Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Elevation of objects in AutoCAD MEP?

Why does MEP objects change the elevation and break the layout when changing the inlet and outlet sizes on vav boxes?
For one thing, duct inserts differently than equipment as far as elevations go. Duct inserts to the center of the duct, but you can set it so that the elevation is to the bottom or top of the duct. But equipment and devices are always inserted to the bottom of the equipment.
The problem is that the content creator made the insertion point (0,0,0 BCS) at the bottom corner. So when you swap out sizes, you are actually swapping out the parts. Since parts, like AutoCAD blocks, reference the same 0,0,0, the insertion point of both parts are at the same location in your drawing. However, since the new part is larger, the distance between the insertion point and the connector is larger causing the connector location to shift breaking the layout.

Picking an insertion point for an MvPart is an art. Typically, equipment that is placed first (before duct) has its insertion point at its base or top. For parts placed in-line after duct is drawn, the insertion point is at the connector. If you want to change the VAV boxes so that the insertion point is at the connectors, navigate to the VAV dwg file located in the catalog (typically here: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACDMEP_2008\enu\Aecb Catalogs\MvParts US Imperial\Mechanical\VAV Units\VAV Boxes), redefine all the model blocks to have the the appropriate connector at 0,0,0. Then, make a block of one of the symbols, then purge all the otherblocks (top, bottom, etc.). Now start content builder, modify that part, and regenerate the missing blocks. You should now be all set.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Hidden Line Cache affects AutoCAD MEP Performance

Hidden Line Cache
The Hidden Line Cache is a feature that was implemented in order to improve the loading performance of drawings that contain ABS Objects, with the Hidden Line feature turned ON. It’s usage, which is a drawing-specific setting, is controlled in the ABS Crossed Objects tab of the Options dialog.

Fig 5 – Hidden Line Cache Control

As described in the Hidden Line Routine section, the end result of the Hidden Line routine is the assignment of portions of ABS objects to a Hidden Display Component. This assignment is not actually stored on the object themselves, but rather in a separate section of data.

The Hidden Line Cache feature allows for this data to be saved into the drawing database itself. This means that the data will not need to be rebuilt the next time that drawing is opened, since it already exists in the drawing. Without this option checked, the Hidden Line data will re-built each time the drawing is loaded, and exist only in the system RAM until the drawing is closed. The storage of the data in the Hidden Lines Cache will increase the overall size of the drawing file, sometimes significantly depending on the Hidden Line data generated by the routine. The tradeoff is that the drawing will load significantly faster with the Cache in place at time of load.

Hidden Lines and Xrefs

The existence of loaded xrefs that contain ABS objects, which are set to display Hidden Lines, in a host drawing will have a significant impact on the behavior of Hidden Line data for the host drawing. Since the xrefs contain ABS objects that will be factored into the Hidden Line routine, the program cannot know if those objects have changed significantly since the last time the host drawing was opened. Such a change would result in any data saved in the host drawing’s Hidden Line Cache not to be in sync.

Because of this potential for incorrect Hidden Line data of xrefed ABS objects, the data is never saved in the host drawing’s Hidden Line Cache, regardless of the setting highlighted in figure 5. This means that the Hidden Line data will be to be re-built EVERY time that the host drawing is loaded. This process can take a significant amount of time to complete, depending on the complexity of the layout.

This is why there may be a significant difference in load time between simply opening the xref directly and opening a host drawing that contains that xref.

Hidden Lines and Viewports on Layouts

In a given layout, each viewport has its own active Display Configuration setting. You change this by double-clicking in the viewport and making it active, and then changing the active Display Configuration. This allows for different viewports to display the same objects in a different way. An example of this would be a 1-Line and 2-Line display, as seen below.

Fig 6 – Different Display in Viewports

In some circumstances, a new Viewport is created with an active Display Configuration that uses Hidden Lines. Be aware of this setting, and make sure to use a Display Configuration that does not utilize Hidden Lines if the feature is not needed.

Mitigating Performance Impact of Hidden Lines

With a better understanding of the Hidden Line feature and how to control it, one can better make decisions regarding its impact on performance. The following items may be helpful in mitigating the performance impact of the Hidden Line feature.

  • First and foremost, have a Display Configuration that does not use the feature, and use this when display of Hidden Lines are not needed. Using such a “non-hidden line” Display Configuration will result in a significant improvement in load performance of a drawing, especially when there are xrefs containing ABS objects that use Hidden Line feature to display. Additionally, the existence of the Hidden Line data in the system RAM can have a significant impact on overall program performance. When new ABS objects are placed in the drawing, or existing ABS objects are moved, the Hidden Line data may need to be updated. This can add additional time to commands, potentially reducing productivity.

  • On a Paper Space layout, be sure to set the active Display Configuration for a viewport to a “hidden lines” Display Configuration only if such display is needed. If there is only text or non-ABS objects in the viewport, make sure to set active a “non-hidden lines” Display Configuration. This can make a significant impact on the time it takes to display the Layout.

  • If only using Hidden Lines for coordination, consider turning off Hidden Line gaps. This additional calculation in the Hidden Line routine contributes to the overall calculation time, and adds additional size to the Hidden Line data stored in system RAM.

  • Because of the impact of xrefs in a host drawing, as discussed in the Hidden Line and Xrefs section of this document, consider how you plan to structure your project drawings, and what xref relationships will be created as a result.

  • Unless there are specific reasons to reduce the physical size of drawings, consider using the Hidden Line Cache feature when possible. This will help to improve drawing load performance in situations when the Cache is utilized.

  • Flex Duct objects contain annotation lines that give them the “flex” appearance. The style of these annotation lines can be controlled by the user. Some of these styles use extensive linework to give the desired look for Flex Ducts. These annotation lines are included in the Hidden Line Routine, and can add significant complexity to the calculation. Unless you require that Flex Ducts be shown with Hidden Lines, consider using the 2 Line Display Representation to display these objects in your drawings. This can reduce the complexity of the Hidden Lines Routine, thus improving load time and reducing the overall size of the Hidden Line data stored in the system RAM.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hidden Lines: Explained By Autodesk's Kyle Bernhardt

With the release of ABS 2007, what were previously called Haloed Lines have been globally renamed to Hidden Lines globally across the product. For those running a version below ABS 2006, replacereferences to Hidden Lines with Haloed Lines.

Hidden Line Routine
The Hidden Line routine determines what portions of ABS objects will need to have the Hidden appearance, due to other ABS objects being located above them. These portions of the ABS object deemed to be “hidden” are then assigned to the “hidden” Display Components. This allows for complete control of the Hidden Line Layer, Color, Linetype, Lineweight, and LT Scale in the program.

