Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tweets this week: LT tips, 123D

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. This week we cover LT tips, and an interesting ability for a free software package.
  • Do you use Windows 7: Master these built-in features of the OS to boost your general productivity with all programs
  • RT: ASimoes76 Autodesk 123D as a free 3D CAD converter CAD Studio blog
  • Use \X in the Text Override section of Properties to add text below the dim line in Dimensions: \P to just add text below other text.
  • New in LT2012: VIEWBACK is similar to Zoom Previous. Make into a shortcut like VB and speed up. VIEWFORWARD is like a redo of Viewback.
  • LTisACAD Blog: Quick Tips for LT: Part 1
  • Turn All Layers On with LAYON command, and Thaw All Layers with LAYTHW command.
  • Diameter and Radius Dimensioning text options in this LT Forum topic is worth exploring:
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 Text Message (SMS) by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. To stop SMS updates, simply text UNFOLLOW LTISACAD to the same number.

Get a listing of all of our twitter postings HERE:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quick Tips for LT: Part 1

This is the first of a short series of AutoCAD/LT tips presented here in simple entries to share and read at your convenience. Where noted, some tips are LT2012 specific:
  • Renaming the BAK file is the quickest way to recover a corrupt DWG file. Review the LT forum discussion topic here
  • UNITS settings in files from different sources may be difficult to decipher, but this forum tip is one option to explore
  • Another method of adding office standards like layers to existing files, without using template files:
  • Rotate and Scale commands both have a COPY option: your original will remain intact should you need it without exiting and restarting.
  • Use the ENTER keyboard key jump between Table cells.
  • Use ALT+ENTER keyboard keys to type more than one line of text (hard return between them) in a Table cell.
  • In AutoCAD/LT 2011 and higher, set VPROTATEASSOC variable to 1 and rotate your Viewport AND it's content together in one motion.
  • You can grip edit Viewports (editing capabilities when object grips are selected) : stretching, moving, rotating, scaling, and mirroring.
  • Temp Overrides in AutoCAD/LT: while in a command like LINE, hold SHIFT down to toggle ORTHO's running status.
  • PLINEGEN variable, if set to 1 may not display a segment of a dashed (or sim) Pline at each Vertex. Set it to 0 to see every one instead.
  • When in BEDIT command use the BATTORDER command to set the order the attributes will be prompted. See extra tip in forum
  • Alternatives to WIPEOUT command? With CECOLOR set to 255, use SOLID command or HATCH>Solid pattern. Control with DRAWORDER command.
  • VIEWGO command is a quick way to switch to your saved VIEW in a drawing file without going through the main dialog pop-up.
  • Highlight your text and press Ctrl+Shift+U to convert your selection to Uppercase or Ctrl+Shift+L for Lowercase: works with Text and Mtext.
  • SPLINEDIT and PEDIT commands allow you to easily convert a Spline to a Pline.
  • Use CHSPACE command to move objects from modelspace to paperspace, or vice-versa, while keeping their relative scale intact.
  • Prefer to see frames but not have them plot around Raster Images, DWF, PDF, XCLIP and DGN files? Set FRAME command to 2.
  • MULTIPLE command repeats the command-line command that you enter until you press ESC button on keyboard. Abbreviate it and others for speed.
  • Change the Text Case to/from ALL CAPS: Right click the highlighted text and select CHANGE CASE. Works with both MText and Text editors.
  • Highlight your text and press Ctrl+Shift+U to convert your selection to Uppercase or Ctrl+Shift+L for Lowercase: works with Text and Mtext.
  • You can set MTEXT (but not TEXT) to always type in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME. when inside the MTEXT editor, right-click select AutoCAPS.
  • Extract a list of layers from an AutoCAD file: Select ALL then CTRL+C from the open Layer Dialog Box into a Microsoft Excel worksheet.
  • CLIP command is a single command to clip Images, XREFs, Viewports, and underlays (DGN, PDF, DWF and DWFx) in your drawing file.
  • AutoCAD/LT2011 and higher: Do you have many DWG files open right now? Type QVDRAWING command and get a preview of each one on screen.
  • Do you get the message "Object selected is not a polyline, do you want to turn it into one?" Set PEDITACCEPT to 1 to answer yes and never see that qestion again.
  • Need to find patches, known issues and updates quickly? Explore Autodesk's Knowledge Base webpage for information:
  • Use QSELECT to select all text items; open PROPERTIES and change the rotation of the text to one direction. No more head twisting to read.
  • HATCHTOBACK selects all hatches in the drawing (plus solid fills and gradient fills) and sets their draw order behind all other objects.
  • Use TINSERT command to place blocks within TABLE cells in your drawing file. Shortcut: select a cell, right-click and click Insert Block.
  • PICKSTYLE variable controls the use of group selection and associative hatch selection. Explored in the video here
  • Lose your LT2009 (as of this post's date) or higher version installation disk? Order product documentation and replacement software here:
  • QVLAYOUT command is the quickest way to preview all of those many Layouts you have in a single DWG file:
  • Migrating Toolbars to the Ribbon? Start CUI command, right-click over a Toolbar and turn it into a Panel then place it on a Ribbon Tab.
  • Turn on POLAR TRACKING (F10 key) and set it to 15 instead of using ORTHO (F8 key): think of it as Ortho+extra
  • Cut/Paste into MTEXT bring unwanted formatting? Instead of CTRL+V, right-click, select Paste Special, then pick one of three Paste options.
  • HPSEPARATE variable controls whether your consecutively drawn hatches are treated as one hatch object, or as separate hatch objects.
  • HATCHEDIT command: use to separate hatch objects. Start the command, select one of the hatches, then check the Separate Hatches box.
  • HATCHEDIT command abilities: Add and Remove Boundaries, Change Type, DrawOrder, Layer, Color, Transparency, Hatch origin and more.
  • TEXTTOFRONT command brings text, or dimensions, or both of them in front of all other objects in the drawing:
  • Need to add plot style tables to PLOT command’s choices STYLESMANAGER command opens the folder AutoCAD/LT is using. Move them there.
  • Can't see your preferred CTB plot style tables on the PLOT pop-up? Convert your drawing to that format using CONVERTPSTYLES command.
  • Fields are updated automatically when the drawing is opened, saved, plotted, regenerated, or sent through ETRANSMIT:
  • When DEMANDLOAD system variable is set to 2, fields cannot be updated until you use FIELD or UPDATEFIELD:
  • 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.
Look for additional quick tips next week. ◦

