Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tweets this week: LT2012 overdose for free

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. Autodesk released the next version of AutoCAD/LT, 2012, and we did our share of tweeting about it in depth.
  • LT2012: you can now BIND a DGN file.
  • LT2012: new Content Explorer can Search, find, index and retrieve drawing content locally, your network, on the web and Autodesk’s SEEK.
  • LT2012: preview frames around PDFs, DWFs and DGNs even if you have then turned off. Then you can Grip Edit them.
  • LT2012: OPEN command can now be set to start with your Template file without any pop-ups or prompts. Set STARTUP variable to 2.
  • Buy AutoCAD LT 2012 upgrade for LT2009-10-11 for only $595 now, Online or Download, from the Autodesk Store:  
  • LT2012: VPLAYER and LAYER commands can freeze specific layers in all viewports except the current one you are in.
  • LT2012: did I mention Sheet Set Manager is finally available? Basic intro/tutorial here:  
  • R2012: they finally get LT’s quick-creation GROUP command feature. Both versions get Group Bounding Box: one grip to move and copy groups.
  • LT2012: accessing your toolbars is now easier and found in the RIBBON on the View Tab (not hidden).
  • LT2012: GROUPEDIT command allows you to add and remove objects from selected groups as well as UnGroup. And rename a group too.
  • LT2012: DSVIEWER and BLIPMODE are gone and unlike AutoCAD they can't be revived. Did anyone ever use them? I am curious how if you did.
  • Reply to @CadSetterOut The tweet is LT specific. There is no REDEFINE command so that tip is not applicable. Re-read my posting.
  • LT2012: HATCH performance is better with dense patterns. HPQUICKPREVIEWTIMEOUT variable helps limit the time AutoCAD spends previewing.
  • LT2012: if you are not using Grips and grip editing, you’re missing out on about a 1/4 (at least) of the enhancements.
  • LT2012: VIEWBACK command is similar to Zoom Previous, abbreviate and speed up your drafting. VIEWFORWARD command is like a redo of Viewback
  • LT2012: You can attach and handle more raster formats, including but not limited to PSD, MrSID, JPEG2000, ECW, NITF, HDR, DOQ and more.
  • Reply to @CadSetterOut MrSID file format owly:  
  • LT2012: PC3 files, PMP files, and plot style tables (STB/CTB) can reside in more than one folder. LT can find them in host file folder too.
  • LT2012: yes, you can now EXTEND a Spline. And FILLET, but it uses an Arc not a Spline.
  • LT2012: right click over a dimension and remove any dimstyle overrides.
  • LT2012: MTEXT background mask now remembers the last used fill color and border offset you used.
  • LT2012: Migration Tools now will move Tool Palettes, and allow you to UNDO a migration if you later change your mind or need to fix issues.
  • LT2012: Snap Mode changes so that the cursor only snaps to grid points when specifying points, not selecting objects.
  • RETWEET: Cadalyst_Mag Wondering what's new in #AutoCAD 2012? Here's your answer!  #adsk2012
  • LT2012: you can move, rotate and adjust the UCS icon with grips, just like all other AutoCAD objects.
  • LT2012: BLIPMODE is gone. Now you will have to torture the intern with something else.
  • LT2012: JOIN command has been freed. You can use more selection methods (like Window) and then let AutoCAD find and join what is possible.
  • LT2012: use Copy Nested Objects (NCOPY) to copy an object from a block or xref into the current drawing, much like COPY command.
  • LT2012: OVERKILL, The Delete Duplicate Objects tool, automatically cleans up your drawings by removing redundant or unneeded geometry.
  • LT2012: Preview Fillets and Chamfers when you pass the cursor over the second object in your selection before completing the command.
  • LT2012: you can now extend the leader in MLeader to the text. And set it as a default in the MLEADERSTYLE.
  • LT2012: BLEND command will connect two objects with a smooth spline for better transitions.
  • LT2012: ARRAYEDIT command to edit any elements of an Array (change properties, move around and still remain part of the array)
  • LT2012: select an object or objects, hold down the CTRL key and then move them with the keyboard arrow keys. NUDGE is a great addition.
  • LT2012: ARRAY is now real time, see the array as you move the cursor, rows and columns and distances between them
  • LT2012: Sheet Set Manager has finally been added, another full AutoCAD ability now in LT.
  • LT2012: COPY command can now mimic linear arrays by placing a specific number of copies between two points.
  • LT2012 now supports Hardware Acceleration, similar to full AutoCAD, and is turned on by default if your system is capable.
  • LTisACAD Blog: AutoCAD LT 2012 is here: what you need to know.
  • LT2012: Associative Arrays, Copy Array, BLEND, Overkill and NCopy from Express Tools, NUDGE, Fillet/Chamfer Previews, quicker startups.
  • PELLIPSE changes the way Ellipses are drawn (true ellipse vs Pline ellipse): it has no effect in previously created Ellipses.
  • Set PELLIPSE variable to 1 and you will then be able to draw and explode an ELLIPSE.
  • Start LINE command: PERP, snap at edge of circle; PERP, snap at the edge of second circle. LINE is between two circles' common centerline.
We post daily on the topic of AutoCAD/LT and features/abilities of interest to users: you can find us at
Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. ◦

