Friday, December 28, 2012

How to rotate or twist the view in AutoCAD

Here are some AutoLISP commands that can be useful if you want to rotate or twist the view. Change 90 to any other angle if you like. For counterclockwise change to –90. If you have a recent version of AutoCAD and just want 90 degrees relative rotation use the built in ViewCube functionality and the two arrows at the top right.

The DVIEW command can be used to also manually to twist the view using the twist option that twists or tilts the view around the line of sight. The twist angle is measured counterclockwise, with 0 degrees to the right.

The AutoCAD system variable VIEWTWIST stores the view rotation angle for the current viewport measured relative to the WCS and is also named as “Roll angle” (Displays the rotation angle of the view within your viewing plane, which is a plane parallel to your monitor's screen.) in the View Manager. This is being used for rotating the view relative the current rotation.

; By Jimmy Bergmark,
; Rotate 90 degrees relative the current twist rotation
(defun c:r90 ()
  (command "._dview" "" "_twist" (+ (* 180.0 (/ (getvar "viewtwist") pi)) 90 ) "")

; Rotate -90 degrees relative the current twist rotation
(defun c:r-90 ()
  (command "._dview" "" "_twist" (+ (* 180.0 (/ (getvar "viewtwist") pi)) -90 ) "")

; Rotate to 90 degrees fixed twist rotation
(defun c:r90f ()
  (command "._dview" "" "_twist" 90 "")

; Rotate to 0 degrees fixed twist rotation
(defun c:r0f ()
  (command "._dview" "" "_twist" 0 "")


and after rotating the view 90 degrees.

Monday, December 3, 2012

AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 Service Pack 1 Hotfix 1

AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 Service Pack 1 Hotfix 1 addresses issues reported by customers who use the Customer Error Reporting (CER) utility.

Updates have been made in the following commands and features:

· A fatal error can occur when opening the Properties panel after selecting features in offline mode (MAPWORKOFFLINE).

· AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 becomes unstable after deleting AdeTopView objects.

· AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 becomes unstable when a value in registry exceeds 1024 characters.

· AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 cannot be launched once AutoCAD Map 3D 2010 has been uninstalled.

· AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 becomes unstable when moving the cursor over a polygon feature if other Autodesk products are installed in the same machine.

The following issues have been fixed:

· Some commands like MAPPOLYLINETOPOLYGON and MAPTOPOLOGYTOPOLYGONS can only be invoked once. Any further attempt to use the commands will not work.

If you have not got SP1 yet here it is.

Primary AutoCAD Map 3D Issues Resolved by Service Pack 1


· Usage limitation to TopologyClean has been extended.


· Crash when change to offline mode for the electric industry model from SQL Server with an invalid template.

· Crash when try to convert data from different feature class sources to the same feature class as a target.


· DigitalGlobe server can now be connected through the FDO WFS provider.


· SQL Server Spatial Connection works when get functions with geometry parameter from server side.


· The last used setting of label creation is remembered on the Choose label definition dialog.


· Industry Model Structure Update with Genx file which GeomSelectStatement is NULL will not result in invalid geometry select statement


· Oracle user permission for workflows is now working for Map Client and application extension.


· Special characters (especially German characters) are now converted correctly by the “Convert Blocks” tool.

See also AutoCAD 2013 Service Pack 1.1.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Service Pack 1

Here’s what Autodesk says about SP1 for Civil 3D 2013:

In a continuing effort to provide high quality products, Autodesk has released AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Service Pack 1, which fixes or addresses a variety of issues discovered by customers and by Autodesk's internal testing team.

This Service Pack includes all previous hotfixes for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013. It also includes the fixes included in AutoCAD 2013 Service Pack 1.1 and AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 Service Pack 1.

Note: This update applies to all language versions and to versions of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 with previous hotfixes applied. Before applying this update, make sure that any customizations made to the user profile (such as, customizations made to the support file search paths, print file customizations, printer support file paths, redirections, custom template settings, and so on) are exported to a secure location, then imported and reapplied after the update has been successfully installed. You cannot run an automatic uninstall to remove this update. To restore your version of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 to its pre-update state, uninstall AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 and reinstall it.

The following issues have been resolved in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Service Pack 1:


  • The IsUsed property in StyleBase now reports whether a style is in use by an AutoCAD Civil 3D object.


  • The COGO Editor now accepts Degrees/Minutes/Seconds in a spaced format.
  • The COGO Editor now retains the saved value in the description field.

Corridor Design

  • An issue with the Offset End Station value that prevented a drawing from opening has been resolved.
  • Switching between drawings while Station Tracker is enabled no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • An issue that caused errant feature lines to be generated between stations has been resolved.

Corridor Volumes

  • An issue where cut/fill volume shading was displaying incorrectly in some cross sections has been resolved.

Cross Section Views

  • The Update Section View Layout command no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • Opening a AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 drawing containing the OverlayAndMill subassembly no longer results in a display issue with the section views.

Cross Sections

  • Selecting multiple existing polylines when creating sample lines no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.

Data Exchange

  • An imported structure will now use the expected dimension rather than the dimension of the first structure of the imported group.

Feature Lines

  • Creating feature lines from objects when the objects are overlapping closed polylines no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.


  • An issue that caused an error when closing a drawing has been resolved.
  • An issue that caused an error when starting AutoCAD Civil 3D after migrating settings from a previous release has been resolved.
  • The stability of the Audit command has been improved.
  • Using the Move/Copy/Rotate Express Tool after grip editing an object no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • In drawings with a custom UCS, switching from the model tab to the layout tab will no longer reset model tab to isometric.
  • Using your mouse wheel to pan while in a command no longer causes an unexpected error.
  • Deleting the last remaining layout while set to model viewin that layout no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • File sync of custom Tool Palettes has been disabled.
  • Opening a drawing by double-clicking on the file no longer causes an unexpected error.
  • The performance of tooltips has been improved.
  • North rotation is now calculated as expected between Coordinate Settings and Geolocation.
  • An issue that caused an error when saving a drawing has been resolved.


  • An error while using the Grade to Surface command has been resolved.
  • Deleting a PI from a feature line no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.

Hydraflow Storm Sewers

  • Storm Sewer calculations have been clarified to follow methodologies according to HEC-22.
  • Storm Sewers using HDS-5 inlet control option now report expected results.
  • The following issues related to inlet calculations and reporting have been resolved:
    • Inlet section view displays spread correctly in 2D when depression is ignored.
    • Slotted drains in sag condition now calculate expected depth and spread values while transitioning between weir and orifice flow.
    • Open Area Design calculations are now less than or equal to the product of grate length and width.
    • A column in theInteractive Designer is now labeled "Local Depression" to be consistent with the data-entry field.

Hydraflow Express

  • The following issues related to Inlet calculations and reporting have been resolved:
    • Inlet Section View display shows spread correctly in 2D when depression is ignored.
    • Slotted drains in sag condition now calculate expected depth and spread values while transitioning between weir and orifice flow.
    • Open Area Design calculations are now less than or equal to the product of grate length and width.
  • The following issues related to culvert calculations and reporting have been resolved:
    • Circular culverts now report consistent tailwater results as expected across a flow range.
    • Elliptical culvert calculations now report expected headwater values above the crown of the pipe.

