Friday, September 28, 2007

Autodesk Knowledge Base custom feed

This is a tip on how to get Autodesk Knowledge Base content, hotfixes, tips, and service packs on multiple applications without getting doubles as a RSS feed. Typically a CAD Manager or the like have need for this. Another help to avoid information overload.

Select the items you want from


As you can see there are two or more identical posts in the feed. That is common with the AutoCAD and Revit based products that has several verticals.


Using Yahoo pipes you can solve this. I filter non-unique items based on the title of the post.


And here is the result, just the way I want it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

BlogRush trial

I just added a BlogRush widget on my blog to see how it works and if it really increases the traffic to the blog as it is expected to do. I'm not that convinced but...

ObjectDBX/RealDWG using VB.NET

acdbmgd.dll contains ObjectDBX/RealDWG managed types (everything to do with manipulating drawing files).

ObjectDBX is useful because you directly access the DWG file without adding the extra resources needed to actually show the drawing. This means that the performance is really good. All entities, objects based on AcadObject and dictionaries can be accessed.

You cannot have a freestanding application that uses ObjectDBX unless you have AutoCAD running. Either a DLL must be created that is loaded from within AutoCAD with the NETLOAD command or you need to use ActiveX to access or connect to ObjectDBX using the AcadApplication object and the GetInterfaceObject method.

ObjectDBX is actually renamed to RealDWG and if you need to use it without having AutoCAD you need to purchase and license it. RealDWG does not require the presence of AutoCAD software. RealDWG 2008 is the latest version available now.

Below is a sample that starts AutoCAD 2008 and opens a drawing with ObjectDBX.

Private Function StartAutoCAD() As Object On Error Resume Next Dim AcadApp As Object ' Get the active session of AutoCAD using late binding AcadApp = GetObject(, "AutoCAD.Application.17.1") If Err.Number <> 0 Then Err.Clear() Shell("c:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\WSCommCntr1.exe", AppWinStyle.NormalFocus) ' Create a new session of AutoCAD using late binding AcadApp = CreateObject("AutoCAD.Application.17.1") End If Return AcadApp End Function Private Sub Test() Dim AcadApp As Object Dim dbxDoc As Object AcadApp = StartAutoCAD() If AcadApp Then AcadApp.Visible = True objDbx = AcadApp.GetInterfaceObject("ObjectDBX.AxDbDocument.17") objDbx.Open("D:\test\block1.dwg") Dim ms As Object ms = objDbx.ModelSpace MsgBox(ms.Count.ToString + " objects in in model space") objDbx = Nothing AcadApp.Application.Quit() AcadApp = Nothing End If End Sub

See also ObjectDBX sample using VBA and AutoCAD 2008 and Copy dimstyles between drawings using VBA for other posts how to use ObjectDBX.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Test if a port is open

One way is to use old telnet.exe like this to find out if a port is open.

Syntax: telnet [hostname or IP address] [portnumber]

Example: telnet myserver 27000

You can also try the IP of the computer, server or host. You must be able to Ping that address.

If the window hangs while saying "Connecting ..." and then goes away, the port is not accessible. If the window instantly goes away, the port is probably not accessible. If the window display text, like "220 ESMTP spoken here" or just shows an empty window the port is open.

Or if run in a command window:
C:\>telnet myserver 27000
Connecting To myserver...Could not open connection to the host, on port 27000: Connect failed

But if you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 you probably don't have telnet because it is not installed as default.

Click Start, Control Panel, Programs, and then Turn Windows Features on or off. In the list, scroll down and select Telnet Client. Click OK to start the installation. Or you can just run: start /w pkgmgr /iu:"TelnetClient"

Now you should be able to check if a port is open or closed or not accessible. If it is not accessible start checking if the firewall is the issue.

Here are some usable links:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Custom DateTime Format Specifiers problem solved

Just wanted to share this problem that can show up if you are developing using for for example VB.NET or C# and want to force a custom date and time format.

The problem can show up with format specifiers %t that represents the first character of the A.M./P.M. designator or tt that represents the A.M./P.M. designator.

Notice how PM is missing if the culture is Swedish.

System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = New Globalization.CultureInfo("sv-SE")
Dim MyDate As New DateTime(2007, 9, 12, 17, 30, 0)
Dim MyString As String = MyDate.ToString("MMM dd 'at' h:mm tt")
MyString returns "sep 12 at 5:30 "

The solution is to set the culture to one that supports AM and PM like en-US and then you can restore it to what it was before.

System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = New Globalization.CultureInfo("en-US")
Dim MyDate As New DateTime(2007, 9, 12, 17, 30, 0)
Dim MyString As String = MyDate.ToString("MMM dd 'at' h:mm tt")
MyString returns "Sep 12 at 5:30 PM"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Run a script when changing workspace in AutoCAD

Did you know that you can run a script (.SCR) file automatically when changing workspace in AutoCAD?

