CAD Notes CAD Tutorials and Best Practices for professionals and students Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:10:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Revit 2015: general enhancements Tue, 22 Apr 2014 08:46:57 +0000 Previously, we have explored the new graphic options in Revit 2015. Now let’s continue to explore the new things in Revit 2015.

Schedules/Material Takeoffs Enhancements

Schedules have some new enhancements. There are new parameters you can include in your schedules and now you can include images in your schedules.

Additional parameters

There are additional parameters that you can include in your schedule:

  1. Base constraint
  2. Base Offset
  3. Top Constraint
  4. Top Offset
  5. Unconnected Height

As you can see below, these are the parameters in my schedule.


Grand total custom title

Now you can change the Grand totals title. In sorting/grouping tab, there is custom grand total title.


Image column in your schedule

Now you can add image column in your schedule. In this column you can click the … button and embed image here.

In your schedule view, you will only see the file name.


The actual image will appear after you place the schedule in a sheet.


Changes in duplicate view name

In Revit 2014 or older, if you create a duplicate view you will get “Copy of” prefix in the new view name. If you have many views in Project Browser, it would need some effort to find the new view. Because the Project Browser sort the view by names.

In Revit 2015, the new view will get “Copy 1” suffix. The next copy will have Copy 2, Copy 3 and so on.


This will make the new view will be seen right below the original view. This is a very simple change, but very useful. We should have this years ago.

Double click to deactivate view

In Revit 2014, if you double click a view in a sheet, it will activate the view. I had a hard time figuring what happened and how to deactivate it.

Now in Revit 2015, you can still right click then choose deactivate view from context menu.

But you can also double click outside of the viewport to deactivate it. Very similar to AutoCAD layout.

View reference change

In older version of Revit, we can refer a new view to an existing view. This is very useful especially if we need to add 2D details to an elevation, section or callouts. You only need to do it once.

However, after you create the view you can’t change it. Now if can select the elevation/section line or callout bubble, you can change it from option bar.


IFC Link

This is something big. Now you can link to an IFC file to collaborate with other software. If the design changes, you can update the IFC then reload it in Revit.


There are still more to cover!

There are still more to cover about Revit 2015 enhancements. From what we have covered, what enhancements do you like?

]]> 0
Revit 2015: Graphic display options Mon, 21 Apr 2014 03:48:32 +0000 Revit 2015 is already released. There are several new features and enhancements that you may like. Let’s cover see about them.

One of the nice enhancements, the one that many people are talking about, is additional options in graphic display. Especially sketchy lines.

Let’s open the graphic display option dialog.

The hand sketched drawing

If you are not familiar with graphic display options, click the visual styles button. Then click Graphic Display Options. Or you can press GD to use shortcut.


In the dialog box, you will see additional option: sketchy lines. This option will make your model looks like a hand drawn drawing. It works with 2D and 3D view.

After you activate “enable sketchy lines” you need to change the jitter and extension values to see the effect.


The anti aliasing option

Revit is not the only one who have anti-aliasing option. AutoCAD 2015 also has this option. Anti aliasing will show your lines smoother in your display.


Below is the comparison of the camera view with and without the anti-aliasing.



Without anti aliasing

With anti aliasing

Anti aliasing is turned off by default. You can turn it on for each view if you need it.

If you want to turn it on by default for all views, you can turn it on in Revit Options. In Graphics option, Graphic Mode category, activate “Use for all views”.


Try to combine the Display Options!

You might want to try to combine the Graphic Display options to get great result.

Try to change background and ambient shadows option. Sketchy lines with anti aliasing also give totally different result.

Revit sketch visual styles

What do you think about this new feature? Do you like it?

]]> 1
Automate Standard Additional Notes in the Drawing Mon, 14 Apr 2014 04:58:22 +0000 Technical drawing is the most important communicating tool in manufacturing industry. It’s a tool for an engineer to deliver information required for product making. The information can be shape, dimension, manufacturing process and simulation. Information given should be appropriate with requirement and function of product that would be made.