Hydraflow Hydrographs

  • Hydrograph plots are now displayed correctly on computers running Windows XP 32-bit.


  • Switching between drawings while the Profile View Elevation and Grade Between Points inquiry command is active no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.


  • An issue where referenced pipe spanning labels list the incorrect distance after reopening a drawing has been resolved.
  • An issue where referenced pipe network labels in section view disappear after reopening a drawing has been resolved.
  • Wipeout frames used in styles now display as expected.


  • When importing LandXML data, alignments are now imported to the specified drawing layer.

Object Enabler

  • Importing a drawing using Navisworks Manage 2013 no longer results in the application becoming unresponsive or closing unexpectedly.


  • Deleting a PI of a perimeter parcel no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.

Pipe Networks

  • Solid hatching now displays as expected in profile views.
  • Issues recognizing the correct Manning roughness n-value for parts has been resolved.
  • Pipe length data is now available in structure tables displaying connected pipes.
  • Synchronizing a pipe network with a part swapped in the source drawing now updates the style as expected.


  • Creating a point no longer fails if a survey point with the same number already exists in the drawing.
  • Assigning user-defined properties to a point group from the Summary tab no longer results in the application closing unexpectedly.
  • The next point number is now assigned correctly when creating points from objects.

Pressure Networks

  • Deleting pressure networks while the Pressure Network panorama is open no longer causes the program to close unexpectedly.
  • Minimum radius values for curved pipes are now updated when changing pipe sizes during layout.
  • Quantity takeoff reports now list lengths of pressure pipe when linear pay items are assigned.


  • Grip editing a PVI marker with OSNAP enabled no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • Linetypes used for profiles that are referenced now appear as expected.

Project Management

  • Drawings with circular dependencies now generate a prompt when being checked in.
  • An error is no longer generated when checking in a drawing with a reference, when the reference drawing is checked out by another user.

Quantity Takeoff

  • The Pay Item and Pay Item Categorization files now default to the previously browsed path.


  • The PVI Station and Curve report is now generated correctly when the ambient setting for Grade/Slope format is set to Per Mille.


  • An issue that allows the same profile object to be mapped to two different parent alignments has been resolved.
  • Performance when opening a drawing containing references has been improved.


  • The diagram in the Create Superelevation View dialog box is now displayed as expected when the alignment is referenced.


  • Watershed analysis performance on DEM surfaces has been improved.
  • The Drape Image command no longer results in a reversed image when hardware acceleration is enabled.
  • The stability of the Level of Detail command has been improved.
  • The stability of the Resolve Crossing Breaklines command has been improved.


  • The lower pane of Figure Properties dialog box now displays the Import Events as expected.
  • Modifying figure data in Figure Properties dialog box no longer causes the application to close unexpectedly.
  • Editing Chain Type Figure Properties no longer causes the layer to reset to 0.

Get SP1 here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Autodesk University 2012 #AU2012

Autodesk University 2012 is at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, November 27-29, 2012. If you could not attend at the location there is AU Virtual so you can watch classes on demand. Live Streaming of Keynote Address and Innovation Forums will start today at 8 a.m. PST.

My class Autodesk® Network License Manager from last year is still available online if you want to learn about this topic. Also available on YouTube and on the Autodesk Network License Manager page.

Monday, November 19, 2012

AutoCAD Architecture Classification Definitions Export/Import

How can AutoCAD Architecture Classification Definitions be exported and imported?

With JTB World’s ClassificationDefinitionTools this can be done. I’ve now updated the tool for AutoCAD Architecture 2013 and AutoCAD MEP 2013. Windows 8 is also supported as long as you are able to run the Autodesk product in question on it.

Here is the program’s import form where the first column defines the level in the resulting classification tree. This will also work fine with thousands of classification items.

After importing this definition the result in the Style Manager is as below.

One user is using ClassificationDefinitionTools to add OmniClass Construction Classification System (known as OmniClass or OCCS) classifications to AutoCAD MEP drawings. “There are over 10,000 of them so this tool makes it easy.”

Trial is available at here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Autodesk’s Official support for Windows 8

Have you started using Windows 8 or plan to do it? If so you may wonder what Autodesk says about support for their products.

Is compatible with ?

Windows 8 Support for Autodesk products

According to KB id TS19048377


You want to know which Autodesk products are supported on Microsoft Windows® 8.

Note: Unless indicated otherwise, this information applies to the 2013-2010 versions of all Autodesk products. Autodesk product versions of 2009 and earlier are no longer supported and are not included in considerations of Windows 8 compatibility.


Autodesk intends to support many of our key products on Windows 8 and will add additional products to the list of products supported on Windows 8 as updates and future versions are released. Product Support will provide its best effort to assist customers who have issues with products that are not currently supported.

The Autodesk products listed below have been tested and are confirmed as working correctly on Microsoft Windows 8 operating system:

  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2013
  • Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2013
  • Autodesk Maya 2013
  • Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013
  • Autodesk Mudbox 2013
  • Autodesk Softimage 2013
  • Autodesk SketchBook Designer 2013

Note: This technical solution will be updated as new Windows 8 compatibility information becomes available.

See also Windows 8 and Autodesk product compatibility


If you are using MASSPROP and an AutoCAD 2013 based product this hotfix is for you.

According to DL20864100 from where you can download it: Autodesk MASSPROP Hotfix. This hot fix addresses an issue with the MASSPROP command returning an error or invalid results on certain solids created by extruding regions along closed polylines.

This hotfix applies to the Service Pack 1 or 1.1 levels of AutoCAD 2013 and AutoCAD 2013-based vertical products: AutoCAD 2013, AutoCAD Architecture 2013, AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013, AutoCAD ecscad 2013, AutoCAD Electrical 2013, AutoCAD Mechanical 2013, AutoCAD MEP 2013, AutoCAD P&ID 2013, AutoCAD Plant 3D 2013, AutoCAD Raster Design 2013 and AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2013

Monday, November 5, 2012

Catenary for AutoCAD - JTBCatenary 1.0 released

JTBCatenary 1.0 is now released. This Catenary program for AutoCAD makes it easy to create or draw a catenary curve as a polyline by specifying the start and end point and the length and optionally a diameter (width). This can be useful for drawing a freely hanging cable, hose, chain, transmission line, anchor line (anchor rode), cord, rope, string, suspension bridge cable, arch, hawser, wire or the like.

Catenary curves

Feel free to visit JTBCatenary and download the trial.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Windows 8 and Autodesk product compatibility

If you like to know about Microsoft Windows 8 compatibility of Autodesk products you can visit the Windows 8 Compatibility Center and search for your product.

What does Microsoft say?

Here are a couple of examples:

AutoCAD 2013 is compatible with Windows 8.

Autodesk Revit 2013 is compatible with Windows 8.

But what does Autodesk say?

This is according to TS19048377

You want to know if you can run AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, or AutoCAD-based vertical products on Microsoft Windows 8.

At this time, Windows® 8 and the Windows® 8 Consumer Preview are not supported operating systems for any AutoCAD versions.  The AutoCAD team is investigating compatibility with these new platforms, but we do not have any further information at this time. In the meantime, please refer to Operating system compatibility for AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT for details on currently supported operating systems.