Using the Customize User Interface (CUI) it's not possible. You can only specify LISP files to be loaded together with the customization file.

But here is how it can be done. It's undocumented (and probably not supported) but can still be very useful. And with the script file you can also load AutoLISP (.LSP) files when the workspace changes. It is supposed to work with AutoCAD 2007 and I have confirmed it works in AutoCAD 2008. Verticals should also work. Notice that the script is not run when you start AutoCAD. Only when the workspace is changed. But it is not run if it is changed using AutoLISP like this: (command "WSCURRENT" "2D Drafting & Annotation")

Locate the CUI file you want to change. For example:
C:\Users\JTB\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2008\R17.1\enu\support\acad.cui

If you have hard to locate the CUI file you can just run the CUI command and you will find the file path and name.

Using XML Notepad 2007 locate the Workspace that you want. The UID has the name. In this case WS_Anno2DDraft.


Right click on UID and select Attribute>After and enter Script and then enter the script file to be loaded.


Or you can edit using Notepad or the like. Search for "<Workspace ". Notice the space after Workspace and don't include the quotation marks. Then add what is marked as bold below changing the path and name of course.

<Workspace StartOn="ignore" ScrollBars="ignore" ScreenMenus="off" LayoutModelTabs="ignore" DefaultWorkspace="true" UID="WS_Anno2DDraft" Script="C:\Users\JTB\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2008\R17.1\enu\Support\test.scr">

Thanks for the tip Chris Dodge,

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Feed for blogspot comments

It's easy to get a feed for comments even if the blog (powered by Blogger and looking like this does now show any feed for the comments.

Reading Deelip's post got me thinking about sharing this tip.

So for Deelip the comment feed would be as the above. Just changing myblog to deelip. Does only work when hosted on

Then of course the feed can be burned using Feedburner.

In my case the comment feed for JTB World Blog is

To the right on my blog you can see the 5 latest JTB World Blog Comments.

PS. I have also as many others made use of Talkr so you can listen to the posts. See the link Listen to this below. There is also a podcast feed available.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autodesk 3D is Dream. Dare. Deliver.

Found via the site for Autodesk 3D Launch Tour that I found via Nvidia's newsletter that also mentioned the driver ForceWare Release 163.69 WHQL for Vista 32-bit.

image Visualize, then realize your projects with Autodesk software. The Autodesk Media & Entertainment Software Launch tour kicks off August 29, but where it goes is up to you. Highlighting the latest versions of Autodesk® Maya, 3ds Max, VIZ, MotionBuilder, and Toxik software, the tour features product demonstrations and esteemed guest speakers at a dozen venues across Canada and the United States.

Friday, September 21, 2007

SmartPurger 2.7 released

A minor update of SmartPurger that makes sure to close some more popups like "Previous Version MEP Objects Detected" and the Customer Error Reports when needed.

An issue with AutoCAD Architecture 2008 is that it crash when starting and closing it with the use of a script file.

The error in acad.err is: "INTERNAL ERROR:  Attempt to access AecUiBaseServices after shutdown!"

It seems like the SCR file is loaded and run before the palettes are loaded. And the problem is probably related to _aecprojectpalettestartup, _aecprojectnavigator or ProjectNavigatorOnce.

Here is the solution that also works with ScriptPro or other batch/script applications.

First start AutoCAD Architecture. Close the active project using the Project Browser and right click on the project in bold and select close current project. Close AutoCAD Architecture.
Now you can run SmartPurger without getting these crashes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

AutoCAD Architecture 2008 Service Pack 1

Get AutoCAD Architecture 2008 SP1 here. It also includes what is in the AutoCAD 2008 SP1.

I've used it for a while and can recommend to install it.

As a result of detailed information from customers who used the Customer Error Reporting Utility, a number of problems were identified and fixed in the following areas:

AutoCAD Architecture 2008

  • AEC Details
  • AModeler
  • DesignCenter
  • Drawing Management
  • Export to AutoCAD
  • IFC
  • Keynoting
  • Spaces
  • External References (Xrefs)

Knowledge Base document: AutoCAD® Architecture 2008 Service Pack 1

PS. If you have the beta version of SP1 you would uninstall it first. Yes, the SP is uninstallable.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Look at the image below. What is it? Three circles? Yes it look like that but it's not.


Running DISPSILH and setting it to 0 followed by a REGEN and the result is as follow. But is it the full truth? No.


Selecting the 3 surfaces using PROPERTIES changing U isolines and V isolines for 0 to 6


And now this is what it look like

3D Wireframe DISPSILH=1 Conceptual

And if DISPSILH is set back to 0 this is the result. Notice the silhouette edge of the sphere on the above image and how it is missing on the one below.