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AutoCAD LT 2012 is here: what you need to know.

AutoCAD/LT2012 is an incremental upgrade to AutoCAD/LT2011, adding new commands, improvements to existing features, new and enhanced 2D features (and 3D for full AutoCAD users), better input and output tools, interface and performance enhancements as well as the continued tweaking to the user interface we've seen over the last three versions with the Ribbon.
  • Performance: faster startup times for the program, and faster switching between Ribbon tabs have been added. LT2012 now also supports Hardware Acceleration, similar to full AutoCAD, and is turned on by default if your system is determined to be able to support the feature. 3DCONFIG is the command name, but unlike the name's implication, there is no 3D in LT as always.
  • Groups: AutoCAD finally gets LT's group functionality, so not much new for LT users except the adjustments in the Ribbon. Expanding the Group Panel provides additional Group tools: the Group Bound Box option controls how groups are enabled (LT displays a single grip and a bounding box around a group when selected). Note: PURGE command has been updated to purge groups that contain no objects.
  • AutoCAD Exchange: the single information hub (aka Website) that offers learning and productivity tools, getting-started videos, news, discussions, blog posts, and more can now be accessed from inside AutoCAD/LT and is the default at startup (you can disable it). Unlike full AutoCAD though, LT will not have access to the Online App Store to add features to LT.
  • Content Explorer: ADCENTER is finally addressed and improved. Instantly find design content based on file objects or text attributes. This new feature uses a Google-like index at any location you designate, helping you to quickly access files. You can explore and browse into DWG files in order to access and insert blocks, layers, linetypes, styles and more. Content Explorer also provides a single interface fro browsing and searching other content sources such as Autodesk Seek.
  • Ribbon: the interface has been updated to better identify and access frequently used tools. Look for minor changes and adjustments in the Draw, Modify, Insert and View panels and tabs: most simply add those commands that were missing (like WBLOCK in the Create Block flyout), plus room for the new commands added.
  • Migration Tools: these have been improved to give you more information, more choices, and finally, migrate Tool Palettes. You can also, and easily, change your mind afterwards by using the new RESET tool to get back to the Out-Of-The-Box default installation.
  • PC3 files: you can truly have multiple folders for all your (and your clients) PC3 files and other printer configuration files (PMP and Plot style Tables STB and CTB). Just add these folders in OPTIONS command's Files tab. And even better, if you want to avoid the hassle (or are locked out of the option by your Windows log-in), AutoCAD will now just search for these items in the folder of the host file.
  • Auto-Complete Command Entry: In LT2011 and lower, you could do this by keying in a couple of letters and tapping the TAB key to cycle through all possibilities. In 2012, LT goes further and makes it much easier to auto-complete the command name (or pause and select from a list that appears). Works with system variables as well. You can totally control the behavior and whether this new feature is on or off.
  • Quick Properties: this has been updated in LT2012 so that the default list includes more frequently used properties. QP, when turned on, is displayed when you double-click on most objects and allows you to view and modify those object(s) properties.
  • Snap Mode: when it's turned on in 2012, the cursor only snaps to grid points when specifying points (not when selecting objects). Reduces the need for the user to toggle on/off while in a command.
  • External Reference enhancements: a new variable has been added, FRAMESELECTION, to control the Selection Preview Frames of DWF, PDF, DGN and DWG files inside your top file.
  • UCS Enhancements: UCS icon can now be directly manipulated on screen. You can select it and use the Multi-Functional Grips to directly change the UCS. Easily move the origin and automatically align the UCS with objects, and rotate the UCS around the X, Y or Z without access to the UCS command.
  • Multi-Functional Grips: This feature, found in LT 2011 when hovering over a grip for Plines for example (to add and delete a Vertex etc.), has been expanded to now include Lines (Stretch and Lengthen), Arcs, Dimensions (Stretch, Continue, Baseline, Flip Arrow) and Mleaders. Dynamic Input must be turned on.
  • Nudge: yes, you can now NUDGE (move) a selected object or objects a few pixels in an orthogonal direction using keyboard arrow keys.
  • Implied Selection: PICKDRAG and PICKAUTO variables have been updated to add another choice (setting of 2). The former allows you to either click two points (traditional window selection method) or click and drag to selection objects automatically (think Wpolygon, Cpolygon and Fence selections). The latter allows for a one pick window selection.