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tweets this week: Updates, rebates and LT tips

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. This week we cover many good basic user LT tips, LT updates and special pricing, and investigate the free AutoCADWS for LT users.
  • Autodesk Exchange's Ask The Expert:
  • RT: Get Current with Rebate Offers for AutoCAD LT 2012
  • OSOPTIONS variable controls object snaps on hatch objects:
  • LAYMRG command will move all objects on destination layer to target layer, then deleted the layer after the move:
  • Add/change your commands shortcuts? In AutoCAD classic interface, Tool menu>customize>edit program parameters (acadlt.pgp)
  • Need to add/change your commands shortcut letters? Access EDIT ALIASES in AutoCAD Ribbon, manage tab, customization section.
  • LTisACAD Blog: LT2012, AutoCADWS, your Phone and Tablet
  • Use one Panel from the Ribbon a lot? Click/drag into the drawing area, float and always be available. Return when done:
  • RT: Update 2 for AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2011
  • Need to check each Layer in a file one at a time for content? Use LAYWALK command.
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 Text Message (SMS) by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. To stop SMS updates, simply text UNFOLLOW LTISACAD to the same number.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LT2012, AutoCADWS, your Phone and Tablet

AutoCADWS is a web and mobile app that lets you view, edit, and collaborate (share files with others outside your office) virtually to review and mark up your DWG files in real-time using a webbrowser on your PC, Laptop, iPhone/Droid Phones or new string of Tablets like the iPAD/2 and Droid-based devices. It is free to use, collaborate and share, you just need to set up a free account before you can use it.

What does this mean to you, the LT user?
  • Imagine sharing, and waking through a DWG file with a customer, with you in total control (and still in possession of the DWG file(s), and they never having to install any software to see it. You can set it so that they only have read-only access with no download ability (an alternative to a stack of PDFs through email).
  • Imagine coordinating with a consultant on a DWG file, without a string of Emails and clouded areas just to explain a change.
  • Imagine being in the field on-site at a project, without a paper roll of drawings, but the actual CAD files on your mobile device, marking up as you go along and your team in the office picking up the information in real-time. Sync back with your DWG file at your desktop too.
  • And just in case your imagination hit a wall, note that the AutoCADWS sit also keeps a timeline history of online changes so that at any point you can recall something you did earlier in a session (what client doesn't ever want to go-back to an earlier change?).
The webbrowser version has many recently added feature (list below is from the AWS website):
  • Anywhere Storage: Connect your AutoCAD WS web and mobile account to a variety of storage sites: Buzzsaw,, Dropbox (via DropDAV), MobileMe, Egnyte and even your own Fille server or SharePoint site.
  • Upload files to AutoCAD WS is real easy and available using many options. Markup, measure, basic drawing, text and snapping to objects are key abilities of this online program.
  • Plot-to-PDF/DWFx: Create PDF or DWFx files from your DWG files for plotting or sharing with others.
  • PDF Support: Open markup and share a PDF in AutoCAD WS in the same way as a DWG file.
To find out even more about AutoCADWS, explore their site at and this introduction HERE from Lynn Allen.