In special technical drawing for manufacturing process or worksheet making, sometimes we need additional note to clarify required information. The note usually typed manually by the designer. In particular case, the note even shows dimensions of product that will be made. Because of that, to avoid mistake in typing notes that contain dimension, it’s important to make standard note with automatic filling, where dimension in model will be filled into note automatically.

Case mentioned above can be found in gear making process. Generally, dimension of gear profile won’t be shown directly on gear drawing but separately in note form. Look at picture below.

gear profile with note dimension

If we fill the note manually, there will be a possibility of error in filling. It will result the gear made is not compatible with specification required. For those reasons, this tutorial will discuss about making standard note with automatic filling method according to model simulated or model required.

As an example, we will discuss about making worksheet for gear manufacturing process. Here are the steps :

A. Spur Gear in Inventor

In this tutorial, I’ve made some models for spur gear. It will be useful for us to do some exercises. You can download it by link below.

To understand parameters of spur gear in Inventor, you can see at picture below.


Where :

α    : Pressure Angle
d    : Pitch Diameter
df   : Root Diameter
da   : Head Diameter
h    : Teeth Height

Source : Engineer’s Handbook in Autodesk Inventor Professional 2014.

B. Add Custom Properties into Spur Gears.

If you already downloaded the gears model, copy it to your project folder and open. Then, you’ll see a picture like the one below.


b1. Right click at “Spur Gear” in Model Browser and select “Export tooth shape” until “Export tooth shape” dialog box opened.

b2. Select “Pinion” in “Export” column, and set default for the other setting. Then click “OK”.

Inventor will open new part for this command. Save file with name “Pinion Gear”.

b3. Click “Parameters” on “Parameters” panel in “Manage” tab. So, parameters dialog box will be shown.

All parameters are dimensions that build shape of gear profile. But if we want to show dimensions for manufacturing process, we only need some dimensions such as :

  • Module
  • Number of Teeth
  • Pitch Diameter
  • Teeth Height
  • Root Diameter
  • Head Diameter
  • Pressure Angle

And then, we will show those parameters in the drawing for additional note.

b4. Add “TeethHeight” parameter with this formula :


b5. Select “Add Numeric” on Add Parameter drop down menu at lower left “Parameters” dialog box.

b6. Fill the blank row with “TeethHeight” in “Parameter Name” column, “mm” for Unit Type, and fill the formula for the “Equation” column.

b7. Click “Done” to save the changes.

b8. Click “Add Rule” on the same panel and tab, and name it Gear – Rules. Then “Edit Rule” dialog box will open.

edit gear rules

b9. Expand “iProperties” on “System” tab in right column of dialog box.

b10. Double click at “Custom”, and the new code will be filled into blank window.

iProperties.Value(“Custom”, “PropertyName”)

b11. Rename “PropertyName” in new code with Parameters that need to shown in the drawing (See part b3) .

Example :
iProperties.Value(“Custom”, “Module”)

b12. In this part we will synchronize between Custom Properties Model and Parameters of Pinion Gear. So, new code must be modified like this :


Don’t forget to add equal “=” between Custom Properties Model and Parameters.

Do same step to other Parameters, then the codes will be like this :

iProperties.Value("Custom", "Module") = Module
iProperties.Value("Custom", "NumberOfTeeth") = NumberOfTeeth
iProperties.Value("Custom", "PitchDiameter") = PitchDiameter
iProperties.Value("Custom", "TeethHeight") = TeethHeight
iProperties.Value("Custom", "RootDiameter") = RootDiameter
iProperties.Value("Custom", "HeadDiameter") = HeadDiameter
iProperties.Value("Custom", "PressureAngle") = PressureAngle

b13. Now, Custom Properties have been added to Pinion Gear and ready to use in the drawing.

