AutoCAD Platform Customization
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More About This Title AutoCAD Platform Customization


Take control of AutoCAD for a more efficient, streamlined workflow

AutoCAD Platform Customization is the most comprehensive guide to streamlining and personalizing the AutoCAD platform. The AutoLISP and VBA programming languages open up a myriad of customization options, and this book provides expert guidance toward applying them to AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Plant 3D, and other programs based on the Autodesk AutoCAD platform. Detailed discussions backed by real-world examples and step-by-step tutorials provide user-friendly instruction, and downloadable datasets allow for hands-on learning. Through customization you can increase screen real estate, streamline workflows, and create more accurate drawings by unleashing powerful programming languages that allow the user to command the software how to work, instead of the other way around.

AutoCAD customization is commonly performed by system administrators and CAD managers, but senior drafters and savvy users are increasingly taking customization into their own hands. AutoLISP and VBA are two popular and versatile tools that allow for going beyond the boundaries of normal user interface customization options, allowing users to:

  • Enforce drawing and CAD standards, and automate repetitive tasks
  • Customize the workspace, including tool sets, ribbon tabs and panels, and palettes
  • Modify graphical objects, set system variables, integrate with external software, and more
  • Manage blocks, change the interface, create dialog boxes, and communicate with Microsoft Office applications

The ideal design environment puts the tools you need right at your fingertips, removes unnecessary steps, and fosters precision through good communication. Customizing, including applying AutoLISP and VBA to AutoCAD, enables all of this and much more. For the designer who needs to work smarter because it's impossible to work any harder, AutoCAD Platform Customization provides the key information, insight, and techniques that will help to increase your productivity with AutoCAD.


LEE AMBROSIUS is a Principal Learning Content Developer for the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT products at Autodesk. He has worked on end-user and API documentation for eight releases, presented customization and programming sessions at Autodesk University for a decade, and has authored and coauthored several AutoCAD related books.


Introduction xxxi

Part I AutoCAD Customization: Increasing Productivity through Personalization 1

Chapter 1 Establishing the Foundation for Drawing Standards 3

Chapter 2 Working with Nongraphical Objects 35

Chapter 3 Building the Real World One Block at a Time 69

Chapter 4 Manipulating the Drawing Environment 99

Chapter 5 Customizing the AutoCAD User Interface for Windows 121

Chapter 6 Customizing the AutoCAD User Interface for Mac 167

Chapter 7 Creating Tools and Tool Palettes 183

Chapter 8 Automating Repetitive Tasks 201

Chapter 9 Defining Shapes, Linetypes, and Hatch Patterns 221

Chapter 10 Using, Loading, and Managing Custom Files 249

Part II AutoLISP: Productivity through Programming 261

Chapter 11 Quick Start for New AutoLISP Programmers 263

Chapter 12 Understanding AutoLISP 277

Chapter 13 Calculating and Working with Values 301

Chapter 14 Working with Lists 333

Chapter 15 Requesting Input and Using Conditional and Looping Expressions 359

Chapter 16 Creating and Modifying Graphical Objects 405

Chapter 17 Creating and Modifying Nongraphical Objects 461

Chapter 18 Working with the Operating System and External Files 489

Chapter 19 Catching and Handling Errors 513

Chapter 20 Authoring, Managing, and Loading AutoLISP Programs 533

Chapter 21 Using the Visual LISP Editor (Windows only) 567

Chapter 22 Working with ActiveX/COM Libraries (Windows only) 587

Chapter 23 Implementing Dialog Boxes (Windows only) 611

Part III AutoCAD VBA: Programming with VBA and ActiveX (Windows only) 643

Chapter 24 Understanding the AutoCAD VBA Environment 645

Chapter 25 Understanding Visual Basic for Applications 665

Chapter 26 Interacting with the Application and Documents Objects 701

Chapter 27 Creating and Modifying Drawing Objects 727

Chapter 28 Interacting with the User and Controlling the Current View 757

Chapter 29 Annotating Objects 795

Chapter 30 Working with Blocks and External References 819

Chapter 31 Outputting Drawings 865

Chapter 32 Storing and Retrieving Custom Data  891

Chapter 33 Modifying the Application and Working with Events 923

Chapter 34 Creating and Displaying User Forms 953

Chapter 35 Communicating with Other Applications 983

Chapter 36 Handling Errors and Deploying VBA Projects 1019

Index 1053