Are you worried about file security? Read this WHITE PAPER on the topic.

There are many AutoCADWS (online account required) exclusive commands built into LT2012 (command names are linked for more information):
  • GETLINK Generates a URL to the AutoCAD WS online copy of the current drawing.
  • MANAGEUPLOADS Manages the uploading of files stored on the AutoCAD WS server.
  • MESSAGES Displays messages from your AutoCAD WS account.
  • ONLINEDRAWINGS Opens AutoCAD WS in a web browser and lists the available online files.
  • OPENONLINE Opens the AutoCAD WS Editor in a web browser and displays an online copy of the current drawing for online editing and sharing.
  • SHARE Shares the AutoCAD WS online copy of the current drawing with other users.
  • TIMELINE Provides access to previous versions of the AutoCAD WS online copy of the current drawing.
  • UPLOAD Uploads the current drawing to AutoCAD WS and controls whether to automatically upload changes.
  • UPLOADFILES Uploads selected files to AutoCAD WS.
If you are using a version AutoCAD/LT 2010, or AutoCAD/LT 2011, you can still get the appropriate downloadable plugin from here:
Note: many of the commands listed above are not available if you use these lower LT versions, they are exclusive to AutoCAD/LT 2012.

Will AutoCADWS be developed for other mobile devices? While that is not clear (Autodesk never shares development news) it is not a secret that iOS and Droid enjoy a 40% higher focus/visibility rating with software developers of applications than Microsoft, RIM/Blackberry and HP. Explore this recent topic HERE. ◦

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tweets this week: command tips

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. This week we provide command tips you can use every day.
  • LT2011: collaborate and share/review your DWG files online, for free, by installing the AutoCADWS Plugin now
  • LAYMCH command will move an object from one layer to another, by selecting an object on the destination layer as a reference first.
  • How To Create Annotative Text Style. Check out this Webpage basic getting started tip from Daily AutoCAD blog:
  • LTisACAD Blog: LT2012 New Commands and Variables
  • Set Zero Fillet without changing the preset radius setting in FILLET command: press & hold down the shift key & select the lines to fillet.
  • Are HP's, Microsoft's and RIM's mobile devices relevant against iOS and Android? Developers have their opinions
  • Try this: OPTIONS command, PLOT tab, turn on the setting to always use the last successful plot parameter. A repetitive plotting solution.
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 Text Message (SMS) by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. To stop SMS updates, simply text UNFOLLOW LTISACAD to the same number.

Catch a listing of all of your twitter postings HERE:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

LT2012 New Commands and Variables

With each new version of AutoCAD/LT there are always new commands and variables, modified or enhanced existing commands and variables, and occassionally dropped commands and features. LT2012 is no different and the program offers some new ways to find out more about them starting with the Autodesk Exchange that pops up as soon as you first start AutoCAD, including Videos.

Multi-Functional Grips and Associative Arrays are two of the existing functions users are familiar with that get the largest make-over. LT more that ever is relying on those right-click menus to display more command functions and abilities, a fact that some users may not be fully use.
New functions added include the long awaited Sheet Set Manager that's been in full AutoCAD for a long time, the new Content Explorer that may replace ADCENTER for many users, better integration with the currently-free AutoCADWS service from Autodesk.
The following is a partial list of the new added commands to LT2012 that we found interesting (check out the links):
  • ARRAYCLOSE Saves back or discards changes made to an array's source objects and exits the array editing state.
  • ARRAYEDIT Edits associative array objects and their source objects.
  • ARRAYPATH Evenly distributes object copies along a path or a portion of a path.
  • ARRAYPOLAR Evenly distributes object copies in a circular pattern around a center point or axis of rotation.
  • ARRAYRECT Distributes object copies into any combination of rows, columns, and levels.
  • AUTOCOMPLETE Controls what types of automated keyboard features are available at the Command prompt.
  • BLEND Creates a spline in the gap between two selected lines or curves. More HERE.
  • CONTENTEXPLORER Finds and inserts content such as drawing files, blocks, and styles.
  • DGNBIND Binds DGN underlays to the current drawing.
  • DWGCONVERT Converts drawing format version for selected drawing files.
  • GROUPEDIT Adds and removes objects from the selected group, or renames a selected group.
  • NCOPY Copies objects that are contained in an xref, block, or DGN underlay.
  • OVERKILL Removes duplicate or overlapping lines, arcs, and polylines. Also, combines partially overlapping or contiguous ones.
  • QUICKPROPERTIES has been around for a few versions now but it's behavior has changed. It is the default double-click pop-up for many objects instead of the full PROPERTIES palette. Read more HERE.
  • VIEWBACK command (undocumented) is similar to Zoom Previous, restores the last location you viewed.
  • VIEWFORWARD command (undocumented) is like an undo to Viewback.
  • SHEET SET MANAGER can organize drawing layouts into named sheet sets. The sheets in a sheet set can be transmitted, published, and archived as a unit. It has a collection of associated with it, including NEWSHEETSET, OPENSHEETSET, SHEETSET, and SHEETSETHIDE.
The following list are many of the new variables in LT2012 that address the new features (check out the links):

