When you plot a set of sheets using the Page Setup Override option in the Sheet Set Manager, AutoCAD automatically sends all the sheets to the plot device as a single job (assuming the plot or PDF driver supports multi-sheet plotting). This behavior can be desirable because it enables you to plot an entire sheet set without interruption. However, it can be undesirable because your colleagues must wait for your entire sheet set to finish plotting before they can sneak in quick plots of their own. Fortunately, the PUBLISHCOLLATE system variable in AutoCAD 2008 enables you to control this behavior. If you change PUBLISHCOLLATE from its default value of “1” to a value of “0”. AutoCAD will process each sheet one at a time so that other plots can automatically interject in the plot spool.
If you are using sheet set functionality in AutoCAD 2008, you can take advantage of a new option in the right-click menu of the Sheet List tab, which enables you to publish your sheet set in reverse order. When this option is enabled, the sheets that you plot using Publish to Plotter or Publish using Page Setup Override will plot in reverse of how they are listed in the sheet set manager.
If you have attended any of my AutoCAD classes or presentations, you probably know I’m a big fan of sheet set functionality. Sheet sets were introduced in AutoCAD 2005 and subtly enhanced in subsequent releases.
In AutoCAD 2008 you can easily add a layout from the current drawing to the active sheet set. Simply right click over the layout tab and select Import Layout as Sheet from the right click menu. Or, just drag and drop the layout tab onto the sheet list.
Using either of these methods will display the Import Layouts as Sheets dialog box listing all the layouts in the drawing with the specified layout already selected. You can select additional layouts to import. If you’ve created new layouts, you’ll have to save the drawing before they are displayed in the Import Layouts as Sheets dialog box.
AutoCAD LT has experienced many improvements over the years and if you’re using an older release of AutoCAD LT, you might want to consider upgrading. For example, the following functionality was added in AutoCAD LT 2006, 2007, and 2008:
AutoCAD LT 2006:
AutoCAD LT 2007:
Layer Express Tools
Create, edit and view dynamic block definitions
Save as AutoCAD Release 14 format DWG files
Attach DWF files as underlays
Publish to PDF
AutoCAD LT 2008:
Layer properties per viewport
Multiline block attributes
Table linking with Excel
Mtext columns and paragraph spacing
2D customizable dashboard
Windows Vista support
In addition to the new functionality in each release, many enhancements have been made to existing functionality. For a list of changes from AutoCAD LT 2005 thru AutoCAD LT 2008, download the Release Comparison Matrix. You might also want to take a look at the AutoCAD LT Screencast!
Today’s good question comes from Binoy. He asked how you can create an animation of an AutoCAD model using a path.
You can use the ANIPATH command, which was introduced in AutoCAD 2007. It is only accessible from the View menu (View>Motion Path Animations) or by typing the command name. Using ANIPATH, you can specify a point or a path for both the camera and the target (where the camera is looking). For example, the camera could be located on a fountain in the middle of a park and the target path could be a circle that goes around the park. The resulting animation would show the park as the camera swivels around a stationary point on the fountain. If, on the other hand, you used the circle as the camera path and the point as the target, the resulting animation would show the fountain as the camera traveled around it.
If you plan on using a path for either the camera or the target (or both), you’ll need to create the path geometry before launching the ANIPATH command. You can use just about logical object for a path (circle, line, polyline, ellipse, spline, etc). You don’t have to define a “point” object in order to specify a point as the camera or target. You can simply snap to an existing object or enter coordinate values.
The 15th Annual Autodesk University is scheduled for November 27 – 30, 2007 at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. This is the premier Autodesk learning and networking event and you don't want to miss out!
Today’s good question comes from Francois. He asked about the benefits of using a single layout versus multiple layouts in a drawing file.
The ability to include multiple sheet layouts in a single drawing file was first introduced in AutoCAD 2000. At the time, multiple layouts were considered the best way to organize your drawings because you could create more sheet layouts with fewer DWG files. However, it didn’t take long for people to realize that including multiple layouts in a DWG file meant that only one person at a time could edit those sheets.
During the past few years, users in many industries have returned to a standard of one layout per DWG. Many users in the civil industry, however, still prefer to use multiple layouts because they often design large site plans and using multiple layouts enables them to easily spread the design across multiple sheets. For example, a large utility plan might require four different sheets to be plotted at a legible scale.
The key to using multiple layouts is to attach design geometry as external references. For example, if you are working on a floor plan or manufactured part, don’t draw all the geometry in model space and then create multiple layouts within the same drawing because only one person can work on that drawing at a time. If you create the geometry in model space, using separate drawings as appropriate (ie. floor plan, electrical plan, hvac plan), you can attach those files to a new “sheet” drawing as xrefs. One person can work on the layout file, including multiple layouts in a single drawing, while other people edit the design files (floor plan, electrical plan, hvac plan, etc).
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to using single versus multiple layouts per drawing. If the layouts take advantage of xref files either method can work just fine. If the layouts themselves (paper space) include a lot of information such as general notes, tables, etc. it might make more sense to use a single layout per DWG to ensure easier editing for multiple users.
Each release of AutoCAD offers many subtle improvements that may not create all the hype of bigger features, but will save you time none the less! For example, in AutoCAD 2008, in-place editing enables you to rename a layout by double-clicking on the layout tab. You can also drag and drop layouts to reorder them. Use familiar tools (Ctrl and Shift) to select multiple layouts and then drag them to their new location. If you press Ctrl as you drag and drop the layouts, AutoCAD will create copies or the layouts rather than moving them.
I received several follow-up emails in response to one of my recent posts about palette sensitivity. Thanks to Ray and Jimmy for suggesting Jimmy's freeware utility on JTB World that enables you to adjust the palette sensitivity without manually editing the XML files.