3D Wireframe DISPSILH=0

From the help file on DISPSILH (saved in the drawing):

Controls display of silhouette edges of 3D solid objects in a 2D wireframe or 3D wireframe visual style.

You can use the REGEN command to display the results.

DISPSILH also suppresses the mesh displayed when using the HIDE command in the 2D wireframe visual style.

From the help file on SURFU and SURFV (saved in the drawing):

Sets the surface density for PEDIT Smooth in the M direction and the U isolines (or V isolines) density on surface objects. Valid values are 0 through 200. Meshes are always created with a minimum surface density of 2.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Windows Media Player and slow network speed in Vista

Here is a great technical article why and when this can happen. In short ,when you play multimedia like sound or video Multimedia Class Scheduler Service (MMCSS) makes sure that multimedia get priority.

"if your system is on a 100Mb network, you typically won’t see any slowdown. ... If you have a 1Gb network infrastructure and both the sending system and your Vista receiving system have 1Gb network adapters, you’ll see throughput drop to roughly 15%. ... Internet traffic, even on the best broadband connection, won’t be affected" Mark says.

PS. Process Explorer is now v11.02 and works finally great with Windows Vista.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Classification Definition Tools released

ClassificationDefinitionTools is now available. With it you can import or export classification definition structures. It works for AutoCAD Architecture (ACA), Architectural Desktop (ADT) and their verticals.

Some classification structures can be very large and complicated and this tool can help to avoid the need to type everything manually. You can use existing lists in Excel and just copy and paste.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Is Technorati ranking broken?

I noticed that my friend that has the RobiNZ CAD Blog and JTB World Blog had the exact same ranking on Technorati. What a funny coincidence I first though.

 image  image

There is only one thing that I wonder. Is Technorati's Ranking broken? In the FAQ about what Authority is it says "If your blog's rank is, say 305,316, this indicates that there are 305,315 blog ranks separating your blog from the #1 position."

But how can then two blogs have the same rank?

I then found that when the Authority is identical the rank is that too.

For example BLAUGI (often posts by Mike Perry) and his Mistress of the Dorkness (by Melanie Perry).

image image

Never trust these ranking numbers... At least the FAQ is wrong and still it was referred to a few days ago by the Technorati Weblog.

AutoCAD Palette Auto-hide Speed freeware v. 1.1 released

After my earlier post I got a couple of emails explaining how PaletteHoldopenDelay works and I have now made a new version available at:

The “holdopen” delay is an additional delay that keeps the palette open for a specified time when it is opened programmatically; if the mouse does not move over it in this time it automatically rolls back up.

PaletteHoldopenDelay does not affect all palettes though probably because not all development teams at Autodesk knows about PaletteHoldopenDelay. You can see the effect with the palettes Properties, Quickcalc, External References, Sheet Set Manager, Markup Set Manager, Visual Styles Manager set to auto-hide. Try for example CTRL+1 one or two times. But it seems to only affect External References when starting AutoCAD. This was found trying with AutoCAD 2008 SP1.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spell checking in other languages in Windows Live Writer 2008

There is a hack to get spell checking to work in Windows Live Writer 2008 (aka WLW) for your language.


Locate C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer\Dictionaries (<program files>\Windows Live\Writer\) that is the location for the release Beta 3 or later.

From what I have found you need the english version of WLW and you can find that one at It seems to not work if you have another language installed (if you find the trick add a comment below).

Rename ssceam.tlx to ssceam.old and ssceam2.clx to ssceam2.old.

Find your language file and download it. Rename the TLX file to ssceam.tlx and the CLX file to ssceam2.clx.

Here you can see how the spell checking works in Swedish. (Nu fungerar också rättstavning på svenska!)


To have this work you need to get the correct dictionary file

Language TLX file CLX file Download
English (American, USA) ssceam.tlx ssceam2.clx here here TP
English (Australia) ssceau.tlx ssceau2.clx here
English (British,United Kingdom) sscebr.tlx sscebr2.clx here here TP
English (Canadian, Canada) ssceca.tlx ssceca2.clx TP
Norwegian? sscecb.tlx sscecb2.clx TP
Danish (Dansk,Danmark,Denmark) ssceda.tlx ssceda2.clx TP
Dutch (Nederlands,Holland,Netherlands) sscedu.tlx sscedu2.clx here here TP
Spanish? sscees.tlx sscees2.clx here
French? sscefc.tlx sscefc2.clx here
Finnish (Suomeski, Suomi, Finland) sscefi.tlx sscefi2.clx here here TP
French (Français,La France) sscefr.tlx sscefr2.clx here here TP
German (Deutsch,Deutschland,Germany) sscege.tlx sscege2.clx here here
German (new spelling?) sscegn.tlx sscegn2.clx TP
German (old spelling?) sscego.tlx sscego2.clx TP
Italian (Italiano, Italiana, Italy) ssceit.tlx ssceit2.clx here here TP
American Legal Terms sscela.tlx sscela2.clx TP
British Legal Terms sscelb.tlx sscelb2.clx TP
American Medical Terms sscema.tlx sscema2.clx TP
British Medical Terms sscemb.tlx sscemb2.clx TP
Norwegian (Bokmål,Norge,Norway) sscenb.tlx sscenb2.clx see sscecb
Portuguese (Brazilian,Brasil,Brazil) sscepb.tlx sscepb2.clx here TP
Portuguese (Iberian,Portuguesa,Portugal) sscepo.tlx sscepo2.clx here TP
Spanish (Español,España,Spain) sscesp.tlx sscesp2.clx here TP
Swedish (Svenska,Sverige,Sweden) sscesw.tlx sscesw2.clx here here TP

