Welcome to HowToAutoCAD!

How to use, customise, and ultimately master AutoCAD

Free Download of AutoCAD® 2016

As they do every year, Autodesk are giving away their latest version of AutoCAD® for free. The download link is at the bottom of this page. It's free for a limited period of time though ...

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William Forty

Funny Autodesk errors

Hi everyone, It has been a while, but I'm still here. I had to laugh the other day when I happened across this...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2015 Survey Fix Utility

Hi all, I have created a new version of my survey fix which should now be compatible with new versions of AutoCAD®. I've tested this with AutoCAD® 2015, and it should work with previous versions as well. Download...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® Survey Fix 2013 & 2014

Hi folks, A number of you have asked for an updated version of my Survey Fixing utility for Civil 3D®. So due to popular demand, creating an updated version of this tool has become my top priority. I hope to get this out to you very shortly ...

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William Forty

Building Information Modelling

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process for creating a digital representation of a physical building. This model can be used to help design, construct and operate the building ...

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William Forty

Free Download of AutoCAD® 2014

Hi all, Autodesk have extended to us their usual kindness of downloading the latest version of AutoCAD® 2014, for free. The download link is at the bottom of this post. But, as you'd expect, it's free for 30 days...

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William Forty

Speed up Trim and Extend

Hi Everyone, I've had a quick tip forwarded to me for speeding up using the Trim and Extend commands. To speed up Trim and Extend, edit the commands in the CUI to include a space and a semi colon and add them to the right click default shortcut...

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William Forty

Introduction to managed VB.NET code for AutoCAD®

Hello everyone. Over the years of running HowToAutoCAD.com I have found that hundreds, if not thousands of you are very keen to get into writing your own tools for AutoCAD®. However, you can create tools for AutoCAD® using VB.NET in many ways, and I...

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William Forty

The BCOUNT Command

BCOUNT is a very simple and quick command for extracting information from your drawing, namely, a count of the number of blocks in your drawing, categorised by their type. It's really simple to use ...

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William Forty

Identifying System Variable Differences

I've often been in a situation where a certain command or entity seems to behave differently in one drawing compared to another. Things such as how drawing units are handled are controlled on a drawing by drawing basis, by saving system variables in ...

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William Forty

The PICKSTYLE System Variable

Very quick tip to supplement the last post I wrote on Groups, which comes to us thanks to one of my subscribers named Santiago. I mentioned that the behaviour when selecting a group is controllable using the groups dialog box by modifying the...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Groups

Blocks are very useful, and you might be tempted to ignore the existence of groups and just always use blocks instead. However, groups actually work differently to blocks, and in many cases it is actually more useful to use a group instead of a...

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William Forty

The SETBYLAYER Command

As of AutoCAD® 2008, we have a new command for dealing with the layering properties of objects...

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William Forty

Export To AutoCAD®

Hi everyone, Quick tip for all of you using AutoCAD® verticals such as Civil 3D®. You'll no doubt have noticed that if you open drawings created in an AutoCAD® vertical will have it's native objects displayed as OLE objects in vanilla AutoCAD®. It can...

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William Forty

Copy Layers to Excel

Hi everyone, Recently someone showed me a really simple, and rather obscure tip that I thought was pretty neat. I must admit, I'm yet to find a practical use for it, but I'm sure as with many other obscure commands it'll be extremely useful in that...

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William Forty

The SOLID Command

Hatching is one of the easiest, least irritating, and straightforward commands in AutoCAD®. Not. But there are quite a few other commands that can help with the little things ...

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William Forty

The SAVEIMG Command

Taking a screenshot of your work is sometimes required, and while it's not particularly difficult to just press the PrntScr ...

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William Forty

The DBLIST Command

Hi Everyone, I have been meaning to do a post on the DBLIST command for a while now, and I just happened to find the perfect post on Ellen Finkelstein's blog. Therefore this is a guest post from...

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William Forty

The XOPEN Command

A quick tip for today ...