C. Make Automate Notes

c1. Make drawing with ISO.dwg standard.

c2. Select “Pinion Gear” as first base part in our drawing. Keep “Orientation” in “Front” and “Scale” in “1:2”

pinion base drawing

c3. Right click at this view and select “Find in Browser”. So, inventor will guide you to find this view in Browser. Expand this view until “Pinion Gear” part shown.

c4. Right click at “Pinion Gear” and select “Get Model Sketches” and profile of gear will be shown in the drawing. Modify sketch line properties until the drawing looked like picture below.

pinion gear with model sketches

c5. Expand “Drawing Resources” in Browser. Right click at “Sketched Symbol” and select “Define New Symbol”. So, the drawing will change to Sketch environment.

c6. Make a table with Descriptions and Dimensions like picture below.

gear specification table

Note : Line of the table made by “Line” command.

c7. Click “Text” on “Draw” panel in “Sketch” tab. Place the text at column beside “Module” description on the table. And “Format Text’ dialog box will be shown.

format text for table

c8. Select “Custom Properties – Model” in “Type” drop down menu. Then select “Module” in “Property” drop down menu. After that click  apply module properties symbol to apply the change. And “Module” property will look like this.

module properties preview

Click “OK” to save the changes.
Now “Module” parameter has been added to the table.

c9. Do same step to other parameters then the table will look like this :


c10. Select “Finish Sketch” on “Exit” panel in “Sketch” tab. And save the note with name “Gear Specification”.

c11. And the table will be automatically filled by the same dimensions in Parameter of Pinion Gear.

automatic filled table

Now, the note that you have made can be used as a standard note for the other gears drawing. But, before make a gear drawing you have to fill custom properties in advance.

For example, you can repeat part b1 and b2. But in “Export tooth shape” dialog box you have to select “Gear” in “Export” column. And you will have other gear that you will use for exercise. Save this part with name “Gear”.

Now, after you added Parameters and Custom Properties required to make the drawing, you can insert this model into drawing have been made before. Please follow this step.

c12. Delete existing model and annotations in the drawing. And then insert “Gear” into drawing and modify the sketch line like before.

c13. Click “User” user symbol  on “Symbol” panel in “Annotate” tab. Select “Gear Specifications” on the right column.

c14. Place the table like picture at part c11. Right click and select “Continue” to place the table.

Now the table will be automatically filled by the same dimensions in Parameter of Gear. And if you success in this exercises the drawing will look like the picture below.

completed gear table exercise

I hope you enjoy during do the exercises.

This tutorial is expected can be used in wider application in manufacturing processes. The solution in this tutorial is well used for companies working in the field of precision tooling or general manufacturing. Moreover, for the companies that use Inventor Parametric Modeling, this solution will be very useful.

]]> 2
What’s new in AutoCAD 2015 round up Fri, 11 Apr 2014 04:07:36 +0000 This week, we covered what’s new in AutoCAD 2015. We split it to 3 articles: interface, system and drafting and annotations. If you missed them, this article is the round up for AutoCAD 2015 new features.

The interface

As usual, interface always changes. We can immediately notice the new tab and dark theme.

There are several minor changes like cursor badge, viewport border control and ribbon galleries.

And oh, the status bar changed. The buttons are grouped to the right side. This buttons are shown as icon and can’t be reverted to text. (I feel like I have to mention this, because there are many questions about it).


Another thing that you might miss: no more classic workspace. You need to create your own classic workspace now.

Read more about AutoCAD 2015 interface here: What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: the interface.

System enhancements

AutoCAD 2015 is the first release that’s officially support Windows 8.1. It has anti aliasing support for 2D wireframe.

If you know about DGN linetype bug, now it’s been fixed in AutoCAD 2015. Now purge command also has option to purge orphaned DGN linetype.

A new application comes with AutoCAD 2015 (and all Autodesk 2015 software): Autodesk Application Manager. It’s a notification center for available updates.

The help now has “find” link, to quickly find command in AutoCAD interface.

Design feed now works with local files. You don’t need to upload to Autodesk 360 anymore to use it.

Read more about AutoCAD 2015 system enhancements here: What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: system enhancements.

Drafting and annotation tools

There is no new command for drafting. But it has a nice new selection tool: lasso selection.

There’s also new command to align your text: TEXTALIGN.

MTEXT has several refinements. Now it has autocorrect caps lock, auto bullets and numbering and minor changes to auto stacking.

The Bing map in geographic location can be captured. So you can plot it, not just for viewing like in AutoCAD 2014.