Fig 1 – Hidden Display Components

These settings are typically defined by the Layer assigned to the Hidden Display Components. The remaining Hidden Display Component properties are set to BYLAYER, which maps them to the Layer’s properties. Assigning the same Layer to the Hidden Display Components of all ABS objects allows for one layer to control the display of Hidden Lines throughout an entire drawing. In this scenario, modification of something like the Color of the Hidden Line Layer will propagate to all Hidden Lines.

Control of Hidden Line Display
The item that controls whether Hidden Lines are used for a particular ABS object type is the Display Representation (DR) that’s used to display that object in the current viewport. The Display Representation that’s used is controlled by the current Display Configuration. See the diagram below for illustration of this fact.

Fig 2 – Display Representation Assignment

For ABS Objects, the Plan Display Representation utilizes the Hidden Line feature. In previous versions the HaloedLine Display Representation utilized the Hidden Lines feature.

If you wanted to create a Display Configuration that does not utilize the Hidden Lines feature, you would associate that Display Configuration with a Display Set which does not assign the Plan Display Representation to ABS objects. You will most likely use the 2 Line Display Representation instead, which displays objects in the same way as the Plan Display Representation, without Hidden Lines. The MEP Basic 2-Line DC, which is contained in the default ABS template, is a good example of such a Display Configuration.

Hidden Line Gaps
The Hidden Line routine also has the ability to apply a gap in the display of an ABS object when the routine detects that a portion of that object is hidden by an object above. See the figure below to illustrate this feature.

Fig 3 – Hidden Line Gaps

This feature produces a visual effect that complies with some existing drafting standards, and is a desired effect for the production of Construction Documents.

This is a drawing-specific setting, and is controlled in the ABS Crossed Objects tab of the Options dialog, see below.

Fig 4 – Hidden Line Gap Settings

Enabling this feature will result in an additional calculation added to the Hidden Line Routine.

Building Product Search Module Now Available to AutoCAD Architecture Subscription Holders

Now AutoCAD® Architecture software subscription customers can rapidly access hundreds of building manufacturer product catalogs, increase productivity, and streamline workflow with the Building Product Search Module for AutoCAD Architecture software via a free plug-in from Architectural Data Systems (ADS). (Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that accompanies download of the software.)

The Building Product Search module allows users to integrate product selection and specification writing within AutoCAD Architecture software. It provides rapid electronic access to more than 1,250 building product catalogs from hundreds of manufacturers. As products are selected, up-to-date specifications are automatically created, consolidating a multi-step process into a single step. Customers can find tutorials on how to use the module within the product.

Click here to go to your subscription area

Monday, October 01, 2007

How to Successfully Implement AutoCAD MEP

A White Paper from Autodesk

This paper discusses the implementation and deployment of MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection). Most organizations do not have a comprehensive or effective approach to applying new technology to existing processes. This paper explores the considerations necessary to make informed decisions, and presents strategic approaches to achieving the most effective implementation of AutoCAD MEP for your organization.

Changing the Process

An increasing number of engineers are making the switch from the traditional 2D drafting software to 3D object-based design software. However, with this switch comes the realization that existing processes themselves must be examined, adjusted, and refined, or perhaps, fundamentally redesigned in order to realize continuing gains in effectiveness and stay competitive in the industry. The challenge for most organizations in doing so is that day-to-day productivity must be maintained on projects in progress, affording little opportunity for the fundamental consideration of such process issues and no margin for error.

In order to successfully implement any new technology, one must begin by identifying and defining the underlying processes necessary to produce their designs. Do your engineers work on projects in teams, or do they work individually? Do you have CAD standards that must be adhered to? How proficient are your engineers today in the use of your current technologies? Besides these common issues, you will have many unique to your organization that must also be identified early on.

Object CAD Technology

Object CAD technology has changed the way industry professionals think about how technology can be applied to engineering design. Instead of working with traditional lines, arcs, and circles, you work with 3D geometry, or “objects”, like equipment, ducts, and pipes that are representations of real-world objects. The objects know how to interact with other objects. For instance, a 12-inch duct knows that only 12-inch duct components can connect to it. By working with objects you create a complete model of your design and then through the use of automated tools generate conventional 2D construction documents. And because the model carries rich data about the design in the objects, design data can easily be extracted from the model to carry information downstream in the design process.

Improving the Process

Engineers who are reluctant to switch to an object CAD technology should ask themselves what their objective is – to make a drawing or to produce a design that can be effectively communicated for construction. Although the choice to make the switch may make sense and seem fundamental, all too often the barriers of implementation and deployment overwhelm organizations resulting in the continued use of outdated or inefficient technologies. With a clear understanding of existing processes, and an equal understanding of the capabilities of AutoCAD MEP and how they can be applied to your processes, planning a successful implementation can become clear and less daunting.

All design and construction projects follow a general process that proceeds through certain phases from inception to completion, with minor variations depending on the requirements of the project. The phases in the process that are most common to engineering design and construction projects are:

• Preliminary Design

• Design Development

• Construction Documents

To improve the process using AutoCAD MEP, you need to look at each phase and determine specifically how this new technology can benefit your organization.

Improvements in the Preliminary Design Phase

Using traditional methods, developing preliminary design documents can be a very manual process; conceptualizing system designs from preliminary sketches, defining general size and area requirements by approximating the architecture of the building, identifying design criteria through time-consuming analyses and detailed calculations.

With AutoCAD MEP you can reduce manual tasks throughout the preliminary design phase by producing a preliminary model of the spaces intended to be serviced. Through the massing of building elements like spaces, doors, and windows in an object-based CAD environment, much of the conceptual information required can be automatically generated for you. Benefit from calculated values for space dimensions, square footages and volumes, and estimated loads and quantities. Take advantage of the design data automatically generated to determine design criteria.

Improvements in the Design Development Phase

During the development of a building project, changes can cost time and money and negatively affect the project from staying on schedule and within budget. Traditional methods typically do not facilitate change effectively. The creation of design documents can be laborious and require a vast amount of low-value drafting tasks including manual checking of work.

AutoCAD MEP allows a project team to make changes to the project at any time during the design process more quickly and effectively. With design data readily accessible in the model, critical design information is immediately available so that project-related decisions can be made efficiently. This gives the project team more time to focus on the actual design itself.

In addition, AutoCAD MEP streamlines processes, such as part selection and system sizing, by offering intuitive tools that assist you in developing an accurate design. Parts can be selected directly from catalogs that provide an extensive collection of industry-standard parts. Systems can be sized based on the design data embedded in the model that was captured at the point of creation. This allows the project team to deliver better work faster, because it means that their design requires less time and effort.

Improvements in the Construction Documents Phase

The intent of a building systems design project is to create a building that will run efficiently. Using traditional methods, coordination between all the different disciplines is usually the biggest problem. When ever a change is made to the design capturing that change throughout the construction documents many times does not happen because of the time and effort required. The result is lack of coordination that ultimately can have significant impacts on the construction of the project.