Windows 7 was released July 22, 2009 not a long time after AutoCAD 2010 was released in March 24, 2009. In the case with AutoCAD 2010 Windows 7 became supported by Autodesk. We have to wait and see if Autodesk officially will support some or all of their 2013 products on Windows 8 or not.

UPDATE: Autodesk’s Official support for Windows 8

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sheet Set Manager Sheet Views in AutoCAD

AutoCAD’s Sheet Set Manager (SSM) can be used to just manage Sheets and their title blocks in a Sheet Set but there is also functionality to manage callouts and view labels.

A view on one sheet can refer to a view on another sheet. Hyperlinks of callouts makes it possible to quickly open the sheet that is referenced by the callout zooming into the view. There can be multiple callouts referring to one sheet view and when the sheet view is renamed and renumbered this will be reflected on all callouts.

Sheet Set Manager is now included also in AutoCAD LT since the 2012 version.


Here is what AutoCAD’s documentation says about Sheet Views:

A view on a sheet, called a sheet view, consists of several coincident entities:

  • an xref or geometry in model space
  • a layout viewport on a sheet
  • a named view in paper space

The Sheet Set Manager automates and enhances the process for adding views to a sheet.

  • The sheet view can display model space from a different drawing file. In this case, that drawing is attached as an xref in your current drawing. The layers of that drawing file are displayed only in the sheet view that you create.

    Note The xref is attached using a relative path. If you need to change the path to a fully specified (absolute) path, use the External References palette.

  • A layout viewport that displays the model space view is created on your current sheet.
  • A named view that encompasses the area of the layout viewport is created in paper space.

When you place a sheet view on a sheet, all the layers in the current drawing (including layer 0) are frozen in the new viewport created by the view. The layers are shown as frozen in the VP Freeze column of the Layer Properties Manager.

If you need to remove a sheet view from a sheet, you can delete the layout viewport to remove the view. However, to remove all unused items, you need to detach the xref and delete the named paper space view.

Note! The easiest method for removing a sheet view immediately after placing it is to use UNDO.


A prerequisite for creating Sheet Views is that there is at least one location added to Model Views tab in SSM.

Then the models need named modelspace views that can be created with the VIEW command. Only sheet views created in AutoCAD 2005 or later are listed on the Sheet Views tab. Then they will show up like this.

Right click on a Model View and select Place on Sheet or drag and drop it into a sheet that you have open. This will create a viewport based on the view boundaries on the layout of the sheet, attach the model as an xref taking layer visibility into account and add a view label with its insertion point at the lower left corner of the viewport.

Before the view is placed you have an option to select the view scale. Just move the mouse over the blank sheet and the preview of the view. Right-click and a list of scale options appears where you you can select a scale.

Having placed a Sheet View on a Sheet you can double click on the View found on the Sheet Views tab in SSM.

One problem with moving the viewport in AutoCAD is that the actual view often get distorted as seen below showing much more than needed.

The Sheet Views are named Layout Views views on steroids. They can be edited and deleted with the View command. Note that Viewport association is Yes. Viewport association displays whether the named view is associated with a viewport on a sheet in a sheet set. It is not possible to create a new view in View Manager to have a viewport association or to change an existing view if Viewport association is set to No as it is greyed out. A limitation is that changing the view on the master drawing after a view has been placed on a sheet will not either update the view as expected.

In SSM right click on the view and you get the options to Display, Rename & Renumber, Set category, Place Callout Block and Place View Label Block.

After using Rename & Renumber the Sheet View name can be different than the name of the view that shows up in View Manager and the other way around.

To delete a sheet view just erase the viewport and its view label block. This will leave the callouts not knowing what sheet view to point on. The xref to the model needs also to be detached manually if not needed longer.

A general warning is to never overwrite fields (text with gray background) like the one seen when double clicking on a sheet view label block. Doing that will break the smart link that the field holds.

What if you want to move the sheet view to another sheet? If you take CUTCLIP and PASTECLIP of the viewport and view label block you will notice that the xref to the model view is not included and the linked callouts will not know where to go and so on. Right now the way to do it is more or less manually recreating the sheet view and its callouts.

There is still a lot of room for improvements to the Sheet Set Manager within AutoCAD as you will notice if you try to use it to the full. But even with the existing functionalities it can help to ease your AutoCAD life.

JTB World’s SSMPropEditor can be a useful complement to the Sheet Set Manager. At this point there is no support for handling sheet views but if you have this need feel free to let me know and it might be added in a future version. We are also able to do other kind of Sheet Set Manager customizations based on user requests.

Friday, October 26, 2012

JTB FlexReport 7.3 Released

The license usage report solution JTB FlexReport has been updated to version 7.3.

Downloads here. See also the Upgrade tips. Customers with maintenance have access to this release at no extra cost.

See the revision history for more details on this release.

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are the new supported operating systems.

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free. You can try it in your environment with your real data for a few weeks with full functionality.
Full support is provided during trial period.

About JTB FlexReport: JTB FlexReport from JTB World is a report and monitoring tool for applications using the FlexNet / FLEXlm (flexlm license manager), IBM LUM (IBM License Use Management), SPLM (Intergraph SmartPlant License Manager), SLM/Sentinel LM/Sentinel RMS, LM-X, Solidworks SNL License Manager, T-Systems license manager product LICMAN, Vertex Systems, MathLM (Mathematica), Primavera from Oracle or 12D software licensing. With Process Monitor any Windows application like Acrobat, Visio, Bentley MicroStation, single licensed AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT can be reported usage of.

See also: Autodesk Network License Manager for 2013 products and Software Vendor Audits are Increasing as well as the guide to Autodesk Network License Manager (FlexNet).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Autodesk Revit 2013 Update Release 2

Update Release 2 for Autodesk Revit 2013 products is not a full install; rather it is using service pack technology similar to AutoCAD-based products.

Downloads here:
Autodesk Revit 2013 UR2
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 UR2
Autodesk Revit Structure 2013 UR2
Autodesk Revit MEP 2013 UR2

Autodesk Revit Platform 2013 Enhancements

  • Improves stability when Save to Central or Sync with Central.
  • Improves stability when utilizing Create Assembly Views from the project browser.
  • Improves stability when editing a label within the family editor.
  • Improves stability when saving file to a location with low disc space.
  • Improves stability when launching Export gbXML – Settings dialog.
  • Improves stability and memory usage within graphics display.
  • Improves stability during IFC data import which contains openings with no usable geometry.
  • Improves stability when importing IFC data which imported into Revit 2012 with warnings.
  • Improves import of clipped solids during IFC import.
  • Improves IFC Export to support buildingSMART International IFC certification.
  • Improves stability when linking or attached DWG files.
  • Improves stability of printing after Export to DWG or DXF format.
  • Improves stability when creating, duplicating or deleting a material in the Material Editor.
  • Improves the retention of part parameters within a part upgraded from Revit 2012.
  • Corrects ribbon tab population after installing .NET 4.5
  • Improves stability while editing calculated values within a schedule after deleting a parameter used in a formula.
  • Improves stability with schedules which contains a filter based upon a user defined parameter and elements in linked files do not contain the user defined parameter.
  • Improves stability when opening Sun Settings dialog.
  • Improves stability when editing Text Notes.
  • Improves stability when upgrading Revit 2012 project to Revit 2013.
  • Improves stability when moving a Crop Region which utilizes the disjoin option.

