Thursday, July 31, 2008

Keith Bentley’s comments on the Bentley/Autodesk agreement

Keith Bentley has started to blog and the first post is an interesting one as it is about the recent agreement between Autodesk and Bentley.

…keep current with new releases of AutoCAD and the DWG format on a timely basis, we really had no way of guaranteeing that we would always be able to do so, in the face of changes wholly outside of our control…

Another confidence factor for our DWG support is the annoyance alert that appears in AutoCAD whenever anyone opens a DWG file created or modified by MicroStation…

…support for "object enablers"…

…technical support for the use of our respective API's in each other's products…

BgInfo perfect for having an informative background on the server

imageThis little free Microsoft utility is useful to have on your servers.

How many times have you walked up to a system in your office and needed to click through several diagnostic windows to remind yourself of important aspects of its configuration, such as its name, IP address, or operating system version If you manage multiple computers you probably need BGInfo. It automatically displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop's background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. You can edit any field as well as the font and background colors, and can place it in your startup folder so that it runs every boot, or even configure it to display as the background for the logon screen.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prevent Excel bloating

Excel has a problem that results in the last active cell can be far away from the last cell with anything in it.

Start with a clean Excel sheet and add some values to it. Press CTRL+End and you will in the case below end up in cell B2.

Now add a value to cell D4. Then delete that value and press CTRL+End and you will end up in cell D4. After using an Excel sheet for quite a while the last active cell could be on a row far far below.

One way is to manually delete the last rows and columns. In the above case deleting column C and D and row 3 and 4.

This can be solved with some VBA code as well.

The code below will solve this on the active sheet. One side effect is that the undo history is wiped out. The code can be run in the Immediate window in the Visual Basic editor (ALT+F11).


Here is a way to do it automatically on all sheets when a workbook is saved.

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeSave _
  (ByVal SaveAsUI As Boolean, Cancel As Boolean)
    For Each ws In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
    Next ws
End Sub

Saturday, July 26, 2008

AutoCAD Architecture 2009 Update 1

With the recent Update 1 for AutoCAD it’s time for AutoCAD Architecture to get one that also includes AutoCAD’s update.

Get the updates for the 32-bit and 64-bit product.

The following defects have been fixed in AutoCAD Architecture 2009 Update 1:


  • The application might crash when cutting or refreshing sections or elevations containing certain structural members.

Drawing Management

  • For localized versions of AutoCAD Architecture, callouts and labels would occasionally fail to resolve when dropping views onto sheets.
  • The application might crash when viewing the external references of a project drawing that was resaved as a different project drawing type.
  • It was not possible to drag a project entity from one file to another when hardware acceleration was enabled, if the host drawing did not use the 2d wireframe visual style.
  • The application might crash when plotting immediately after cancelling a previous plot job.


  • Fillet radii would not be imported reliably for certain parameteric profiles.
  • Parametric profiles without voids would not be imported reliably.
  • Spaces with clipping and holes would not import reliably.
  • Wall styles would not be reliably converted and mapped on import.
  • Curtain walls might not be import properly on localized versions of AutoCAD Architecture.


  • gbXML would export a value 1000 times too large for AirChangesPerHour in metric drawings.


  • The application would occasionally crash on shutdown.

Wall Objects

  • The face of a wall might not draw correctly in isometric view for certain endcap configurations.

Display System

  • Autodesk Civil 3D users could end up with a style referencing a non-existent hatch.


  • Memory would not be released to Windows when closing a drawing.

AutoCAD 2009 Subscription Bonus Pack 1

With the recent Update 1 and now the Bonus Pack 1 AutoCAD 2009 is worth taking a serious look at if you hesitated when it was released initially.

For subscription customers only, others have to wait until AutoCAD 2010.

It’s finally possible to use the Rotate command on viewports.

Rotating a viewport

Rotated viewports

Purge/Erase Zero-Length Geometry and Empty Text Objects.


