Monday, June 25, 2007

Getting Annotative Objects Right!

We're back from our 2008 Roadshow, demonstrating the new features of AutoCAD 2008 in Denver, Frederick, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. It went very well, thanks to all of you who attended. In the fall we're traveling to the western slope to demonstrate out there.

I promised to talk a little bit more about Annotative Objects, so here we go.....

This time let's look at some of the pitfalls that can come upon you when adding Annotative objects from Model Space.

First of all, the best practice is to set the scale at which you want your annotative object to display right away, before you start the command. Even though you'll get a reminder screen asking you to set the scale, it's happened to me more than once that the text I put in there doesn't get the message and winds up still showing at 1:1 (meaning 1/8" tall in this example, whatever you set as the Paper space text height in the text style). If I go to add or delete scales, I can see that it thinks it's displaying at 1/8"=1', but it's not. So it will be a good habit in 2008 to always check the bottom right of your status bar before you put any annotations in. This will be on the test, so remember it.

Just in case you forgot AutoCAD 101, the status bar is that very thin bar at the bottom underneath the command line, where you turn off DYN and turn on POLAR.

I added some annotative dimensions after setting my scale to 1/2"=1'-0" on the status bar. Looking at this drawing in Paper space, you can see that the text is showing in the correct viewports and everything is the right size.

Here is where the errors will occur:

These two buttons are the ones you have to be careful of. In this picture, they are both 'off''. They both represent system variables, one on the left toggles whether all annotations are visible, or only the ones of the current scale. The command is actually ANNOALLVISIBLE; when set at 0, only the annotations of the current scale show, and the little lightbulb on the icon is dark. When you toggle it, that sets it to 1, and you can see all the annotations of each scale, as in the following picture.

The other button, on the right, is ANNOAUTOSCALE, and it can be set to a negative or positive number, to add quickly another scale to your annotations.

For example, I need another viewport with 1/4" scale, without the existing note & dimensions. Just to show you what can happen when you have the right side button on, (showing the lightning bolt symbol 'on', or yellow), I turned that on (changing the setting from 4 to -4) and in Model space, changed the annotative scale to 1/4"=1'-0". Immediately it added that scale to all my existing text and dimensions.

This was not exactly what I had in mind!

So be careful of that last little button! If it's on, and you just switch over to a different scale setting to see how things look, you could add that scale to every annotation you have.

There are 8 different setting for this system variable:

1 Adds the new scale to all annotative objects except those on layers that are off, frozen, locked or set to Viewport Freeze
2 Adds the new scale to all annotative objects except those on layers that are off, frozen or set to Viewport Freeze
3 Adds the new scale to all annotative objects except those on layers that are locked.
4 Adds the new scale to all annotative objects

-1, -2, -3, and -4 Do not add the new scale, and they all return the setting back to their corresponding positive number if you just toggle it. Make sure you look at the command line to see which setting you've got when you use this button!

There's a very old saying, "Forewarned is forearmed". I'm hoping that showing you how these two buttons work will help everyone avoid frustration and encourage you all to use the wonderful new annotative objects in AutoCAD 2008.

See you next time!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Change Vault Storage Locations

Often times, system administrators do not want to store the vault data on the root drive of their server. Sometimes, the drive just isn't big enough or some other reason. Setting the storage location for the file store and database of a vault can be changed to any location on the network.

To change this location for an existing vault, ADMS Console 2008 and log in as an administrator. Right click on the vault that you want to move the database for and select Detach. This will remove the vault from the console but will not change any of the database or filestore files. Now, simply move the files to the location you want. The database files, by default, are located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$AUTODESKVAULT\Data. Simpy move the files that start with the vaults name that you detached to the desired location. You can also move the filestore as well which by default is located here: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\VaultServer\FileStore.

Now that they are moved, you simply reattach them to the console. In the ADMS Console, right click on Vaults and select Attach. You'll be given a dialog box that will guide you through selecting the files and locations and that's all there is to it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Annotative Dimensions in 2008

Annotative Dimensioning works pretty much the same as Annotative Text, but while playing with it I've noticed a few things that can be a little confusing.

( a little confusing?)

So hopefully after reading this, some of the fog will clear away, and this new feature will make your life as much easier as you were anticipating. No more extra layers for every viewport scale!! No more worries about forgetting to turn off or on the correct layer per viewport!
To create an annotative dimension style from an existing style, do the usual steps to create a new style, and start with one you use all the time. In your Dimension Style Manager, on the Text tab, the text height will be the height you want it to print in Paper Space. On the Fit tab, where you have always put in the scale factor there is now a choice for Annotative. Just check that box and there you have it, a new annotative dimension style.

A little note about naming these styles - the new annotative symbol shows up in the Styles toolbar pulldown list in front of the style name, so you'll know right away whether you're choosing an annotative style or not.
The Style name doesn't have to have the word "annotative" in it - kind of nice, since those style names can get too long to see in the pulldown

The easiest way to have your annotative dimensions always turn out right is to create your viewports and set them to the correct scale first. Now you can lock your viewport from the status bar, with your viewport selected just click on the padlock on the status bar.

Next, use the Maximize Viewport button - also on the status bar - and then you're in model space, as if you jumped through the viewport. You can pan and zoom all you want and it won't change your viewport scale - even if you forgot to lock it. Add your dimensions, and then use the same button to go back to paper space.

Now I've added a new viewport scaled to 1/4" = 1'-0", but notice you can still see the 1/8" scaled dimensions. If you've done this, you might have thought they don't work the way you want them to - not so fast! Look at the bottom of this picture and you'll notice the annotation scale doesn't yet match the VP scale.

It's a simple fix - with the new viewport selected, click on the Annotation Scale flyout, and set it to the proper scale - zip zap zowee, all those dimensions go away. Notice also that the text is now the same height in both windows.

I used Maximize Viewport to go in and add a couple dimensions I want in my 1/4"=1' scaled window. All my dimensions (and text) will print out the same size on the paper! Yeeehaw!*

But what if I want a certain dimension to show in more than one window? There's an easy way, and a way that can really mess you up.

The easy way is to click into the viewport where the dimension already shows, so you're in model space. If you locked it, no worries about messing up your scale! Select the dimension you want to add to a differently scaled viewport, right click, and find "Annotative Object Scales", and then "Add or delete scales." Choosing "Add" will bring you to a dialog box showing all the scales available. Click on the one you want, in my case 1/4"=1'-0", and immediately it shows up in the viewport with that scale.
This is cool beans.

Next time I will show you the way to add more scales to your dimensions and text that can really mess you up if you're not careful! Maybe the title should be "How Not to Use Annotative Annotations".

*Ok, I'm sorry for the yeehaw. Last weekend I brought my son to Nashville for Dukesfest, a car show & reunion for fans of the Dukes of Hazzard TV show, and there was a lot of Yeehaw-ing going on. It was really fun, I have to admit.