The TSPACEINVADERS Command

Hi everyone,

Today I’m going to talk to you about a command that arguably has the coolest name ever to be given to an AutoCAD® command. The command is so cool in fact, that it didn’t want to go through the usual fuss of being a documented command. Therefore it’s actually one of those secret (undocumented) commands that Autodesk lets us find for ourselves.

The command is: TSPACEINVADERS

But what could such a bizarrely named command be for?

It is essentially a command for checking your drawing for TEXT and MTEXT entities that have other entities that “invade” the space of the TEXT or MTEXT. This makes it obvious where you might want to apply background masks and the like for your TEXT and MTEXT, so that they become more readable.

It becomes extra useful when we’re dealing with a large number of TEXT or MTEXT entities, because this command makes it very easy to make a selection of the relevant entities that need a background mask, which can then all be amended at once.

That’s all for today – but as a little side question, what are the commands you use that have the most interesting names?

Will

P.S. As always, please do subscribe below if you found this blog useful. And do get in touch if you want to share a tip with us all! 🙂

The REVERSE Command

Hi all, just a quick tip for today.

Probably my favourite entity in AutoCAD® is the polyline. However, there have been a few things in the past that I’ve found somewhat annoying, one of which is controlling the direction of polylines.

Normally the direction of polylines makes little difference, but for some purposes it can be important. For example, line-type text is oriented in line with the direction of the line segment, so if the polyline flows from right to left, as opposed to from left to right, the text will appear upside-down.

Reversing the vertices in a polyline has historically been quite cumbersome to achieve, but as of AutoCAD® 2010, there is now a REVERSE command. Simply enter the REVERSE command by either typing it, or selecting it from the Home ribbon, and select the polyline you want to reverse. This command can also be used on a few other entities, namely LINE, SPLINE and HELIX entities.

I hope you found this tip helpful, and I’ll have some more tips for you soon. 🙂

Will

P.S, please make sure you subscribe to my blog, and forward on any useful tips you may want to share.

The SSX Command

As this is my first post on HowToAutoCAD.com of 2013, I’d firstly like to wish you all a (somewhat belated…) Happy New Year!

Here’s a tip that was forwarded to me recently, by a chap named Santiago. I’ve used variations of this tool, which I have found to be very useful, and this one is equally so – the SSX command.

It’s essentially one of those really useful selection tools. Selecting things one by one is pretty cumbersome, and rarely are the changes we want to make only applicable to one entity. So if only there were a way to select a certain type of entity… You guessed it – that’s what SSX does. It allows you to select similar entities to the one entity you specify. So lets say you want to select all LINE entities on the very standards-compliant layer named “BOB”. All you’d have to do is type SSX followed by ENTER. Then, select a LINE entity that is on the layer you want (in this case, the “BOB” layer…), and AutoCAD® will add all relevant entities to the active selection set. Then, just manipulate the entities the way you want (such as forming the word “UNCLE”), and well, Bob’s your uncle.

See what I did there… ?

🙂

Depending on your AutoCAD® setup your selection may be cancelled after running this command. In which case, you can just invoke the command you want to use like MOVE for example, and then just use “p” for PREVIOUS.

Hopefully you will all find this useful – it’s just one of those commands that when used in the right place at the right time work wonders.

That’s all for now, and many thanks to Santiago for sharing this with us. If you have a tip that you think is useful, please please do get in touch. I very much appreciate all your contributions.

Equally, if there is any subject in particular that you want covered in a post, I’m always open to suggestions.

Will

P.S. For those that haven’t already subscribed, please do so below. I can’t believe I’m up to over 500!

uClicky Update Now Available

Hi all,

For those of you already using my free windows automation tool uClicky, there is now a newer version available. uClicky is basically a way to automate repetitive tasks on your PC, by simulating input such as mouse movements, clicks, and keyboard input for data entry.

Due to popular request, I have added a help section, which teaches you exactly how to use uClicky in a series examples, which explain how to use each “action” in uClicky.