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William Forty

The UNDEFINE Command

There are many commands in AutoCAD®, and it is possible to create your own custom command shortcuts through either LISP or using acad.pgp ...

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William Forty

The TSPACEINVADERS Command

Hi everyone, Today I'm going to talk to you about a command that arguably has the coolest name ever to be given to an AutoCAD® command. The command is so cool in fact, that it didn't want to go through the usual fuss of being a documented command....

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William Forty

The REVERSE Command

Hi all, just a quick tip for today. Probably...

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William Forty

The SSX Command

As this is my first post on HowToAutoCAD.com of 2013, I'd firstly like to wish you all a ...

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William Forty

uClicky Update Now Available

Hi all, For those of you already using my free windows automation tool uClicky, there is now a newer version available. uClicky is basically a way to...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® Survey Fix 2013 Update

Hello everyone! I know that many of you have been eagerly ...

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William Forty

Block Attribute Shortcut

It is an...

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William Forty

CTRL Selecting Polylines

First and foremost ...

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William Forty

The LAYMCUR Command

Just a quick tip for today ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® VB.NET Development Training Courses

The selection of training courses in AutoCAD® development is sparse at best, so if you're looking for a training course in AutoCAD® VB.NET development, you're probably going to struggle to find anyone that runs a course of this type, let alone one...

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William Forty

Convert 3D Polyline to 2D Polyline

There are various polyline types in AutoCAD®, the most common of which is usually the LWPolyline ...

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William Forty

Oops, I deleted it again

We've all deleted stuff we didn't want to, and you probably got it back by mashing the good old...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® 2013 Free Download

As with last year, Autodesk have kindly allowed us to download their latest version of AutoCAD® for free. Visit the download link at the end of this post to get your free copy of AutoCAD® 2013! But as expected, it's only free for a limited time. 30...

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William Forty

XLine Find

This has happened to all of us ...

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William Forty

Writing Competition

Hi all, apologies for the lull in posts ...

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William Forty

Civil 3D® Point Data - User Defined Property Classification

Hello everyone, I have another tip for you. Have you ever wanted to add additional data to your civil point...

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William Forty

The SELECTSIMILAR Command

On with another...

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William Forty

The LAYDEL Command

Firstly, many thanks to Mark Pettitt and John Coon for their first posts on HowToAutoCAD.com. A great start to something very positive and beneficial for all. Secondly, I have a...

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William Forty

Missing Setting Tab

Hello, this is my first post on...

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William Forty

Creating New Layers

...

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William Forty

Vote Results

The results are in from the recent vote, and there is a pretty clear direction for HowToAutoCAD.com. The majority of you ...

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The Future of HowToAutoCAD.com

The first ever post on HowToAutoCAD was on this very day, 17th November, last year. The astute mathematicians amongst you can cunningly calculate that this makes HowToAutoCAD.com precisely one year old today....

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William Forty

Using XREFs and XREF Best Practice

XREFs can be an extremely helpful tool at your disposal when used well. However when used badly they can be a nightmare. In this article I am going to go through how to use XREFs and talk about some best practice tips to get the most out of your...

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William Forty

The BURST Command

I had another little gem come out of the woodwork today, it's an...

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William Forty

How to use acad.lsp and acaddoc.lsp

Lisp is a very useful part of the AutoCAD® application, and one of the first things its good for you to know is how acad.lsp and acaddoc.lsp work. These two lisp files are automatically executed when certain conditions occur in AutoCAD®. ...

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William Forty

The XLine Command and Creating Levels in your Drawing

With the Ortho Mode and Polar Tracking at your disposal, you may be tempted to completely ignore the concept of construction lines. But I certainly still use them, as they are actually really useful for specifying a logical concept in your drawing ...

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William Forty

Trimming a Segment of a Polyline

Here's a little tip that might be obvious to some, if not most of you. But for anyone that doesn't know this, it can be useful to know. When using the trim command, you tend to specify geometry to trim lines back to. Of course this is no different...

