CADnotes CAD Tutorials and Best Practices for professionals and students Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:09:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Survey result: AutoCAD 2015 most loved and most hated feature Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:05:05 +0000 A few weeks ago, we have a survey about AutoCAD 2015 features. The question is simple: what do you like the most and what do you hate the most in AutoCAD 2015.

It’s very easy to predict the features that people hate. If you regularly visit Autodesk forum or other independent AutoCAD forum like CADtutor forum, you will know what people don’t like from AutoCAD 2015. We always complain when we don’t like it, or try to find a workaround. But we rarely compliment what we do like. We must really really like it to share it.

Thanks to your vote, now we all know what features that people love in AutoCAD 2015. For you who haven’t tried it, are you interested to give it a try?


Most hated features

Let’s start with the popular vote: the vote result for most hated features in AutoCAD 2015.

The winner is: the crosshair badges.

crosshair badges

It’s not a surprised that crosshair badges and the grouped drafting settings are the most hated features. It’s easy to find the threads in the forums. Personally I don’t find them annoying, but I must say I’m not a big fan.



The new tab is at the 3rd place. But I think there’s a confusion about this feature. New tab is new feature in AutoCAD 2015, it’s basically a replacement for AutoCAD welcome screen. It’s different with File Tab. File tab was introduced in AutoCAD 2014.

I also set an open answer as “other”, so you can write what you don’t like if it’s not on the list. Below is what we have as other features:

  1. New dark color scheme (2 votes)
  2. No more classic workspace (1 vote)
  3. Crashes and bugs* (2 vote)
  4. More heavy/ require more computer resources* (2 votes)
  5. Bing map as the only option for geolocation* (1 vote)
  6. Status bar icon appearance (2 votes)

I give * mark for features that are already exist before AutoCAD 2015.

Crashes and bugs are always there. All software have bugs. And they occasionally crash. So does AutoCAD. Autodesk releases hotfixes and service packs regularly to fix them. You can download them on Autodesk knowledge website here. If you haven’t do that, I recommend you to install them now.

For the the poor performance, it’s always been a complaint since many years ago. That is why we published how you can improve computer performance and how to configure AutoCAD to consume less resources. They probably can help. I use AutoCAD since R14, and yes, it feels unnecessary getting slower for me too.

The classic workspace disappear from workspace selection. But you can make it manually. We cover it here and if you want to use CUI to create it, read about it here.

For the Bing map, I think it changed after Google change the API terms several years ago. Correct me if I’m wrong and please share to us if you know about it.

Most loved features

The winner is: the lasso selection

lasso selection

The most loved feature is lasso selection. It is very useful to select objects from complicated drawing. AutoCAD has many ways to select objects, like we cover here before. But lasso selection is different. It can be more convenient when we need complex window/cross window selection.




The new tab comes in 2nd position. Like I mentioned before, I have a feeling that there is a confusion between new tab and file tab. However, I could be wrong.

In the 3rd position is model space viewport control. It’s awesome that many of you use the feature. Maybe you can share how you use it? Personally I only use it when I work with 3D model.

As for the “other” features, here are what we have:

  1. Dark color Scheme (2 votes)
  2. Merge layer from layer manager* (1 vote)
  3. Purge command for orphaned data (1 vote)
  4. Printable Geolocation map (1 vote)

As for the merge layer from layer properties manager, it is actually a feature introduced in AutoCAD 2014. You can read about it in AutoCAD tips blog here.

My opinion

So what do you think? Do you have the same preference with the other readers?

From the top hated features, you can see they are changes in AutoCAD interface. The badges, the drafting settings button, ribbon galleries and so on.

AutoCAD users feel that they don’t need the constant changes in the interface. They want new or enhanced features. It’s kind of ironic that Autodesk seems to love “enhancing” the AutoCAD interface. They always change it, even just change the color or icon. It’s kind of strange that it only happens to AutoCAD. They don’t change Inventor or Revit that often.

If you want to cast your vote, you still can vote here:

And after you cast your vote, you will get a link to the vote result. Save or bookmark the link if you want to see the result again later.

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Complete our challenges to work better with AutoCAD! Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:22:40 +0000 Drawing is important document in design projects. If you are using AutoCAD to create engineering drawings, then you must know how important it is. Especially in design consultant firm, creating the drawings take significant amount of time of the whole project.

working with engineering drawings

We created a series of challenges to help you improving how you work with AutoCAD. Our main goal is to allow you to complete your tasks faster, make your drawing smarter and easier to modify. Because we always make changes in our design.