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 Enhancements

  • Improves stability when upgrading 2012 project which contains analytical walls.
  • Improves stability when adjusting multiple sketch lines of a floor at the same moment.
  • Improves stability when editing the gutters on a roof object with the Add/Remove Segment tool.
  • Improves stability when renaming a Stair run type or landing to ‘none’.
  • Improves stability when using the ribbon Cancel Edit Mode button to exit Stair Edit Mode. 
  • Improves stability when using an open profile for a wall sweep.
  • Improves stability when splitting a wall.

Autodesk Revit Structure 2013 Enhancements

  • Enables the Area, Area Boundary and Tag Area ribbon commands.
  • Improves stability when using Beam Systems.
  • Improves the respect of the Top In-Plane parameter for Analytical Models Walls after wall is modified.
  • Improves the joining of Rebar to the host surfaces.
  • Improves retention of Rebar Shapes upgraded within Revit 2012 projects.
  • Improves stability when editing Rebar Shapes in the Family Editor.
  • Improves display of underlay items in non-wireframe Structural Views.

Autodesk Revit MEP 2013 Enhancements

  • Improves stability when sizing Duct.
  • Corrects the use of tees when specified in duct routing preferences within projects upgraded from Revit 2012.
  • Improves stability when upgrading a pipe fitting connected to multiple systems.
  • Improves stability when editing duct fitting size in the active view and then editing the duct fitting type in the Property Palette.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hotfix for AutoCAD Architecture Service Pack 1 - AEC Elevation Label

If you are using Elevation labels in AutoCAD Architecture 2013 or AutoCAD MEP 2013 this hotfix from Autodesk is for you.

This hotfix addresses the following issue: Elevation labels defined in world UCS display zero after applying Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD Architecture 2013 or AutoCAD MEP 2013.

Monday, October 15, 2012

BricsCAD Sheet Set functionality added

The new BricsCAD (Windows) version 13.1.5 has got Sheet Set Manager functionality added.

I downloaded the trial to make a quick test of it.

During the test I got several problems, bugs, crashes and error messages…

and found that it is only a small subset of AutoCAD’s Sheet Set Manager functionality that has been added and not everything has been done correct either.

BricsCAD also hijacked my DST files.

I could not find a way to create custom properties for example. I expect there will be several fixes in upcoming versions to rectify these things. If I were a BricsCAD user I would be very hesitant to start using the Sheet Set functionality until it is more stable.

The good news is that our SSMPropEditor seems to work fine with the Sheet Set DST files BricsCAD creates or edits. Thus any BricsCAD user that want to for example edit properties on multiple sheets at once will find SSMPropEditor beneficial.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

All about FlexNet License Borrowing

Some FlexNet/FLEXlm enabled products support license borrowing. Some of the below apply only to Autodesk products but most applies to other FlexEnabled applications too.

What is License Borrowing?

License Borrowing allows users to borrow a product license from the network license server to use the product for a specified time even if the computer is not connected to the network. When a license is borrowed, one license less is available for other users. The license is automatically returned to the license server at the end of the day on the return date set when the license was borrowed. The user can return a license early but that must be done when connected to the network license server and be done from the same user and computer that initially borrowed the license. A borrowed license cannot be returned earlier from the license server. The maximum borrowing period can be different from software to software but can be limited by editing the options file.

Most network licensed Autodesk products allow you to use the software while temporarily disconnected from your company's network, such as when you are on business trip or working at a remote location. Unless 6 months are needed set as low limit as possible to avoid licenses from being orphaned, something that can happen if a laptop is stolen during a trip.

Because network licenses are more expensive than single licenses make sure users don’t borrow licenses just to be sure they have a license all the time. Make sure users return the borrowed license as soon as they don’t need it any more. JTB FlexReport has reports that helps to identify users that are borrowing licenses while still connected to the network.

Autodesk product licenses do not support the Borrowing tab in LMTOOLS. This tab exists to support other products that use FlexNet.

You can upgrade FlexNet even if licenses are borrowed. It is possible to release licenses early to the updated FlexNet server.

How to can I Borrow a License?

In AutoCAD it is found in the Tools menu > License Borrowing > Borrow License but for some other products it is hidden in Help>About>Product Information dialog box and then you can select License borrow.

BORROWLICENSE command is another option that can be used in for example AutoCAD.

For non-Autodesk products to initiate borrowing, the end user of the FlexEnabled application sets the borrow period by running lmborrow from the command line or through lmtools on the FlexEnabled client machine. It is also possible to set the LM_BORROW environment variable directly.

When does the Borrowed License Expire?

If you don't remember when a license expires, you can check the date by placing your cursor over the Borrowing icon in your Autodesk product's status tray (does not work in all products) or by clicking Help > About and consulting the Product License Information dialog box. When the borrowing period expires, the borrowed license is automatically returned to the license server at the end of the day on the return date you set when you borrow the license. When your computer is reconnected to the network, you can run your Autodesk product from the network or borrow a license again. See also below under “How to Find out what Users are Borrowing a License?”.

For non-Autodesk products end users can issue the following commands to display the status of licenses (vendor, feature name, and expiration date) currently borrowed by their FlexEnabled application. From the FlexEnabled client machine, enter the following command: lmborrow -status

How can a License be Returned Early?

Borrowed licenses can only be returned early from within the application that they were borrowed and when connected to the network license server. Borrowed licenses cannot be returned early from LMTOOLS for Autodesk licenses.

Access to the command varies by product, and includes one or more of the following options:
■ Click Tools menu ➤ License Borrowing ➤ Return License Early.
■ Click Help menu ➤ About ➤ Product Information or Product License Information. In the Product License Information dialog box, click Return License, and then click Yes.
■ In the status tray, right-click the License Borrowing icon. Click Return License Early.

RETURNLICENSE command is another option that can be used in for example AutoCAD.

For non-Autodesk products end users of the FlexEnabled application return a borrowed license early this way:
1. Reconnect the FlexEnabled client to the network.
2. From the FlexEnabled client machine, issue the following command:
lmborrow -return [-fqdn][-c license_file_list] [-d display] feature

argument -fqdn: Directs lmborrow to access the borrowing system using its fully qualified host name.Use this option if the license was borrowed based on the fully qualified host name,rather than the relative distinguished name. Use lmstat to determine the format of the host name used when the license was borrowed.

argument -c license_file_list: Use the specified license files. In some configurations, the license file needs to be specified in order to return the license file early.

argument -d display: Used to specify the display from which the borrow was initiated. Required if your current display is different than what was used to initiate the borrow.
On Windows, it is the system name or, in the case of a terminal server environment, the
terminal server client name. On UNIX, it is in the form /dev/ttyxx or the X-Display name.

argument feature: The name of the borrowed feature to be returned early. Use lmborrow -status to get a list of borrowed feature names.

End users can clear the LM_BORROW setting to stop licenses from being borrowed until borrowing is initiated again. For example, users might run lmborrow -clear after they have borrowed licenses for features that are used offline if—before disconnecting from the network—they want to run an application that checks out additional features, served by that vendor name, that are not meant to be borrowed. Clearing LM_BORROW does not change the status for already borrowed licenses. End users can remove expired borrowed licenses from their FlexEnabled client machine using lmborrow -purge.