Most spelling dictionaries are also available at TP as a 4MB download. You need to run the installer and all files will end up at C:\Program Files\TextPad 4\Spelling

You might find that you need to use the little freeware I made in case your Windows is not set to english.

To download Windows Live Writer beta in other languages (28 languages so far supported):



French (Canada)



Find your locale ID and try if it works. Notice that check spelling might not work then.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

AutoCAD hyperlink command advanced

If the basics is not enough here comes most everything else worth knowing about hyperlinks in AutoCAD.

Here is a sample code that can be used in CUI (Customize User Interface) as a Double Click Action macro instead of the default one ^C^C_properties. If the object has a hyperlink it will be opened and if not the Properties palette will be opened.

^C^C(if (setq path (cdr (cadadr (assoc -3 (entget (ssname (ssget "P") 0) '("PE_URL")))))) (command "BROWSER" path) (command "PROPERTIES"))

If you want to create a hyperlink to a named location in a non-AutoCAD file add a pound sign (#) after the name of the file that the hyperlink is linked to. Here is a sample for Excel:
It will open MyBook1.xls, sheet1 and locate the cell C10.
or to Word:
    (opens page 3)
or a PDF file in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat

To find all objects that are hyperlinked use QSELECT and since there is no operator to select all objects with a hyperlink you can select Not Equal and enter a Value you know does not exist.


With the -HYPERLINK command you can insert hyperlinks on objects and this can be automated like this with AutoLISP:
(command "-HYPERLINK" "I" "O" ent "" "" "Detail 1" "Detail 1")

Using the -HYPERLINK Insert option:

Command: -hyperlink
Enter an option [Remove/Insert] <Insert>: i
Enter hyperlink insert option [Area/Object]: O
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Enter hyperlink <current drawing>:
Enter named location <none>: Detail 1
Enter description <none>: Detail 1

Notice that you have an Area option. That will ask you for First corner and Other corner and create a 3D Polyline on the layer URLLAYER. The URLLAYER is automatically created. When is this useful. For example if you plot to DWF you will find that you can click anywhere in that area and the 3D Polyline will not be visible.


Using the -HYPERLINK Remove option:

Command: -hyperlink
Enter an option [Remove/Insert] <Insert>: R
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 7 found
Select objects:
1.  TANK 3 (TANK 3)
2.  TANK 2 (TANK 2)
3. (
4. (
5. (
6.  TANK 1 (TANK 1)
7. (

Enter number, hyperlink, or * for all:
4 hyperlinks deleted.

With the DETACHURL command you can delete hyperlinks from objects and this can be automated like this:
(command "DETACHURL" ent "")

If a drawing has had hyperlinks the Registered application PE_URL can be purged.

Command: -purge
Enter type of unused objects to purge
[Blocks/Dimstyles/LAyers/LTypes/MAterials/Plotstyles/SHapes/textSTyles/Mlinestyles/Tablestyles/Visualstyles/Regapps/All]: r
Enter name(s) to purge <*>:
Verify each name to be purged? [Yes/No] <Y>: Y
Purge registered application "PE_URL"? <N> Y

HYPERLINKBASE - Specifies the path used for all relative hyperlinks in the drawing. If no value is specified, the drawing path is used for all relative hyperlinks.

Or use DWGPROPS and on the Summary tab, enter a relative path in Hyperlink Base.

HYPERLINKOPEN - Asks for a hyperlink and opens it or navigates to that location that could be a named view or layout tab.

Display hyperlink cursor, tooltip, and shortcut menu? [Yes/No] <Yes>:

PASTEASHYPERLINK - Inserts data from the Clipboard as a hyperlink. Example. Copy a file in Explorer and run the command or select Edit>Paste as Hyperlink and then select one or several objects. Now a hyperlink to the document will be inserted on the object(s).


And now into more details how to use entget to find the information. The hyperlink information is attached as xdata.