You can complete the challenges in your own pace. The idea of publishing the challenges here is to allow you to learn from the others too. So don’t forget to share your thoughts, questions and experience related to the topic.

Thank you for everyone who participated. If you haven’t participated yet, below are the challenges that you can follow.

Challenge 1: Preparation

In this first challenge, you need to prepare your data and requirements. This is important to set your goal and identify which area you can improve when working with AutoCAD. If you haven’t use CAD standard, this is a good time to implement it.

There are two major areas you need to identify: repetitive tasks and task that can be automate. You can improve productivity significantly if you can improve those areas. Identify them, then you can implement them in your workflow later.

You can complete the 1st challenge in this page: Challenge 1: Preparation.

Challenge 2: Working with Template

Template is important part to improve your productivity. It keeps your drawing standards and reduce repetitive tasks. Once you start a new file, you can have many predefined settings ready for you. All the layers, styles, layout and more settings are ready to use. This will keep your drawing consistent. And obviously you don’t need to redefine them when you start a new drawing.

Your task here is to create drawing templates.

You can complete the 2nd challenge in this page: Challenge 2: Working with Template.

Challenge 3: Reusable Contents

If you examine an engineering drawing, you can see that many parts in the drawing are the same. Common objects like columns, doors, standard parts, symbols and many more. If you create them repetitively, this time you need to improve it. Create your own reusable contents and reduce those repetitive tasks. It allows you to work faster, and also keeps your drawing standards.

Blocks will also help to reduce file size, allow you to complete certain tasks automatically (like creating schedules) and simplify your drawing process.

You can complete the 3rd challenge in this page: Challenge 3: Reusable Contents.

Challenge 4: Customization

Customization is a great benefit for AutoCAD users. AutoCAD is a general CAD software that is used by many disciplines. Each discipline and each person are unique. You can work much faster if you customize it to work best for you. AutoCAD allows you to customize it in many ways. From simple customization like command alias, to complex programming using AutoLISP and .NET.

Don’t be intimidated. A simple customization can be a great help. And of course, you can also try to find available plugin or AutoLISP program on internet. Share your favorite, and read the community’s favorite here.

You can complete the 4th challenge in this page: Challenge 4: Customization.

Challenge 5: Learn the New Features

Autodesk releases new version of AutoCAD every year. Certainly there are new features and enhancements that can help you to work better with AutoCAD. If you are still using AutoCAD like the first time you use it, maybe it’s time to learn the new features. Learning the new features can also help you to avoid confusion and “problems” that waste your time. Many of us are confused about the parametric constraint symbol, annotation monitor and several other “new features”. We can spend several hours to solve “the problem”.

Even in the end you decide not to use the new feature, learning the new features can help you.

You can complete the 5th challenge in this page: Challenge 5: Learn the New Features.

Challenge 6: Plan your Drawing

You have completed improving on AutoCAD side. Now it’s time for a little planning.

In this challenge, Paul Munford shares how you should plan your drawing before you actually start to draw it. Proper planning will help you to effectively spend your time completing the drawing. Set your goals and plan the deadlines.

You can complete the 6th challenge in this page: Challenge 6: Plan your Drawing.

Challenge 7: Evaluate your Progress

We always need to update our standards and workflow. You also need to improve what you have done in previous challenges. If you feel there are some area to improve, identify them. If you installed new AutoCAD version, you may want to implement new features in your workflow. You may need to define a new template when you work with other company. Or you may need to create new blocks because you start to work on other disciplines.

So take time to evaluate your progress, identify if you need to improve it. It may not be immediately, but when you need to work on it you’ll be ready.

You can complete the 7th challenge in this page: Challenge 7: Evaluate your Progress.

Complete the challenges to win our prizes

We would like to remind you that we have several prizes that can help you to work better with AutoCAD. There are two separate prizes that you can win.

Training video

You can win training videos from Infinite Skills to help you learn more about AutoCAD. Hopefully, they can help you to improve how you work. Below are the titles available for you:

  1. AutoCAD Sheet Sets training video ( 1 copy each for 2 winners)
  2. AutoCAD Blocks and Dynamic Blocks training video (1 copy each for 2 winners)

To win the training videos, you need to actively participate in all challenges. Most active participant can win the training video.

CadTempo license

CadTempo is a time tracking utility, mainly built for CAD software. It can help you to record how much time you spend to complete a drawing, or even a project. There are 2 licenses available for you.

To win CadTempo, you only need to participate in evaluation challenge. Certainly, it makes more sense if you complete all the challenges first. However, you can just share your experience and give your suggestions.