To get the new version, visit:

uClicky.com

Please do give it a go – it’s surprising how useful I have found such a simple application, and I’m hopeful that it will be as useful for you as it has been for me. I’d also love to see my efforts make a positive difference :-).

There are also many creative ways that this can be used with AutoCAD®, and make yourself look like a wizard in the process… Let me know what magic you come up with!

Will

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® Survey Fix 2013 Update

Hello everyone!

I know that many of you have been eagerly (and patiently) awaiting an updated version of my survey fix tool. Sorry it took so long, but here it is! 🙂

AutoCAD® 2013 has moved on to the .NET framework 4.0, which means this project needed to be recompiled under the new framework. Autodesk have also spent some time re-engineering their products, and have spread many of the required references to a new file. This means that when developing you’ll be mainly juggling references to the files AcMgd.dll, AcDbMgd.dll, and now the new file AcCoreMgd.dll, which I have had to make reference to in this project.

Here’s the new version of the survey fix:

AutoCAD_Project_SurveyFix_2013

Don’t forget the command is cunningly named “SURVEYFIX”, so just pop that into the command line to run the tool.

If you want a more detailed explanation of this tool, read my previous article which introduces it to you.

These things have a tendency to need the odd crease ironed out, so if you have any problems let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.

That’s all for now,

Will

P.S., as always I’d like to encourage you to subscribe if you haven’t already. And if you’re feeling particularly helpful, tell a friend about my website… I’m determined to break 500 subscribers before the year is out! 🙂

Block Attribute Shortcut

It is an every-day task to edit the attributes of a block. I’ve always just opened up the block attribute editor by simply double-clicking on the attribute that I want to edit.

However, Julien Chevrier has informed me of a very useful shortcut, which allows you to edit the attribute outside of the normal attribute editor, as if you were just editing text. All you have to do is hold CTRL, and double click on the attribute you want to edit, and you will be able to make changes directly without opening the block attribute editor. Simple, but effective.

That’s all for today,

Will

P.S. If like Julien you have any tips you’d like to share, let me know and I’ll forward them on. Also, make sure you subscribe if you haven’t already!

CTRL Selecting Polylines

First and foremost – hello again! I’ve had a surge in subscribers over the last few months, so for all my new subscribers, welcome to HowToAutoCAD.com.

There are many reasons why lately I’ve been struggling to find time to add new content to HowToAutoCAD.com, and for that I apologise. Many of you know that I’ve just finished my BSc (Hons) Computing, and I literally graduated a few weeks ago. Six months ago I also started a new job at a software development company. The company uses a proprietary programming language, so I’ve pretty much spent the last six months getting up to speed with their software, and their development language. Very interesting, but demanding, and I’ve had little time to dedicate to my blog.

I’ve also been working on something which is on the cusp of being released to you guys – it’s really something I’m quite proud of. It’s called Hex-Script, and it is a graphical AutoCAD® Script building tool, which allows you to create code for AutoCAD® tools by using a simplistic graphical user interface. I honestly think it can save a significant amount of time and effort, and will encourage those that are reluctant to learn how to develop AutoCAD® tools (or simply are afraid of what they might break…) to get stuck in, and develop the tools that they always wanted to build. The software is starting to look pretty swanky too – I’ve posted a teaser image at the end of this post…

I’ve sifted through the mountain of comments I had left to approve – apologies to those that may have waited a while for a response, but I have now responded to you all.

🙂

Now after all of this, things are starting to settle again, and I’m getting back some time on my hands… so I’m going to post more tips for you.

And without any further ado, on with my latest tip! This one is brought to us courtesy of Julien Chevrier, who kindly got in touch to share this great tip.

CTRL Selecting Polylines

A very useful feature introduced in the latest versions of AutoCAD® is the ability to select “sub-entities”. Entities such as polylines are essentially created under the bonnet of AutoCAD® by creating multiple line entities. It just makes sense to reuse this concept, as that’s pretty much what a polyline is – a sequence of lines.