If you want to know how many hyperlinked objects there are use:
(sslength (ssget "x" '((-3 ("PE_URL")))))

Command: (assoc -3 (entget (car (entsel)) (list "PE_URL")))
Select object:
(-3 ("PE_URL" (1000 . "http://") (1002 . "{") (1000 . "Autodesk") (1002 . "{") (1071 . 0) (1002 . "}") (1002 . "}")))

And this is an example how the hyperlink is to the view named Detail 1 in the current drawing.

Command: (assoc -3 (entget (car (entsel)) (list "PE_URL")))
Select object:
(-3 ("PE_URL" (1000 . "") (1002 . "{") (1000 . "Detail text display") (1000 . "Detail 1") (1002 . "{") (1071 . 1) (1002 . "}") (1002 . "}")))

To make sure the option Convert Hyperlink to DWF is always set the code below is needed.

(defun markHlinkDWF ()
  (setq mysel (ssget "_X" '((-3 ("PE_URL")))))
  (setq iMaxSel (sslength mysel))
  (setq iCnt 0)
  (while (< iCnt iMaxSel)
    (setq my_entname (ssname mysel iCnt))
    (setq my_ent (entget my_entname '("PE_URL")))
    ;; get the entity including Xdata for hlinks
    (setq my_xdata1 (assoc -3 my_ent))
    ;; open up the XData
    (setq my_xdata_URL (nth 1 my_xdata1))
    (setq my_new_xdata_URL (subst '(1071 . 1) '(1071 . 0) my_xdata_URL))
    ;; enable flag for convert DWG to DWF
    (setq my_new_xdata1 (subst my_new_xdata_URL my_xdata_URL my_xdata1))
    ;; update XData
    (setq my_ent (subst my_new_xdata1 my_xdata1 my_ent))
    (entmod my_ent)
    ;; set the entity
    (setq iCnt (+ iCnt 1))
(defun validate	()
  (setq mysel (ssget "_X" '((-3 ("PE_URL")))))
  (setq iMaxSel (sslength mysel))
  (setq iCnt 0)
  (setq iFailCnt 0)
  (while (< iCnt iMaxSel)
    (setq my_entname (ssname mysel iCnt))
    (setq my_ent (entget my_entname '("PE_URL")))
    ;; get the entity including Xdata for hlinks
    (setq my_xdata1 (assoc -3 my_ent))
    ;; open up the XData
    (setq my_xdata_URL (nth 1 my_xdata1))
    (if	(/= (member '(1071 . 0) my_xdata_url) nil)
      (setq iFailCnt (+ iFailCnt 1))
    (setq iCnt (+ iCnt 1))
  (if (> iFailCnt 0)
	my_str (strcat (itoa iFailCnt) " hyperlink(s) not updated.")
      (princ my_str)

(setq Hyplink (markHlinkdwf))
(setq Hyplinkval (validate))

Here is how a hyperlink can be attached to an object.

(if (null (tblsearch "appid" "PE_URL"))
  (regapp "PE_URL")

  (append (entget (car (entsel)))
    (list (list -3 (cons "PE_URL" (list
      ; URL
      (cons 1000 "http://")
      ; Tooltip
      (cons 1002 "{")
      (cons 1002 "}")

There are other methods as well using Visual LISP extensions to AutoLISP (vl-load-com).

You can look at using:


VBA Hyperlinks Example from the AutoCAD Developer Documentation

Sub Example_HyperLinks()
    ' This example creates a Circle object in model space and
    ' adds a new Hyperlink to its Hyperlink collection
    Dim Hyperlinks As AcadHyperlinks
    Dim Hyperlink As AcadHyperlink
    Dim circleObj As AcadCircle
    Dim centerPoint(0 To 2) As Double
    Dim radius As Double
    Dim HLList As String
    ' Define the Circle object
    centerPoint(0) = 0: centerPoint(1) = 0: centerPoint(2) = 0
    radius = 5#
    ' Create the Circle object in model space
    Set circleObj = ThisDrawing.ModelSpace.AddCircle(centerPoint, radius)

    ' Get reference to the Circle's Hyperlinks collection
    Set Hyperlinks = circleObj.Hyperlinks
    ' Add a new Hyperlink complete with all properties
    Set Hyperlink = Hyperlinks.Add("AutoDesk")
    Hyperlink.URL = ""
    Hyperlink.URLDescription = "Autodesk Main Site"
    Hyperlink.URLNamedLocation = "MY_LOCATION"
    ' Read and display a list of existing Hyperlinks and
    ' their properties for this object
    For Each Hyperlink In Hyperlinks
        HLList = HLList & "____________________________________" & vbCrLf   ' Separator
        HLList = HLList & "URL: " & Hyperlink.URL & vbCrLf
        HLList = HLList & "URL Description: " & Hyperlink.URLDescription & vbCrLf
        HLList = HLList & "URL Named Location: " & Hyperlink.URLNamedLocation & vbCrLf
    MsgBox "The circle has " & Hyperlinks.count & " Hyperlink: " & vbCrLf & HLList
End Sub