Read more about AutoCAD 2015 drafting and annotations here: What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: drafting and annotations enhancements.

More articles about AutoCAD 2015 around the web

There are many other authors published their review about AutoCAD 2015. In case I missed some features, probably you can find them on those articles. However, one thing for sure: no major new feature in AutoCAD 2015.

Well, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Many of us don’t use parametric, annotation scaling, dynamic block or Sheet Sets. Small changes will be more useful if that’s exactly what we need.

You can find links to their articles below.

  1. From Brian Benton: An Overview of the Features, Tools, and Changes in AutoCAD 2015
  2. From Ellen Finkelstein: AutoCAD 2015 is here! What’s new?
  3. From Melanie Perry: What’s new in AutoCAD 2015?
  4. From R.K. McSwain: AutoCAD 2015 in two minutes.
  5. From Michael Thomas: The new AutoCAD 2015 is here so why is it the best release ever?
  6. From Curt Moreno: Helpful Thumbnails from the Dark Side…
  7. From Paul Munford: An Introduction to AutoCAD 2015.

Autodesk Official Press 2015 is already released

Now that the 2015 version are released, you can pre-order Autodesk Official Press 2015 now. Many titles already listed.

Check the titles and pre-order them on our e-store here.

revit 2015 autodesk offical pressautocad 2015 autodesk offical press

]]> 2
What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: Drafting and annotation enhancements Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:23:18 +0000 We covered about AutoCAD 2015 interface and system enhancements. Let’s continue to the last part: what are new in the drafting and annotations tools?

Lasso Selection

There are many ways to select objects in AutoCAD. We list 10 here. In AutoCAD 2015 we have one more: lasso selection.

To use lasso selection, you can hold the mouse button and drag it.


This selection tool is also have two modes: window and cross selection.

If you first drag it to the right, it will be window selection. Only object inside the selection area will be selected. The selection area color is blue.

Cross selection is activated when you drag it to the left. All objects inside the selection area and objects that touch the boundary will be selected. The selection area color is green.

If you want to turn it off, you can go to AutoCAD options, selection tab.


Annotation enhancements

MTEXT editor has some enhancements in this version. Not major, because we can do stacking and bullet and numbering before. They are more to refinements.

MTEXT enhancements

MTEXT editor has some small enhancements in AutoCAD 2015.

  1. The auto stacking is now automatically created, not showing a dialog box anymore. If you want to change the appearance, it shows an icon near the text. You can click it for more options.
  2. MTEXT editor now has auto bullet and numbering.
  3. The text editor now has resizable corner. Previously we can only drag it down or to side. Now you can do both at once.
  4. MTEXT editor now has Autocorrect caps lock.

This makes MTEXT more like popular word processing software. If you work with many text in your drawing, you may find them useful.


AutoCAD has new command: TEXTALIGN. It allows you to align several texts (single or multi line) quickly to a referenced text.

It has options for justification (left, right, middle, etc.) and spacing.

Geographic location

AutoCAD 2014 has the ability to use geographic location. But it was only for defining your project location. You can’t plot it.

Now in AutoCAD 2015, you can capture the image and embed it to your drawing. And you can’t plot it. This would be nice enhancements for surveyors and civil engineers.

What do you think?

There are not many new features in drafting and annotations. The lasso selection and TEXTALIGN are nice. But if you expect to see major changes you will be disappointed.

However, small changes can be better than major changes. If they are exactly what you need. So share with us. Do you like the enhancements?

]]> 0
What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: System enhancements Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:43:06 +0000 Let’s continue exploring AutoCAD 2015 new features. Last week, we covered the interface. Interface changes are obvious. This time we will cover enhancements that less obvious: what’s been changed in the system.

Operating system support

AutoCAD 2015 has the same hardware requirements as AutoCAD 2014. But there are some changes in operating system support.

As you can see below, AutoCAD 2015 is the first release that supports Windows 8.1. And no more XP support.

autocad 2015 operating system

Check the complete AutoCAD 2015 system requirements here.

Smooth line display

If you open the graphic performance in AutoCAD 2015, you will see simplified performance tuner. It’s now called graphic performance.