Enhanced Measurement Tools with the MEASUREGEOM command makes it especially easier to measure areas.

To reverse the order of vertices in selected lines, polylines, splines, and helixes, use the REVERSE command. You can also reverse polylines with the Reverse option in the PEDIT command.

You can convert a spline to a polyline using the PEDIT command.

This video below shows the rest of the commands in action.

The following commands and system variables have been added or updated for AutoCAD 2009 Subscription Bonus Pack 1:


  • -PURGE

System Variables:


The readme also has a nice VBScript example to Deploy This Bonus Pack.

More can be found on Between The Lines, Develop3D and New Feature Releases Now Available Exclusively for Autodesk Subscription Customers

Friday, July 25, 2008

Explode multiple objects with AutoLISP

If explode is used in AutoLISP you might have notice that it only accepts one object. To be able to explode many objects or a selection set make use of qaflags.

(setvar "qaflags" 1)
(command "._explode" (ssget) "")
(setvar "qaflags" 0)

To be on the safe side error handling needs to be added so qaflags can be set to 0 even if the program fails.

For more on qaflags.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update plotter devices in AutoCAD drawings

Ever wanted to automate updating plotter device settings (printer/plotter name) on existing drawings and make sure that it updates both model space and all layouts. Here is a CAD Manager trick.

I made a modification of the PlotDevicesFunctions.lsp code.

Just change Device old.pc3 and Device.pc3 to match your needs.

Call (updateAllTabs) and it will update any tab that needs to be updated.


(defun ActLay ()

(defun GetActivePlotDevice ()

(defun PutActivePlotDevice (PlotDeviceName)

(defun updatePlotDevice ()
      "Device old.pc3"
     (PutActivePlotDevice "Device.pc3")

(defun updateAllTabs ()
  (setvar "CTAB" "Model")
  (foreach LAYOUT (layoutlist)
    (setvar "CTAB" LAYOUT)

This can be added to acaddoc.lsp so it is run on a drawing as soon as it is opened or AutoCAD Automation Tools or SmartPurger can be used to script through a bunch of drawings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 License Alert Error [1.5.-18]

If all licenses are reserved using the option (OPT) file or in use you might get this message when starting for example AutoCAD 2009:

AutoCAD 2009 License Alert
A valid license could not be obtained by the network license manager.  Try again.  If you are still unable to access a license, contact your system administrator.

Error [1.5.-18]

Looking at the FLEXnet debug log file no denial is listed.

I expect the message to be more clearer and that a row in the debug file be added.

This problem started with the 10.2 version I think and still exist in the 11.4.1 version. Macrovision and Autodesk are aware of the problem so hopefully a solution is coming.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Access Database Engine Redistributable

If you need to code directly against the Access 2007 database format you can use the Access 2007 database engine that can be downloaded for free.

2007 Office System Driver: Data Connectivity Components

Filename: AccessDatabaseEngine.exe

This download will install a set of components that can be used by non-Microsoft Office applications to read data from 2007 Office system files such as Microsoft Office Access 2007 (mdb and accdb) files and Microsoft Office Excel 2007 (xls, xlsx, and xlsb) files. Connectivity to Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Text files is also supported.

ODBC and OLEDB drivers are installed for application developers to use in developing their applications with connectivity to Office file formats.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lmutil.exe reports too many issued licenses

If your license files contains multiple increments with different expiry dates it can result in that lmutil.exe is reporting wrong.


INCREMENT PACK-VPD_PDMS cadcentre 1.00 01-aug-2008 26 \
INCREMENT PACK-VPD_PDMS cadcentre 1.00 01-jul-2008 26 \

This is the result with a newer version of lmutil.exe (

Users of PACK-VPD_PDMS:  (Total of 52 licenses issued;  Total of 13 licenses in use)

And now when an older version is used the result is correct (

Users of PACK-VPD_PDMS:  (Total of 26 licenses issued;  Total of 13 licenses in use)

This of course affects the result in JTB FlexReport so try to copy the lmutil.exe that is on your license server to the JTB FlexReport folder and it can solve the issue.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Outlook signatures folder

Here is a neat trick to open the folder where the Outlook signatures are located.

