Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas CAD utilities given out by XANADU

This year for the seventh time, just like last year and the years before - during Christmas, XANADU (CAD Studio) gives out a couple of free useful CAD tools for all CAD users. As a part of this tradition, this year's Christmas-tree utilities are the following:

  • TURBO is a tool which switches your AutoCAD to a "fast" mode. The TURBO command sets all relevant system variables influencing AutoCAD performance. You can try how much will this make your AutoCAD faster. The next TURBO (or TURBO0) command puts all back to your old settings.
  • GeoRefImg in its new enhanced version automatically places, scales and rotates any AutoCAD raster image according to its georeference "world" file. Plus you can create such world file from any positioned image in your drawing.
  • VerticesBlk inserts a specified block into all versices of a given polyline - 2D and 3D polyline. You can then number the vertices, schedule them in a table, etc.
  • AddV also works with polyline vertices - by simple pointing, you can easily add a new vertex or delete a vertex.
  • NCOPY0 is a modified Express Tools routine - you can quickly copy out a selected entity nested in a block or xref.
  • P2C is a conversion routine between circles and points. You can place points to the centers of selected circles, or convert points to circles.
  • Mesh2Pt converts 3D meshes to a group of 3D points.
  • ListInspection is also part of the Christmas collection - it is an Inventor macro with creates and exports a list of inspection dimensions.
  • Blikej ("blink") also suggests Christmas lights - it will blink the whole layer after you select an object from that layer.

    All these new applications (plus many others) can be downloaded for free from our web sites (former Xanadu) and
  • Friday, November 27, 2009

    XANADU GIS solution for Energie AG Bohemia

    Topobase - water
    The water distribution and infrastructure group Energie AG Bohemia has choosen a CAD Studio (former: XANADU) solution based on Autodesk Topobase as its new centralized GIS system.

    Energie AG Bohemia provides water supplies for almost one million people in the southern part of the Czech Republic. This group manages 7.589 km of water network, 3.551 km of waste-water network, and 178 of sewage plants.

    The increasing demands for the range of the water distribution network, for the effectivity of its maintenance and for the scale of complementary services lead to the necessity of unification of the existing network documentation systems and to implementation of a new centralized network management system.

    After a thorough testing, Energie AG has choosen Autodesk Topobase and applications by XANADU. The main reasons were the flexibility, scalability and openness of this system, its well-proven implementation in many other companies and organizations. The implementation includes a migration of existing data from five different GIS systems stored in multiple formats (DGN, DWG, Oracle, MS SQL server and DBF).

    The new GIS solution will be linked with other enterprise systems – customer management, accident management, etc. - which will help to further improve the quality of services provided by the Energie AG group.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    2010 Subscription Advantage Packs and new AutoCAD commands

    Autodesk has released "Subscription Advantage Packs" (SAP) for most products of the 2010 family. The SAPs extend product functionality in a range from a couple of small enhancements (like in AutoCAD) to a big new feature pack - almost a new release - like in the case of Revit. Useful new functions are available also for Civil3D users and Inventor users.

    The individual Subscription Advantage Packs are available for download on your Autodesk Subscription Center web site. If you use the localized version of a CAD product, wait for the localized version of the SAP - English language versions will not work for you (except for the AutoCAD 2010 SAP).

    With the release of AutoCAD 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack we have updated our AutoCAD commands database to include the new commands introduced in this SAP. We have also added some missing AI_ commands and lots of Russian command names.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Proceedings of the conference CADforum 2009

    CADforum 2009
    The 6th annual conference CADforum 2009 was held in Horni Cerekev, Czech Rep. in September. In parallel, a smaller specialized conference GISforum 2009 was held in the same location.

    These conferences, organized by XANADU since the year 2003, attract yearly more than 200 experts from the Czech and Slovak Republics. The goal of the conference is to let CAD users exchange their practical experience with implementing and using CAD systems in the AEC, mechanical and GIS/FM industries. Most of the lectures are always held by experienced users. Very popular is the final round-table panel, where the participants can discuss with the representatives of XANADU, Autodesk and with the individual conference speakers. CADforum 2009 was the largest event for Autodesk users in the Czech Republic this year.

    One of the innovations of this year's conference was the online live video broadcast of the whole conference.

    The archived video-streams in TV resolution are available on the web site of the CADforum conference -

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Integrating Google Earth maps with AutoCAD

    We understand that the standard functionality offered in AutoCAD and its "industry" versions not always provides all functions to complete a given task in the fastest way. That's where add-on applications come into play, and thanks to the open API available in all Autodesk products, many third party vendors (including XANADU) currently offer hundreds of such add-on tools.

    As an Autodesk reseller, we also carry many add-on applications from other vendors. Whenever we see a tool which can help our customers to become more productive, we test its suitability for local standards and if it fits these standards, we are happy to add it to our portfolio.