  • ARRAYEDITSTATE Indicates whether the drawing is in the array editing state, which is activated while editing an associative array's source objects.
  • ARRAYTYPE Specifies the default array type.
  • AUTOCOMPLETEDELAY Controls the amount of time that elapses before automated keyboard features display at the Command prompt.
  • AUTOCOMPLETEMODE Controls what types of automated keyboard features are available at the Command prompt.
  • CONTENTEXPLORERSTATE Indicates whether the Content Explorer window is open or closed.
  • DGNIMPORTMODE Controls the default behavior of the DGNIMPORT command.
  • DYNINFOTIPS Turns cycling tips for grip manipulation on and off.
  • FRAMESELECTION Controls whether the frame of an image, underlay, or clipped xref can be selected.
  • GROUPDISPLAYMODE Controls the display and grips on groups, when group selection is on.
  • HPQUICKPREVTIMEOUT Sets the maximum duration that AutoCAD tries to generate a hatch preview when using the HATCH command.
  • LAYOUTCREATEVIEWPORT Specifies if a single viewport should be created on each new layout added to a drawing.
  • PROPOBJLIMIT Limits the number of objects that can be changed at one time with the Properties and Quick Properties palettes.
  • RIBBONICONRESIZE Controls the resizing of images on the ribbon to standard sizes.
  • SHORTCUTMENUDURATION Specifies how long (in milliseconds) the right button on a pointing device must be pressed to display a shortcut menu in the drawing area.
  • SHOWPAGESETUPFORNEWLAYOUTS Specifies if the Page Setup Manager is displayed when a new layout is created.
  • TBSHOWSHORTCUTS Specifies if shortcut keys are displayed in tooltips.
  • TOOLTIPSIZE Sets the display size for tooltips.
  • TOOLTIPTRANSPARENCY Sets the transparency for tooltips.
  • VPCONTROL Controls whether the Viewport label menus are displayed in all viewports.
  • WORKSPACELABEL Controls the display of the workspace label in the status bar.
  • Sheet Set Manager has many variables associated with it, including SSFOUND, SSLOCATE, SSMAUTOOPEN, SSMPOLLTIME, SSMSHEETSTATUS, and SSMSTATE.
In our next blog, we will explore the integrated features of AutoCADWS, the online file sharing and collaboration feature built into LT2012. ◦

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tweets this week: Filters, Counting, and LT2012

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. This week we cover some of the core basics: the advantages of Layer Filters, how to count blocks (or objects) by using the built in selection tools in LT (which you must use in conjuction with a command that will return a count, such as SELECT command), and why we like LT2012 and think it may be worth you, the end user, upgrading to it.
  • Autodesk's Knowledge Base Web page for is a great resource for posted solutions and additional help:
  • LT2012: JOIN command can now use more selection methods and then let AutoCAD find and join what is possible.
  • Need to count the blocks in your AutoCAD Drawing? Use FILTER or QSELECT commands. In LT2011 and LT2012 right-click and pick SELECTSIMILAR.
  • LTisACAD Blog: Why upgrade to LT2012
  • At the "Select Objects" prompt, type F for FENCE: it draws continuous selection "lines", anything it crosses is selected; when done
  • Simplify the AutoCAD Layer Manager List with the use of Layer Filters. Explore these helpful tips:
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 Text Message (SMS) by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. To stop SMS updates, simply text UNFOLLOW LTISACAD to the same number.

Catch a listing of all of your twitter postings HERE.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why upgrade to LT2012

This blog was triggered by a recent post (and many tweets and retweets of that post) that was trying to provide you with incentives to upgrade to LT2012, but instead (at least to this user) left a lot to be desired and may even turn you away from upgrading in the first place. Here It Is.