  • Delete Duplicate Object: finally, the Express Tool OVERKILL is now a core command in LT2012 (it is in AutoCAD2012 too). Remove duplicate or unneeded geometry that clutters your file (you know, you select what you think is one object and find out there is one or more identical duplicate copies there instead).
  • Copy Nested Objects: another Express Tool is now a core command, NCOPY command. It enables you to copy objects from blocks or Xrefs into the main drawing without opening the block or reference for editing.
  • MText Enhancements: background mask option now remembers the last used fill color and border offset factor instead of falling back to a default.
  • MLeader Enhancements: You can now change the gap around Mleader text in a text frame. You can also extend the leader line to the text rather than ending at the text bounding box.
  • Dimension Right-Click Menu: added to the default list is the ability to remove any style overrides found in a dimension you right-click over.
  • Osnap Enhancements: Perpendicular and Tangent Object Snaps have been enhanced to be more flexible. AutoCAD finds osnap points to make objects tangent or perpendicular, as well as the tangent or perpendicular points relative to the selected grip.
  • Fillet and Chamfer: These tools have been updated to display a preview when passing the cursor over the second object in the fillet/chamfer selection. The Polyline option does the same for the entire Polyline. Fillet also now works with Spline Objects.
  • Blend: A new tool added to LT2012 to create spline objects with options for tangent or smooth continuity between curves. It supports lines, arcs, 2D and 3D Plines, and splines.
  • Join Tool: this has been updated to automatically combine selected objects using typical selection methods such as crossing windows or picking object is any order. You no longer need to select the source object first.
  • Spline Enhancements: Better results with the Close option, greater control when grip-editing fit points in Splines, a Kink option has been added, and the Extend tool is enhanced to support splines when selecting objects to extend.
  • 2D Array Functionality: A major improvement here is the ability to array objects along a specified path (think chairs around an irregular shaped table or a block around a circle), rather than the current limited rectangular or polar options. Preview functionality has been improved, you can multi-function grip edit the array, and you can establish and maintain a set of relationships between arrayed objects (yes, you can modify, erase or transform individual items in an array. There is even a Replace option).
  • Copy Tool: this now have a new Array option that enables you to create a linear non-associative array.
  • Layer Enhancements: a VPLAYER command has been added to the Layer Properties Manager, enabling you to quickly freeze specified layers in all viewports except the current one you are inside (right-click option).
  • Sheet Set Manager: This long-time full AutoCAD feature is now here in LT. SSM organizes your drawing sheets, reduces steps to Publish, automatically creates layout views, links sheet set information into title blocks and plot stamps, and more. A sheet set is an organized collection of sheets from several drawing files. A sheet is a selected layout from a drawing file. Think of it as a full-project management tool for your single project that has many DWG files (and then multiply to all of your projects).
  • Raster File Support: You can attach and handle more raster formats than ever, including but not limited to PSD, MrSID, JPEG2000, ECW, NITF, HDR, DOQ and more.
  • DGN Support: added support for complex line types when importing/exporting using the DGN8 file format.
  • DWG Convert: access to this tool that's been around for a while is made easier by adding it to the Applications Menu (Big Red A in the top left corner). This helps when sharing files with users as far back as R14, R2000, R2004 and even R2007 and 2010 formats when you just want to ensure total compatibility with no missing content.
  • AutoCADWS: The core 2012 program now fully integrates the free AutoCADWS web and mobile application for easier use by users. AutoCAD WS lets you view, edit, share and collaborate in real time with DWG files using a web browser or mobile device. Explore more about this free feature HERE.
  • No STANDARDS feature as found in Full AutoCAD for many versions now.
  • No "Infer Constraints" as found in full AutoCAD.
  • No Lisp, ARX, VBA or other external customization languages as always.
  • No online store in the new Exchange feature.
  • No Vault integration with the new Sheet Set Manager (SSM).
  • No Materials Library, no 3D Model Import from other formats (Catia, Parasolid, Pro/E, Rhino, Solidworks etc.), no 3D Model documentation, no Autodesk Inventor Fusion, and no Point Cloud Support.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tweets this week

