Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LT2009 added features overview.

The big feature additions for LT2009 users are as follows:

  • FIELDS: you can add, modify and replace fields. What is a field? A field is text that contains instructions to display data that you expect to change during the life cycle of the drawing.
    When a field is updated, the latest data is displayed. For example, the value of the FileName field is the name of the file. If the file name changes, the new file name is displayed when the field is updated.
    Fields can be inserted in any kind of text (except tolerances), including text in table cells, attributes, and attribute definitions. When any text command is active, Insert Field is available on the shortcut menu.
    Some sheet set fields can be inserted as placeholders. For example, you can insert SheetNumberAndTitle as a placeholder. Later, when the layout is added to a sheet set, the placeholder field displays the correct sheet number and title.
    Block placeholder fields can be used in block attribute definitions while you’re working in the Block Editor.
    Look for a future expanded discussion on Fields on this blog.
  • LT users can edit Xref Clippings in their files: changing boundaries and locations mostly.
  • IMAGEATTACH is finally an ability in LT: you can now attach a Raster Image, like an Xref, instead of the old copy/paste method that bulked up your DWG file.
  • Zoom and Pan commands have been enhanced, or screen cluttered, with a new feature called Steering Wheel: a pop-up at your cursor that allows the user to navigate around the drawing. Also has a 'rewind' feature to step back through what you panned or zoomed.
  • Non-Rectangular Viewports: LT users can now create these. Just don't expect a panacea, they are still somewhat troublesome like they've always been in full AutoCAD.
  • Full Color Book support: you are no longer limited to 256 colors in LT. Color away (just remember to deselect your default plot style table if it is set up to only plot black).
  • Of course, they changed the look and feel of the interface: you can go 'back' to the classic look, but you lose some of the many cool features. New icons and button images to learn, if you customize as we do, you might spend a little time 'dolling' up your existing icons selections.
  • Right-click Use has been expanded even more than previous: the new rule in LT2009 is, if you can't find it or want to do more, right-click. More features and hidden options appear this way more than anywhere else.
  • Drawing/document and Layout Preview: now you can truly look at your file(s) content, instead of a snapshot of a last save that many not be true. And with a right-click, you can turn a Layout into it's own separate DWG file.
  • Action Recorder: command customization for the masses is being kept out of LT, about the only users that really need it. Shame.
  • Tooltips are no longer one word cryptic descriptions: well, they can be, but you have the option to get a full description of a tool or command just by hovering your mouse over it. Force your delicate 'NEWB' to read Help in a way.
  • MLeader imprrovements, Layer command and viewport features and abilities are enhanced. ALso explore the major changes to the Status Bar at the bottom of the LT2009 screen, allows for easier selections without going through many pop-ups.
  • PROPERTIES command has a little brother now, Quick Properties, covers just the common basics we all use all the time.
  • Miscellaneous additions like Google Earth maps, good Array command previews, and a new format of dwf called DWFx, aimed at Microsoft Vista OS users: you can now send any Vista user a DWFx file and they do NOT have to install any new software to read it. A possible PDF killer in the next couple of years as Vista gains market share and WindowsXP dies away.

Read all about it in more detail HERE.

LT2010 details to follow.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

LT script errors when starting HELP

If you encounter an Internet Explorer Script Error message when trying to start HELP in LT, or using the Getting Started option, or possibly authorizing your LT version for the first time, the following Autodesk posted Knowledge Base (KB) page may resolve it HERE.

Applies to LT2005 through LT2008, as well as other AutoCAD variants. ◦

LT2008 slow performance

LT2008 introduced a new Annotative feature that is a major improvement to the CAD program in many years. Along with it, a few shortcomings got introduced as well, some of which can slow Lt2008 if they remain unchecked.

If you've noticed slow program responses when Opening drawings that contain Xrefs, Inserting Xref drawings, Copying/Pasting from one drawing into another, and/or Inserting blocks from external files, click on the following posted Knowledge Base (KB) page from Autodesk for a solution HERE. ◦

Error: AutoCAD is not installed properly...

You get the above message, or a variation of it, when you start LT for the first time, or at some point later on.

LT2006 and higher started using .NET framework from Microsoft as part of the CAD program, and with the evolution of both .NET and LT, as well as many other programs on your PC, your PC may have reached a point where the clutter is causing problems.

Autodesk provides the following Knowledge Base document to resolve the issue HERE. ◦


There really is no choice, you do what is needed for the task at hand, PDF if it's needed, DWF if it works.

However, many AutoCAD/LT users see this as a single-view choice, not grasping, or perhaps fearing, the true power of DWF over PDF.

How about a free viewer that will allow a user to electronically comment on and/or measure content in those files and return to the file originator for an update? Yes, your file recipient, aka the Client, can receive your drawing(s), review it, redline it, and send it back to you to make those important changes.
No, we are not talking about DWG files, or PDF, we are talking DWF. All they need is, which is free, and all you need is LT2008 and higher, you can Xref their DWF back into your file and pick up the markups in your DWG file.

But they already have a PDF viewer installed you say, and they fear installing a new program? They don't wish to redline, just look at a file and comment in other methods? Or just look at progress sets? There is a free online viewer, a webpage they can go to, click on the browse button, and open your DWF file with (they can even use their PDA or web-capable phone to do this), click HERE or share that link with them when you send the DWF file.
For the "cutting edge" version of the above, click HERE.

Communication is a powerful business tool, clients respond to it if you bring it up as more than 'just another software package' to try. Give them the power to review on the go, without leaving their PCs or mobiel devices, you do the same. ◦

Commands and Variables List

AutoCad and LT provide a list of almost all commands and variables in HELP: while in LT, type HELP or click on Help in the Pulldown Menu or Toolbar Button. Click on the Contents Tab, then click on the + sign next to the chapter labeled Command Reference.

For a more comprehensive list that covers all current versions of LT and AutoCAD, click here for Commands and here for Variables: note that these include full AutoCAD commands that may not be available in LT, as discussed HERE. ◦