How is Borrowing Defined in the License File?

In the license file below the INCREMENT line there can be a BORROW parameter. If it says BORROW=4320, the maximum period that licenses can be borrowed is 4320 hours (180 days), unless otherwise noted. The default borrow period is 168 hours, or one
week.License borrowing is disabled when this parameter is absent in the license file. Example:
INCREMENT 57600ACD_2009_0F adskflex 1.000 permanent 5 \
    VENDOR_STRING=commercial:permanent BORROW=4320 SUPERSEDE \

How to Find out what Users are Borrowing a License?

LMTOOLS>Server Status or the LMSTAT argument of LMUTIL can be used to perform a status enquiry that will show if a license is borrowed. Linger is a value that indicates the original borrow period in seconds. To convert value to days, divide the linger value by 86400.

Row showing a borrowed license:
    jtb PC-HP PC-HP (v1.0) (PC-HP/27000 101), start Sat 11/5 12:36 (linger: 40980)

Normally it can be calculated when the borrowed license expires by using the start date (checked out date and time) and the linger value but if the license server or service is restarted the start date will change and thus give an incorrect expire date.

In newer versions of FlexNet the row can show like this with two linger values:
    jtb PC-HP PC-HP (v1.0) (PC-HP/27000 101), start Sat 11/5 12:36 (linger: 3057 / 40980)
The first linger value is the seconds remaining and the second linger value is the total borrowing time in seconds. The bug or problem with stopping and starting the license service remains though.

JTB FlexReport and the freeware JTB FlexReport LT comes with a HTML report that will show the information like this:
License server status: 27000@server1
AutoCAD 2013: 21 licenses  16 in use.
user6@c1547 Checked out license at 2012-04-26 21:24 Hours used: 36:01 * (Borrowed until 2012-10-27 06:25)

Configure License Borrowing with the Options File

AutoCAD 2004 and AutoCAD 2005 maximum borrowing period is 720 hours (30 days).

AutoCAD 2006 up to AutoCAD 2012 maximum borrowing period is 4320 hours (180 days).

The absolute maximum borrowing period is determined by the BORROW=statement in the license file increment for the product. This cannot be amended.

If the license file has a package increment use both Product and Package feature codes.

Limiting borrowing

You can specify a number of specific licenses that cannot be borrowed.

BORROW_LOWWATER [productfeature] [count]

The following example blocks license borrowing for 5 AutoCAD 2012 licenses:

Limit borrow period

You can specify the maximum duration of time that a specific license can be borrowed for in hours. This value cannot be above the maximum borrow period specified by Autodesk in the product license file. Note! Licenses are borrowed in increments of 24 hours only. Any number that is more than a 24-hour increment is not used. For example, the number 365 would be rounded down to 360 hours, or 15 days.

MAX_BORROW_HOURS [productfeature] [hours]

The following example limits license borrowing of AutoCAD 2012 licenses to 3 days:
MAX_BORROW_HOURS 85730ACD_2012_0F 72

Excluding license borrowing

You can block the ability to borrow specific licenses for a user, computer, group of users or computers, IP address, IP address range or by LM_PROJECT variable association (computer names and user names are case sensitive). Any users, hosts or IP addresses not explicitly excluded will continue to have the ability to borrow licenses.

EXCLUDE_BORROW [productfeature] [type] [name]

The following examples block borrowing of AutoCAD 2012 licenses for a variety of types:
EXCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F USER smithj
EXCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F HOST computer1
EXCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F GROUP EngineeringGroup
EXCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F INTERNET 192.168.0.*
EXCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F PROJECT CivilProject

Including license borrowing

You can provide the ability to borrow specific licenses for a user, computer, group of users or computers, IP address, IP address range or by LM_PROJECT variable association (computer names and user names are case sensitive).

Note: Any users, hosts or IP addresses not explicitly included will not have the ability to borrow the specified licenses. If you want to block license borrowing for only a few users, you should consider using the EXCLUDE_BORROW syntax above.

INCLUDE_BORROW [productfeature] [type] [name]

The following examples allow borrowing of AutoCAD 2012 licenses for the specified type only:
INCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F USER smithj
INCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F HOST computer1
INCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F GROUP EngineeringGroup
INCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F INTERNET 192.168.0.*
INCLUDE_BORROW 85730ACD_2012_0F PROJECT CivilProject

What Autodesk says about Interaction with Other License-Borrowing Tools

Using the license-borrowing feature in your Autodesk product is the recommended way to borrow a license. Some third-party borrowing tools may also be available to you, but these tools are not supported or compatible with the license-borrowing feature in your Autodesk product. Other third-party or legacy license-borrowing tools that may be available to you are the Autodesk License-Borrowing utility (shipped with Autodesk products) and the borrowing feature in LMTOOLS utility, a component of the Autodesk Network License Manager on Windows servers. If another license-borrowing tool is active when you attempt to use the license borrowing feature, you should proceed as follows to borrow a license for your Autodesk product:
■ If you run the Autodesk License-Borrowing utility that shipped with your Autodesk product and then turn on the borrowing flag for the Adskflex option or the All option, a license can be borrowed when you start your Autodesk product. However, you cannot return a license until you exit and then restart your Autodesk product.
■ On a Windows server, if borrowing is set in the LMTOOLS utility for all products, you can either use the other tool to borrow licenses for your Autodesk product, or stop the borrowing process in LMTOOLS utility, and then use the license-borrowing feature in your Autodesk product.
■ If borrowing is set in LMTOOLS utility for non-Autodesk products only, you must stop the borrowing process in LMTOOLS utility. You can then use the license-borrowing feature to borrow licenses for your Autodesk product. If you do not stop the borrowing process in LMTOOLS utility, the license borrowing feature will not function.


For non-Autodesk products the lmborrow utility supports the borrowing of those licenses that contain the BORROW attribute. This utility runs on the FlexEnabled client machine that borrows the licenses. The FlexEnabled application end users can use the utility to do the following:
• Initiate borrowing by setting the borrow period
• Clear the borrow period
• Purge expired licenses
• Determine borrow status
• Return a borrowed license early

Running lmborrow -status can look like below

List All Currently Borrowed Features
Vendor     Feature                             Expiration
______     ________                            __________

adskflex   85730ACD_2012_0F                    28-Nov-12 23:58

FlexNet debug log

Starting AutoCAD at 13:02:06, borrowing the license at 13:02:15, returning it at 13:02:34 and then closing AutoCAD at 13:02:46 could look like this in the log.

13:02:06 (adskflex) OUT: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc 
13:02:15 (adskflex) IN: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc
13:02:15 (adskflex) OUT: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc
13:02:34 (adskflex) REMOVING jtb@pc:pc from 85730ACD_2012_0F by administrator request.
13:02:34 (adskflex) IN: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc  (USER_REMOVED)
13:02:36 (adskflex) OUT: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc 
13:02:46 (adskflex) IN: "85730ACD_2012_0F" jtb@pc

While shutting down the license server a row like this can be seen:

14:00:57 (adskflex) BORROWED: 85730ACD_2012_0F jtb/pc/pc exp: 4257 minutes

Problems with network licensing borrowing

You are looking for information about license borrowing or you are experiencing problems with network license borrowing.