  • On the Tools menu in Outlook, click Options, and select the Mail Format tab
  • Hold down <ctrl> key while clicking the Signatures… button
  • The folder containing your signatures will open

Via Microsoft Office Outlook Team Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 Update 1

AutoCAD 2009 Update 1 and AutoCAD LT 2009 Update 1 are now available. This service update solves a bunch of the problems I have listed on my AutoCAD 2009 page and that I earlier have blogged about.

Updates have been made in the following feature areas:

  • 3D Visual Styles
  • Annotation Scaling
  • External References (xref) palette
  • Raster Images
  • Partial Open
  • Plot
  • Properties Palette
  • Hatch
  • Remote text (rtext)

41 defects have been fixed.

66 files are changed in this update.

Seems like Autodesk has changed the wording from what previously should have been called AutoCAD 2009 SP1 (Service Pack 1) .

Known Issues with This Update

After you apply this update, you may experience the following ribbon customization-related problems:

An Incorrect or Missing Ribbon Tab

Known Issue: When you display a ribbon tab from a partial of Enterprise CUI file, on the ribbon, the ribbon tab displays incorrectly or is missing. 

Workaround: To correctly display a ribbon tab, recreate the workspace used to display the ribbon tab from scratch. Do not duplicate or attempt to update the workspace. Once you create a new workspace, set the workspace current. The ribbon tab should display correctly.
For a partial CUI file, before you add a ribbon tab to a workspace, use the Customize User Interface (CUI) Editor to change the customization group name of the file. The customization group name is represented by the uppermost node of the tree in the Customization In pane.

A Blank Image for a Command

Known Issue: On a ribbon panel, the image associated with a command defined in the Command List pane displays as a blank icon.

Workaround: To recreate a ribbon command item on a ribbon panel, delete it. Then, from the Command List pane, add the command to the ribbon panel.

Readme for AutoCAD 2009 Update 1

AutoCAD 2009 Update 1 for AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite 2009

AutoCAD 2009 Update 1 for AutoCAD Revit Structure Suite 2009

AutoCAD Automation Tools 2.0 released

AutoCAD Automation Tools 2.0 is released. AutoCAD Automation Tools helps with auto-generating of new drawings or updating existing drawings. This can be done or hundreds of drawings or more and save a lot of manual work.

New in 2.0 is support for optionally having an AutoLISP file (*.lsp;*.vlx;*.fas) loaded for each drawing. You can even specify different AutoLISP files to be loaded for different drawings to be processed.

The price has been lowered as well.

Contact us to get a trial version for free.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SSMPropEditor 1.1 released with support for Shift selection

SSMPropEditor version 1.1 adds support for selection of multiple sheets using the Shift key. This makes it a lot quicker and easier to select many sheets in the tree view.

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Adding Symbols to a Schedule in ACA

Here is a useful tutorial Elise Moss has put together on how to Adding Symbols to a Schedule in ACA. The tip was in her latest Email Newsletter CADzette. Step by step you learn how to produce a result like this.

FLEXnet denial reports with JTB FlexReport

If you have configured JTB FlexReport to use the FLEXnet (FLEXlm) debug logs for denial reports but still unable to get any reports this might help.

To be able to access log files on other servers than where JTB FlexReport’s service is running this can be needed.

Open Windows Services and look for the JTB FlexReport service and if you have "Log On As" set to "Local System" you can try to change Log On As to the local administrator account instead as the SYSTEM or Local System account does not have network access. You'll need to switch the service to use either NETWORK SERVICE or a network user account such that you can access the network drive. You might need to change location to the Corporate Domain, to get the ability to choose the Domain Administrator.