AutoCAD MEP helps to ensure design coordination by allowing you to take advantage of the design data captured in the model. With the use of automated tools, you can quickly produce many views of your model including sections, elevations and 3D representations, and gain feedback about your design by generating schedules and detecting spatial interferences. Whenever a change is made to the design, all the consequences of that change are automatically coordinated throughout the project ensuring that the change is reflected in all of your construction documents. The automated design coordination provided by AutoCAD MEP helps to eliminate coordination mistakes and improve the overall quality of your work.


Once you have determined that AutoCAD MEP is a viable solution based on the benefits your organization can gain from process improvements, you must take a realistic look at the situation in your organization. The key to any successful software implementation is assessment. Many organizations are in the habit of looking at new technology to make their jobs easier and remain competitive. However, all too often the decision to adopt a new technology is made with the wrong expectations. In order to eliminate unrealistic expectations, maximize the value of your investment, and minimize implementation risks, it is imperative that you take a closer look at the more tangible issues surrounding implementing Autodesk Building Systems:

• Hardware Requirements

• Optimization and Configuration

• Installation and Deployment

• Training

• Support

Optimization and Configuration

Out of the box AutoCAD MEP is set up for designing systems based on common industry standards. You can get up and running quickly using basic model and sheet templates that include generic layout tabs and borders; lay out systems based on AIA layer standards using predefined layer keys for layer assignment, color, linetype, and line weight, work with default part catalogs to generate designs based on common off-the-shelf parts, and use standard profiles to set up your workspace with general menus, tool palettes and tool bars.

Even though AutoCAD MEP provides generalized configuration out of the box, additional set up is almost always necessary. Most organizations have CAD standards that must be adhered to, work on projects that require unique parts or equipment, and have established practices that demand custom workspaces and default settings. For an implementation of AutoCAD MEP to be successful it is crucial that day-to-day production is maintained. Through optimization and configuration you can provide users with a level of familiarity that helps to ease the transition to a new technology.

Installation and Deployment

Installation and deployment of a new technology depends heavily on your organizational structure. Determine how many users will be affected. What kind of time constraints do you have? What directory structure will be used? Are components being loaded locally or on a network? Your goal here is to leave nothing to chance. Failure to do so may result in production slow downs, or worse, broken systems.

Determine the actual deployment process. Each step in the process should be looked at in detail, documented and tested. This will help to ensure that each deployment will be done identically.

Create a contingency plan if your implementation schedule is interrupted like staggering deployments to individuals or groups, or leveraging nights and weekends for the actual installations to minimize down time.


Training requirements significantly increase the implementation time and cost. First and fore most, you will need a training budget. In order to establish a training budget you need to ask yourself two important questions:

1. How will AutoCAD MEP be used in your organization?

2. What is the proficiency level of your users?

The answers to these questions will help you determine the type of training needed as well as how MUCH training will be required. When it comes to CAD software, one can never have enough training. Remember that AutoCAD MEP presents a change in process when implemented successfully. Therefore, training requirements must be accurately identify in order to reap the full benefits of implementing this new technology. Process changes take time; established practices must change and old habits must be broken. Be realistic about training requirements and take them into consideration when planning the implementation. Look for ways to ease the transition. Provide training during or shortly after deployment to allow users to apply what they learned in training right away.


Even after installation, deployment, and training takes place, the implementation process is not complete. Technical support must be available and easy to access for everyone. Don’t expect CAD users to attend training and return to the office knowing everything to make AutoCAD MEP purr on their desk. There is always a learning curve for new technology and by taking the steps necessary to provide adequate technical support, users will have the help they need back on the job.

Every organization will have different ideas of how to provide ongoing technical support. Remember it is not necessarily the method of support but that support is available.

Pilot Project

Consider a pilot project. Most organizations that are talking about investing thousands of dollars in new technology want proof-of-concept. Set up a few users in a small-scale production environment to evaluate your implementation plan and to validate the results of your assessment. This will be a good indication if you identified the critical issues to be considered in your organization, accurately estimated time and costs, and set realistic goals that can successfully be attained.


Implementing a new technology, specifically AutoCAD MEP, may be frustrating at times; however when all is said and done your organization can reap tremendous rewards from a successful implementation. If you have considered each of the issues previously discussed and objectively weighed the strategic approaches presented, you will have addressed the critical steps in achieving the most effective implementation of AutoCAD MEP for your organization. Taking the time to strategize and plan for an implementation of AutoCAD MEP will minimize the time and efforts required for a successful implementation and maximize your return on investment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Creating a 3D Solid Model for a Block- Based MvPart

You create solids from one of the basic solid shapes of box, cone, cylinder, sphere, torus, and wedge or by extruding a 2D object along a path or revolving a 2D object about an axis.

Once you have created a solid in this manner, you can create more complex shapes by combining solids. You can join solids, subtract solids from each other, or find the common volume (overlapping portion) of solids. For more information, see Create a Composite Solid.

  1. To create a solid box type in Box and cylinder from the command line.
  2. Specify the first corner of the base.
  3. Specify the opposite corner of the base.
  4. Specify the height.
  5. Place points to your model to help locate connectors, enter point, press ENTER and, using osnaps, select the center of a connector on the 3D model.
  6. Verify that the geometry is drawn on layer 0 and is assigned BYBLOCK for color and linetype, and BYLAYER for lineweight.
  7. Define a block for the current drawing Create the objects you want to use in the block definition.

The block is defined in the current drawing and can be inserted at any time.

Defining the Part Behavior of a Block-Based MvPart

Go the MEP Common pull down menu, and choose Content Builder.

  1. Choose the location within the parts catalog where you want the part to show up.
  2. Click on the New Block Part button to start building the new part.
  3. Give the new part a name, and click in the description box, and the name will transfer to it automatically.

Choose OK, and the block definitions will be created as you enter the MvPart Builder.

  1. Select a type from the list.
  2. Define a layer key for the new part size.
  3. In the Select Layer Key dialog box, select a layer key and click OK.
  4. For Subtype, select a subtype from the list, or enter a new subtype.
  5. Click Next

Assigning Part Size Names and Views of a Block-Based MvPart

  1. Click ADD PART SIZE, and select the 3D model block you created. A new part size is added to the part family, and a new row appears in the table.
  2. Select your block.
  3. To create the missing view blocks for those block names that display in red, click GENERATE BLOCKS. Hit OK to accept the creation of the views. The new part size is updated with the generated view blocks.
  4. Click Next.

Generating a Preview Image of a Block- Based MvPart

  1. To generate an imaige, click Generate an image based on a model block from the SW Isometric View.
  2. Select a model block from the list.
  3. Click Generate. A preview imaige is generated from the model block and assigned to the part family.
  4. Click Next.