The new option that is added here is smooth line display.

AutoCAD 2015 graphic performance

Smooth line display will activate anti aliasing when you work in 2D wireframe visual styles.

See the difference in the example below.

smooth line display deactivated smooth line display activated

Without smooth line display

With smooth line display

The purge command

In AutoCAD 2014 we have a bug when working with DWG files from MicroStation. The DGN linetype can make your drawing very large, up to hundreds of MB even if you only have several lines in the drawing. There is already a hotfix for it. And the bug is fixed in AutoCAD 2015.

In AutoCAD 2015, we have option to purge orphaned data. This includes the orphaned DGN linetype.


You can read more about the enhanced purge command here.

Application Manager

When you install any Autodesk 2015 software, you will also get application manager installed.

Autodesk application manager is similar to communication center, but it works outside of the application. And it works for all Autodesk software.

You don’t need to open AutoCAD to get notified when there’s an update. The notification will pop up at the right side of Windows taskbar.

When you click the notification or open application manager, a window will open. You can choose which updates to install here.

autodesk application manager

The help file

The online help also get an enhancement. Try to open a command help page, the one with (command) after the command name.

You will see “find” link next to the icon. If you click it, it will show you the command button location.

find in help

This is a good idea and can help new users or introducing new command. However, I find that it doesn’t work at all on my laptop. It keeps saying a window is blocking the command button.

Probably because the screen resolution. But it definitely needs to be fixed.

Design Feed

Design Feed was added in AutoCAD 2014. This is a nice feature for collaboration. You can comment, associate your comment to an area or a point, and you can attach an image.

What people don’t like is, we must save it to Autodesk 360 before we can use Design Feed.

design feed in AutoCAD 2014

In AutoCAD 2015, you can use Design Feed without saving it to Autodesk 360. It means you can save the file in server, and the others can open and access the Design Feed.

It also means if you send the DWG file, people outside your company can see the Design Feed.

If you want to remove the Design Feed, you need to save the file as different name. In save as dialog, make sure the “copy Design Feed from previous version” is unchecked.

save as option

If you want to remove design feed data from multiple files, you can use e-Transmit. In transmittal setup, modify the setup and check “Remove Design Feed”.

transmital setup


It’s about time for Windows 8.1. support. And end of XP support is predictable.

I don’t see much value for smooth line display, but probably it’s just because I’m an old timer.

The help file could be better. It doesn’t work at all on my laptop, but it may be working nicely on your computer.

The Design Feed is promising. I wish it also works for referenced files. It will allows people to work on a project concurrently.

What about you? Is there any new feature here that you’ve been waiting for?

]]> 2
How to create classic workspace in AutoCAD Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:24:52 +0000 If you have installed AutoCAD 2015, you should notice there is no more classic workspace. If you want to use the classic workspace, then you need to create the workspace by your own.

Let’s see your options how to have this “classic” workspace in AutoCAD 2015.

Migrate your settings from previous release

If you have previous release of AutoCAD on your computer, you can migrate the settings. That would include your workspaces, which is saved in your CUI files.

The first time you start your AutoCAD 2015, you will see this migrate custom settings dialog box. In this example below I only activate CUI files and deactivate the rest.


If you’ve already seen this dialog box before and click cancel, don’t worry. You can still access this tool from start menu. You can find it below AutoCAD 2015 folder> migrate custom settings. Click “Migrate From a Previous Release”.


After you migrated the settings, then you will see the workspaces from AutoCAD 2014.


If you want to rename and delete workspaces you don’t want, you can do it in CUI editor. Type CUI then enter. Right click above the workspace name to rename or delete it.

workspace in CUI

Create your own workspace

Another way to have the classic interface in AutoCAD 2015 is by creating your own workspace.

You can change the appearance by activate/deactivate workspace elements by typing in command line.

To close the ribbon:

Type RIBBONCLOSE then enter.

To open the menu bar:

Type MENUBAR then enter. Enter value 1 then enter again.

To open a toolbar:

It’s easier to show one toolbar then choose other toolbars by right clicking above it.