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William Forty

The RESETBLOCK Command

I was setting up a dynamic block yesterday, and I wanted to specify a default position for all the movable parts, but I also wanted to have the option to reset the block to the default position after I'd moved stuff around. I started thinking along...

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William Forty

The SKETCH Command - Drawing Freehand in AutoCAD®

The SKETCH command is one of those little known commands, but it really is a great command when you have the opportunity for some artistic license in your AutoCAD® drawings. You know when you have an irregular line to draw that represents existing...

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William Forty

Chamfer and Fillet

Yesterday I was browsing YouTube, and came across a video about how to use some basic AutoCAD® commands, two of which were the CHAMFER and FILLET commands. Its amazing to think you could be using a basic command every day, yet still not know all of...

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William Forty

Shaped Viewports

Here's a quick tip for today. No doubt you're aware that you can have custom shaped viewports ...

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William Forty

Service Pack 1 For AutoCAD® 2012 & AutoCAD® LT 2012 Released

Autodesk has released their first service pack for AutoCAD® 2012 and AutoCAD® LT 2012. This pack contains fixes, and some new commands, ARRAYCLASSIC and SNAPGRIDLEGACY. For more information about this service pack you can browse the ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® .NET Load From Remote Sources

There are various security features included in the .NET framework, and one of which prevents the loading of dll files from networked locations such as the Internet. Whilst this is a very sensible idea, it can prevent us from achieving functionality ...

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William Forty

Draw constrained to angle

Sometimes you'll want to draw a line at a specific angle, and it is surprising how many people do it the long way by drawing the line, and then rotating it. So, if this is you, you're in luck as you're about to be amazed! Whenever you want to...

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William Forty

Layer Freeze/Thaw vs On/Off

There are two ways to change the visibility of layers ...

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William Forty

The OVERKILL Command

Someone came to me with a problem yesterday ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® - The LAYERDLGMODE System Variable

I'm not one that likes to scroll horizontally ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® - Quick Layer Toggling With LAYWALK

Sometimes, using the standard layer managers for quickly looking at what's on a layer can be a pain, especially when you want to just quickly flick through them to look at the content of many layers. Thankfully ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® 2012 - Free Download

Very nice of Autodesk to provide us all with a free copy of AutoCAD® 2012 this year ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® - The TASKBAR System Variable

When I first started using AutoCAD®, I was never a fan of having more than one drawing open at a time, because flipping between them was cumbersome. I'd have to go to the menu bar and select the Window...

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William Forty

Touch Typing

Today, I'm going to talk to you about...

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William Forty

Speed Up AutoCAD®

Everybody wants a faster AutoCAD®. The problem is there are so many ways to tweak and optimise the software that it can be a very daunting task. Thankfully, there are countless articles online that list precisely what can be done to help speed up...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Command AutoComplete

Before I get into the specifics of this post, I'd like to acknowledge that you may have experienced a lull in posts and responses to comments over the last few weeks... I have been away from my usual lifestyle... celebrating my recent marriage on...

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William Forty

FILEDIA System Variable

Quick one for today ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD®, VB and Mathematics

If you want to become an expert AutoCAD® script writer, at some point you're going to need to know a bit about maths, or at least have the capacity to learn. It doesn't have to calculus, but stuff like Pythagoras theorem and trigonometry are very...

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William Forty

How to Control AutoCAD® From a Standalone Executable

I've had a few requests recently to do a post on creating executables that control AutoCAD®. Though generally it is better to have tools well integrated into AutoCAD® via the use of a NETLOADed dll for example, sometimes an exe can be an elegant...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Copy Paste Between Drawings Scale

The other day, I came across a very bizarre problem. All I was doing was copying and pasting between drawings, but the entities were being pasted into the other drawing a different scale! Having not encountered this before, I assumed it was...

