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News on the latest in design, manufacturing, fabrication, construction, and engineering technology.


Are you one of those companies who names their layout tabs to reflect the actual sheet numbers?  Are you finding yourself updating layout tab names only to have to return to the layout to update the sheet number?  Are you not using the sheet set manager to manage the sheet numbers?  If so then, you may want to try using a field that reflects the layout tab name.  Here's an example . . . Here I have a layout tab titled "A-1".  I'd like my title block sheet number to reflect that layout tab name: So in the title block (either use the block editor or edit the title block prior to inserting it) I use the FIELD command to add a system variable ctab field: Adjust the justification and height as needed, but when done you should have something similar to this: Now (after you close the block editor and save changes or upon the insertion of the title block) you will see that your title block sheet reflects the layout tab name: And it should follow throughout your project for any tab ...

John Sayre, Technical Marketing Manager for Autodesk, and Eric Chappell, Civil Community Evangelist for Autodesk, put together this great video that explains the way to use the Autodesk Shared Reference Point productivity pack tool to seamlessly share a file between Civil 3D, Revit, Navisworks, and Infraworks so that the content of the files locates itself on the site correctly.  I highly recommend watching this video:

Yesterday AutoCAD 2018 was released by Autodesk.  If you don't yet see it in your Autodesk account or you don't yet have an Autodesk account then you can download your free trial here: AutoCAD 2018 Free Trial.   So what's new in this release of AutoCAD?   First and foremost, it must be known that the drawing format has changed to 2018.   Some of the highlighted enhancements include: Updates to PDF imports including better importation of geometry, SHX font files, fills, raster imagery and True Type fonts. The ability to fix broken external reference paths for externally referenced files. A stronger object selection to include items you've selected even if they pan or zoom off screen.  Updates to the user interface to include some of the more commonly used tools. High-resolution monitor support for the best possible viewing experience, even on 4K and higher resolution displays. And much more!!! Here is a general overview of the new features: Here is a link to all the ...

PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT - ORIGINALLY RELEASED 2/17/2017 Applied Software Expands its Solutions Portfolio with Xinaps   Xinaps streamlines process of complying with local building regulations directly within Autodesk Revit      ATLANTA – February 16, 2017 – Applied Software®, a leading systems integrator in the AEC, construction and manufacturing industries, announced today its partnership with Xinaps, developer of a suite of plug-ins that ensures data quality validation and compliance with local building regulations within Autodesk Revit®. The partnership further expands Applied’s already comprehensive portfolio of Autodesk solutions.   Using Xinaps to validate as they work, design professionals can minimize errors, mitigate risks and improve collaboration between project members. In addition to streamlining the process of complying with local building regulations, Xinaps also provides analysis and 3D visualizations that help designers understand the impact of their work and make better-informed decisions.   “Xinaps fits well within our expansive portfolio of Autodesk products, enabling us to better support any and all of our clients’ workflow needs,” said Richard Burroughs, president of Applied Software. “We’re excited to offer Xinaps to a wider audience through our sales coverage, training and support.”   “We’re pleased to collaborate ...

Appearance assets are the component of a Revit material that tells it what it looks like when it's rendered. However what many users don't realize is that the appearance asset is actually not a part of the material itself, it's being reference by the material, and multiple materials can reference the same appearance asset. Where the trouble occurs is when a user modifies a material, editing the asset that it is referencing, only to find out they just inadvertently edited a bunch of other materials as well, because they were using the same reference.  This is easy to avoid if you know what to look for. This usually happens because someone selected a material in the current project's material library and duplicated it to create a new material. While editing the duplicate they went to the "Appearance" tab and made changes to the appearance settings (they didn't assign a new appearance asset, but modified the one that was already there - color, reflectivity, transparency, anything at all about the asset). To see how to avoid this issue, take a look at ...

There's a lot more to the Revit Material Browser/Editor than a lot of people realize. This video will walk you through its interface, and also the process for creating new custom materials and storing them in a custom material library for use in other projects. See the video here.

