

    How about Autodesk making a button to publish to DWF? Maybe using this new service.

    This was introduced in Adobe Acrobat 8.1 and in Adobe Reader 8.1 not long ago and there were a lot of complaints about it.


    Project Freewheel 3D/2D ShareNow Utility

    imageWhen I first tried to install ShareNow it crashed during the install but after contacting the 'Lab' I quickly got a new installer and this time it worked just fine. Using ShareNow I can share the current drawing. Using ShareDSD I can share a whole set of drawings. DSD means Drawing Set Description. A file format for saving a description of a drawing set that has been assembled using the Publish dialog box.

    This is something that your team can get use of directly. Try it.

    Here is a DWF that I created using the ShareDSD command in AutoCAD 2008 that is available after installing Project Freewheel 3D/2D ShareNow Utility.

    imageThese utilities publish a design from AutoCAD, Inventor, or Revit to the Project Freewheel server. With one click of the ShareNow icon, your design application will publish a DWF file of your current design, upload it to Project Freewheel, and invoke the browser with a view of your design. You can then leverage all of the benefits that Project Freewheel has to offer - without installing additional software. Collaborate with your team members on Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh OSX, or Linux. They can use Internet Explorer or Firefox. They can use a PC, Mac, PDS, Cell phone -- whatever has a compatible browser with an internet connection.

    Via Project Freewheel ShareNow Utility Now Available

    Mapping in AutoCAD

     Introduced in AutoCAD 2007 was mapping. Are that tools to make maps?

    image  image

    No. The Mapping Toolbar (also on the Dashboard: Materials panel, Mapping flyout) is related to handle how materials are placed or oriented on objects (3D solid, 3D surface, face, or 2D object with thickness).

    MaterialMap is the command used and there are four ways to map.

    • Planar mapping - Maps the image onto the object as if you were projecting it from a slide projector onto a 2D surface. The image is not distorted, but the image is scaled to fit the object. This mapping is most commonly used for faces.
    • Box mapping - Maps an image onto a boxlike solid. The image is repeated on each side of the object.
    • Spherical mapping - Warps the image both horizontally and vertically. The top edge of the map is compressed to a point at the “north pole” of the sphere, as is the bottom edge at the “south pole.”
    • Cylindrical mapping - Maps an image onto a cylindrical object; the horizontal edges are wrapped together but not the top and bottom edges. The height of the image is scaled along the cylinder’s axis.

    Below is the result using these four options. (also as DWF)


    When the command starts a material mapping gizmo to adjust the mapping on a face or an object starts. The mapping can be moved, rotated or scaled.

    planar-mapping box-mapping

    spherical-mapping cylindrical-mapping

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