Adding Connectors to a Block- Based MvPart

  1. To add a connector, from the tree view of the part family and sized, right-click the part family, and select the type of connector.
  2. Specify a value for each of the properties. These properties are assigned to the connector for all part sizes.
  3. Click OK.
  4. To edit a connector for an individual part size, right-click the specific connector, and click Edit Connector.
  5. A property palette is displayed. Specify the connector properties.
  6. Specify the position of the connector, click the … and select a point on the model.
  7. Specify the direction to draw the connecting components by click the …, and drag the cursor in the direction you want the connection component to go, and select a point. To ensure that components are connected perpendicularly to the part, use Ortho mode to restrict the cursor when selecting the direction. Notice the direction of the arrows.
  8. Enter a number for the size properties. The size properties will vary depending on the shape of the connector. Enter the width and height of the duct connector, or enter the diameter of the pipe connector.
  9. Click OK, and then click Next

Tool Palette Disorder in AutoCAD MEP

The Problem

Have you ever built a custom Tool Palette in AutoCAD, or any of the vertical versions of AutoCAD, only to discover that your Tools get all jumbled up later on?

The reason this occurs is that the process of creating a custom tool palette is recorded chronologically and though you can drag-n-drop the tools around, that action doesn't change the actual order of the code in the xml based palette file. When you drag-n-drop Tools around, that order is saved in the current user's Workspace Profile (.aws file).

For users who work in an isolated environment where they are in complete control of their Palette creation and use, this information may not appear relevant until some event forces AutoCAD to reload the Palette.

For users (and particularly for CAD managers) working in a networked environment where Palettes are read from a single point, this information is crucial for maintaining structured order.

Solution #1

The low-tech solution for building a Tool Palette with your Tools in the proper order is to create one in any order that you feel like, drag-n-drop Tools to a desired order and then Copy the whole collection of Tools to a new blank Tool Palette.

When you get ready to Select your Tools on the first Palette, you can use the Ctrl+A key to grab the whole collection.

Solution #2

Another, more technical, option for managing Tool order is to work with an XML editor such as the free "Microsoft XML Notepad" illustrated to the right.

With this XML Notepad you can set the Files of type to "All Files (*.*)" and look for the .atc file that you need to work on. Once Opened, you should find a list of folders all labeled "Tools". If you can find the Tools you need to relocate, then all you have to do is drag-n-drop them in the order you want and save the work.

Read-only Palette Files

If you are fairly new to the process of creating network based shared Palettes there is one significant piece of information that you definitely need to know. When a session of AutoCAD is closed, it writes the whole xml code back to the point of origin even if you have deleted the original xml file. I learned this the hard way when trying to build a writable shared Palette system for an office while everyone was working.

If you are building a shared Palette system that is intended to remain static, you can simply change the xml file's properties to "Read-only". Using the "Read-only" property prevents AutoCAD from writing back over the original xml file. This also means that you can continue to develop the Palette system while an office is actively using AutoCAD.

Read-only Workspace Files

Setting Palette (.atc) files to "Read-only" does not prevent users from dragging Tools up or down in the list. If you want to lock the order of the Tools the only solution I have come up with thus far is to set the current Workspace to "Read-only" You can find this file, named "", under "C:\Documents and Settings\[current user login]\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2007\enu\Support\Profiles\[current profile name]".

Adding a List to your Property Set Definitions

Provided by archidigm

If you look at the Extended Data tab of your Properties Palette whenever you work with Objects, you should find that some fields can be changed while others appear to be locked. That is because there are two types of Property Data: Object Based and Style Based. When you create your own custom Property Data, you will have to consider when and how to use these two types. In addition, if you have a need to create fields that designers can modify, you may want to consider using List Definitions which can be used within Object Based or Style Based Property Set Definitions.

In this article we will discuss how you can create a custom list of values to be set inside a Property Set Definition Style.

To create a list of property values you will need to access the List Definitions category in the Style Manager. You can do this by activating the Style Manager and picking on List Definitions under the Multi-Purpose Objects category or you can simply type "ListDefinitions".

In the illustration to the right I show that I have created a new List Definition that I have named "Appliance_Finishes-ARCHIdigm". On the Applies To tab of this new List Definition, I have checked the "Manual Property Definition" box so this list will be available for use in my custom Property Set Definition Style.

Under the Items tab I have used the Add button to create a list of Names and Descriptions that will appear on a drop-down list later on. Notice that I have also checked the "Allow individual property values to vary from this list" box so users can type in an option that may not appear on this list. For some things you may want to allow individual value but for other things you probably want to use the list to prevent erroneous data entry.

The sort order is, unfortunately, limited to alphabetical If you try to be clever by using numbers, you may pull your hair out trying to filter those number out in your Schedule.

Adding the List to your Property Definition Style

When you modify an existing or custom Property Set Definition Style, type "PropertySetDefine", be sure to check the "Applies To" tab to see if this Style is Style Based or Object Based. If you want your List to be available as a unique item for individual Objects, even identical ones, you will need to use a Property Set Definition Style that has been set to Object Based.

In the illustration to the right, I show that I have added a Manual Property Definition row to my Property Set Definition and that I named it "Finish". Under the Type column, I used the drop-down list to set this definition to "List" and that allowed me to use another drop-down list under the Source column to select my custom Property List.

In the illustration to the right I show that I have selected an example Appliance Multi-view Block whose Style uses a Property Set Definition with a List option for the Finish category. The list is not available for direct use on the Extended Data tab of the Properties Palette but can be accessed through the "Edit Style Property Set data" button.

If the List Definition Style had been set inside a Property Set Definition that was Object Based, then the list would be available for direct use on the Extended Data tab.

Portable Standalone Licenses

To open the Portable License Utility.

  1. On the target computer, click Start menu (Windows) /All Programs (or Programs) /Autodesk Architectural Desktop / Portable License Utility.

To obtain a computer identification code from the target computer

  1. Write down the computer identification code, which is shown in the lower-left corner of the Portable License Utility window.
  2. You will add the computer identification code from this target computer to the computer list on the source computer.
  3. To add a computer to the computer list
  4. On the Computers tab, a list of computers to which you can export a license is displayed.
  5. Click Add.
  6. In the Add Computer dialog box, enter the computer name and computer identification code of the target computer. Click OK.
  7. The information you added is displayed in the computer list on the Computers tab.
  8. In the Portable License Utility window, click Close.

To export a license

  1. On the Licenses tab, select the license you want to export. Click Export License.
  2. The Export License dialog box displays the Autodesk product name and license name, and lists the computer name and identification code of all computers in the computer list.
  3. In the Export To list, select a Target Computer.
  4. The target computer is the only place this exported license can go. You cannot select one target computer now and then transfer the license to a different computer. In the Export To list, select a target computer.
  5. Check your notes to verify that the identification code is correct for the target computer.
  6. The identification code displayed here must match the code on the target computer exactly.
  7. Under Export Type, select an export type.
  8. You must select Use Transfer File if this is the first time you are transferring this license to the target computer. The transfer file contains license information needed by the target computer.
  9. Click Transfer License.
  10. In the Export Succeeded dialog box, click OK.
  11. In the Portable License Utility window, click Close

Install the Autodesk product

  1. Install the Autodesk product on the target computer from the Network Image created from the Deployment Wizard. You do not have to register or activate the product on your target computer.