  1. Type –TOOLBAR then enter (notice the – prefix).
  2. Type DRAW to show draw toolbar, enter. We always show draw toolbar, don’t we?
  3. Type S to show it, enter.

Now you will see draw toolbar. Right click above the toolbar to choose other toolbar to show.

Show all necessary toolbars and arrange them as you wish. After you finish, click workspace button at status bar. Click “save current as…” and give this new workspace a name.

workspace save

Do you use classic toolbar?

I stopped using classic interface since the first time it was introduced in Revit. I see how other Autodesk software has fully implemented ribbon without options to use ”classic” interface. AutoCAD is the only one that still has it. New users are easily comfortable with ribbon. So I encourage myself to use it. Honestly, it’s not that bad. I use command line most of the time anyway.

So I thought the toolbar will be gone soon or later. So I better get used to ribbon soon.

Autodesk removed the classic workspace maybe means nothing. Because we can still create it anyway. Or maybe, this is a sign?

Do you use toolbar? What do you think if Autodesk removed toolbar from AutoCAD?

]]> 4
What’s new in AutoCAD 2015: the interface Wed, 02 Apr 2014 04:26:53 +0000 Last week, Autodesk has released AutoCAD 2015 in US. Other regions should be able to download it soon. Either from subscription center or from AutoCAD trial page.


Now the big question is: What are the new features in AutoCAD 2015?

Honestly, not much. Many features in this version are just enhancements and refinements from the previous release. There’s no major feature like dynamic block in AutoCAD 2006 or annotation scale in AutoCAD 2008.

The first interesting thing to me is the splash screen and icon is the same with 2014. It’s not a big deal. But as long as I remember, they always change in each release.

No more welcome screen

I don’t remember when the first time AutoCAD has welcome screen. Many AutoCAD users only see it once, the first time they run the software after installation. We always immediately uncheck “display at startup”, don’t we?

Now it’s gone. Really?

The new tab

Not exactly. Welcome screen is not really gone. Now it becomes “new tab”. When you start AutoCAD 2015, by default it will open new tab like below.


There are two tabs here: learn and create. If you check them, this new tab is actually a redesign of AutoCAD welcome screen.

This tab will open when:

  1. You started AutoCAD
  2. You close all open files.
  3. You click the (+) sign to create new drawing from drawing tabs.
  4. You type NEWTAB at command line.

Having the new tab when first starting AutoCAD is nice. But for me who like creating new drawings from drawing tab, this is a bit annoying. If you want to disable new tab, you can change NEWTABMODE variable to 0.

The dark color scheme

Color scheme is not new. In AutoCAD 2014 we can choose between dark and light scheme. However, in 2015 the color is darker. This color is much easier for my eyes. I like it.


However, if you prefer the light old color scheme you can change it.

Go to AutoCAD options, display tab. Under Windows Elements, you can switch to light color scheme.


Model space viewport control

If you often work with multiple viewports in model space, you will like this. Now you can drag the viewport border to resize the viewports.


And if you hold CTRL key when dragging the border, it will split the active viewport.

Very much easier!

Ribbon galleries

Autodesk is continuously enhance the Ribbon. In this release, Autodesk add galleries for inserting blocks and changing styles.

If you go to insert tab, you will notice the arrow at insert button. If you click it, you will see all blocks in your drawing. And if you want to change text styles, dimension styles and other styles you will see the preview as well.

block_libraries text_styles
Blocks preview in ribbon gallery Text styles preview in ribbon gallery

Visual feedback

Autodesk has implemented many visual feedback in several releases. This will be great help for new users.

Crosshair badges

The crosshair now has badges. Depends on what operation you do, it will show information badge. Below are two examples of them.

select_boundary_ trim_object_badge
Cross selection badge Trim selection badge. See that it shows the dimmed line and delete badge.

Complex Linetype Preview

You can see the linetype, color and line weight of line/polyline during creation/modification.


We will cover more!

Above are the new enhancements in AutoCAD 2015 interface. We will cover more about AutoCAD 2015.

Now that you know the enhancements in AutoCAD interface, what do you think about it? Do you like it? Does it meet your expectation? Discuss with us!

]]> 2