In AutoCAD you notice that the text within menus, the ribbon, dialog boxes, and palettes is rather large and may overlap other elements within the user interface or not appear at all.   The cause of this due to the fact that the Windows operating system governs how the user interface text is displayed in AutoCAD, and a high definition or high DPI monitor can make the program interfaces appear very small on the screen.  Scaling up the text size to compensate for this can have an adverse affect on how user interface text shows in AutoCAD. Current versions of AutoCAD-based products are optimized for monitor displays with a resolution under 2000. The solution is to install update 2017.1.1 for AutoCAD 2017 and AutoCAD LT 2017 and other AutoCAD 2017-based vertical products.  However, you cannot simply go to the Autodesk website to install this update.  The AutoCAD 2017.1.1 update can only be downloaded and installed via the Autodesk Desktop App.   To read more about this issue and resolution read this:  Odd text display within user interface elements in AutoCAD

"I'm fine with my current version of AutoCAD.  There's no need to upgrade."  "My current version of AutoCAD does everything I need." "There are no new features in the new software that I need."  We've all heard this before.  I hear it almost daily.  Why are some folks so reluctant to make that move?  There are several factors that prevent users from making the move forward to the newer version of software. .  . Comfort - Some users are just satisfied with their current version. Cost – Some users believe that the cost of implementing the new software will be grand.  Time – Others believe that they’re just too busy to make the move right now.  Don’t allow these factors to put you so far behind the curve that playing catch up is almost difficult to accomplish.  Every year there are updates to the software that are implemented because users have requested them or because technology is driving us there.  If you adopt these changes in one release at a time they’re ...

When at attempting a standalone or network version to launch AutoCAD 2017 (or any 2017 vertical product) for the first time the software opens and then displays a dialog box titled "Licensing Error" and the message inside reads, "The License manager is not functioning or is improperly installed. AutoCAD will shut down now."   Autodesk provided a solution for this problem here:  The license manager is not functioning or is improperly installed

Are you having trouble accessing your Autodesk account?  Can you not add or remove a user to your Autodesk account?  Can you not grant a user access to specific products in your Autodesk account?   Of course, we here at Applied Software enjoy assisting you with all that we can, but there are some instances where even we just need to go to Autodesk directly.  This is one.  We don't have access to your Autodesk account and, therefore, we cannot get in there to adjust any settings.  Your best option would be to contact them directly.  There are two ways to contact an Autodesk agent...either by chat or by e-mail.    Use this link to make contact:  Autodesk Contact 

AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD LT for Mac versions 2016, 2015, and 2014 are compatible with Mac OSX v10.11 (El Capitan), but are not designed to run on the Sierra.  For the official word from Autodesk read this:  AutoCAD and Apple MacOS Sierra (10.12) what you need to know. The only workaround appears to roll back to the supported operating system.   UPDATE:  There was an update released shortly after this blog was written that resolves this issue.  However, this update is only for AutoCAD 2016 for the Mac:  AutoCAD 2016 for Mac Update 4 and AutoCAD LT 2016 for Mac Update 4.  For 2015 and previous versions the above workaround is still the only solutions.  

The other day I was working with a client and they had a dynamic block that needed to have a stretch action in which, when the grip was stretched in one direction, the opposite side of the block would stretch in the opposite direction equally.  I showed them this method, and, since there was very little spoken about this on the web, I decided to make this short video.  I hope you find it helpful.  

When you toggle on ortho mode using the F8 key you notice that AutoCAD either freezes or takes long to respond. But if you use the icon in the task bar to toggle on the option it responds immediately.   We have found this to be an issue with AutoCAD products on a Windows 10 operating system.  It seems to be the Windows 10 Anniversary update is cause of this issue.  To resolve, simply adjust your TEMPOVERRIDES system variable to 0.  But be aware that by adjusting this value you will be disabling the option of using your SHIFT key to temporarily enter into ortho mode should you not have ortho mode toggled on.   This is a Microsoft issue and it should be noted that this is only a "band-aid" until another Microsoft update resolves this issue.    

