AutoCAD/Model Views

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QUESTION: Is there away to create a couple of buttons to plot multiple model view on set sheet sizes (ex: one button to plot all view on 8.5x11 and other to plot all views to 11x17). The drawing files can contain as many as 5 to 100 model views. Any information on this would be helpful.

Thanks,
Ryan

ANSWER: The quick answer is yes. But with some limits. You are going to do this by customizing in the CUI (Customizable User Interface).
There is a variable called MAXACTVP (maximum active viewports). It must be set between 2 and 64. If you have 21 viewports but the maxactvp is set to 20, one of them will not show up.

When you create your macro in the CUI, you will use the commands that you would enter at the command line to make it work. The first thing it can do is turn on up to 64 viewports on each sheet.

I don't know if you are familiar with macro creation and this is a huge topic for this forum, but I will try to give you an overview. Start by opening up a drawing in AutoCAD, AND open up a notepad file to keep track of the commands you issue to AutoCAD.

The first command you will issue is: maxactvp then you will hit enter. The "enters" will need to be written into your macro, but for now we will leave them out. Now go over to the notepad file and enter the same thing and hit return. This will give you a command per line in the notepad. Then you will know where the "enters" belong later. The next entry at the command line is in response to the maxactvp 64 . Go back to the note pad and put 64 and hit return. (continue adding each piece to the notepad file#

Now you will want to start the plot. If you simply enter plot you will get a dialog box, and a macro can't work with one. To suppress the dialog box start with a hyphen -PLOT . Next you will get a bunch of questions for your plotter situation. You need to answer each of these to fit the printer you are using,#the 8.5x11# being sure that each entry is also in your notepad on its own line. You will need to do this again for the 11x17 printer. #because we are creating 2 buttons)

The last question asked by ACAD is: Proceed with Plot? You respond Y and it takes off.
This yes can be part of the macro so that when you hit the button it is going to print, but you might think about leaving this last Yes out so that your user has to type in the Y. Then if the button is mistakenly hit, you can still bail out.

Now you will go into the CUI by typing CUI . On the bottom left is the section for commands. You are creating a new command. in this section near the upper right is a new command button shown as a star with a little yellow star on it. When you clock on it the window on the right changes.

The top line in the command properties is for the command name. This would be the command you would type in at the command line were you to enter it that way so don't get too fancy. PLOTA and PLOTB should work well. Add the description - this is what comes up when a user hovers over the button, so it should be something useful: "prints A size to the west printer" (etc). I don't use the next two lines going to pass to the Macro line where it says ^C^C. Macros should always start with this. It cancels any other active command so the macro will run cleanly. After the ^c^c goes an underscore, and now you are going to use the info from the notepad to make this work. This will be one line - no spaces - so it will say something like: ^c^c_maxactvp  
At this point you have your first return. Macros read a semicolon (;) as a return. so that will go after each line from the notepad:
^c^c_maxactvp;64;-plot;n;  Now I am at the point where it asks which layout to plot, I am going to go with the default - the one showing - since it likely has a different name each time so all I need is a return ^c^c_maxactvp;64;-plot;n;;
Continue through the rest of the notepad file adding each answer. Remember the last question: Proceed with Plot? If you don't put that last Y in, it will ask the user that on screen.
Hit apply when you are done with creating both new commands. Next you will go back to the lower left where the commands are and pick custom commands from the pull down menu. You should see your new commands in the window. Now drag and drop them into the files above. You can put them on a toolbar, but if I was going to the trouble to do this I think it would be something I plan on using a lot - I would put it on the Quick Access Toolbar. Just click on it to expand it and you will see Quick Access Toolbar1, expand that and you will see a list of what is on that toolbar. Drag your new command up and place it in the row.

You can create a graphic for your button or use an existing graphic, but be sure it is saved in a place where your ACAD can find it. A 16 x 16 paintbrush bitmap works well, or modify one of ACAD's but rename it. (Again-be sure it is in a path that ACAD knows!)

If you want to roll this out to other people I would put these new commands on a tool palette. Tool palette is a whole different discussion. Matt Murphy has some awesome classes on Autodesk University about Tool Palettes. You must be an AUGI member to access it. (It's free)

Hope that helps, and that this is just the beginning of your vast customizing experience!

-Shauna Anderson



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I got the different buttons to work and print the correct sizes but it is only printing the first sheet on the drawing.

The drawings that we do here are all done in "Model Space" and can contain up to 100 Title Block and instead of using the "Window" option under the plot area we use "View" to list out the sheets we want to print.

Is there away that you know of that will allow me to cycle through the list of "Views" and be able to print them to size of the created buttons. Right now I can do this with the macro you gave me on the last message but when it gets to a drawing file that has more views then what the marco has I have to modify the macro to account for the additional views, so I didn't know if there is away to cycle through that list wheater it has 10 or 100 without having to go in everytime to modify the cui.

You used to have to create script files for this to work in the 2002 and earlier verisons.

Any information on this would be helpful.

Thanks,
Ryan

Answer
Ryan,
To do all the layouts I believe you would need to publish. You can use a "-publish" to suppress the dialog box, but it wants to look for .dsd files which are drawing sets you have already saved in the publish dialog box.

You would also want to use page set-ups to do this so that all sheets use the same page set-up. I don't have the expertise to take you further than this. SO I would again say, check the Autodesk University page, there have been classes on scripting - I especially like Dan Abbott. And a couple years ago there was a 60 or 90 minute class just on plotting/publishing.

There are also the AUGI forums that may be of help to you in this. www.augi.com

Sorry I can't be of further help!!  :(

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Shauna Anderson

Expertise

I can answer most AutoCAD questions. I can not answer questions about their vertical products. I do not do 3D.

Experience

20+ years working with AutoCAD from Release 10 I have been the CAD Coordinator in my Engineering and Design group for the last 8 years.

Organizations
AutoCAD Users Group International (AUGI) Tri-Cities AutoCAD Users Group (TCAUG) World AutoCAD Users Network (WAUN)

Education/Credentials
AA degree in Engineering Drafting with an emphasis on Computer Aided Drafting. BAS in Applied Management.

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