Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Plot Layout Tool Lisp

I recently helped a client that had users that needed to plot, but were intimidated by AutoCAD. We had no time to train them properly and chances were they were going to forget what they leaned due to infrequent plotting.

So here was my solution.

1. I created a DWT file that contained layout tabs that were pre-configured to their printers and plotters with title blocks and viewports included. I placed it on the server (read only).

2. I created lisps to load those layouts into anybody’s current drawing. Here is an example of one.

(defun c:24x36 ()
(setvar "cmdecho" 0)
(command "-layout" "template" "z:/AcmeCAD/Template/ACME.dwt" "Arch D (24 x 36)")
(setvar "cmdecho" 1)
(princ)
)


Then I added a pull down menu to run the lisps.

I will write a future article for adding partial menus to your CUI.

This enabled any user to select the needed layout from a pulldown menu. Once inserted, they only need to switch to that layout tab, set the appropriate view port scale, center as necessary and plot.

This process really helps with consistency. I can just say insert a new tab when there is a plotting problem and It also helps my users be a bit lazier too.
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