Or you can read the challenges and improve in certain areas only.

Contest deadline

The deadline for your entries is October 31st 2014. We will announce the winners at the 1st week of November.

So hurry up, complete the challenges and work better with AutoCAD. You may win the prizes as a bonus!


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Work Better with AutoCAD | challenge 7: Evaluate your progress Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:53:26 +0000 We have completed 6 Challenges in Work Better with AutoCAD series. We have tried to improve our productivity in several areas, to reduce repetitive tasks and better planning. I hope they are really can help you to be more productive. This time, you are going to measure your progress.


By completing all the challenges, it doesn’t mean it ends here. To improve productivity, you need to regularly improve your workflow. When you completed the challenges, you need to review if there are still room for improvements. Try to implement the new system to your team.

You also need to adjust your system regularly for different reasons. It could be because a new project require you to modify your templates and reusable contents. New AutoCAD version may have a new feature that improve your productivity, but it may need you to change how you work. You may need to update your standards because your company implement new standard.

Now that you completed all the challenges, it doesn’t mean it stop here. You may want to update your system and do all the challenges again.

Your challenge

After you completed all six challenges, now it’s time for you to measure your improvements.

  1. Do you think the challenges help you to work better with AutoCAD? Can you tell us how?
  2. In which area do you think the challenges help you the most?
  3. And is there area that you think you can still improve? Do you plan to improve it?
  4. How much time do you think you can save by implementing AutoCAD best practices?
  5. Which challenge is your favorite? Why?
  6. Is there any area you want to improve but we haven’t covered it yet?

Feel free to discuss it in the comment section here.

Try CadTempo and you can win it for free

To help you to measure your improvement, you can install and use CadTempo to track your drawing. You can install it as 30 days trial by download it from CadTempo website here. Using CadTempo is not compulsory. You can use any method you prefer.

However, Patrick Hughes from Engineered Design Solutions has agreed to giveaway 2 licenses of CadTempo. To win it,  you need to use CadTempo and submit your time tracking activity. Record the time you spend to complete your drawing, and tell us how you have improved. Patrick will choose 2 winners to win a CadTempo license. Track your work time with CadTempo for at least 2 weeks, then send us the time tracking activity to We will close the submission on October 31st 2014.

CadTempo is not limited to track time you spend using CAD software. You can track time you spent for all software. You can also add activity timer manually if you want to track time for activities you’re doing away from your computer. You can read the CadTempo review on Cadalyst here.

About time tracking

working time

Time tracking is important for your business. It helps you to estimate project costs and how much you will charge your customers. We all want our project to be profitable, time tracking is great tool to review how your project consume time. You can read more about time tracking here.

In this challenge, you can use this time tracking tool to see in which area you spend much time. Can you identify the problem, and can you improve it?

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AutoCAD 2015 doesn’t show linetype on hatches Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:45:18 +0000 In AutoCAD 2014 or older, you can assign linetype to hatches. The hatch will use the linetype as you can see below.


New HPLINETYPE system variable

In AutoCAD 2015, the hatches always use continuous linetype by default. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use linetype in hatch anymore.

You can set it to the old behavior by changing HPLINETYPE system variable to ON. Type HPLINETYPE, press enter. Type ON as new value then enter again.

This system variable is stored in registry. It means that once you change this value, you will see the effect in all drawings.

Why do we need this new variable?

According to Autodesk Knowledge Network article, this variable will improve performance with hatches. If you do need to use dashed lines or other linetype for your hatch, it is recommended to use predefined pattern in .pat file.

Read more about HPLINETYPE system variable in Autodesk Knowledge Network here.

More articles about hatches

If you still want to use linetype in hatch, but want to increase performance read our tip: work faster with AutoCAD hatch.

And if you want to use predefined pattern, these articles may help:

  1. Creating custom hatch pattern by Ellen Finkelstein.
  2. Create your own pattern with LISP program.
  3. And after you created your pattern or download it from internet, you can load hatch pattern to AutoCAD using this method.
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How to create AutoCAD Classic workspace using CUI Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:40:00 +0000 We covered how you can create Classic workspace in AutoCAD 2015. We covered two methods in that article: migrate from previous version and create your own workspace using command line.

If you are familiar with AutoCAD Customize User Interface (CUI) and prefer not to use command line, you can also create workspace using CUI. This probably is easier if you prefer to work in graphical user interface instead of typing the command.

Open AutoCAD CUI by typing CUI then enter. Or you can access it from AutoCAD ribbon> Manage Tab> Customization Panel> User Interface.


