Archive for Rave

With the release of AutoCAD 2017 out, which I am sure will have some pretty sweet new options and enhancements, I thought I’d reflect on my AutoCAD 2016 favorite features.
Like all users, it is not likely that every new feature or enhancement that comes out will be used.  One of the best strengths of AutoCAD is that it offers a variety of ways to be productive and is flexible enough to be used in any industry.  Like the rest of you, although there are so many new features, I have a few favorites.  Below are the top three features I have enjoyed the most – note that these all work in the LT version.


The XREF properties override variable will help many that deal with external references from providers that practice “Bad CAD” and change entity colors rather than use the color Bylayer option.  With this feature, less work is required on the end user to clean up the external files for their own use.  It can also quickly point out when objects have their color set to by “Entity” instead of the proper “Bylayer”.   How?  Look at the following two examples with the XREFOVERRIDE variable set ON (1) and OFF (0).
Image of a screen capture example when the XREFOVERRIDE is set to zero (0)


When the variable is set to OFF (0), the entities manually set to a color show up that color, and no matter what you do in your Layer  dialogue, you are stuck with that color.  You will have to go in to the actual XREF drawing and change the items to color by layer.

Image of a screen capture example when the XREFOVERRIDE is set to one (1)


When the variable is set to ON (1), the entities manually set to a color will show up as if they were properly set to color “Bylayer” and you will not have to go in to the actual XREF drawing and change the items to color by layer.  This is nice, because with this setting turned on, you can control the colors in your drawing through the layer dialogue and do not have to touch the XREF.  This goes for line types and layer visibility as well.


NOTE: Be sure to have your VISRETAIN variable set to “1” also.

Although the cleanup of external references can be done pretty quickly with a script, the ability to quickly attach a drawing and override the color to “Bylayer” without having to modify the base xreference is very nice.

REVCLOUD Enhancements:

There are a few items in the revision cloud area that have been enhanced and although I have created some scripts to enhance our revision handling process, the new enhancements are a nice addition.
REVCLOUD “Modify”:

Type or choose REVCLOUD command and then select “Modify” (M) option to add sections and remove (cleanup) sections of an existing revision cloud.  Note: Where you pick on the existing revision cloud is where the modification starts.  When you are all done, it is one cloud!

New System Variables:


 Defaults to a specific cloud creation methodology:
     0     = Freehand
     1     = Rectangular
     2     = Closed Polyline


 Controls the number of grips displayed on a revision cloud:
ON     = Endpoint and center grips for each segment (very clean, even on a freehand cloud)
Image of a screen capture example when REVCLOUDGRIPS is set to ON


OFF    = Grips for every arc endpoint and diameter (very messy)
Image of a screen capture example when REVCLOUDGRIPS is set to OFF



How many times have you opened a drawing and while your working, find out that variables have been changed or are set differently than you require or prefer?  The SYSVARMONITOR now gives you the opportunity to know it right away. This is by far my favorite addition to 2016, it’s just a simple GUI tool that anyone can setup with their favorite variables and the must haves for company standards.  As I deal a lot with other people’s drawings, I use this daily.  Once I turned my coworkers on to this, it made everyone’s daily work much better.
System Variable Monitor - AutoCAD 2016 Favorite Features

System Variable Monitor

You could create a Script or even a LISP to monitor and set these settings (which I have done in the past), but for those that want a simple solution – BAM! this is it.

What about you?!

 What are your favorites? In the comments below, let us know what you have benefited from the most in 2016.  If you have made the move to 2017 already, are there some new things you are happy to see?


Are you a current member of AUGI (Autodesk User Group International)? If not, you may want to consider joining as there is a bunch of good info waiting for you at your finger clicks.  If you are not familiar with the group, you may ask what it’s all about.

“AUGI is the Autodesk User Group International, officially recognized by Autodesk as representing the Autodesk user community. AUGI has two prime directives. The first is to assist its members by presenting programs and information that will enhance their use of Autodesk products. The second is to deliver the voice of the user community to Autodesk, thus assisting Autodesk in product development and giving users a say in the process.”

The above comes from the ‘About‘ page of the AUGI website.


  • Online/Email HotNews: a monthly newsletter sent to all AUGI members via email that includes technical columns, information on industry events  and product offerings from Autodesk and third party vendors.
  • Online and printed AUGI World (printed will depend on membership level) covering topics about CAD Management, add-on’s, Tips & Tricks, and more. interviews, user stories, Technical Tips & Tricks, Training advice, AUGI events and announcements and more.
  • User Forums: a great resource for solving your Autodesk product issues, getting product information, and sharing your own knowledge and experiences. There are a wide variety of products and topics in the forums which are monitored and manged by AUGI volunteers.  Access level depends on membership level – your welcome to lurk (browse) as a guest, but to post you will need at least a basic membership.
  • Wishlist:  Ever had a cool idea you wish Autodesk would add in to the product you use every day – here is your chance to make it happen.

Membership costs:

AUGI currently has a four membership levels that run from Free (non-member open access), basic at $0, Premier at $25/year and Professional at $100/year.  The Professional membership has the most benefits (hence the cost),  but the Premier is also a good investment.  When you think about getting answers from other professionals about issues you are currently experiencing OR learning more for personal career development, the $2 to $10 a month is a very good investment.  You may even be able to get your company to fund it for you – after all you are helping them out with the info and troubleshooting help you will be through AUGI.

I have been a AUGI member for years and currently contribute articles to AUGI world.  I got my start after being involved with a local user group (TBAUG) back in the 80’s and then joined NAUG (North American Autodesk User group), which eventually became the AUGI we have today.

Are you a member already?  Thinking about it? Time to get your new year started right and get your AUGI membership now!

Got any questions about AUGI? – drop me an email.