To import a license

  1. On the Licenses tab, click Import License.
  2. In the Import License dialog box, select a license transfer option. Make sure that you select the same transfer option that you used when you exported the license.
  3. Click Import.
  4. The license is now imported to the target computer; you can now run your Autodesk product on this computer. If you want to return the license to the original computer, repeat the export and import procedures.
  5. In the Portable License Utility window, click Close

Friday, September 21, 2007

Autodesk Design Review

Today, the building process from design through construction, and into facility management, is more complex than ever. And design review involves team members who are not CAD software users, yet who are vital to the project. Autodesk Design Review software helps overcome these challenges by extending design review, digitally, to the entire team.


Autodesk Design Review software helps save time and money with easy-to-use tools for team members to review, mark up, and revise designs and 3D models. This free* tool is tightly integrated with all Autodesk design software and enables project teams to move to a two-way design review process and gain timesaving functionality in their markup and approval processes. Specific timesaving functionality includes the following:

View and Print
Autodesk Design Review offers a fast, efficient way to view high-resolution 2D and 3D designs.
You can navigate between sheets using embedded hyperlinks and bookmarks and within a model using the new Steering Wheel and View Cube features. Rich printing options enable you to print with the same fidelity as the CAD application.

Compare AEC Design Documents
Automatically highlight additions, deletions, and other modifications in a lightboard-style fashion
with versions overlaid upon one another.

Online Content Search
Drive productivity and process improvements by accessing online building part catalogs with a single click through Autodesk Design Review.

Full Design Intelligence
Access data integral to engineering, architectural, and construction design review, including drawing scale, sheet set details, and object and markup properties.

Embed in Microsoft Office Applications
Drag your designs into Microsoft® Word, PowerPoint, or Excel® programs, and enable team members to visualize the design in presentations, construction documentation, change orders, estimates, and more.

Batch Printing
Print multiple DWF files, customize settings, and save batch printing configuration for later use with the Batch Print wizard. Save time by easily printing large numbers of DWF files as part of an automated process.

Preview, Select Preferences, and Print
Preview files, and print files to scale or at another scale with the same high fidelity as in AutoCAD or Revit-based software. Print options include fit to page, print current view, tile across multiple sheets, and print multiple pages or page ranges.

Printer Integration
Autodesk agreements with HP, OcĂ©, KIP, and PLP, among others, make printing to your hardware device easier than ever. If you’re connected to a supported HP® Designjet® printer, select the HP Instant Printing feature to print an entire sheet set automatically, or use this feature with batch printing.

Measure, Mark up, and Annotate
Get everything you need for clear and concise measurement, markup, and annotation of designs
made in AutoCAD and Revit-based software.

2D and 3D Markup
All viewing and markup features are available for both 2D and 3D designs. Markups made to 3D
models persist and are visible within the model view, making it more intuitive for users to capture and review feedback.

Persistent 2D and 3D Measure
Use built-in measurement tools to measure distance and angles in 2D designs and 3D models.
Measurements made on 3D models persist within the model view and are always available for reference.

Custom Stamps, Smart Shapes, and Freehand Markup Tools
Add custom symbols and comments to sheet sets and 3D views electronically, including familiar
markup call-outs, standard shapes, freehand drawings, and text.

User Coordinate Support
Access the user coordinate system for greater flexibility and more accurate measurement of
model surfaces.

Combine Project Documents
Drag project information into your DWF file to quickly and easily build a complete project file with product specifications, timelines, and more.

Combine All Designs and Project Data
Share, review, and mark up 2D drawings and 3D models—as well as project-related documents from Microsoft Office and other applications—in a single file. Autodesk Design Review supports adding, deleting, reordering, and renaming sheets and models within the Navigator window.

Capture Graphical Information
Capture graphical information such as a product specification or color sample from the web or other applications with the Snapshot tool, and add it to your review set in Autodesk Design Review.

Automatically Track All Markups
Automatically track your project’s status with autorecording of markups, text annotations,
dimensions, review status, and notes. Save DWF files with markups, redlines, and annotations and send them to CAD users or other project team members.

Save and Round-Trip All Markups
Import markups from the DWF format back into AutoCAD or Revit-based software. Systematically walk through a review set, navigating markups in the Markup Set Manager for fast, easy revisions in any Autodesk design software.

Use Autodesk Design Review software to overcome challenges in the architecture, engineering, and construction processes—from design to construction to facility management—by accelerating the design review process and putting the design in the hands of the people who need it.

  • Accelerate Review Cycles
    • Cut two to three days per review cycle by using Autodesk Design Review with AutoCAD or Revit-based products to electronically review, mark up, and revise designs.
  • Enable Digital Back Checks
    • Reduce errors by using Design Review for back checking. Enable team members to automatically track and review changes and their status without waiting for printouts.
  • Visualize Designs in Client Presentations
    • Design Review enables clients and project stakeholders to fully visualize drawings and models created in AutoCAD or Revit. Include interactive drawings and models in Microsoft PowerPoint slide sets for more effective presentations.
  • Document Construction Change Orders
    • Use the markup and status tracking tools in Design Review to track changes required throughout the construction process.
  • Reduce Printing and Shipping Costs
    • Save as much as $100 per job in printing and shipping costs while enabling team members to fully participate in a digital design review process.

Autodesk Design Review integrates with all Autodesk 2008 design applications:

  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • Revit Architecture
  • Revit Structure
  • Autodesk VIZ
  • Autodesk 3ds Max
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
  • AutoCAD Land Desktop
  • Autodesk Inventor products
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • Revit MEP

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New DWG TrueView incorporates all the functionality of DWG TrueConvert

Don't have AutoCAD? No problem. DWG TrueView is a FREE download program to accurately view, plot, and publish authentic DWG and DWF files. And now, DWG TrueView incorporates all the functionality of DWG TrueConvert. This means you can translate any AutoCAD or AutoCAD-based drawing file for compatibility with AutoCAD Release 14 through AutoCAD 2008. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Download it by clicking Here
  • Share AutoCAD drawings easily and accurately among engineers and architects.
  • View and plot DWG and DXF files, and then publish them as DWF files for quick and easy review and markup in Autodesk Design Review.
  • Publish 3D DWF files.
  • Get full support for the new AutoCAD 2008 drawing enhancements.
  • Ensure the integrity and reliability of your data.
  • Always get full drawing fidelity because the viewer is built on the same viewing technology as AutoCAD 2008 software.
  • Incorporates all the TrueConvert functionality to convert sets of drawings from new versions of AutoCAD to older versions and vice versa
  • Add page set-up information during the conversion process
  • Use the AutoCAD eTransmit technology to bundle a complete file set for conversion

DWG TrueConvert software translates DWG files created with AutoCAD R14 (or later) to AutoCAD R14, AutoCAD 2000, AutoCAD 2004, and AutoCAD 2007 DWG file formats, as well as to AutoCAD LT 98, 2000, 2004, and 2007 DWG file formats. You can convert any version of DWG files created with AutoCAD-based products using the DWG TrueView software.

