Thursday, June 19, 2008

DBX utilities - batch operations for happier CAD managers

We provide many of the CAD utilities and tools developed in XANADU - for free. Some of these tools became pretty popular. We can see it from e-mail reactions and from the download counters on our web site.

One of the most frequent requests coming both from CAD managers and from CAD users is the need to analyze or even edit a whole batch of CAD drawings (e.g. a full folder with DWG files of a project). You can use so called "script generators" for this type of tasks, but sometimes it is easier and faster to use direct access (read/write) to DWG files without opening them individually. Yes, it is possible to read contents of a DWG file (or even edit it) without opening the file in a CAD application.

For such operations, you can use the DBX programming library (API) supplied with AutoCAD. In XANADU, we have developed a series of free utilities using this API for fast processing of tens and hundreds of DWG files. These "Xanadu DBX utilities" offer several specific scanning (DBXscan) and removal (DBXrem) tools for batch processing of AutoCAD drawings.

There is e.g. a tool reporting drawings with excessive annotation scales (and a tool to remove them), a tool reporting drawings containing AEC objects from AutoCAD Architecture (ADT) and Civil 3D, or Mechanical objects from AutoCAD Mechanical, a tool detecting drawings containing VBA macros (and a tool to batch-remove the macros).

The reporting tools scan all DWG files in a given folder (and its subolders) and create a report file listing drawings with the inspected contents. So you can easily identify drawings which may cause some problem in further processing (proxy objects, macros...).

You can download these - and many other - CAD utilities from

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