Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sharing drawings in different Autodesk Programs

Sharing drawings is necessary in many stages of the drawing development cycle. For example, you may be asked to add a mechanical, electrical, or plumbing system to a drawing that was created in another software program. AutoCAD MEP provides an object enabler so that you can work with custom objects contained in the drawing.

If you open a drawing that includes a custom object that was not drawn in AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD MEP installs an object enabler, if one is available. If an object enabler is not available, the software uses proxy graphics to display objects. You can enable proxy graphics in the Options dialog.

Enablers are collaboration utilities that allow users of other Autodesk products to view and manipulate objects created in AutoCAD MEP. Enablers use ObjectDBX technology to allow object data created in AutoCAD MEP to be accessed outside its native environment. This provides data accessibility for design teams that create and receive AutoCAD MEP files.

If you open an AutoCAD MEP drawing that contains an object created in a different Autodesk product, AutoCAD MEP can automatically check for an object enabler to use to display the object. If it fails to find one, the object is displayed using proxy graphics instead.

To control whether AutoCAD MEP checks for object enablers, use the Live Enabler options on the System tab of the Options dialog. You can also manually check for object enablers at

If a LiveEnabler is not available for an object, the object may be replaced with a proxy graphic. A proxy graphic is a placeholder that represents the object. This placeholder does not have the full display or attributes of the object.

When proxy objects are drawn, AutoCAD MEP displays the Proxy Information dialog. The dialog gives you the following information:

· The total number of graphical and non-graphical proxy objects in the drawing

· The name of the missing application

· The proxy object type and display state

You can use the Proxy Information dialog to control the display of proxy objects.

You can create a new version of a drawing file with all AutoCAD MEP objects exploded into basic AutoCAD objects. The new version of the drawing loses the intelligence of the AutoCAD MEP objects, but the resulting basic objects can be displayed and accessed in earlier versions of AutoCAD when object enablers are not available for those versions.

When you export an AutoCAD MEP drawing to AutoCAD, all objects in the drawing are converted to AutoCAD linework. Reference drawing geometry is converted to linework in a block reference. If you want to remove the block reference, use the explode command to convert the block reference to active linework.

Whether you export a drawing to AutoCAD or DXF format, the layers, colors, and linetypes of the AutoCAD MEP objects are preserved in the new drawing.

If you export a drawing with multiple viewports in paper space, the annotative objects are exploded into multiple blocks, one for each viewport, in order to maintain visual fidelity. You can export annotative AutoCAD objects in the same way by selecting Maintain visual fidelity for annotative objects on the Open and Save tab in the Options dialog. For more information, see “Save a Drawing” in the AutoCAD Help.

Beginning with AutoCAD 2008, if you open an exported AutoCAD MEP drawing in AutoCAD, the AutoCAD objects that were annotative prior to export are converted to annotative objects.

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