Common problems with network license borrowing for AutoCAD-based software are listed below. Try applying these solutions first, and then review further instructions if the problem persists.

  • Unable to run the product after borrowing a license

    You borrowed a license for your Autodesk product. However, when you tried to start the program, you received an error indicating that the license manager could not be found.

    Borrowed network licenses are locked to the workstation machine in a number of ways.

    A borrowed license is stored in the local user profile and is only available to the exact same user that originally borrowed it. Make that your login credentials match those used at the time the license was borrowed. Pay careful attention to the username and login domain to ensure that you are logging in as the same user.

    Note: If the user profile is removed or significantly altered while a license is borrowed, you may lose access to the license for the duration of the borrow period.

    A borrowed license is locked to the network card that was active when the license was borrowed. For example, if a removable (PCMCIA, USB etc) network adapter is used to borrow the license, this device must be present when you run the Autodesk application with that license.

    Note: Some network adapters are disabled by default as part of the power management profile. You should refer to the documentation for your machine and network card for additional information about disabling this feature.

  • Error 1.5.-124 when attempting to return a borrowed license

    When you tried to return a borrowed license from a client workstation, the following error message was displayed:

    License Return Error - Your license cannot be returned. For more information, contact your system administrator. Note: you can still use your borrowed license until (midnight): <Date>. Error: [1.5.-124]

    This error usually indicates that the client and/or license manager have changed in some way since the license was originally borrowed. There is no way to force the early return of a borrowed license. However, the following procedures will often resolve the error.

    Method 1 - Wait out the borrow period

    Depending on how long your license is borrowed and how urgently you need to return it to the network pool, it may be easiest to simply wait out the remainder of the borrow period when the license will be automatically returned. Network administrators might consider implementing an Options file to restrict the maximum borrow period or limit who can borrow licenses so the impact of future borrowing problems can be reduced. Refer to the following solution for details about configuring an Options file. Controlling network license access using an options file.

    Method 2 - Reborrow the license and then return it

    Erase the knowledge of the borrowed license from the client machine, borrow it again, and then try to return it using the procedure below. Note: This procedure resets all borrowed licenses for this user/computer.

    On the client computer, log in as the user who borrowed the license.
    On the Start menu (Windows), click Run (Windows 2000/XP) or Start>Search (Windows Vista).
    Enter regedit, and then click OK.
    In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FLEXlm License Manager\Borrow
    In the Registry Editor, on the File menu, click Export to create a back up of this key.
    Delete this registry key.
    Close the Registry Editor.
    Borrow the license again for the product(s) and version(s) that you could not return.
    Return the license(s) for each product.

  • Forcing the return of a borrowed license

    You borrowed a license and you now want to return it to the server. You were unable to return the license from the client machine. Possible reasons can include:

    Errors when trying to return a borrowed license early
    Deletion or corruption of the user's profile who borrowed the license
    Hard drive failure which renders the operating system inaccessable

    There is no way to force the return of a borrowed license from the FlexLM license manager. Once the borrow period expires the license will be automatically returned to the license server pool.

    Notes: It is strongly recommended that network administrators limit network license borrowing to those users who specifically need to take licenses on the road. It is strongly recommended that administrators set the maximum borrow period to an amount of time that corresponds with how long these users will be away from the license manager. These settings are controlled using an options file. For more information about configuring an options file see the following solution: Controlling network license access using an options file.
    Do not use the Borrowing tab in LMTOOLS with Autodesk product licenses. Doing so can cause additional borrowed licenses to become orphaned from the license manager.

  • Using the Borrowing tab in LMTOOLS
    The Borrowing tab in LMTOOLS is not used with Autodesk products. Using this tab may cause unexpected results (including the potential for lost licenses). The Borrowing tab exists in LMTOOLS to support other vendor's products. While some users have been successful using the Borrow tab in LMTOOLS with Autodesk products, it is not tested or supported and has caused issues for users in the past.
    Borrowed licenses cannot be returned early from LMTOOLS.

If these solutions do not resolve the installation error, the additional tests listed below will help you determine the cause of the problem:

  • If you are experiencing problems returning a license from a client machine, you should make sure that the client machine is still pointing to the correct license manager by setting the ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE environment variable.
  • As a network administrator, consider restricting the maximum borrowing period and/or limiting who in your organization can borrow licenses. These tasks can be performed by implementing an options file on your license manager.

If you worked through the standard troubleshooting steps and were not able to resolve the issue, follow this link for additional technical assistance.

Please collect the following information from your system before requesting technical assistance:

  • Screenshots of any error messages encountered
  • License file currently in use at each license manager
  • Options file in use at each license manager (if applicable)
  • Debug log file in use at each license manager
  • Copy and paste from LMTOOLS > Server Status tab > Perform Status Enquiry

Borrow Errors produced by FlexEnabled applications:
-67 No licenses available to borrow.
-68 License BORROW support not enabled.
-102 A FLEXid borrow error occurred.
-104 Cannot borrow that long.
-117 BORROW failed.
-118 BORROW period expired.
-120 Cannot lmdown the server when licenses are borrowed.
-122 Unable to delete local borrow info.
-123 Returning a borrowed license early is not supported. Contact the publisher for further details.
-124 Error returning borrowed license.
-128 Error, borrowed license doesn't match any known server license.


If license lingering is set and lmremove is used to reclaim the license, lmremove starts, but does not override, the license’s linger time.


Borrowing of Autodesk Suite product licenses: Because of how cascading works, one machine will end up taking multiple different features when the suite is borrowed.

I don’t want to get the License Borrowed dialog box

Do you use a borrowed license and want to prevent the "License Borrowed" message from showing up every single time i start your AutoCAD? If so, look at Close License Borrowed Dialog boxes automatically freeware.

License Borrowed


For more information about Autodesk Network License Manager.

JTB World’s JTB FlexReport will show borrowed usage and information in several different reports for both current and historic borrowed licenses.

Monday, October 8, 2012

ACAD_db 2 released–AutoCAD Database Synchronizing

Would you like to use AutoCAD together with an external database? With ACAD_db block attribute values can automatically be updated back and forth to one or many external databases. If you make changes to the attribute values they can be synchronized back to the external database or the other way around.


The main news in version 2.0 is support for AutoCAD 2013 based products and support for Oracle database.

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

JTB FlexReport 7.2 Released

JTB World’s license report solution JTB FlexReport has been updated to version 7.2 and includes mainly some bug fixes as well as a few new features.

Downloads here. See also the Upgrade tips. Customers with maintenance have access to this release at no extra cost.

See the revision history for more details on this release.

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free. You can try it in your environment with your real data for a few weeks with full functionality.
Full support is provided during trial period.

About JTB FlexReport: JTB FlexReport is a report and monitoring tool for applications using the FlexNet / FLEXlm (flexlm license manager), IBM LUM (IBM License Use Management), SPLM (Intergraph SmartPlant License Manager), SLM/Sentinel LM/Sentinel RMS, LM-X, Solidworks SNL License Manager, T-Systems license manager product LICMAN, Vertex Systems, MathLM (Mathematica), Primavera from Oracle or 12D software licensing. With Process Monitor any Windows application like Acrobat, Visio, Bentley MicroStation, single licensed AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT can be reported usage of.

