CADnotes CAD Tutorials and Best Practices for professionals and students Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:46:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to export and import AutoCAD Tool Palettes Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:35:08 +0000 If you are an AutoCAD tool palettes fan, you probably have many custom palettes and command inside it. It is a quick way to access your block library, custom macro, action recorder macro and more. If you already spent some time to customize it, you will want to have it when you use other computer.

The question is, how can we transfer them to AutoCAD on other computer?

The quick way, you can use Migrate Custom Settings tools or Online Sync as explained in our older article here. It will transfer and sync all AutoCAD customization so you will see the same settings on both computers.

However, that tool will copy every AutoCAD customization. When you only need to copy one or more palettes without other customizations, this is not the right way to go.

You can export and import only tool palettes by using Customize Palette.

Click the tool palette properties icon as show below. Choose Customize Palette from the menu.


AutoCAD will open Customize Palette dialog box. Now from the list, right click above the Palette you want to copy. Choose export from context menu.


AutoCAD will ask you to save the file as .xtp format. Choose the folder where you want to save this file.

As you probably have guessed, now you can copy this file to other computer. Repeat the procedure, but on the target computer choose import in Customize Palette dialog.

About block palettes

If you want to export palettes to access AutoCAD blocks, you need to copy all the block as well. Remember, tool palettes only provide shortcut to insert your block. But it doesn’t save the block definition. The block definition is still in the AutoCAD drawing, where you created it.

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Working with different Revit view range in a floor plan Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:58:28 +0000 Do you ever need to have a floor plan with different view range? Sometimes you need to show different height in specific area than the rest of the floor plan.

Let’s take a look at this example below. There are two windows in the elevation view.



But when you open the floor plan, you can’t see the windows.


The reason why we can’t see it is because they are placed above the cut plane of the plan’s view range. The floor plan cut the model at elevation 1200 mm, but the windows sill height are at 1700 mm. So I need the cut plane at elevation more than 1700.


About the view range

If you are not familiar with view range, this image can help. This image was snipped from Revit help about view range. Read it if you need more information.


  1. Top
  2. Cut plane
  3. Bottom
  4. Offset
  5. Primary Range
  6. View Depth.

Working with Plan Region

Changing the view range is not always applicable. Sometimes when we change the view range, we see other components disappear from our floor plan. So you need to define different view range for that particular area.

You can do this by using plan region. You can find this tool in View tab> Create panel> Plan Views dropdown> Plan Region.


You will need to define the plan region using sketch tool. Draw the sketch as necessary, then click finish. In this example I only need to create a rectangular boundary.


Now when you click the boundary, you will see View Range in Properties Palette. It’s the only property you can change for this object.

Click it and change it as necessary. After you set the view range correctly, you will see the windows now appear.


Working with view range can be frustrating when you start using Revit. Many times it doesn’t work as we expected. Plan region can really help, doesn’t need?

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AutoCAD 2015 Geolocation Online Map hotfix Fri, 07 Nov 2014 08:36:58 +0000 If you have problem with Bing map is not displaying when you use Geolocation map, it was because there was a change on Bing server side. It prevents AutoCAD from downloading it.

Autodesk recently released this hotfix to fix the issue. If you try to activate the Geolocation tool now, you should see a popup saying a hotfix is available.

However, you can also install the hotfix by downloading the hotfix.

You can download the hotfix in Autodesk Knowledge Network here.

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Work Better with AutoCAD challenges – training video winners Thu, 06 Nov 2014 06:57:31 +0000 student discussion

In the last few months, we have several challenges for you.The main goal is to increase your productivity with AutoCAD. This is not a contest, I expected we can help each other to improve. However, for most active participants who give value to the discussions, I promise to provide some prizes.

The prizes are intended to provide more resources for you to learn. So CADnotes and Infinite Skills provide two training video titles for the winners.

The four lucky winners

After all the challenges are completed, we pick four people who win the training videos:

AutoCAD Sheet Sets

The participant who win AutoCAD Sheet Sets training video are:

  1. Monica Fischer   (mf_ar***
  2. Rocky Sinyard    (rocky***@alpligh***.com)

AutoCAD Blocks and Dynamic Blocks

The participant who win AutoCAD Blocks and Dynamic Blocks training video are:

  1. Chris    (yal***
  2. Candida Tate    (omi***

You will receive an email with instruction to download your copy from Infinite Skills.

If you don’t win

If you don’t win but you want to purchase learning resources, we list our e-book, Autodesk Official Press and training videos in our e-store.

Connect with us for learning materials

If you haven’t, we encourage you to subscribe to our email newsletter so you won’t miss our new articles. You can choose topic that you want to follow in the registration form.