You do not need to have AutoCAD 2008 or AutoCAD LT 2008 installed on your computer to run the DWG TrueView software. You can install and run the DWG TrueView software with or without any version of AutoCAD installed on your machine.

The DWG TrueView software is very reliable in converting older DWG files to AutoCAD 2007 DWG file formats. The DWG TrueView software uses the same DWG engine as AutoCAD does to convert DWG files. Therefore you can expect precisely the same output as the software Save As command.

DWG TrueView software cannot be used to convert DWG files to other file formats such as DXF or DWF format. DWG TrueView software only converts DWG files to newer or older versions of the DWG file format.

When you create custom objects in AutoCAD DWG files and save your drawing with proxy graphics turned on, you can convert these drawings and maintain visual fidelity of the custom objects. However, you cannot edit the drawing in other releases. To modify custom objects in other releases, explode the custom objects in the drawing before you convert it.

If you want to convert drawings created with AutoCAD Architecture or AutoCAD MEP software, use the Save to AutoCAD DWG feature before you convert the drawing. It will break the intelligence of the objects, but users will be able to read them.

For drawings that contain custom objects, it is recommended that you do not use the DWG TrueView software to convert them to a newer release. When a drawing that contains custom objects is converted, the custom objects themselves are not converted. Unexpected results might occur if you attempt to open the converted drawing in a custom object application.

AutoCAD MEP 2008 English Tutorials Done in Metric

You noticed that two of the topics in the AutoCAD MEP 2008 tutorial cannot be accessed from the table of contents.

To access these two topics, download the tutorials available from the following website:

These tutorials contain an updated table of contents in both the online (CHM) and PDF versions.

Follow the steps in the corresponding readme.txt file to download the tutorial zip file to your hard drive and extract the CHM and PDF files. The tutorial datasets do not contain updates and do not need to be extracted.

After extracting the English version and opening a project you will notice that they are in metric. There are not different files for the Imperial system. All the style property sets in HVAC are in metric. Xrefs insert in metric units. Changing the template files to Imperial won’t fix it either.

Autodesk told me that they did not publish imperial tutorials for the 2008 release. All of their tutorials are metric. AutoCAD MEP 2008 is designed so that its functionality works exactly the same whether you are using imperial or metric units. The skills that you learn doing the metric tutorials can be directly applied to imperial-based projects.

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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

AutoCAD MEP 2008 Service Pack 1

Click here to Download the service pack

As a result of detailed information from customers who used the Customer Error Reporting Utility, a number of problems were identified and fixed in the following areas:

AutoCAD MEP 2008

  • Content Builder

  • Display System

  • Grip editing

  • Hidden Lines

  • Multi-view Parts

  • Schematic Lines

AutoCAD MEP Updates -Changes include the following:


  • Devices and Panels with an model representation will be detected by Interference Detection if they collide with other MEP objects.

  • The system filter for the Circuits property during WireAdd will update correctly.

  • The connection a wire with a circuit assigned has with a device will be maintained after using the Publish command.


  • CER: Changing the connection types on a duct fitting to a flanged connection type no longer causes a fatal error.

  • Flanges are now displayed on duct fittings within a model view, when the flange values are specified on the duct fittings.

  • Duct fittings endcap snaps to the open end of vertical or sloped duct segments properly.


  • Pipe segments copied from one pipe run to another pipe run will align properly to the new pipe run.

  • Using AecConvertto3dSolid command will convert pipe fittings more successfully to 3d Solids.

  • Auto-Routing pipe between two pipe connectors with an elbow using custom sizing will add the needed angle to the part to resolve the connection in the current drawing.

  • When a single line pipe is being crossed multiple times by another AutoCAD MEP object at a different elevation, the hidden line gap is properly applied to the pipe.


  • Plumbing Lines and Plumbing Fittings will continue to obey Annotation Scale after changing the drawing units and cancel the Drawing Setup dialog.


  • CER: Performing a Fillet or Join on schematic lines with schematic symbols anchored to them no longer causes a fatal error.


  • Etransmit will no longer enter an infinite loop of prompting to save the drawing.

  • CER: Grip editing the location of MEP objects with various setting combinations of Object Snaps, Snap, Ortho, Polar, Dynamic UCS and Dynamic Input settings will no longer cause a fatal error.

  • CER: Erasing an inline MvPart will no longer cause a fatal error.

  • CER: The adding of automatic properties to a Property Set Definition that is generated automatically when objects are added to the drawing will no longer cause a fatal error.

  • Switching to the Extended Data tab in the Properties Palette with AutoCAD objects selected will no longer cause Resource Manager errors.

  • CER: Part Catalogs containing the “’” symbol will no longer cause a fatal error during Catalogtest.

  • CER: Saving of concurrently open drawing which contain annotative dimensions no longer cause a fatal error within Content Builder.

  • CER: Parametric parts which produce an invalid solid will no longer cause a fatal error. Instead the erroneous solid will not be displayed.

AutoCAD Architecture Updates -Changes include the following:

AEC Details

  • Adding batting insulation with the same start and end point no longer causes a crash.

AEC Dimensions

  • AEC dimension component override locations no longer reposition when opened in AutoCAD Architecture 2008.

  • AEC dimensions to curtain walls now respond predictably.

  • Multiple instances of dimension text are no longer move with selected text.

Annotation Scaling

  • When a custom scale does not exist in the host drawing, but does in an xref, it is only imported once into the host drawing.


  • CER: Producing a view from a camera snapped to geometry no longer causes a fatal error.

  • CER: Adjusting a camera view in a maximized viewport no longer causes a fatal error.

Design Center

  • CER: Resuming a DesignCenter insertion after starting a second command no longer causes a crash.

  • Dragging and dropping AEC Content from the DesignCenter to an active model space viewport in paper space now works.

Drawing Management

  • Sheets in a project can now be plotted simultaneously from multiple workstations.

  • Migrating non-English projects from versions previous to AutoCAD Architecture 2008 will no longer be repathed into empty folders.

  • Maximum project category path length in AutoCAD Architecture 2008 is now around 248 characters.

  • CER: Fatal errors no longer occur when browsing in the Project Browser, typically with slow server connections.

Export to AutoCAD

  • CER: When exporting to AutoCAD, typically with eTransmit, fatal errors no longer occur.


  • IFCImport and IFCExport are now fully Ifc2x3 Certified.

  • Roof Slabs are now imported with the correct style.

  • Memory management enhancements now reduce memory consumption and large file import crash potential.