VBA HyperlinkBaseExample from the AutoCAD Developer Documentation

Sub Example_HyperlinkBase()
	' This example shows how to access drawing properties
	' Add and display standard properties
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Author = "John Doe"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Comments = "Includes all ten levels of Building Five"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.HyperlinkBase = ""
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Keywords = "Building Complex"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.LastSavedBy = "JD"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.RevisionNumber = "4"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Subject = "Plan for Building Five"
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Title = "Building Five"

	Author = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Author
	Comments = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Comments
	HLB = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.HyperlinkBase
	KW = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Keywords
	LSB = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.LastSavedBy
	RN = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.RevisionNumber
	Subject = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Subject
	Title = ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.Title
	MsgBox "The standard drawing properties are " & vbCrLf & _
		    "Author = " & Author & vbCrLf & _
		    "Comments = " & Comments & vbCrLf & _
		    "HyperlinkBase = " & HLB & vbCrLf & _
		    "Keywords = " & KW & vbCrLf & _
		    "LastSavedBy = " & LSB & vbCrLf & _
		    "RevisionNumber = " & RN & vbCrLf & _
		    "Subject = " & Subject & vbCrLf & _
		    "Title = " & Title & vbCrLf

	' Add and display custom properties
	Dim Key0 As String
	Dim Value0 As String
	Dim Key1 As String
	Dim Value1 As String
	Dim CustomPropertyBranch As String
	Dim PropertyBranchValue As String
	Dim CustomPropertyZone As String
	Dim PropertyZoneValue As String

	CustomPropertyBranch = "Branch"
	PropertyBranchValue = "Main"
	CustomPropertyZone = "Zone"
	PropertyZoneValue = "Industrial"

	' Add custom properties
	If (ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.NumCustomInfo >= 1) Then
		ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.SetCustomByIndex 0, CustomPropertyBranch, PropertyBranchValue
		ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.AddCustomInfo CustomPropertyBranch, PropertyBranchValue
	End If

	If (ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.NumCustomInfo >= 2) Then
		 ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.SetCustomByKey CustomPropertyBranch, "Satellite"
		 ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.AddCustomInfo CustomPropertyZone, PropertyZoneValue
	End If

	'Get custom properties
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.GetCustomByIndex 0, Key0, Value0
	Key1 = CustomPropertyZone
	ThisDrawing.SummaryInfo.GetCustomByKey Key1, Value1

	MsgBox "The custom drawing properties are " & vbCrLf & _
		    "First property name = " & Key0 & vbCrLf & _
		    "First property value = " & Value0 & vbCrLf & _
		    "Second property name = " & Key1 & vbCrLf & _
		    "Second property value = " & Value1 & vbCrLf
End Sub

AutoCAD hyperlink command basics

This little tutorial will cover most basics around hyperlinks followed by the more advanced topics.

With the HYPERLINK command you can attach hyperlinks to most any object in AutoCAD. Useful applications of this is to hyperlink a section or detail marker to the actual location of the section or detail that can even be in another drawing. Another use is to add a description or tooltip to a column line of a grid system so you can see that you now have column A even though the column bubble is not visible.

The link can be to a file or website, a named view or layout tab, even an e-mail address.

The command is available with the common shortcut CTRL+K as in most other software's.
Using menus with Insert>Hyperlink. image 
Or from the Properties Palette. image


There are two checkboxes worth looking at:

  • Use relative path for hyperlink
  • Convert DWG hyperlinks to DWF

If you select to link to a drawing you can click on Target and specify a named view or layout tab in that drawing.

If you select an object with an existing hyperlink a button comes up showing "Remove Link"

 image  defined in View Manager image

When an object has a hyperlink you can open it using CTRL+click to follow link.


Or you can right click on it and you will find Hyperlink at the bottom like this and open, copy, add to Favorites or edit the hyperlink. (This does not work for field hyperlinks in text or mtext then you need to edit the text, right click and edit the field)


You can even have a block or xref with multiple objects with different hyperlinks and it works. If the blocks contain any relative hyperlinks, the relative hyperlinks adopt the relative base path of the current drawing when you insert them.

Or in the Properties Palette. image But this one does not show nested hyperlinks within blocks.

A neat tip is that you can use the hyperlink to just show information about the object.

image  and it shows up as image

In the above case use the hyperlink just as a tooltip consider removing the option "Convert DWG hyperlinks to DWF" unless you really want to see these tooltips in the DWF file as well. Just know that if you try to follow the link you will get an error like this in Windows Internet Explorer "Cannot find 'file:///C:/Documents/TANK1A205'. Make sure the path or Internet address is correct."