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William Forty

Export Points from AutoCAD® to CSV file using VBA

Today I'm going to show you how to use a bit of simple VBA to export data to a CSV file. It's really simple, and although there are other ways of achieving the same thing, this way allows great flexibility, and is very versatile. Firstly, I'll set...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Fractal - A bit of fun...

Ok, I've got a few tips and tricks on here, and I thought I'd post something totally random, but actually quite interesting ...

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William Forty

Excel and AutoCAD® - A match made in heaven - Part 3

One of my readers has requested some help regarding the drawing of windows. I'm not...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® 2012 System Requirements

System requirements for AutoCAD® 2012 are basically the same as for AutoCAD® 2011 and 2010. So if you're upgrading from one of these, you'll no doubt be fine....

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William Forty

AutoCAD® 2012 New Features

As you're no doubt very aware, Autodesk release a new version of AutoCAD® yearly. This year is no different, with AutoCAD® 2012, codenamed "Ironman", now available as of 22nd March 2011. So, I think...

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William Forty

The LAYMRG Command - Merging and Deleting Layers in AutoCAD®

I was recently asked if there was a quick way to put all the objects on a certain layer onto another layer, which reminded me of this little beauty that you need to know about. LAYMRG is a command for manipulating layers in AutoCAD®, and gives you...

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William Forty

VISRETAIN - Xrefs not saving layer states

Chances are you have already come across this problem, and chances are you found out the solution. But this one can be a real puzzler and is too vital to omit. Have you ever xreffed in a drawing, made lots of tweaks to the layer properties of the...

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William Forty

Join The Dots - How To Create VB.NET AutoCAD® Tools

Been struggling to find time to post on here recently due to exams, work and planning a wedding... with a bit of a lull in between everything, now's a good time to get back in the swing of it! Join The Dots ...

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William Forty

VB.NET AutoCAD® Template

For those interested in AutoCAD® development, there are a few files that need to be referenced so that you can work with AutoCAD®. So, ideally, you'll want to set up a basic template that you can use with all the basics set up ready for you. In this...

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William Forty

The hyphen

Just a quick one today ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® - Survey Fix Tool

Have you ever been expected to produce a Civil 3D® drawing for example, using a flat...

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William Forty

Funny Text

This probably sounds like I'm going to start talking about the latest joke book, but that's not what I mean by Funny Text...... I'm talking about subscript, superscript and special characters. The two ways I usually use are ...

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William Forty

Saving Images Within the Drawing

Have you ever wanted to insert an image, without it being a...

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William Forty

Image Frames and Borders

So you've attached your image most likely using one of the following...

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William Forty

Ortho Mode vs. Polar Tracking

Ortho mode and polar tracking are two methods of constraining user input to an axis. You've probably become accustomed to using one of them, but if you think they are the same, you may want to look again. Of course, I am talking about these options...

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William Forty

The RENAME Command

Here is quite a useful command to bear in mind for the future ...

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William Forty

The CHSPACE Command

It can be quite annoying when you've drawn something in paperspace, but in needs to be located in modelspace. Thankfully there is a quick fix for this. The CHSPACE command will move objects through a viewport, scaling the entities suitably to retain ...

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William Forty

The Modelspace or Paperspace Argument

I've been looking forward to this post, as this argument has raged for over 10 years between the many other CAD professionals I know. Ironically, the conclusion I have come to doesn't have much to do with which way is best. It is more of a...

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William Forty

The SUPERHATCH Command

Here's a quick little nugget that I stumbled across recently ...

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William Forty

CAD Document Management

After a lovely break over Xmas, I thought I'd get back into the swing of things on here.. and I'm starting off the year with CAD document management ...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® MapExport to SHP creates an empty file

Some of you may have come across this issue before. When creating an ERSI shape file ...

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William Forty

Common causes for AutoCAD® freezing

How many times have you been working in AutoCAD®, and then suddenly it freezes on...

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William Forty
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Privacy Policy

The privacy policy of HowToAutoCAD.com can be summarised into the following points...