  • Fixed error in area and volume conversion

  • IFCImport and IFCExport now handle file geometry flaws better, particularly malformed

  • IFC entities from non-certified programs. In order to limit data loss, it is recommended that only certified programs be used to create IFC files.

  • In accordance with revised certification requirements, IFCImport and IFCExport feature improved retention of entity color settings.

  • Performance has been improved for installations of AutoCAD Architecture 2008 on Microsoft Windows Vista.

  • Object GUID creation has been to meet certification requirements.

  • Style and MVBlock names are now numbered sequentially.

  • When importing a TEKLA user model, structural members are now created.


  • CER: Opening a DXF file that contains a sheet keynotes legend no longer causes a crash.


  • The Center option now works when tagging entities in xrefs that are not inserted at 0,0,0.

  • Can now Edit Table Cell in a schedule table when the table contains a formula column.


  • Tags no longer change location when associated spaces are updated.

  • CER: Importing an AutoCAD Architecture 2008 drawing in Revit Structure with AutoCAD 2006 DWG TrueView installed no longer causes a crash.

  • Space evaluation now resolves through xrefs without zones.

  • CER: Random crashes after space evaluation no longer occur.

Structural Members

  • The Override Display Configuration Cut Plane option for Structural Members is now respected.


  • Selecting a wall with a custom display representation no longer causes a crash.


  • CER: Binding an xref that contains a wall no longer causes a fatal error.


  • CER: Opening drawings with certain entity configurations no longer results in a Fatal Error.

AutoCAD Updates - Other changes include the following:


  • ObjectID.Open no longer causes a crash

  • Removing a handler from Database.ObjectAppended then firing the event now generates an error message


  • vl-arx-import now functions for namespaces separate from VLX

  • i-Drop is operating correctly

Annotation Scaling

  • When dragging and dropping a named view from the style sheet manager to the host drawing, the annotation scaling features work properly

  • Custom scales which exist in the nested xrefs are no longer duplicated in the host drawing

  • Blocks in the Tool Palettes created from the DesignCenter annotative drawings are now annotative


  • Multiline attributes no longer shift positions every time drawings are saved and opened

  • The Value field for an attribute definition may now be modified in the Property Palette


  • The Y-scale factor of inserted blocks is now scaled accurately

Communication Center

  • The Communication Center is now enabled by default.


  • The dashboard panel configuration is now maintained throughout different workspaces and user sessions

Data Extraction

  • All dynamic block properties are now correctly extracted


  • Radial extension arcs may now be disabled, restoring the ability to dimension small radii

  • The In-Place dimension text editor size is now correct

  • Round-off dimension values now appear correctly

  • Dimension breaks no longer cause AutoCAD to hang


  • Linetypes now always display properly after zooming operations


  • Copy/paste now works in the drawings saved as 2000 and then resaved in AutoCAD 2004, AutoCAD 2005, or AutoCAD 2006


  • AutoCAD 2000 and Release 14 file formats are preserved while using ETRANSMIT with the "Keep existing drawing file formats" setting enabled


  • Drawing name field now always plots correctly


  • The BHATCH command boundary detection mechanism has been improved


  • Image frames are no longer plotted or displayed when IMAGEFRAME is set to 0


  • The ampersand character ("&") may now be entered on the Layout tab


  • The location of attributes in multileader block is no longer off-center

  • Multileader text no longer unexpectedly rotates

  • Multileader attributes are no longer off-center in a rotated UCS


  • MText tabs are now saved correctly to the older DWG formats

  • Certain Japanese characters are displayed correctly

  • Portuguese (Iberian and Brazilian) dictionaries now have accented capital letters


  • If multiple drawings are opened in Explorer, only a single instance of AutoCAD containing those drawings will launch

Object Snap

  • Object snaps now work correctly in blocks

PDF Export

  • Raster images now plot correctly to PDF

Performance Tuner

  • If there are no new drivers, the "New Driver" bubble does not appear


  • Plotting performance of rotated MrSID images is improved


  • Data linked cell formatting is now correct

  • Excel formatting is kept when the paste special (PASTESPEC) command is used

Tool Palette

  • Icons are no longer truncated

Visual Styles

  • Erroneous lines and display artifacts no longer show up after multiple zooming operations


  • Drawings with long reference paths are referenced properly

Known Issues With This Service Pack

  • Problem: After applying the Service Pack 1, all dashboard control panels are displayed regardless of the selected workspace.

  • Workaround: Make the desired workspace current.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Autodesk's Drawing Compare Subscription Module

Drawing Compare Subscription Module - Download The Subscription Module: Drawing Compare is available exclusively for AutoCAD® MEP 2008 customers participating in the Autodesk® Subscription program. Download this module now to get the Drawing Compare feature. The Drawing Compare feature enhances collaboration by using color-coded displays to show items on a drawing that have been changed, added, or deleted by other members of the design team. Changes to items such as styles, fire ratings, or other non-graphical properties are also tracked. Combined with redlining features, such as revision clouds, the Drawing Compare features help make communication across the design team clearer than ever.
The process of performing a drawing comparison has the following major steps:

Select the folder that contains review drawings, then select the folder that contains project drawings.
The Setup tab of the Drawing Compare palette is where you select the context in which drawings are compared. Typically, the review folder contains drawings that you receive from either an internal or external source, and the project folder contains the original version of the drawing files that you send for modification. These project drawings must all be contained within the same top-level folder to provide the correct context for comparison.
When you select review and project folders, all of the drawing files within those folders are listed. This includes host drawings and any drawings nested within them as external references (xrefs). You can choose to match drawings manually, selectively, or allow the Drawing Compare process to match the drawings automatically. The software matches drawings by file name when they are matched automatically. Drawings are matched when the project drawing is an exact duplicate of the review drawing. If you match drawings manually, you can choose to compare the drawings regardless of whether they have the same name.

If you want to selectively match drawings, the context menu allows you to specify which drawings in the review folder to include or exclude from the match. The drawings in the folder that are included in the comparison are matched through the context menu when you select the folder. You can select new review drawings to match at any time. You can also drag and drop a review drawing onto a project drawing to match them manually.

You can also choose to reset the drawings in the review folder to un-matched.

Match review drawings to their corresponding project drawings by using automatic matching or by manually dragging a review drawing onto a project drawing.
Use this procedure to have Drawing Compare match all the drawings in the review folder to corresponding drawings in the project folder. When you select the automatic matching option, the software attempts to match drawings that have the exact file name. Files are matched to determine which review drawings are modifications of the corresponding project drawings, and which review drawings are entirely new.

NOTE:It is strongly recommended that you use the automatic matching option for most use cases. Only use the match drawings manually option when the review drawing has been renamed, or if you want to compare a smaller set of drawings.

The matching process looks at both host drawings and any drawings nested within them as external references (xrefs). The matching process does not take xref relationships into account. Rather, the process looks at each review drawing to verify whether it is a modified version of a project drawing. If so, the 2 drawing files are matched. Drawing Compare displays the differences between the project drawing and its modified review drawing.