To select a sub-entity, simply hold down the CTRL key and click the part of a polyline that you’re interested in, and it will be selected. The great thing about this is you can then modify this sub-entity as if it were a normal entity, and the geometry of the polyline will be modified to suit the changes you make. So if you MOVE the line sub-entity that you selected, the lines that connect to its endpoints will move too. This is a really handy way of making tweaks to existing geometry, and opens up possibilities for editing your drawings in new and unique ways.

Julien explained that he finds it useful to shape rectangles to the right dimensions by moving polyline sub-entities, while using object tracking. Of course you are not limited to only using the MOVE command either. For example, another useful command to use is ERASE – it’s a very quick and easy way to split the polyline into two parts, removing one of the lines in the process. Often this eliminates the need to use the sometimes cumbersome BREAK command.

I hope you find this tip useful – I certainly have. Many thanks to Julien for this. If you have any tips you’d like me to share with my readers, please feel free to get in touch and I’ll review them, and pass them on.

All the best, and don’t forget to subscribe below if you haven’t already.

Will

P.S. Here’s the teaser for Hex-Script that I promised… I’ll be looking for some volunteers to test my beta release, when it’s ready… 🙂

uClicky – The simple yet powerful automation tool

uClicky - The simple yet powerful automation tool
So, I was going to try to sell this software – but then I remembered how much I loved my HowToAutoCAD.com subscribers, so decided to give this away for free.

This is a simple little tool I’ve created for Windows – it’s not just for AutoCAD®, but it can be very useful for any tasks both AutoCAD® and non-AutoCAD® related. It’s called uClicky.

Basically uClicky allows you to write a sequence of actions to be carried out by your computer, such as moving the mouse, clicking mouse buttons and writing text. There are many functions available in uClicky, and the list of available functions is always expanding, as I think of new ideas.

So, if you had a spreadsheet of data and you want to loop through each row, copy and paste the data to some other window and then click a button, 1000 times, this is the tool for you!

Check it out – its neat. Or at least I think it is 🙂

Download uClicky Here for FREE!

Here’s a brief introduction to uClicky (annoyingly the mouse animations aren’t visible):

I’d love for this tool to go global – I think it has potential to do so due to its simplicity, and coding-style. So feel free to tell a friend about this great new free application that you can get – if you’re a blogger feel free to post about this, and if you’re not a blogger, just tell a friend!

That’s all for now,

Will

P.S, As usual, please subscribe below if you liked this post 🙂

The LAYMCUR Command

Just a quick tip for today – the LAYMCUR command. Sometimes you’ll be working away and want to change to the layer of “that object” – you might not know (or care) what layer it’s on, but you just want to start working on that layer… If that’s the case, then this command is for you!

Simply invoke LAYMCUR either from the command line or from the ribbon under Home tab > Layers panel > Make Object’s Layer Current. Then just pick the entity you want to use as the current layer.

Then, continue with your masterpiece… 🙂

Will

P.S. I’m on the cusp of releasing to you a tool I’ve been working on – I’m quite pleased with it, and it’ll be ready in a few days!

AutoCAD® VB.NET Development Training Courses

The selection of training courses in AutoCAD® development is sparse at best, so if you’re looking for a training course in AutoCAD® VB.NET development, you’re probably going to struggle to find anyone that runs a course of this type, let alone one that is running in your area.

Many AutoCAD® training course providers allow you to have custom training courses tailored to your particular needs. With this in mind, many of these companies will be capable of providing the AutoCAD® development training you need, but will simply not have it listed as an available course.

So, if you’re looking for an AutoCAD® VB.NET development training course, contact your usual training course supplier (if you have one), and ask if they can tailor a course for you. If you don’t have a usual training provider, well, that’s what Google is for! You can even specify what particular aspects of development you’re interested in, or just have an overview of the capabilities.

An overview of capabilities is something I’d especially recommend for all the CAD Managers out there – get your minions working intelligently by automating menial tasks rather than blindly trudging through them. Doing so saves time, money, and headache!

Finally, I’ve thought about running my own course: An Introduction to VB.NET in AutoCAD®. I’d like to gauge the level of interest in both a face to face classroom based course, and some kind of online version – send an email to will@howtoautocad.com with your thoughts!

Will