Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to Use DWG TrueView to Optimize Your Drawing Files

Yet another reason to add DWG TrueView to your arsenal. DWG TrueView can be used as an excellent tool to optimize drawing files in batch. With facilities like purging, auditing, xref binding etc. TrueView has become truly irresistible for the CAD managers/administrators/users . Following are the steps involved in the process.

1. Start DWG TrueView and open 'DWG Convert' from the menu. It will launch the 'DWG Convert' dialog box.

2. Click on the 'Conversion Setups' button to open 'Conversion Setups' dialog box. Our idea is to create an exclusive setup for our optimization process.

3. Click on 'New' button to launch 'New Conversion Setup' dialog box and provide a meaningful name over there.

4. Clicking on 'Continue' button will pop up the 'Modify Conversion Setup' dialog box. Here I am going to use the basic settings. You may choose the options as per your requirement. Since our aim is to optimize the drawings (drawing format conversion is not our primary objective), I prefer to use 'In-place (overwrite files)' as my conversion package type. Choose the drawing file format based upon your company/client CAD standards (We normally use AutoCAD 2007 format as we are still on AutoCAD 2008). In the actions area, select 'Check and fix errors' and 'Purge drawings' check boxes as a minimum. Don't forget to provide a conversion setup description at the bottom in order to easily make out the setup objective later on.

5. Click 'Ok' to finalise the setup. You can see the new setup name listed in the 'Conversion Setups' list box.

6. Close the dialog box to go back to the 'DWG Convert' dialog box. Add the drawing files to be optimized using the 'Add file' button in the bottom side. Once the drawings have been added, make sure that the recently created conversion setup is selected in the list. That's it. Just click on convert button and the TrueView application will do the rest for you.

Once the setup is made, you can use the same setup every time you need to optimize the drawings. Really cool, isn't it? The entire process consumes only a little time and resources. In case you haven't installed AutoCAD 2010 yet, TrueView is a must for you as it can bring 2010 format files down to your AutoCAD version compatible format. What else you need to get it installed on your system? DWG TrueView and Autodesk Design Review are FREE and can be downloaded from the Autodesk site.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DATAEXTRACTION Means A Lot More Than Simple Attribute Extraction

How often do you use DATAEXTRACTION wizard for extracting some information other than block attribute data? I have often seen people leaving it behind for tasks like extracting specific text information mentioning that this tool is not powerful enough to get an accurate output. That's not true. Here I am going to show you how to extract a line list from a bunch of Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams (P&ID). The P&IDs contains a lot of other text objects. But with the help of some filtering options, you can extract only the required text information from the drawing.

1. Start DATAEXTRACTION wizard

2. Select the required P&ID drawings (Here I am using sample ones).

3. In the third page select only 'Text' as object type.(Tip: You can uncheck all entries simultaneously by using right click).

4. In the fourth page, select 'Drawing' and 'Text' in the category filter. Also select 'File Name' and 'Value' in the properties area.

5. In the refine data page, you will get a screen similar to the one shown below. This is the area where we are going to play our game. You will notice that the value field contains various text object values from different drawings. We need to confine the list to line numbers.

6. Now right click on the value column and select 'Filter Options' from the right click menu.

7. You will be provided with a filter dialog box as shown in the image below. For our purpose, select the 'Contains' list item from the first list box and type in a wildcard criteria *"-* in the second list box as shown in the picture.

8. Click 'Ok' to apply the filter. Now you can see the value column filtered to show only line numbers based upon the given criteria.

9. Click on 'Next' button and save the output as an excel file or table.

You can easily create various lists from your drawings irrespective of the data containers. Whether it be attribute or text, DATAEXTRACTION is powerful enough to pull the required data based upon different conditions. As the wildcard criteria plays a critical role in extracting the specific data, you need to be very careful to choose the right criteria in order to get proper results.

On a side note, I feel like the command name is a bit too long. It would be a lot better if it were something like DATAXTRACT or even shorter. Anyway, that's not a matter of a concern as we don't use this command very frequently.