Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Quick Tip on Quick Leader

AutoCAD Leaders automatically add a tail if the angle of the leader is greater than 15 degrees from horizontal. The length of the tail is the same as the size of the arrowhead.

Don't draw the tails! Why? Because, by default, Leaders are associated with the Text. This means that if you ever move the Text, the Leader automatically goes with it. In the image below the grey objects indicate the original placement of the leaders. The leader on the left was drawn without a tail. I manually drew the tail for the leader on the right.

When the text is moved, as represented by the black objects, the last drawn point of the leader follows the text. If this point gets away from horizontal, AutoCAD adds the tail for you automatically.

If you don't like the way that AutoCAD draws or manages the leader tails for you, your only recourse is to not use associative leaders. You have to place your text, then come back later and draw the leaders, hitting Esc when prompted for text. Leaders do not honor DIMASSOC (or DIMASO).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Three Ways to Explode

Let the destruction begin.

The AutoCAD EXPLODE command allows you to convert complex objects to their constituent components. Explode Mtext to get Text. Explode Plines, Mlines, Hatches, Dimensions and Leaders into Lines, Arcs, Text, etc. Explode Blocks to their component parts.

Exploding a Block sometimes gives us undesirable results. Often a Block is created from entities on Layer 0, so that it can be inserted on any Layer and thus inherit the properties of the insertion Layer. When exploding a Block of this type, all the components revert back to Layer 0.

The XPLODE command started life as a Bonus Tool and has since achieved command status. XPLODE works similarly to EXPLODE except it gives you the opportunity to override component entity properties. You can control the target Layer, Line type, Line weight, and Color, or Inherit all properties from the Block insertion.

If you're exploding a Block with Attributes, the Attributes revert to the Attribute definitions. Of course this results in the loss of their text value. The Express Tool BURST allows you to explode an Attributed Block to the insertion Layer and convert the Attributes to Text.


Entities revert to Layer 0,
Attribs revert to AttDefs

Entities inherit Block Layer,
Attribs revert to AttDefs

Entities inherit Block Layer,
Attribs become Text and keep previous values

So between all these Exploding options you should be able to achieve your desired results. Now for the million dollar question: Why are you exploding things anyway?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Use the AutoCAD ETRANSMIT command to bundle up your drawing and all of its dependencies for delivery to a client or consultant. File > eTransmit gives you the Create Transmittal dialog.This dialog displays a listing of the drawing and its dependencies (Xrefs, Images, Fonts, Pen Tables, etc.). Use the Transmittal Setups... button to create named jobs with specific transmittal parameters.

In this example we're creating a named Transmittal Setup called to2002 in which we:
  • Send all files to a folder. (We could alternatively create a ZIP file at this step.)
  • Convert our files to AutoCAD 2000 format.
  • We are also opting to set the default plotter to 'none' so our consultant/client doesn't get those annoying plotter not found errors.
  • Lastly, we're binding the Xrefs as we create the transmittal.

Now, anytime we wish to create a transmittal of this, or any other drawing, using this setup, it is immediately available to us from the Create Transmittal dialog.

You can also execute eTransmit from the sheet set by right-clicking on the selected sheet(s), subset(s), or sheet set name and choosing eTransmit... from the menu.

There are a couple of important distinctions between creating transmittals from the Sheet Set as opposed to using the eTransmit command:

  1. You can transmit multiple sheets using the Sheet Set method.
  2. eTransmit from the Sheet Set references Transmittal Setups stored in the DST as opposed to the current user. This makes them immediately accessible to everyone on the team.

This Sheet Set transmittal information is coming from the current Sheet Set as opposed to the first image where it's based on the current user.