For you the AutoCAD/LT end-user here is a more practical and usable list (with links) of reasons we think you should consider LT2012 if you are in the market to update, upgrade or buy new:
  • Nudge: it's not a command but an ability, a keyboard arrow-keys action to move objects while holding down the CTRL key.
  • NCOPY (copy from inside an Xref or block or DGN Overlay to your current file, just like using COPY command).
  • OVERKILL command: Clean up your drawings by removing duplicate or unneeded geometry.
  • BLEND command creates splines between lines, arcs, polylines, splines, helixes and elliptical arcs..
  • Associative Arrays:
  • COPY command now does arrays too: quicker than copy and offset.
  • Sheet Set Manager: Organizes your drawing sheets, reduces steps to publish, automatically creates layout views, links sheet set information into title blocks and plot stamps, and performs tasks across a sheet set so everything is in one convenient place. More tips HERE.
  • AutoComplete takes the guess work out of remembering command names.
  • Grips Editing, more than just at Lines and Plines now: grip edit a dimension for example (try at the arrow, then at the text) and Mleaders. More Multi-functional Grips features HERE.
  • LT goes mobile: AutoCADWS is so integrated you are missing out if you don't use it. Check this TIP.
  • MLEADERs now extend all the way to the text, not just the imaginary text box.
  • The Quick Properties window is now the default when you double-click multiple objects. Previously, the Properties palette opened.
  • PURGE command will now also purge empty GROUPs (yes, they clutter your dwg files now, check them out and see).
  • JOIN command, use any selection method on many objects at one time: no more selecting one line then it's single line match. Just select them all and let AutoCAD figure ut all the obvious ones to join up. Do you know all the ways to select objects? Check this LIST.
  • CONTENT EXPLORER: what ADCenter lacked in block and content management.
  • Start LT from your template with no extra prompts or pop-ups or clicks: you can also start LT without having to open a blank file (for those of us that have always had heartburn about that fact).
  • GROUPs have a bounding box, so when you select a group instead of a clutter of grips you get a simple box appear around the objects. More on LT2012's Group command HERE.
  • GROUPEDIT to add and delete group objects without ungrouping and regrouping them.
  • VIEWBACK command, like Zoom Previous as a single command in LT: what can you do with it? How about abbreviating it to single letter to type(or two letters) like V or VB, and speed up zooming and panning with it. VIEWFORWARD is like an undo for Viewback.
  • Attach a Photoshop file (and a dozen new other formats like USGS photo formats, JPEG2000 and more).
  • Improvements to the UCS Icon.
  • Bind a DGN file, along with complex linetypes in it.
  • ARRAYEDIT command: tweak one element in an array without affecting the others.
  • FILLET and CHAMFER commands for Line/Plines/Splines include a preview feature, allowing you to change the fillet radius or chamfer distance before completing the command.
  • PC3/PMP and STB/CTB files can be anywhere, even your customer's unique folder.
  • Undo a migration from an older version without reinstalling.
  • LT2012 supports graphics cards hardware acceleration: check to see if yours is supported HERE.
  • YouTube - AutoCAD LT 2012 Drafting Tools HERE.
AutoCAD LT 2012 is available as a trial download HERE or you can try it online
In our next blog, we will explore in more depth the new commands and variables introduced and link to available tutorials and help files for your use. ◦

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tweets this week: Underused commands

Below is a summary of topics we covered this week on Twitter. This week we cover a few commands that many users forget about, and explore Hatch commands and variables in detail. 
  • Search the Solved section of the Autodesk Discussion Groups Forum for LT for Tips, Tricks, solutions and more at
  • Switch Layer Filters directly by using +LAYER command (note the + sign to type) in AutoCAD/LT without going into the LAYER Command/Palette.
  • Is the RIBBON taking up too much screen space? Minimize it to Panel Buttons (it looks like the Classic Workspace menus)
  • COPYTOLAYER command does what it's name implies, COPY entities you select TO another or different LAYER:
  • LTisACAD Blog: AutoCAD/LT Hatch, commands and variables
  • DIMROTATED command, instead of DIMALIGNED, when you need your dimension string to align with an object/angle and not two points picked.
  • When EDGEMODE variable is set to 1, you can extend and trim lines that do not intersect: AutoCAD creates an invisible extension to use.
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 Text Message (SMS) by texting FOLLOW LTISACAD to 40404 in the United States. To stop SMS updates, simply text UNFOLLOW LTISACAD to the same number.

Catch a listing of all of your twitter postings HERE.