Autodesk recently released an update that has some really exciting features, however, the update is strictly for subscription-only users.  Well, this means that I cannot even provide you a link (because one does not exist) to this update.  So how do you get it?  You can only find it in the Autodesk Desktop App.  It is titled, "AutoCAD 2017.1 English Update 64-bit."   Some of the new features that I find most exciting are. . . You can now import a PDF file that contains SHX geometry.  Several popular SHX fonts are supported.  The performance and reliability of 3DORBIT are improved for rendered visual styles, especially for models with a large number of small blocks containing edges and facets. To see a full list of what has been updated you can read the ReadMe file here:  Autodesk AutoCAD 2017.1 and AutoCAD LT 2017.1 Update Readme

How did our predictions seven years ago for Building Information Modeling fair? Let’s take a look back seven years to 2009, when the concept BIM had become common parlance in the AEC community, and see if and where we’ve fallen short of, met, or exceeded expectations for our beloved BIM. How you define the acronym BIM depends on when the one claims BIM came into being. According to WikipediA, BIM was first used in papers in the mid-1980s, and the term 'Building Information Model' first appeared in a 1992 paper by G.A. van Nederveen and F. P. Tolman.[7] However, the terms 'Building Information Model' and 'Building Information Modeling' (including the acronym "BIM") did not become popularly used until some 10 years later. In 2002, Autodesk released a white paper entitled "Building Information Modeling,"[8] and other software vendors also started to assert their involvement in the field.[9] [1] For the purposes of this essay, I will pick it up in June 2007 which is when I started working at Autodesk as an MEP Technical Specialist. In 2007, BIM was the buzzword at ...

How do you archive, share, backup, copy, models at your office?  If you did not say "eTransmit" then you definitely need to install, and run tests in your environment. Your BIM coordinator and consultants will love you for it. Most of our consultants issues are surrounded by model updates. Some do not detach from central or copy/monitor levels and grids. issues can occur during the upgrading process. Some models with massive amounts of links and custom families have been known to crash. These can cause quite a mess, and corrupt a model to the point of having to restore a usable backup. Did you even backup?  Here is a solution to review and implement. eTransmits can do the following in your workflow and assist with your extended team. (consultants) Copy and detach a Revit model and associated files to a single folder for internet transmission. This removes the typical error messages when you copy central files using the operating system. Locate dependent files automatically and include them in the transmittal folder, helping to reduce the possibility of error. All ...

There have been reports of Autodesk apps that are using the plug-in auto loader mechanism breaking after the install of AutoCAD 2017 Service Pack 1.  I know we've had at least one individual internally to our company have this issue, and it's been happening more and more.   The problem appears to only happen in vanilla AutoCAD and not in verticals like AutoCAD Architecture.  A workaround is to remove the SeriesMax entry from the PackageContents.xml. For example: xmlSeriesMax="R21.0". Or to change it to xmlSeriesMax="R21.1". You can read more about it on the JTB World Blog here:  AutoCAD 2017 Service Pack 1 and a word of warning   JTB World also released an Autodesk hotfix that addresses this issue which, at the time of this publication, was not yet made public:  AutoCAD 2017 App Autoloader Hotfix

Sometimes you discover something and your first reaction is a bit of embarrassment because you didn't already know it, followed by amazement that nobody else has ever mentioned it to you before, because it's potentially a REALLY big deal. In today's previously unknown-to-me potentially REALLY big deal department: Did you know that you can accidentally delete multiple family types simply by opening and saving your Revit family? It's true. Here's how it happens: 1) In a Revit project, a conscientious BIM or Model manager performs a Purge Unused, purging unused Family Types, in an effort to keep file size down. This is good practice. 2) At some point in the future, from the same project, a user selects an instance of a family on which the above-mentioned purge was done, and selects "Edit Family" from the Ribbon (or double-clicks on the family instance to go to the Family Editor - who's boneheaded idea was THAT feature, anyway?).  3) The user makes a minor change to the family, then saves the file. *Poof* - all of those family types that were purged in the project are ...

Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit was released in January of 2015, and since then has seen a steadily increasing rate of adoption among users who need to host a Revit Central File in the cloud in order to collaborate with other firms and organizations, or even to collaborate within the same firm between geographically disperse offices. As would be expected, as the adoption rate increases, we have also seen an increase in support cases related to A360 - mostly involving the initial setup and confusion as to the relationship between A360 Collaboration for Revit and A360 Team.  We have recently completed a white paper to explain how these two services work together, how to set them up and the basics of working in A360 Collaboration for Revit. Download your copy here!