Create new workspace

After you open CUI dialog, find Workspaces group below ACAD.cui. Right click  Workspaces, then choose New Workspace from context menu.


Rename the new workspace with relevant name.

Modifying the workspace in CUI

You already have a new workspace, now it’s time to define what UI elements should be included here.

Right click the new CUI, choose Customize Workspace from context menu.


Now you will see checkboxes in front of the UI elements. Check the elements that you want to include in your workspace. For Classic Workspace, you will need menus and toolbars. Check the menus and toolbars you want to show in your workspace.

You can also include the ribbon tabs if you want to.


Click OK to close CUI dialog box if you have done working with CUI.

If you want to continue working with it, modifying other workspace, you can click done and continue working.


Modifying toolbars’ position and remove the ribbon

Customizing workspace with CUI allows you to add and remove UI elements. But it doesn’t allow you to position the toolbars. Now you need to move the toolbars, dock them to your preferred locations.

You also need to close the ribbon, which is opened by default. Type RIBBONCLOSE to close it.

After you finish moving, docking the toolbars and close the ribbon you need to save the modification to your workspace. Click Workspace switching icon on status bar. Choose Save Current As…


AutoCAD will ask you for workspace name. Do not type a new name, but choose workspace you created previously from the list.


Click save. AutoCAD will ask you for confirmation if you want to replace it. Click Replace.

Now you finished creating your own classic workspace! Certainly you can use it to create your own workspace with ribbon interface too.

If you want to learn more about CUI, you can learn more about it in this tutorial.

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Poll: What is your AutoCAD 2015 that you love and what that you hate? Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:41:14 +0000 Have you used AutoCAD 2015? It’s already released for several months now, and it’s easy to see that not everybody is happy with the new features. It happens for every new release, but I see strong reaction for some features.

I thought it would be good to know what is your favorite feature in AutoCAD 2015, and what is the one that you hate the most.

Completing form using mouse pointer

I set an online poll here:

There are only two question: what feature is your favorite, and what is that you hate. If you don’t find the feature in the list, you can choose other and type your own.

After you submit your vote, you can find a link to poll result. So you can see what the others think about the new AutoCAD 2015 features.

You can also discuss about this topic in the comment section, if you want to discuss about it further.

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Work Better with AutoCAD | challenge 6: Plan your drawing! Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:46:09 +0000 3 Steps to successfully plan your AutoCAD Drawings

Some people think that AutoCAD files don’t have a value. They are just bits and bytes on a computer, aren’t they? I’m guessing that your Boss doesn’t see it that way!

Your company pays you good money to create drawings. Each drawing you create is worth your hourly rate x the number of hours is takes you to complete your drawing.

If your company is willing to invest that amount of money in you, don’t you need to give some thought on how to spend it wisely?

Engineers in planning meeting

No matter how big or small the project, even a day spent drawing deserves 20 minutes of our time spent planning.

‘Really? But I don’t have the time to plan – I must hurry!’



There is nothing guaranteed to waste more time than running off before you found out where you are going!

How to plan a drawing

1. Make sure your goals are clear

Don’t you just hate it when you complete a drawing only to find that it isn’t what your line manager or customer wanted?

If you don’t start out with a clear brief of what you need to achieve, you are doomed to fail before you start!

Let’s start our preparation before we even have a briefing. Make a list of the things that you will need to know in order to create a successful drawing.


You might include:

  • Deadline – Naturally!
  • Milestones – This might include internal reviews and the submittal date (including time for plotting and preparing transmittals)
  • Content – This is the bit you probably know ;)
  • Customers – Who is going to use this drawing?
  • Response – why are we issuing this drawing? What response do we hope to get from the person that’s going to receive it?
  • Resources – Who is going to help you with this task? Whom do you need information from?
  • Alternatives – What’s going to happen if we don’t get the work done in time?

(Do you have more on your list? Leave your suggestions in the comments)

Don’t let the person who is commissioning the drawings go until you are completely sure that you understand their expectations.

2. Planning your Deadlines, Milestones & Reporting

Everybody worries about deadlines. It’s important that we do. But we aren’t always able to meet our deadline. It’s key that we recognise this early so that we can deal with it and make the best out of the situation.

Make sure that you note the key milestones in your process that you’ll need to hit in order to deliver on time. Put some time against the tasks to help you plan.

Be as detailed as you can in breaking down the steps, but don’t worry about guessing the time precisely at this stage – just go with your gut feeling for now.

