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Looking for ways to automate your installations and customization within Revit or AutoCAD products? Wish you could control the project launch process?  Need to maintain Revit project versions without accidental upgrades?  Want to customize Revit deployments by studio, delivery group, or Office?  Wish you could ensure that all project team members were on the same build and or service pack?  Perhaps you just need to master Revit Roofs and would like to explore more than 35 different roof types and how to create them in Revit? I’ve submitted a few classes that will interest you. Vote Now, then attend in November!

  • AutoCAD Architecture Automation Anywhere!
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  • Revit Project Launch Scripting to Standardize All Studios
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Cumulative Area and AutoCAD Hatches

Cumulative Area and AutoCAD Hatches

I was asked this question recently:

I noticed the “cumulative area” when attempting to add up SF numbers from multiple polygons. Please see the two images below. Why can I select 4/5 polygons and have it add them in the cumulative area space (Shown in Image 1) but when I select the 5th area the cumulative area disappears (Shown in Image 2)? Do you know why this occurs?

Screen Capture 1
Image 1
Screen Capture
Screen Capture 2

I suspected that there was a boundary issue, that prevented the hatch from calculating the area.  This can occur when a polyline boundary overlaps itself before its closed.  Since a hatch can generate a new boundary, I felt that was the easiest way to resolve the problem.  Here is my response:

The problem exists with the last hatch area. If you select it by itself, it displays no Area. I suspect that the boundary is probably overlapping itself. It’s not related to the number of hatches chosen, it’s actually that hatch by itself. To fix it, I did this:

1.) Unfreeze the layer containing the hatch, and make it current.
2.) Isolate that layer so only the hatch objects are visible. You can use layiso to isolate the layer containing the hatch.

Screen Cap 3
Image 3

3.) Now that the hatch is visible and isolated, select the problem hatch, right click and choose generate boundary.

Screen Capture 4
Image 4

4.) Once the new boundary is created, you can delete the original hatch.
5.) Use boundary hatch to place a new hatch into the generated boundary, to match existing hatches already created, you can use match properties.

Screen Capture 5
Image 5


Viola problem solved.

Walk and Fly are available only in perspective views.

Walk and Fly are available only in perspective views.

All of a sudden, this dialog box started popping up again while performing a 3DOrbit inside AutoCAD Architecture.


After checking this thread for a solution and finding none, I offered the following:

Add the following to your section in your

 <HideableDialog id=”VMToolsUI.WalkFlyToPerspectiveView” title=”Walk and Fly – Change to Perspective View” category=”Navigation” application=”” result=”1001″><Preview><TaskDialog Source=”/AcTaskDialogs;component/TaskDialogs.xaml” Id=”VMToolsUI.WalkFlyToPerspectiveView” xmlns=”clr-namespace:Autodesk.Windows;assembly=AdWindows”></TaskDialog></Preview></HideableDialog>

Make sure you do this while AutoCAD is not running, or the file will get overwritten when you do close AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Layfrz: Nested Entity Selection

I was asked recently how to fix the workstation blocks that were placed in a floor plan drawing.  When I opened the file, I quickly surmised that a short lesson on layfrz would solve the issue.  Using the layfrz command, sometimes requires different settings depending on how the selected entities are created. In this example, a simple “entity” option setting allows for attribute layer freezing within the block.  Watch this video to learn how.


ACA: Double Click Schedule Table to Update

ACA: Double Click Schedule Table to Update

Of course you can always set an AutoCAD Architecture Schedule Table to update automatically, but when you choose to leave that property setting set to no, it would be nice to be able to double click the table and have it update, rather than simply show the properties.  Since the updateschedulenow command is not directly available in the cui editor (it didnt appear in searches using schedule, or update keywords), you’ll have to follow these directions to create a double click behavior after creating a custom custom command.  Here are the steps:

  1. Access the CUI editor – Type cui and hit the enter key.
  1. Choose the Main CUI – Use the selector to choose the main cui file
  1. Create a new double click action – Right Click on the Double Click Actions Node and choose Add new double click action
  1. Name it what you want, I named mine Schedules.
  1. Create your new command, by clicking on the star icon as shown in the image below.
  1. You will get the skeleton of a command created automatically as shown in the image below.
  1. Name your command Update Schedule Now – also add a description, the command display name and add the following macro:  ^C^C_ScheduleUpdateNow   You can select the OOTB icon from the selection provided as shown in the image below. It is named RCDATA_SCHEDULE_TABLE_UPDATE
  1. Now drag your new command to the Double Click Action and drop it on top of the node.
  1. Close the CUI editor to complete this task and update your main CUI with the new tool.
Flush your Undo – AutoCAD

Flush your Undo – AutoCAD

As I roll out the 2014 versions of Building Design Premium, a designer sent me the following warning message from AutoCAD:

Warning! The undo file length is 1569321556 bytes.  Undo will be automatically disabled at 1750000000 bytes to prevent overflow…

Although I’m not sure what an UNDO Overflow would look like, rather than soil the carpets with all those abandoned and rolled back activities, I decided to investigate further.  I recommended that the designer saveas to ensure no data was lost and then began an investigation.