See the JTB FlexReport documentation for more details.

If you have need for denial reports that includes the server name please contact us.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SSMPropEditor 1.0.1 released

SSMPropEditor has already been a big hit for users that have wanted to edit properties on multiple sheets at a time. Sheets belonging to AutoCAD's Sheet Set Manager (SSM) or AutoCAD Architecture's Project Navigator (PN).

The SSMPropEditor 1.0.1 version fixes a bug related to some particular sheets that could not show the properties.

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free.

Give it a try you too.

This video shows how it works.

Cadalyst CAD Tips

If you look for different CAD Tips you might find one at

CAD Tips library — formerly Get the Code! — your first stop for AutoLISP and VBA customization code for AutoCAD, as well as tips and tricks for AutoCAD, MicroStation, VectorWorks, and other computer-aided design software.

Via CAD-a-Blog

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Autodesk + Bentley Systems interoperability

This is great news and something that we users have wanted for a long time! No more home baked DGN support in Autodesk products like AutoCAD and Bentley products like Microstation will read and write DWG just as good as Autodesk products. Future will tell what will happen with Open Design Alliance as Bentley now is an ODA member.


Autodesk and Bentley Systems today announced an agreement to expand interoperability between their portfolios of architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) software. 

Autodesk and Bentley will exchange software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG, to improve the ability to read and write the companies’ respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with greater fidelity.  In addition, the two companies will facilitate work process interoperability between their AEC applications through supporting the reciprocal use of available Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). 

With this agreement, the companies aim to improve AEC workflows by enabling broader reuse of information generated during the design, construction, and operation of buildings and infrastructure, and by enhancing the ability of project teams to choose among multiple software sources.

This exchange will improve data quality and benefit their customers, while saving almost $16 billion a year according to a government study.

Related blogs: WorldCAD Access,, Between the Lines, AECbytes.

And the press release

Autodesk and Bentley to Advance AEC Software Interoperability

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. and EXTON, Pa. – July 8, 2008 – At a joint press conference, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) and Bentley Systems, Incorporated, two of the leading providers of design and infrastructure software, today announced an agreement to expand interoperability between their portfolios of architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) software.  Autodesk and Bentley will exchange software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG, to improve the ability to read and write the companies’ respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with greater fidelity.  In addition, the two companies will facilitate work process interoperability between their AEC applications through supporting the reciprocal use of available Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).  With this agreement, the companies aim to improve AEC workflows by enabling broader reuse of information generated during the design, construction, and operation of buildings and infrastructure, and by enhancing the ability of project teams to choose among multiple software sources.

Interoperability has emerged as a critical issue for users of design and engineering software.  A 2004 study by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology found that users bear direct costs of almost $16 billion annually from time wasted due to inadequate AEC software interoperability. By virtue of this agreement, and the interoperable offerings that it will enable, AEC firms will be free to employ software tools of choice from either Autodesk or Bentley to accept or submit either DWG or DGN files.  By improving fidelity of work shared between the two file formats, users will be able to focus on being creative and getting work done, rather than being constrained by file-compatibility considerations.

Through supporting the reciprocal use of their available APIs, Autodesk and Bentley will enable AEC project teams to combine products from both providers within integrated workflows.  For instance, a design team could use a mixture of Autodesk and Bentley software, such as Autodesk’s Revit platform and Bentley’s STAAD and RAM structural products, and simulate and analyze their designs or manage project information using Autodesk NavisWorks software or Bentley’s ProjectWise.

Norbert Young, FAIA, president of McGraw-Hill Construction and former chairman of the International Alliance for Interoperability in North America, said, “This groundbreaking agreement directly addresses many of the critical issues detailed in the October 2007 McGraw-Hill Construction study on interoperability in the construction industry ( I applaud both companies for their foresight and leadership.”

