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RE: Autocad Layering Standards for Structural Engineering

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I concur, Bob. ADT2 is, in my opinion, the best of the upgrades once you get
past the learning curve. The only thing that irks me with this release is
that if you were never a user of the S8 (Softdesk) product, you might miss
out on the powerful structural components that are part of the ADT2 release
but not documented. For those who are unfamiliar:
Softdesk was an add-on package that contained a set of parametric routines
to create structural sections, fasteners, hangers and straps and even
Cold-formed sections. Virtually everything an engineer needs to create
Although the latest version of Autocad tries to move away from Lisp and
parametric by focusing on Object oriented drawing, the Detail library is
included and called Detailer. You need to re-run the setup program for
AutoDesk and add the Detailer package as it is not done automatically on
Furthermore, there is no documentation on the Detailer. Probably the main
reason is that Detailer is not supported under the MDF or
Multiple-Document-Format. In other words, you can not open more than one
drawing at a time when using Detailer which is AutoCAD's latest strong
point - the ability to open many drawings and share objects from one to the
The work around is to open the Detailer session and open another standard
Autocad session that supports Multiple Documents. You can open both at the
same time, but not within the same session.
This allows you to work on details in one session and plans in another.

There is suppose to be a Structural Add-on coming, but nobody can tell when
yet (from the AutoDesk Newsgroups). I think what they would prefer is to
have you Use the Detailer and save the components as blocks rather than use
the parametric to create them and finally group all your common details into
a series of library drawings.

One of the new features of Autocad is the "Contents sheet". The basics of
this is that you can bring up different sheets containing blocks (for
example the Steel Sections from the AISC manual) and literally drag and drop
the details into your present drawing. Rather than have hundreds of sections
in a folder, they exist as blocks in one drawing and you view the list and
an icon of each block in a side window and drag the sections you want into
your current drawing for use.

The blocks can be defined as "Multi-view" blocks so that you can have
elevations, top view, sections or even three dimensional views associated to
each block and embedded into a library (contents) drawing. Simple blocks
just insert into your drawing, but Multi-view blocks prompt you for the view
you want.

If you tie to this a Layer Key standard, you can automatically insert blocks
to pre-defined layers on your drawings.

Sorry Roger, In my opinion you are missing out on some of the best
productivity advancements to come in software. The advancements made also
resolve some of the weak issues in past versions like Paperspace and
Modelspace. The documentation is not that much clearer in this version, but
once you get past the basics of Model and Paper space you can, as Bob
Shaffer found out, see how powerful and productive the Paperspace is to work

HINT: Tony Tanzillo is a cad specialist who often writes for the Cad
magazines like Cadence and Cadalyst and has authored quite a few books. He
just created a very useful tool for ACAD 2000 called FreeDock which he is
giving away free of charge on his website. Here is the link for the utility:


It is three utilities - Displays and allows insertion of all blocks in your
current drawing, A really nice on screen calculator that works within
commands AND LOOKS LIKE A CALCULATOR - and one of the most useful utilities,
an onscreen list of all open drawings that allow almost instant change from
one to the next by simply clicking on the drawing you want.
It is written in VBA for Autocad 2000 and works great. You need to load the
utilities by following the instructions that accompany it, but I created
three custom toolbar buttons that will load them automatically when needed.
If anyone is interested in how to create a custom toolbar button within any
office product, let me know and I'll get this started in the Online

Roger - your missing out on some good things. It's like cutting off your
nose to spite your face. I admire your conviction to principle, but this is
a business and the best upgrade in Autocad since it went from mainframe to

Unfortunately, AutoDesk stopped offering their special upgrade prices for
Release 12 last October or December. I too had not upgraded from R12 and
broke down a week before I would have lost the price and had to pay
thousands more. Personally, I'm glad I did.