The solution:

  1. Use Saveas to write the file back to the harddrive or network location in case of a potential fatal error.
  2. Clear out the temp folder – Use %temp% in the file dialog and delete files found.
  3. Flush the Undo register – Type Undo – C – All

For more info refer to this Autodesk technical reference.

Autodesk Building Design Premium Deployment Modification – Verticals First

I had to revisit some deployments I created recently to modify some content locations.  On any deployment that had both AutoCAD and an AutoCAD based vertical package (ACA or MEP), the deployment modification routine would hang when I tried to modify either the ACA or AMEP product if I had modified the support paths in the AutoCAD versions (AutoCAD or Struc Designer) first.I was able to restore the paths to default by modding the AMEP, then ACA, then Struc designer, then AutoCAD.  If you run into this, try modding the paths in the above order.

Hatch Origins to the Rescue

Problem:   A designer calls and asks for a new hatch pattern for gravel.  Further inspection reveals that the standard gravel pattern was used, but when viewed it looks like many random intersecting lines rather than the rounded gravel pattern they were expecting.
Solution:  Pick the hatch pattern and use the edit hatch command. Pick a new origin point close to the hatch object. Click ok and watch your hatch magically restore itself.
Sometimes, hatch patterns do not display correctly when their origin point is a large distance away from the hatch itself. This occurs frequently in metric – imperial conversions.
Note: Watch out for masonry patterns. Ensure your new origin displays the correct masonry coursing.

Exploded Attribute Text will not be visible when referenced

Remember to check your “Insert” options when bringing in blocks with attributes. You NEVER want to insert those type of blocks with the “Explode” option still toggled on.  Nevertheless, this is a frequent hurdle for designers who are not as familiar with attributes as they SHOULD be.What is confusing for designers is the fact that they can see the text and think it is a value, but it is typically the attribute tag they are seeing.  The typical steps they take to resolve before requesting assistance include:

  • They double check the entity layer, and find it on a plotting layer
  • They check the reference layer and find that it is thawed, on, and plottable.
  • It is visible in the drawing (xref file) where it is placed, but when that dwg is externally referenced into another file, the text values do not show.

Quick Fix:  Copy the tag name to the “default” value text box when editing the attribute definitions, then cut the definitions to the clipboard and reinsert using “Paste” as block.  Save your file, reload the xref, and your text will magically appear.

Best Practice:  Understand the difference between simple text/mtext and attributed blocks. Ensure that you don’t inadvertantly leave the “explode on insertion” option toggled on in the Insert block dialog box.

Google Earth Color Drape on AutoCAD Mesh – The EASY Way!

Google Earth Color Drape on AutoCAD Mesh – The EASY Way!

The google earth extension from autodesk labs makes it really easy to drape a google earth image over a 3D mesh inside AutoCAD.

Importing the Google Earth mesh (IMPORTGEIMAGE) results in a black and white overlay of the google earth image on your mesh.  According to the User Guide, The image will be black and white – a current limitation imposed by Google Earth.

Unfortunately, the image IS black and white as you can see above and draping your own color export has been somewhat difficult within AutoCAD Architecture due to the differences in the material editor.  Until Now that is!

Rather than struggling with the materials editor and image scaling, why not simply swap your images to get the color drape you’ve been looking for!

Import your mesh into AutoCAD Architecture 2011 after you’ve loaded the GE cui file (Note: Use cuiload and change the filetype to legacy cui to load the toolbar shown below, then click the import ge mesh tool and place your mesh. I used 0,0 and a rotation of 0.)

Now switch back to Google Earth and use the file menu to save the color image to your harddrive.

Notice that the color image exported and the automatic material created by the extension have the same image dimensions!
Now open the color image you exported and saveas overwriting the material image found in the local settings folder for your Acad installation.

Note: to find this image, enter the following path in your explorer address bar:

%userprofile%local settingsapplication dataautodeskaca 2011enu

Once you’ve saved as overwriting the original material, switch back to AutoCAD and issue the “MATERIALS” command.  Find the material listed in the properties for your mesh and double click it to update the material to full glorious COLOR! Watch the video below to see it in action!

See, I told you it was Easy! I hope this helped you!