See also: JTB FlexReport 7.1 introduces MathLM monitoring, Autodesk Network License Manager for 2013 products and Software Vendor Audits are Increasing as well as the guide to Autodesk Network License Manager (FlexNet).

Autodesk Acquires Qontext Social Collaboration Platform

This is an acquisition to Expand Social Capabilities of Autodesk Cloud Services. Qontext is an enterprise social collaboration software, from India-based Pramati Technologies. The acquisition of the Qontext technology and development team is said to accelerate Autodesk’s ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the Autodesk 360 cloud-based service.

Autodesk intends to use the Qontext technology to add new social capabilities to Autodesk 360, a cloud-based platform that offers users the ability to store, search, and view critical design data improving the way they design, visualize, simulate and share work with others at anytime and from anywhere.

“Mobile, cloud and social computing are dramatically changing the way engineers, designers and architects work. The addition of the Qontext technology to the Autodesk portfolio will lead to new technology innovations that help our customers embrace these disruptive technologies and leverage them for competitive advantage,” said Amar Hanspal, Autodesk senior vice president of information modeling and platform products. “It was great to work with the team at Pramati who have demonstrated a great capability in incubating disruptive businesses." via press release

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

AutoCAD Architecture 2013 Service Pack 1 and more

Following AutoCAD 2013 Service Pack 1.1 comes several vertical service packs as well as some other news.

Download for: AutoCAD Architecture 2013 Service Pack 1

Download for: AutoCAD Map3D 2013 Service Pack 1

Download for: AutoCAD Mechanical 2013 Service Pack 1

Download for: AutoCAD MEP 2013 Service Pack 1

Download for: Hotfix for AutoCAD Architecture 2013 - Roombook Localization (This hotfix repairs several localization oversights for Roombook in non-English versions.)

Download for: Autodesk 3Dconnexion Hotfix for AutoCAD 2013 based products that corrects the issues with 3Dconnexion devices.

More details about SP1 for AutoCAD Architecture 2013:

_VERNUM is a command line command that can verify what the product version is:

AutoCAD Architecture 2013: _VERNUM = "G.55.0.0 (UNICODE)"

AutoCAD Architecture 2013 Service Pack 1: _VERNUM = "G.114.0.0 (UNICODE)"

You can also use the ABOUT command that will show the product version and if any service pack is installed.

This Service Pack can be applied to AutoCAD Architecture 2013 installed from the following Autodesk Design Suites: Autodesk Building Design Suite 2013 and Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2013

Problems Reported with the Customer Error Reporting Utility in AutoCAD Architecture

As a result of detailed information from customers who used the Customer Error Reporting Utility, a number of problems were identified and fixed. Updates have been made in the following commands and features:

AEC Dimensions

  • Crash when saving a drawing originally in 2004 (or earlier) format, with AEC Dimensions on a locked layer.

Drawing Management

  • Intermittent crash when creating a Construct in Project Navigator, or when opening AutoCAD Architecture with a certain project current.


  • Occasional crash when editing grips for of structural members.

Layer Key

  • Fatal error when layer key overrides from tool palettes and layer key overrides of current layer standard do not match.


  • Frequent crash when opening some drawings.


  • Occasional crash when modifying an object that is included in a section.
  • Crash while generating sections for big drawings or when using CreateHLR.


  • Crash when exporting to Excel 2003 a Schedule table which includes a complex formula.


  • Occasional crash related to certain wall cleanup conditions.

Windows 8

  • Frequent crash when closing AutoCAD Architecture.

General Service Pack Updates in AutoCAD Architecture

The following defects have been fixed:

AEC Dimensions

  • Some AEC dimensions created before version 2007 do not display correctly in later versions.

Annotation Scaling

  • Some tags are very small when added to drawings that use meters.

Autodesk 360

  • Synchronizing tool palettes to Autodesk 360 is very slow. This capability has been disabled with this Service Pack.
  • Online Render does not support AutoCAD Architecture objects.


  • Some double door styles with custom profiles do not display correctly.

Elevation Labels

  • When an external reference is bound into the drawing, its elevation labels will be reset to zero.


  • Several improvements have been made to meet the requirements of IFC coordination view 2.0 and GSA certification.


  • Content browser migration may fail when migrations are done multiple times.

Progressive update

  • Characters in certain fonts do not display correctly when the AutoCAD system variable setEnableProgressiveUpdate is yes.


  • In a Roombook schedule exported to Excel, the result is off by a factor of 1000 if the decimal symbol in Windows is set to comma.


  • Schedules created by Roombook move slowly.
  • The total sum values may be incorrect in schedule tables when grouping is first turned on.
  • The width of the schedule frame may be incorrect when grouping several columns.


  • New or refreshed sections are not correct in AutoCAD Architecture 2013 as many lines are not hidden.


  • Due to the large number of files in the Tool Palette, syncing AutoCAD Architecture settings to the cloud is very slow.

Note: Once you apply Service Pack 1, you can no longer sync the AutoCAD Architecture Tool Palette to the cloud.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autodesk customer videos

Autodesk has recently created new customer videos that showcase very small businesses (1-25 employees) or small groups with larger companies and how they’ve used AutoCAD and Autodesk products to create designs for their clients.

I always think it’s interesting to see how different companies use software to be more competitive and productive.

Here is the YouTube playlist or you can view them below:

Brad Miller of MC², an exhibit marketing company, discusses how Autodesk 3ds Max and AutoCAD are used to help design and build exhibits that demand attention at tradeshows. The video uses a recent project for John Deere to illustrate how MC² relies on Autodesk software to deliver increased visibility for their clients.

Eric Hebard of Production Resource Group, a supplier of entertainment and event technology, discusses how AutoCAD, AutoCAD WS, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro are used to help design system installations for theaters and stadiums. The video uses an annual project for the Latin Grammys to illustrate how Production Resource Group Las Vegas relies on Autodesk software to create PA system installation designs and communicate that information to their clients.

Mark LaBell and Steve Kassab of SSOE Group, an international engineering, procurement and construction management firm, discuss how AutoCAD is used to help seamlessly combine multiple files and file types into one design. In this video, SSOE elaborates on how the AutoCAD development language allows both the novice and experience programmer complete control over the application to create and edit complex designs for their clients.

Natalie Cutler and Elisa Leung of Cutler Design and Construction, an interior design and general contracting company, discusses how AutoCAD LT is used to help design and build commercial retail spaces. The video illustrates how Cutler Design and Construction relies on AutoCAD LT to turn vanilla spaces into polished retail locations that follow corporate design guidelines.

Ed Hade from Shaw Industries discuss how they moved from 2D to 3D with AutoCAD to maximize use of space in their new Reclaim-to-Energy facility—part of a green initiative to reduce post-industrial waste by recycling old carpet into energy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autodesk Sync 2013 Service Pack 1

In June 2012 we got the Autodesk Sync Error Hotfix and now it’s time for Autodesk Sync 2013 Service Pack 1. Download it here: DL20541251

Issues resolved by this Update

  • Fix for the persistent sync errors in the System Tray.
  • Performance Improvements.
  • Various other defect fixes.