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter:
  • Search the Solved section of the Autodesk Discussion Groups Forum for LT for new Tips, Tricks, solutions and more at  
  • LTisACAD Blog: AutoCAD/LT Command Modifiers  
  • Use ADCENTER to share content between DWG files: Blocks, Dimstyles, Layers, Layouts, Linetypes, Xrefs, and Mleader/Table/Text Styles.
  • Create PDF quickly, model or paperspace: EXPORTPDF command, no need to change any predefined PAGESETUPs that aim for another printer or plotter.
  • Retweeted: EFinkelstein I just posted a tip for AutoCAD: "Access related files with search paths"  
  • Rotate the crosshairs in LT with one click on any object: Copy this macro, place it in your menu/ Ribbon/ Toolbar/ Button:   'snapang;0,0;per
  • Norton 360 can affect AutoCAD/LT: options available so far as follows and  
We post daily on the topic of AutoCAD/LT and features/abilities of interest to users: you can find us at
Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. ◦

Friday, March 18, 2011

AutoCAD/LT Command Modifiers

You can use command modifiers to help you locate points or select objects while a command is in progress. Use the Coordinate Filter, Direct Distance Entry, From, MTP, and Tracking command modifiers at any prompt that requires point specification. Use the Selection Mode command modifiers at any prompt that requires object selection.
The links below expand on the items with practical applications direct from HELP found in LT.
  • Coordinate Filters: Combines X, Y, and Z values from different points to specify a single point.
  • Direct Distance Entry: Locates the next point at a specified distance in the direction of your cursor.
  • FROM: Locates a point offset from a reference point within a command. Ideal for when you need to click at a screen position FROM an existing object or position.
  • MTP: Locates the midpoint between two points. Use it while in a command by just typing MTP when you need it.
  • TRACKING: Locates a point from a series of temporary points.
  • Object Snaps: Specifies a precise point at a location on an object.
  • Selection Modes: Controls how you create selection sets


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tweets this week

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter.
  • Polar tracking: Press F10 to toggle on/off. It provides an "ortho" cursor limit at incremental angles that you define.  
  • Retweeted by LTisACAD. JeffBartels AutoCAD Tip: Need to compare 2 DWGs? Plot both to DWF & use the "Compare Sheets" tool in Design Review to highlight differences.
  • LTisACAD Blog: AutoCAD/LT Function Keys  
  • You have AUTOCAPS turned on in your TABLE text editor? turn AUTOCAPS off in MTEXT first to turn it off in TABLE as well when editing.
  • WSSAVE command to save your current WORKSPACE after you rearrange AuotCAD/LT menus/toolbars. Or the old layout is restored after a restart.
  • COLOR command: when you select a new color, a preview is shown in the lower-left. Behind the new color is your previous color selection.
  • LAYERNOTIFY variable: Set to 0 (turn it off) so AutoCAD won’t ask to verify new layers added to a drawing or xref.  
We post daily on the topic of AutoCAD/LT and features/abilities of interest to users: you can find us at
Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States.


Friday, March 11, 2011

AutoCAD/LT Function Keys

There are many functions and commands that can be quickly accessed through the keyboard without typing the entire command: many are covered in a previous blog called AutoCAD/LT Shortcut Keys.

Another set of keyboard buttons allow access to even more commands and variables: these are called Function Keys and are best recognized on your keboard as they are the keys with the letter F in front of a numeral.

Below is a list of what each F-Key initiates as a command. These are Toggle functions: tap the key once to change a setting, tap the same key again to restore the original setting. For example, if you tap the F8 key you will see AutoCAD respond by changing the setting of ORTHO with each tap.