If you have social media account and prefer to connect there, you can join the community on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. In our social media account, we also share older tips that you might miss and tips from other resources.

Thank you for your participation, we really appreciate that! Don’t forget to run all the challenges more than once, to improve your workflow!

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This is why Revit 2015 content libraries takes a long time to install Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:04:48 +0000 When you try to install Revit 2015, you may find it takes a very long time when it gets to Revit content libraries. You may also find that the library folder is empty or not complete.

waiting installation

The reason is the installer downloads the Revit contents when you run the installer. Depends on your internet connection speed and the contents you selected, it can take hours to complete the installation.

I find this quite annoying, even after downloading a huge installer we still need to download the content. And sadly, there is no direct download link so we can download Revit contents separately. I found that using browser download is much more reliable.

If you need to add/reinstall the contents

If you find your library is not complete or you want to add default content, you can see how to do it in this Autodesk knowledge base page.

Make sure you have good internet connection when you do this. Probably the best time is before leaving office and just leave your computer on overnight.

Installing on multiple computers

Downloading the contents on single computer is annoying. But when you need to do this for multiple computers, then it’s frustrating. These are the workaround that I suggest you to avoid downloading the Revit content libraries.

Copy/share the content from other computer

My suggestion is you install the contents only on one computer. I have all the contents on my USB drive, and when I need to install Revit contents I just copy it from there.

When you need to install it on other computer, unplug the network cable or disable the internet connection. When the installer can’t connect to Autodesk server, it will continue to install the other items.

After the installation is completed, you can copy the contents from the first computer to other computers.

The default location for Revit 2015 contents is C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\RVT 2015. Copy the whole folder to the new computer.

After you copy the files, you need to change the file location settings to the contents folder.


The alternative is to copy the contents to server and set the Revit file location to that shared folders.

Upgrade your old contents

If you have older version of Revit you can just upgrade the old default contents to Revit 2015 version. So you don’t need to download the contents at all. You will need to do this for your custom contents anyway.

Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade RFT (Revit family template).

There are two ways to do this easily.

Content Batch Utility

Revit provides content batch utility to allow you upgrade multiple files automatically. Revit will open the file and save it without you need to do the operation for each file.

You can find the utility in the installation folder below:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit 2015\en-US\Utilities\ContentBatchUtility

You can find how to use this utility by reading the readme file provided in that folder.

Bulk File Upgrader

You can also download Bulk File Upgrader from Boost Your BIM. This plugin do exactly the same with Content Batch Utility, but provides UI to allow you do it easily.


It works flawlessly when I try to upgrade the whole RVT 2014 folder to Revit 2015 version.

You can download it in Autodesk Exchange Apps here.

To sum up

Autodesk doesn’t include Revit 2015 contents in the installation media. You will download the files during installation. So if you find it takes a very long time to finish the installation, it’s normal. Especially if you choose many contents to install.

This however, is not fun when you need to install on multiple computers. It’s better to install Revit without internet connection, so it will skip downloading the files.

You can copy and configure the file location later, which is much more faster than downloading it on each computer.

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One AutoCAD dimension style, different appearances Fri, 31 Oct 2014 04:14:23 +0000 You may need to have dimensions with slightly different appearance. Like the image below.



The linear dimension use architectural tick as arrowheads and has mm as suffix. The radius dimension use closed filled arrowheads and no suffix.

But the other properties are the same.  The text, the dimension lines and all other properties are the same.

You can create another dimension style, but there is a better way to accomplish this: by creating a child dimension style.

happy computer user

The benefits

The benefits of creating a child dimension style are:

  1. Less dimension styles to manage.
  2. You don’t need to change dimension style when you create different dimension type.
  3. When you need to modify the dimension style, all changes in master style will be reflected to the child styles.

Working with child dimension styles

Open Dimension Style Manager. You can open it by typing DIMSTYLE.


Let’s start with ISO-25 style. Click to choose it and click new button on the right side. AutoCAD will open a dialog box.

Change in “Use for:” drop-down selection to Linear Dimensions.


This will make a child dimension style that’s only used for linear dimension. Click continue.

Now make changes to the new style. Let’s change the arrowheads to architectural tick.


You can also try to add mm for suffix.


Click OK to close the modify dimension style dialog.

Now check the styles list. You have linear as child style. Check the preview.

See the arrowheads for angular and radius dimensions. They look different to the linear dimensions.


Now try to use that dimension styles for creating linear, angular and radius dimension.

That is pretty cool, isn’t it? Now you can use one dimension style but looks different on each type of dimensions!

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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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