For some time now I've noticed a disturbing message that appears any time I turn on the Sun Path in a 3D view in Revit. It references a mysterious 3rd Party Updater for the "Sun and Shadow Settings Updater" and indicates that it had to be cancelled. You have two options when this appears - cancel showing the Sun Path (not an option) or disable the Updater.  I've always just clicked "Disable Updater", but I've also wondered if I was causing some sort of problem down the road, even though it appeared as though nothing was wrong afterwards. Good news - this morning I was getting caught up on some forum posts and came across this thread, in which several users are complaining about the same message. Turns out, it's benign. It's apparently caused by the Dynamo add-in. You can just disable the updater with no ill effects. It's easy to confirm for yourself - Launch Revit and turn on the Sun Path. If you get the error message, shut Revit down, then launch again. Before turning on the Sun Path, ...

Recently, we've begun to see this issue pop up more and more.  We've seen it in AutoCAD based products. While running the software you receive a dialog box titled, "Exception in mc3.dll / mc3d.dll ARX Command" and has an unhandled exception similar to, " Unhandled Exception C0000005 (Access Violation Reading 0x0000) at address F99260F4h":     When you click the "OK" button you then receive a fatal error similar to, " FATAL ERROR:  Unhandled Access Violation Reading 0x0000) Exception at F99260F4h:   The fix for this is as follow: Navigate to Help > Desktop Analytics (or type in DesktopAnalytics at the command line) Deselect the "Yes, I would like to contribute to this program" option:   Click OK. Navigate to Help > Customer Involvement Program (or type in CustomerInvolvementProgram at the command line): Select "No, I do not want to join the program at this time":   Click OK. Restart AutoCAD Another option is to. . ...

Dim reference to a scene from "The Jerk" - my brain ain't wired quite right sometimes, I think... Regardless, you can download the new and improved Worksharing Monitor for Revit 2016 here: https://apps.exchange.autodesk.com/productline/en/Detail/Index?id=appstore.exchange.autodesk.com:worksharingmonitor_windows64:en A couple of notes: This only works for workshared projects - hence the name "Worksharing Monitor" - clever, no? If your project is in the A360 Collaboration for Revit Cloud, this does not replace the Communicator.

I was asked by a student last week, what had happened to the AutoCAD Classic Workspace.  He was not a frequent user of AutoCAD, and had recently upgraded to 2016.  I informed him that the workspace beloved by so many had been on the chopping block for a few years before Autodesk finally killed it in the 2015 release of AutoCAD. [caption id="attachment_9393" align="aligncenter" width="473"] Beginning with the 2015 release of AutoCAD, the Classic workspace has been retired.[/caption] This conversation reminded me that it would be a great idea to post how to re-create the AutoCAD Classic Workspace, on my blog.  So here goes... If you are accustomed to using AutoCAD from within the Classic workspace, then it really isn't difficult to re-create.  There are several simple steps that only take about 5 minutes to complete. The first step is to make visible your menu bar. [caption id="attachment_9392" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Click on the down-arrow in the workspace tab. Select Show Menu Bar.[/caption] Next, click on Tools in the Menu Bar, select Toolbars > AutoCAD > , and then select each toolbar that belongs in the ...

Ever wonder if the (hopefully) momentary glitch you just experienced uploading a file to Glue or working in Fusion360 is something on your end or not? While Autodesk's cloud-based services have gotten MUCH more reliable than in the past, and outages are rare, they do still sometimes occur. Autodesk has a new monitoring device that can help you ascertain the status of "pay-for" cloud services such as BIM 360 Glue and Field, A360 Collaboration for Revit, etc. It will also give you advance notice of any planned downtimes. You can find it here: https://health.autodesk.com/ And right now, thankfully, it looks like everything is in the green :-).

Don't you just love surprises? I do (okay, so it really depends on what kind of surprise).  When I logged onto my laptop this morning, I was met with the all-to-familiar Autodesk Application Manager, informing me that there were updates.  When I clicked on the Details button to see what the new update was, I was met with my surprise of the day.  There was a great big splash screen (see below) which stated that "This version of Application Manager has been retired", and that I need to contact my Administrator for more information. Once I click the OK button, Application Manager disappears. [caption id="attachment_9317" align="aligncenter" width="615"] You can avoid contacting your Administrator by manually uninstalling the Application Manager, and installing the new version.[/caption] It turns out that this is a known issue with Autodesk and they are working on a fix (See the link here to the Autodesk Forum thread).  Within the Autodesk Forum thread which is discussing this issue, it is suggested to manually uninstall the Application Manager, and to use the link provided to install the new version. ...