Another great usage is that if you import the dwg file in NavisWorks you can select to have the hyperlink showing as a tooltip as well. Great for showing information like tags, position numbers, room numbers, etc.

With the the quite new Field functionality you can embed hyperlinks in text or mtext objects.

Right-click in the text editor. Click Insert Field. Or run the FIELD command. In the Field dialog box, in Field Category, select Linked. In Field Names, select Hyperlink, and click Hyperlink.

What about if you don't see the hyperlinks?

In Options>User Preferences you must select to Display hyperlink cursor, tooltip, and shortcut menu.


The PICKFIRST system variable must be set to 1 to open files associated with hyperlinks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maintenance Update Available for AutoCAD® 2008

I got an email like this some days ago from Autodesk CER (Customer Error Reporting). This shows that it does help to send in the error reports when your Autodesk product crashes.


Dear AutoCAD® Customer:

Autodesk has recently released a maintenance update for your product. Errors similar to those you have encountered have been resolved and are part of this update.

We recommend that you install this maintenance update to update your product, or contact your system administrator.

The only wish I have is that the full problem title and description would be included.


I can hardly recall what this was about from the partial title.

Knowledge Base document: Submitting Customer Error Reports

Monday, September 10, 2007

getfiled bug hangs AutoCAD

If I run the getfiled AutoLISP function like this
(getfiled "Directory Listing" "" "" 2)
and enter a full path for example
C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2008
followed by an Enter
AutoCAD hangs and the only way I know is to kill the acad.exe process.

I tried this in AutoCAD 2004 as well and the same problem there. I'm so used copying a path from for example Explorer and paste it to dialogs like this.

Have you this problem or not?

TimberTool 1.4 released

TimberTool news as result of user wishes:

  • Alignment axis is automatically determined when possible. The longest side of a rectangle is selected as alignment axis.
  • Negative extrusion depth is allowed and makes the mass element extruded the other direction.
  • The layer checkbox remembers its setting between sessions.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

PaletteHoldopenDelay - does it work?

I got a comment in my post AutoCAD Palette Auto-hide Speed freeware where I got the question to support PaletteHoldopenDelay that somehow should set a delay for the Palette Holdopen what that now is. This functionality was mentioned at Between the Lines.

I tried to see the effect of “holdopen” in AutoCAD 2008 but I cannot see what effect it has. When/how do you see this effect? Please let me know if it works for you and how.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Slow AutoCAD startup or performance

Here are some tips that might help.

Generally with antivirus software's try to disable them if you find that AutoCAD performance is slow typically during start as well as opening and saving of files. If it seems like it is the antivirus software that is the cause try to make exceptions for for example the install folders of AutoCAD, specific file types like DWG,AC$, SV$. Set to scan for write operations only for acad.exe should be safe.

If changing annotation scale in a viewport takes long time try resetting the scale list in  the drawing and its xrefs. Make sure to reset the scale from the bottom of the xref tree, one drawing at a time and last in the host drawing.

Knowledge Base documents worth looking at:

Outside The Box also has a tip to disable the AutoCAD InfoCenter. It's related to seeing these dialog boxes and started after applying SP1.


Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library
Runtime Error!
Program: C:...
- pure virtual function call

Followed by this message.

Microsoft Windows
Autodesk Communication Center has stopped working
A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

Windows Live Writer Beta 3 - WLW B3

I'm posting this from the new Windows Live Writer.

I had a comment to my earlier post about a fix for the spelling (spell checker) to work. The comment said that the fix didn't work now. I have made an update to it now and heard back from him that it worked just fine. In my own tests I have not needed my fix for the spell checking to work.

Among other things the problem with adding drop shadows to images has been solved.


But as often is there is also an introduced bug. Notice how the category AutoCAD Architecture 2008 is clipped in the image below.

WLW bug

Via Windows Live Writer Beta 3 Now Available

Thursday, September 6, 2007

TimberTool 1.3 released

TimberTool by JTB World that is an add-on to ADT 2007 or ACA 2008 now supports imperial units as well as millimeter and the mass element can inherit the layer of the polyline.

  • TimberTool makes it easy to convert closed polylines into mass elements and makes the bounding box width and depth correct for scheduling purposes.
  • The product was initially created for usage with timber but works with structural steel or concrete shapes.
  • See this short video on how it can be used.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Annotation scaling and annotation scale list in AutoCAD 2008

Annotation scaling is one of the greatest news in AutoCAD 2008, AutoCAD 2008 LT and all verticals. Text, Mtext, Dimensions, Leaders, Multileaders (new), Tolerances, Blocks, Attributes, and Hatches can now be presented in different ways depending on the annotation scale.

Things that been quite difficult and error prone before AutoCAD 2008 are now really easy. Typical usages are details in different scales. Room numbers on plans in different scales but with different text size as well as location when needed.