Refer to the readme file for installation instructions. Specifically “Within the Autodesk product sign out from Autodesk 360.“ The readme also says “If you have installed Autodesk product service packs from the products above you may already have this service pack installed through them.” From what I can tell Autodesk Sync 2013 Service Pack 1 is not included in AutoCAD 2013 Service Pack 1.1 because the version I have for AdSync.exe is AdSync.exe should be "" when Autodesk Sync 2013 SP1 is installed.

Unfortunately I have been unable to apply this update on a machine with AutoCAD 2013 and on a machine with AutoCAD Architecture 2013. I got this Windows Installer message: “The upgrade patch cannot be installed by the Windows Installer service because the program to be upgraded may be missing, or the upgrade patch may update a different version of the program. Verify that the program to be upgraded exists on your computer and that you have the correct upgrade patch.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

AutoCAD product keys in Visual LISP explained

The product key functions have some news in Visual LISP for AutoCAD 2013. These are extended functions provided by VLISP. You must issue vl-load-com before you can use the functions.

VLAX-MACHINE-PRODUCT-KEY - Returns the AutoCAD product key from the Machine hive in the Windows Registry.  (ie. "Software\\Autodesk\\AutoCAD\\R19.0\\ACAD-B001:409") VLAX-MACHINE-PRODUCT-KEY replaces VLAX-PRODUCT-KEY in releases AutoCAD 2013 and later.

VLAX-USER-PRODUCT-KEY - Returns the AutoCAD product key from the User hive in the Windows Registry.  (ie. "Software\\Autodesk\\AutoCAD\\R19.0\\ACAD-B001:409")

In AutoCAD these 2 strings will always be identical. The strings will only be different in Core Engine host applications other than AutoCAD.

VLAX-PRODUCT-KEY - Returns the AutoCAD Windows registry path. Old function, still available.

The Core Engine host AcCoreConsole.exe that ships with AutoCAD can be configured to run ’isolated’ in which case the vlax-user-product-key will return a different string than vlax-machine-product-key. Normally, it shares the HKLM/HKCU keys with AutoCAD. However, you can configure it with the /isolate switch to use a different HKCU root key. The /isolate switch can be used to prevent the changes to the system variables from affecting regular AutoCAD. This is useful when you want to set sysvars or other registry based configuration setting for AcCoreConsole.exe but you don’t want these settings to change for your AutoCAD instance.

When using the /isolate switch you also need to include an existing or new userid.

Example: AcCoreConsole.exe /isolate batch

When that is done you will notice how vlax-user-product-key will return a different value compared with the other functions:

Command: (vl-load-com)

Command: (princ (vlax-product-key))

Command: (princ (vlax-user-product-key))

Command: (princ (vlax-machine-product-key))

Here AutoCAD registry product keys are explained further. The registry product keys are not the same thing as the Autodesk Product Keys that are used to differentiate products that are both sold independently and as part of a product suite.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to solve problem when setup says AutoCAD is installed

Have you run into a problem when the installer says on Configure Installation that AutoCAD is already installed and trying to clear out remaining folders, files and registry keys does not help? AutoCAD is not installed but still the setup says it is. It might be that you had tried to manually uninstall AutoCAD (or Revit or whatever it is) and failed to do it 100%. What to do?

This trick might help to solve the problem. Note that the GUID (the code at the end in italics) is different for different applications and versions so you might need to search in the parent folder or go through them all to find what you look for.

Locate this folder and delete it with its content. Make a backup if you want to be on the safe side.

Use regedit, locate this registry key and delete it with its content. Make a backup if you want to be on the safe side.

After that hopefully you will find that you can run the setup and install AutoCAD or whatever product you had in mind to install. Now you know how to install AutoCAD even if AutoCAD is already installed even though it was just the installer thinking so.

See also Completely clean out traces of AutoCAD installations

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CAD notes giveaway of AutoCAD productivity products

CAD notes is having a giveaway of AutoCAD related books, training videos and software (including some from JTB World). Check it out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

AutoCAD Architecture 2013 database connectivity with ACA_db

ACA_db is an app/add-on from JTB World for AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP.

Make use of AutoCAD Architecture or AutoCAD MEP more fully in your BIM process. Property Set values can automatically be updated back and forth to one or many external databases. If you make changes to the Extended Data values within a Property Set they can be synchronized back to the external database. Any Property in a Property Set Definition can be exported and all editable Properties can be imported.

With the new release ACA_db 4 there is support for AutoCAD Architecture 2013, AutoCAD MEP 2013, both 32-bit and 64-bit.

Synchronization between database and CAD

ACA_db will improve the BIM process and experience and will improve quality of your data and remove redundancy and conflicts of data.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AutoCAD’s Help Update for AutoCAD 2013 Reviewed

The online Help for AutoCAD 2013 has had several problems and missing pieces. The good news is that now the Help is much better but with room for more improvements.

To see the new Help press F1 within AutoCAD to see the updated Help welcome page or visit the online Help directly in your browser.

At this point the update is for the English language.

The update include new content, search enhancements, additional reference links for Command and System Variables, Glossary, FAQs.

Filter on All Content, User, Developer or Administrator.

Search filters making it easy to filter on Commands, System Variables, AutoLISP, ActiveX, DXF and .NET.

Related References at the bottom of many pages are helpful.

Welcome to the new The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD—your guide to the basic 42 commands you need to create 2D drawings using modern AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD

“This guide is a great place to get started if you just completed your initial training, or to refresh your memory if you only use AutoCAD occasionally. As you can see from the illustration, the 42 commands are grouped together according to types of activity. In addition, these groups are arranged sequentially to follow a typical workflow.”

I had expected the image to be clickable to navigate to the islands or command. Under the subject (island) Viewing I would expect links to more related references.

AutoCAD Services & Support page needs to be updated for 2013.

I still miss a table of contents, the User’s Guide and Customization Guide with their topics making it easy to navigate the help. No easy access (if any) to news about the 2013 version.

Imagine that you want to learn about AutoLISP. Make a search for AutoLISP and the “not” function is the top result. Not that relevant at all.

FAQs link on the start page is just a link to a search for “faq” and at the top FAQ for Autodesk 360 shows up. Not that relevant and probably not what most users look for.

A search for the command alias SSM returns “No results found for ssm”.


Search for HELP and the Help system will fail to work. You need to refresh the page. UPDATE 2012-09-19: This has now been fixed, thanks for the help Dieter.

A tip if you want the URL to a specific help topic is to right click on the Add to Favorites icons and copy the link address.

Search tip: This should really be documented in the help. To search for a phrase add quotes around it. To search only for any of several keywords use the operator OR between. For example Sheet AND Plot. When you search, a minus or dash means that you want to exclude the term. So searching for -ARRAY will not show up the -ARRAY command at all. But when minus is used on one word and you have to other words you will not get the expected result. Try to search for Sheet Stamp and it will show 14 results. Search for Sheet Stamp –Plot and there is suddenly 243 results. The first will work like Sheet AND Stamp while the second will work like Sheet OR Stamp but NOT Plot.

See also the related help/documentation news: Visual LISP and ActiveX/VBA Comparison and AutoCAD ActiveX API History.

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