Note that where pratical we have hyperlinked to AutoCAD's HELP file below to give you an opportunity to explore these commands even further.
  • F1 - Toggles AutoCAD/LT's HELP file.
  • F2 - Toggles the Text Window, which is basically your command line expanded beyond the few lines you see on screen normally.
  • F3 - Toggles OSNAP running Object Snap; useful if you prefer to have a set or running osnaps but occasionally need then all off  or on while drafting. Not sure where to start with running Osnaps? At the command line type OSMODE then enter 123.
  • F4 - Toggles Tablet (Tabets are alternates to a mouse, requires a very specific driver from that manufacturer to properly work with this function key). Very handy tool if you want to set up custom menus beyond the screen menu or if you really want to get into the new freehand SKETCH command.
  • F5 - Toggles Isoplane, perfect if you need to draw in Isometric.
  • F6 - Toggles Coordinates Display, lower-right corner of your screen. Keeps track of where your cursor is located based on coordinates.
  • F7 - Toggles GRID display on screen: some additional instructions can be found HERE.
  • F8 - Toggles ORTHOMODE: a great way to ensure you are drafting in fixed 90-degree angles.
  • F9 - Toggles SNAPMODE, which is basically use to ain in drawing with grid-like restrictions.
  • F10 - Toggles POLARMODE: this is an alternate to ORTHOMODE above, it allows you to select what angles to use instead of being limited to Vertical and Horizontal cursor movement (90-degrees). And no, it cannot be on at the same time as ORTHOMODE.
  • F11 - Toggles OTRACK: you can draw objects at specific angles or in specific relationship to other objects along specified directions called alignment paths.  
  • F12 - Toggles Dynamic Input: when on, tooltips display information near the cursor that is dynamically updated as the cursor moves. When a command is active, the tooltips provide a place for user entry.
Need to change or modify any of these or other shortcut keys? Explore this topic from HELP to get you started. ◦

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tweets this week

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter.
  • LTisACAD Blog: LT Support, Patches and Updates  
  • To lengthen or shorten a dimension, you can use TRIM or EXTEND commands: the edge you aim for must be in line with the dimension extension.
  • When DEMANDLOAD system variable is set to 2, fields cannot be updated until you use FIELD or UPDATEFIELD:  
  • Free: AutoCAD/LT New Features eBooks – for AutoCAD/LT 2006 through 2011. Read them all at  
  • Fields are updated automatically when the drawing is opened, saved, plotted, regenerated, or sent through ETRANSMIT:  
  • Can't see your preferred CTB plot style tables on the PLOT pop-up? Convert your drawing to that format using CONVERTPSTYLES command.
  • Need to add plot style tables to PLOT command’s choices STYLESMANAGER command opens the folder AutoCAD/LT is using. Move them there.

We post daily on the topic of AutoCAD/LT and features/abilities of interest to users: you can find us at
Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

LT Support, Patches and Updates

When it comes to getting Help and support, Autodesk offers many options and solutions, some are free, some are not. Where to find these options can be tricky to find. The following links should help get you started:
  • AutoCAD LT central location for all support is HERE.
  • Known and documented issues with solutions or things to try are posted in the Knowledge Base Section.
  • Seek out help from fellow LT users in the open Discussion Groups area.
  • Autodesk Per-Incident Support offers support for most products through interaction with product support specialists. It is designed to meet occasional technical support needs. After initial review, callers can speak directly to an Autodesk product support specialist. A pre-existing support agreement is not required as you pay per-incident, by credit card.
  • Autodesk Subscription Web Support offers direct, one-to-one communication with Autodesk support technicians for fast, complete answers to your installation, configuration, and troubleshooting questions.
  • Up and Ready assistance offers you are entitled to 30 days support from your date of registration covering installation and configuration of your new Autodesk software.
  • Even the best software contains software defects that may occasionally cause your system to close unexpectedly. When a software error occurs, Autodesk’s Customer Error Reporting (CER) makes it easy for you to send the details of the software error to Autodesk for analysis.
  • Other Resources available include Autodesk Developer Center, Autodesk Authorized Resellers, and Autodesk User Group International (AUGI)
  • Autodesk provides a variety of printed and online tutorials and resources HERE that can help you learn about and use your AutoCAD LT software Help Menu, Getting Started Tutorials, Printed Materials, Availability of Product Documentation, Documentation Updates, Feedback
  • From the Data and Downloads webpage you can get Updates and Service Packs and other maintenance releases, Utilities and Drivers, Viewers, Tools to enhance and extend your product functionality, and Download Sample Files.
  • Access to many Training Options.
  • Join one or more CAD Community groups.
  • Get more information and gain access to your Subscription page.