Added Patrick MacLeamy, FAIA, CEO of global architectural firm HOK and a founder and current chairman of the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI), “As a longtime advocate of interoperability, I welcome this agreement as an important step toward enabling AEC information to be more broadly shared, increasing the value of BIM to our clients.” 

“Autodesk recognizes that many customers use our products in mixed environments, and this agreement will help to better support these firms,” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, Autodesk AEC Solutions.  “As part of our commitment to provide technology that improves productivity and efficiency across the AEC industry, we’re pleased to enter into this agreement with Bentley Systems – Autodesk’s largest development partner – and together help customers design, build, operate, and maintain the world’s infrastructure.”

“Bentley and Autodesk share a goal of enabling the creation and operations of better-performing infrastructure,” said Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems.  “Realizing that our mutual users bear unnecessary costs resulting from lack of interoperability, we came together to finally make information reuse the norm. By raising its sights beyond file format issues, the resource-constrained AEC community can better serve us all.”

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

SSMPropEditor 1.0 released

Do you use AutoCAD's Sheet Set Manager (SSM) or AutoCAD Architecture's Project Navigator (PN)?

Have you wanted to change sheet properties like a revision, date or name on two or more sheets at the same time?

If you answer yes on these two questions SSMPropEditor is for you or your users.


Contact us to get a time limited license file for free.

Lisp 50 years

I’ve only programmed Lisp or rather AutoLISP for 19 years and Lisp has been around for 50 years now and still going strong.

In October 1958, John McCarthy published one in a series of reports about his then ongoing effort for designing a new programming language that would be especially suited for achieving artificial intelligence. That report was the first one to use the name LISP for this new programming language.

Lisp's 50th Birthday Celebration will be on OOPSLA 2008 and the Lisp creator John McCarthy will be there and give a talk.

Some other LISP related links.

Did you know that Lisp was initially designed for writing artificial intelligence programs?

Via Lambda the Ultimate.

Monday, July 7, 2008

FLEXnet Licensing End User Guide and FLEXnet downloads

I several times get questions where to find the FLEXnet documentation and downloads.

Useful links are:

  • Documentation and download and Information Page for lmgrd.exe, lmutil.exe, lmtools.exe and Utilities on Acresso’s site
  • Latest version of the FlexNet License Administration Guide documentation.pdf
  • The Acresso site for FLEXnet Publisher
  • For version 11.6 (not available longer):
    • License Administration Guide (for both lmgrd and lmadmin)
    • License Server Manager (lmadmin) Installation Guide
  • For version 11.5: License Administration Guide (not available longer)
  • For version 11.4.x: FLEXnet Licensing End User Guide (not available longer)

For the difference between FLEXnet and FLEXlm.

JTB FlexReport and JTB FlexReport LT are reporting solutions for products using FlexNet/FLEXlm.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Adobe Reader 9 is released – to install, or not to install

Adobe Reader 9 is released but wait a minute before you go ahead and install it.

Although you can install Adobe Acrobat 9.x or Adobe Reader 9.x on a computer that contains an installation of previous Acrobat versions, it is not recommended.

Adobe Technical Support does not recommend or support having multiple versions of Acrobat or Adobe Reader installed on the same machine (for example Acrobat 8, with Adobe Reader 9 or Acrobat 7 with Adobe Reader 8)

This KB document on coexisting installations and version interoperability  has a great chart that is useful if you need to have multiple versions of Adobe Reader/Acrobat products installed.

News in Adobe Reader 9 and possible benefits of installing:

  • Enhanced general performance and, in particular, reduced launch times with Adobe Reader 9.
  • PDF Portfolios.
  • Native Adobe Flash support.
  • (beta).
  • Security enhancements.
  • New PDF Standards Pane, improved CAD and geospatial functionality and accessibility enhancements.

Download Adobe Reader 9 (33.5MB) or distribute Adobe Reader 9 in your enterprise or bundle it with a CD or computer. Adobe Reader System Requirements.