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About

HowToAutoCAD.com has been set up to help you master AutoCAD®. My name is William Forty (or Will), and I have witnessed first hand the laborious working practices that have driven AutoCAD® users to insanity - if only they took the time to learn more about how to use AutoCAD®, they would have saved themselves countless hours, days, even weeks of work.

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William Forty

Excel and AutoCAD® – A match made in heaven (again!)

Many people are oblivious to the wondrous things that can be achieved with programming. If you cringe at the prospect of writing code,...

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William Forty

About To Regen

If you ever get the "About to Regen, Ok or Cancel" message, it can be infuriating if you do not know how to turn it off. So, here's how ...

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William Forty

Break a line into smaller pieces using VBA or VB.NET in AutoCAD®

Here's a simple example of some VBA code that might come in handy either as a learning exercise, or if you happen to be trying to break a line programatically. The code fistly asks the user to select a line, and the object is stored in the Line...

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William Forty

MText.WidthFactor

If you've ever tried to edit the widthfactor of mtext through VBA or VB.NET, you'll have realised that there isn't a method for doing so. However, there is a built in trick which bypasses the requirement for doing this. Try the code...

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William Forty

ThisDrawing.PaperSpace

ThisDrawing.PaperSpace is a very useful way to access the PaperSpace of your drawing through VBA or VB.NET. When developing tools that draw entites in a drawing, we can sometimes use ThisDrawing.PaperSpace, forgetting that the tool might actually...

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William Forty

ThisDrawing.ModelSpace

ThisDrawing.ModelSpace...

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William Forty

Clipping with multiple boundaries

...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® 2008 scale list bug

If you're using AutoCAD® 2008, then you may have experienced slow...

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William Forty

Ray Casting Algorithm: How to determine with VBA if a point is inside a polyline in AutoCAD®

Someone recently asked about determining if a point resides within a polyline using VBA. There are a few ways to achieve this, some being more complex than others, each with their own advantages. However, there is one way that is particularly simple ...

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William Forty

The Amazing FILLET Zero Command

So...

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William Forty

The LENGTHEN Command

LENGTHEN is the older, much more specialised brother of the EXTEND command. Although EXTEND was always the more popular of two...

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William Forty

Trim outside boundary with the EXTRIM command

Many thanks to Dave Murchison for finding the EXTRIM command, and sharing it with me. This command is basically an extension to the TRIM command. With this command you can select a boundary to trim back all objects to. This is great for clipping...

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William Forty

The TRIM and EXTEND commands

I group the TRIM and EXTEND commands together because...

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William Forty

AutoCAD® and Excel - a match made in heaven?

...

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William Forty

Command Aliases in AutoCAD® with acad.pgp

Thought I'd share something that I did a while back which turned out to be a really good move, though it may not be for everyone. The rationale behind this exercise is to make commonly used commands more at the fingertips of the user, and thus...

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William Forty

Introduction to VB.NET in AutoCAD®

VBA is in the process of being phased out, and the replacement is .NET. This may disappoint some of you that have VBA...

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William Forty

VBA in AutoCAD® - Tutorial 2: Subroutines

Introduction ...

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William Forty

VBA in AutoCAD® - Tutorial 1: Introduction

Introduction ...

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William Forty

The CIRCLE command and the circle entity

The circle is one of those commands that can be very useful in the hands of those that know how. Obviously if you want to draw a circle this is what you need ...

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William Forty

The BOUNDARY command

The BOUNDARY command is one of those tools that is mostly unknown and seldom gets...

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William Forty

The RECTANG command

The RECTANG command draws a rectangle ...

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William Forty

The PLINE command and the polyline entity

The PLINE command creates an entity known as the polyline, which is basically a series of connected lines or arcs. There are some interesting tips for using polylines and the PLINE command, and many system variables that govern its use. There are...

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William Forty

The LINE command and the line entity

It...

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William Forty