Notice below how the room text is visualized in different sizes and angles and if you make a change to the room description it changes on both views.


Heidi Hewett's Blog has a whole series and a white paper on the subject

Lynn Allen also has an article on Cadalyst. Circles and Lines: Awesome Annotation Scaling.

Here are some hints for the AutoLISP programmer or scripter.

The standard scale list in AutoCAD 2008 is unfortunately hard coded so you cannot change that one. You can set up your templates having only the scales you want though.

The scales can be added and deleted using different methods.

One is using the command line (especially useful if limited to AutoCAD 2008 LT) but that has it's problems depending on if they already exist or not exist:
(command "-scalelistedit"
"add" "1:2" "1:2"
"add" "1:5" "1:5"

(command "-scalelistedit"
"delete" "1:2"
"delete" "1:5"

This can be useful to reset the scale list to default entries:
(command "-scalelistedit" "reset" "yes" "exit")

The scale list is saved in an object dictionary so you can access it using:
(dictsearch (namedobjdict) "ACAD_SCALELIST")

If you want to delete all manually added scales:
(dictremove (namedobjdict) "ACAD_SCALELIST")

Some samples how this is implemented can be found in the newsgroups.
ScaleListDel.lsp here, Here and here.

Other related posts:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Saving passwords in a database? No!

So how can it be handled in a better way technically speaking? Referencing to the previous post.

Saving passwords in a database as plain text is really a bad idea. Should the passwords be stored in the database encrypted? No, that is not safe either.

Hashing is the way to go. In .NET System.Security.Cryptography you can convert the password into hashes using SHA1 or MD5. Hashing algorithms are one-way, so there is no
way to "unhash" something into a password again if you need to retrieve it. The only thing that can be done is to validate that the password is correct by hashing it and comparing it to the saved hash value. That is why some sites offer you to reset the password but they cannot show you your password.

System.Web.Security namespace has the FormsAuthentication.HashPasswordForStoringInConfigFile Method.

Dim hashedPassword As String
hashedPassword = FormsAuthentication.HashPasswordForStoringInConfigFile(password.Text, hashMethod)

hashMethod can be either "MD5" or "SHA1"

Example: hashing the password 'test' gives the hash: 'ogF4I9nCJZCyYFP0azRLIS5wbvFdmlaHt5krTFW9RirYCdC3SgLbhngWGxYHOKXQ'

But this is still not enough. What if two or more users has the same password. That means that if you manage to get the password from one user you automatically have the password for other users with the same password. This can be exploited in a so called dictionary attack. Why is that? Most users actually uses simple passwords that exists in a dictionary. What the hacker does is to create hashes of a lot of words or passwords and can then compare these hashes to the hashes saved in the database.

Salting hashes is the next step to take. That means that a random string is generated and combined with the password and then hashed. So each user credential row has both a hash as well as a random salt string saved in the database. This will make all hashes unique.

Example: hashing the password 'test' combined with the salt 'Djf983jDJ#64)-d2' gives the hash: '57cjEal0b2+hNRT4sLc2eHL6m/0omTpKk8bkSF8osu9mNF0HG+H6HMFHYzzcR6RR'

This makes it a lot harder for the hacker since he would have to hash all his maybe 1,000,000 dictionary entries with the salt of every user row. That will take so much more time.

So the tip for those that want makes websites that needs to register users or needs to validate passwords one way or the other, do not ever save a clear text password in your database, hash it and use a bit of salt.

There are also other ways to handle web authentication. Take a look at Windows CardSpace and OpenID. OpenID is something you will see more of on Internet, that is for sure.

Update. You can read these posts including comments for more detailed information. Enough With The Rainbow Tables: What You Need To Know About Secure Password Schemes and 2 posts by Coding Horror, Rainbow Hash Cracking and You're Probably Storing Passwords Incorrectly

Passwords on internet

Many websites require that you register and provide a password. How safe is that?

I just signed up on a site and after registering I got a message like this: "We have sent a message to this address and providing you with a copy of your password."

And the email said: "You chose to register with the following email address: .... You chose the following as your password: ***********". But with the password in clear text of course.

When you can be emailed the same password as you have selected you know their solution to save passwords is not the safest one. Why is that?

If some hacker breaks in to their database they can also get all passwords without much problem.

Tip is to always use completely different passwords wherever you register. A strong password should appear to be a random string of characters to an attacker. It should be 14 characters or longer, (eight characters or longer at a minimum). It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Here is a good article on Strong passwords: How to create and use them and an online Password checker.

For more technically details see this post.

Update: Javascript Password Strength Meter

Sunday, September 2, 2007

3D spam

Not really CAD related but when I read about 3D spam I had these thoughts, who knows if DWF gets as popular as PDF that we might see spam in form of 3D DWF files just like we get PDF spam now and obviously 3D spam.

See the DWF here

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