I have Adobe Acrobat 8 installed on my Vista machine and I have no compelling reasons to upgrade it but I will give it a try to also install Adobe Reader 9. Let’s see what kind of problems that can create.

During the installation My Adobe Reader 8 was uninstalled and then I got this Error 1311. Source file not found: C:\Users\JTB\AppData\Local\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Setup Files\READER9\ Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.

Sure enough did not exist. I tried to download again and as I had the folder in question opened I noticed that and some other files where added.


I get a dialog box asking me to close Adobe Download Manager and when I do that I noticed that the only file left in the READER9 folder is Setup.exe and therefore the installation will fail again. Stupid!

One irritating thing is that if I close Internet Explorer with the “Adobe Download Manager powered by getPlus®” box the Adobe Download Manager also is closed.

So I try one more time and this time I will try to Ignore to close the Download Manager as well as Internet Explorer. Ignoring seems to help, the setup continues and returns to the Download Manager that has reached 92% but seems to got stuck. It seems like most of the installation is ready. The desktop shortcut for Adobe Reader 9 is there. After waiting some more minutes I’m confident that it has hanged. I close the Download Manager and tries to start Reader. It works. I’m also able to start Adobe Acrobat 8 with no problems.

Wondering what should happen after the 92%. What am I missing. What problems will I have. Time will tell.

I tried to continue by clicking on the desktop shortcut for the Download Manager and this time it did run to the end. Will I be safe now?

First thing I tried was File>Create Adobe PDF Using…

Adobe Reader started Internet Explorer twice. One that is empty.

And one with two tabs started like this.

Enough for today's exercise.

Share your experience if you dare to try install version 9.

Via Adobe Reader Weblog.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How to add Blogger Star Ratings to a customized template

Star Ratings has been added to Blogger in Draft. If you have customized the template you might find that the Star Ratings does not show up on your blog.

Go to Blogger in Draft>Layout>'Edit HTML' and select 'Expand widget templates'.

Search for this row:

<p class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-3'/>

Replace it with the following:

<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-3'><span class='star-ratings'>
  <b:if cond='data:top.showStars'>
    <div expr:g:background-color='data:backgroundColor' expr:g:text-color='data:textColor' expr:g:url='data:post.absoluteUrl' g:height='42' g:type='RatingPanel' g:width='180'/>
</span> </div>

Search for something like this:

<b:widget id='Blog1'

Now continue searching for the end of this widget:


You will find two rows like these:


Before these two rows the following should be placed

<b:if cond='data:top.showStars'>
  <script src='' type='text/javascript'/>
  <script type='text/javascript'>
    google.load(&quot;annotations&quot;, &quot;1&quot;);
    function initialize() {

Preview to make sure it works. If you are unsure make a backup before you save it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Release an AutoCAD Raster Design network license

You can release an AutoCAD Raster Design 2009 network license without restarting AutoCAD using the command IUNLOAD. Worth learning your users or even add a button on a toolbar or on the Ribbon for easy access.

Releasing an AutoCAD Raster Design network license

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Expression Web 2 is not available with Empower MSDN subscription

I have MSDN access through my ISV Empower subscription and noticed that I could access Expression Web 1 but not Expression Web 2. Version 2 was greyed and not available. I got confirmed from Microsoft that this was the case and that this media is only available for Certified Partners and in other MSDN subscriptions. Too bad, have to go back to version 1 again as my trial period of version 2 has ended.

Participated in setting a Guinness World Record

Guinness World Record for the most downloaded software in 24 hours. From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fix for some Autodesk 2009 products in JTB FlexReport

A customer found that some features like 60500PNID_2009_0F (AutoCAD P&ID 2009) and 67700PNID_F (the package feature for P&ID) did not show up in the reports in an older version of JTB FlexReport.

We found that lmutil.exe version in the JTB FlexReport folder was When upgrading lmutil.exe to or higher it started to work.

Download for lmutil.exe and lmutil.exe 11.5.

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