A pair of files is matched when they represent the same file, with one element of the pair in the project folder and one in the review folder. When this condition is not met, the files are unmatched. Matching allows for replacing an xrefed project drawing with its modified review drawing when appropriate. Unanticipated results can occur, depending on whether the file is xrefed using a full or relative path. Xrefs that are specified with full paths may not resolve properly if their context is moved, which is what may occur in the case of a drawing review folder. When the matching process is complete, xrefs can be resolved predictably using review content. If you want to affect the results of the comparison, use the exclude or include options instead.

NOTE:For accurate results, always allow the Drawing Compare process to finish.

A file excluded from Drawing Comparison will act as if it, and all its xrefs, are exact copies of the originals. Objects in excluded files (or xrefed by excluded files) will appear as unmodified. You should not unmatch files that you do not want to include in a comparison. Exclude the files instead.

A file is missing if it appears in the project folder but there is no corresponding review folder file. A missing review file is assumed to be unmodified.

In the Select Folders section of the Setup tab, if you select a review folder after you already specified a review or project folder, the Confirm Automatic Matching dialog box is displayed. If you choose a different project or review folder, click No and specify a new folder to continue.
The results of the matching are indicated by the icon associated with the drawing. Visual cues, such as an exclamation mark or a circle with a slash through it, indicate the status of the drawings.
After completing the drawing matching and relationship analysis process, you can toggle the filter button to show only the project drawings that are related to a specific review drawing. A project drawing is related to the selected review drawing if the project drawing is affected by modifications to the review drawing. This correlation is determined as the Analyzing Drawing Relationships progress window is displayed.
Select a review drawing and a project drawing to compare.
After you begin a Drawing Compare session, the Project drawing opens and hosts the review drawing. The graphics from the review drawing are overlaid on the project drawing. Objects from the project drawing and review drawing display in color, based on the visual filter settings which control which objects display and how they display during a comparison session. The Review tab becomes active, and the Drawing Compare Mode toolbar opens in the drawing area.

As you compare drawings in the review process, you look at them in context. The project drawing is the contextual reference for the review drawing and is the active drawing. It is the only drawing in which you can select objects. Information on the Review tab indicates changes made to objects and the status of objects in the drawings, such as New, Modified, and Missing. The number of changed objects is displayed in the Object List Summary.

The software compares data and geometric information about all of the objects in the drawings when you are working in Drawing Compare. This includes objects such as walls and doors as well as lines and circles. You can determine which drawings and objects display by using the visual filter.
Select objects in the Object Report List or click Object Selection on the Drawing Compare Mode toolbar and select an object to display changes made to the object’s properties. On the Review tab, details of what changed displays in the Object Properties list.
  1. Select a review drawing from the Select Review Drawing pane.
  2. Start the Drawing Compare session in one of 3 ways:
  3. Select a project drawing from the Select Project Drawing pane, right-click and click Start drawing comparison from this drawing.
  4. Select a project drawing from the Select Project Drawing pane, select a review drawing from the Select Review Drawing pane, then click the Start Drawing Comparison button () on the Setup tab. At this point, you can also select a different project drawing.
  5. Double-click the project drawing.

NOTE:When you select a review drawing, the matched project drawing is selected automatically, enabling the Start Drawing Comparison button.

The Object Comparison progress window displays the number of objects being compared as they are processed.

The Review tab of the Drawing Compare palette is displayed along with a separate Drawing Compare Mode toolbar.

Setup: This section displays the full path for both the review and project drawings. This information is read only.

Visual Filter Legend: This legend displays colors used in the Drawing Compare mode, and it specifies which review groups display in the drawing area. You can make changes to both settings.

The color of the icons on the Visual Filter Legend identifies the color of the object groups in the review, such as grey for unchanged objects and yellow for modified objects. You can specify a primary color for an object that is pending review, and a secondary color for the object once it has been viewed. You can also specify the plot style of an object in the visual filter.

The Visual Filter Legend displays the last used filter in new Drawing Compare sessions.
Use this procedure to specify which objects are displayed in the drawing area. For example, if you want to view only modified objects, select Hide for all values except Modified objects, and select Show for Modified objects. If you hide all of the new, modified, and missing objects, the remaining objects are displayed with their original colors as they appeared in the original project or review drawing.

In the Visual Filter Legend on the Review tab, select Show or Hide to change the visibility of objects on your screen.

Visual Filter worksheet: You can specify filters that affect how objects display during your Drawing Compare session. Under Included Objects, for example, you can set up a visual filter to allow only windows that were modified to be included in the comparison. All other objects display as unchanged. Under Visual Filtering Color Theme, you can adjust the color schemes and assign plot styles to different view groups. The Color column list the colors for pending objects before they are selected. The Viewed Color column lists the colors for viewed objects after they are selected.

Click the Visual Filter Worksheet button () on the title bar of the Visual Filter Legend to open the Visual Filter worksheet.

Object Report List: Objects that are new, missing, and modified in your review drawing are listed by category in alphabetical order, such as Circle, Door, Multi-View Block, and Polyline. When the list is displayed, all of the information is in bold text initially. This text style identifies objects as not yet viewed. The text does not change until that object is viewed, then another object in the list is selected for review. A group of objects can be selected and set as Pending or Viewed from the context menu.

When you hold your cursor over objects in your drawing, a tool tip displays information about the object. New and modified objects display a lock icon and cannot be changed.

You can minimize the Drawing Compare palette and use the Drawing Compare Mode toolbar to navigate when viewing objects. Expand the palette when necessary to review information about objects and properties.

The option to zoom in on an object is toggled on and off when you click the Activate/Deactivate Zoom to button () on the title bar of the Object Report List or on the Drawing Compare Mode toolbar. When this option is toggled on, the software zooms in on the selected object automatically after you select that object in the Object Report List.

Object List Summary: This summary displays the total number of objects changed and the total number of objects waiting for review. In the following example, a total of 209 objects changed in the review drawing in some way, and seven were reviewed, leaving 202 objects still pending review. When an object’s status is pending, it means that Drawing Compare has identified a difference between the project and review object, but the object in question has not yet been selected in the Object Report List.

Object Properties: By default, this section lists properties that have changed for the object currently selected in the Object Report List, showing the current parameters for the property in the project drawing and the review drawing.

Click the Display Properties for reviewed objects button () on the Object Properties title bar to toggle this option on and display only the object’s changed properties or off to display all of the object’s properties.

If the object is missing, data is listed in the Project Object column only. If the object is new, data is listed in the Review Object column only. If the object is modified, data is listed in both the Project Object and Review Object columns.

Drawing Compare Mode Toolbar: Use the Drawing Compare Mode toolbar to navigate through your review. This toolbar opens after you start a drawing comparison.