Gantt chart and pen

Example to do list:

  • Planning – 20 minutes
  • Customer research – 1 Hour (Internal or external customers)
  • Technical research – 1 Hour
  • Modelling – 3 Hours
  • Design Review – 30 minutes
  • Drawings – 3 Hours
  • Production Review – 30 minutes
  • Updates – 1 hour
  • Preparing a submittal pack – 30 minutes
  • Reporting – 1 Hour (across the job)

Now look at the time you have until your deadline. Do you have enough time to complete the tasks? Have you factored in your previous commitments? If not, call in your Boss now!

Next – look at those tasks that require help from others. They will really appreciate it if you let them know that you will need their help in advance.

Book an appointment with them ahead of time. It will give you a goal to focus on, and it will give them the opportunity to prepare for your meeting.

But don’t worry too much about hitting that deadline. As long as you can give your colleague some advance notice they will happily move the meeting time for you.

Why? Well – do you think that your colleague or customer would rather move your appointment to a new time, or not have an appointment at all – and risk having you interrupt them needing urgent attention when they aren’t prepared for you!

Keep your list by you and note how long the tasks are taking. In the long term this will help you to estimate more accurately how long these tasks take. In the short term you will recognise pretty early on if you are running behind your schedule.

As soon as you think that you won’t be able to meet your agreed  deadline, go to your manager and ask for their help. If you do this soon enough, they may be able to help you meet the deadline. If you leave it to late – no-one will be able to help you… I predict that you will be working late…

Finally – don’t forget to report as you complete each milestone. It’s not enough to plan your workload well, you need to let people know that you’ve planned.

Don’t wait for your Boss or your customer to chase you for a progress report, be proactive and let them know that you are protecting their investment.

3. Finally – The drawing itself!

OK, now you know what you are setting out to achieve (and you’ve made sure that everyone knows it) you can start up AutoCAD and get going right?

Wrong, you’re not quite there yet. There is a vital exercise that I want you to do first. Even you take nothing else away from this article, please promise me you’ll do this exercise!

Take a piece of blank paper, sketch out a drawing border and then sketch out a ‘thumbnail’ version of the drawing you are about to create.

The is the single most valuable thing you can do to help you plan your drawing more effectively.

Close-up portrait of laptop with blueprints

Don’t worry if you can’t draw very well. It doesn’t matter how rough the thumbnail drawing is. Just map out where you are going to place the principle view, indicate how may sections you will need to draw and note which areas will need detailing.

Not only will this focus your mind on how much work you need to put into your model in order to create your drawing, but you can show it off to your ‘customers’ too. Pin it up above your desk. Let people see it. Let them ask questions. You might be surprised at what you find out.

Round up

I’d like to take a minute to thank my good buddy Edwin for inviting me to participate in ‘How to work better with AutoCAD‘. I sincerely hope that you are enjoying the series.

Did you find this post helpful? Do you have some great tips on time planning that you can share with the group?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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AutoCAD training video bundle: Beyond the Basic Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:08:00 +0000 Infinite Skills has released a new training video bundle for AutoCAD. If you are not familiar with Infinite Skills yet, they publishe training videos for many software. Including CAD.  They have 106 titles of CAD training videos by the time you read this. And most of the authors are well known in their field.

Let’s see the author of Learning AutoCAD 2015, Brian Benton. He is AUGI World content manager, AUGI writer, AUGI instructor, Autodesk University 2008 speaker and more impressive expertise in this field. I like this training video idea. It’s like having the best instructor at your home.

They usually bundled basic and advanced titles, but this is a bit different.

beyond the basic

Buy AutoCAD 2015- Beyond the Basic (US$ 187.95)

In this AutoCAD training video bundle, it includes these titles below:

  1. Learning Autodesk AutoCAD 2015 (US$ 99.95)
  2. AutoCAD – Blocks and Dynamic Blocks (US$ 24.95)
  3. AutoCAD – Plotting And Publishing (US$  24.95)
  4. AutoCAD – Working Smarter And Faster (US$ 24.95)
  5. AutoCAD – Creating Construction Drawings (US$ 24.95)
  6. AutoCAD – Working With References (US$ 24.95)
  7. AutoCAD Space Planning (US$ 24.95)

If you purchase each titles separately, the total price is US$ 249.65. But if you purchase them all as a bundle, the price is US$ 187.95. You save more than US$ 60 if you purchase this bundle.

This bundle is a good resource for you who want to learn AutoCAD from basic to advanced. The first title cover the basic, and the other titles cover a specific topic in details.

Go here if you are interested to know more or want to purchase it: AutoCAD 2015 – Beyond the Basic.

You can see the table of contents and review sample chapters before you decide to make a purchase.


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