    A Greek software application - Plex.Earth Tools - is a perfect example of such add-on. It is very easy to use and it can increase productivity of every civil engineering user working with any AutoCAD version. Plex.Earth Tools automatically bring in a mosaic of Google Earth aerial images covering all project area. Thanks to the Google Earth functionality, you can use this process not only for aerial maps but also for any WMS geospatial online data.

    After we have localized this little gem into Czech, we offer it now to all Czech and Slovak AutoCAD users.

    See the full press release.


    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Send your tweets straight from AutoCAD

    Yes, if you are a power-tweeter you can now use your favorite web tool also directly in AutoCAD. The free twitter.vlx AutoLISP utility adds the TWITTER command to AutoCAD.

    With the TWITTER command (or its LISP function) you can publish messages (tweets) to your Twitter account. You can either type your message or let AutoCAD sent an automated message on some event - lengthy script has completed, error condition has arised, a project component was updated, etc.

    You may not see many practical applications of this Twitter interface but it illustrates a concept of other possible integrations between CAD and web.

    See more information at the ACAD-Twitter description or follow us at Twitter.

    Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Translate texts in AutoCAD drawings

    With more and more companies working globally, many designers need to translate their drawings into other languages. Most of the typical texts in a CAD drawing are just simple words or short sentences. But some drawings - especially in the US - contain larger portions of texts (legends, descriptions, keynotes, legal...) which may need to be translated by other person than the CAD designer (legal aspects, business information...).

    For such situations you can use our TRANS utility. This is a rather old tool developed originally for AutoCAD R14. TRANS contains a pair of commands - TR_WRITE and TR_READ. You can export all drawing texts to a simple text file, translate it, and read the texts back into their original positions. Many users are using TRANS in combination with TRADOS and other "translation memory" tools to assist and automate the translation.

    Now you can also use a fully automatic translation. Thanks to the open API of the popular online translation tool Google Translate, it is possible to integrate Google Translate and AutoCAD. The new command in TRANS - gTRANS - just prompts for the translation language pair (e.g. English to German) and then performs an in-place translation of all selected texts (via Google Translate in the background).

    You can download TRANS and get more information on the TRANS homepage. Integrating web services with AutoCAD add-on utilities opens many interesting options for drawing automation.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    BUDWEISER.DWG checks the DWG compatibility

    Another tool by XANADU (CAD Studio) with the same name as this blog is the BUDWEISER.DWG drawing. It exists already since 2001 (for older AutoCAD versions), so this is not something brand new, but what is new is the 2010-version of this free benchmark drawing (Budweiser2010.dwg) - released today.

    The BUDWEISER.DWG drawing file contains a set of about 30 test cases. They consist of pairs of "reference" and "test" images. Both should look the same. The Budweiser benchmark uses visual comparison to determine the passed/failed results of the individual test cases.

    The individual test cases check various functions and aspects of different types of drawing objects in 2D and 3D. All cases were drawn manually using standard AutoCAD commands. So any CAD application claiming DWG-support and full DWG-compatibility should display all these pairs identically.

    Well, it should - but in fact, so far no "AutoCAD-clone" software has displayed the full contents of this DWG file. This means that you can expect also incomplete and mangled contents of your own DWG drawings opened in reverse engineered AutoCAD-alike applications. BUDWEISER.DWG can help you to test the real DWG compatibility.

    More information on the BUDWEISER.DWG homepage.

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    New AutoCAD freeware and CAD add-ons

    One of our most popular web resources is the CAD freeware page at We publish there our AutoCAD add-ons, free CAD utilities and other useful stuff for AutoCAD, Inventor and Revit users.

    There are some interesting new pieces in this collection of AutoCAD LISP add-ons:
    • InsertC - InsertC/BlockC is a general "block numbering" utility. You can incrementally autonumber both existing blocks and insert new blocks with incremented or decremented numbers.
    • SplitArea - if you need to section an irregular closed area to half or to a number of parcels with the same acreage, SplitArea is the tool you need. You can use different methods to generate the section line(s).
    • FieldLink - a small tool which visualizes dependencies between AutoCAD fields and linked drawing objects.
    • Trans - this is a very popular tool for translating AutoCAD drawings. Just exports all drawing texts to a text file and then puts the translated text file back to the original places in the drawing.
    • MoveAtt - moves a group of block attributes (relatively to the block position) - sometimes you just want to clean up a crowded drawing area.
    No all of our utilities are free - but you can have them for decent shareware prices. Recently, we have updated our 3D publishing add-ons VRML Export and DirectX Export to support the 64-bit versions of AutoCAD 2010. Keep in touch with us and subscribe to our "CAD Forum tips" RSS channel where we publish the latest tips on the newly introduced free add-ons and other tips for CAD users.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Czech Telefonica O2 relies on GIS by XANADU

    GIS at Telefonica O2The implementation and support of a large GIS system running at the leading integrated telecommunications operator in the Czech market, the Telefonica O2, is carried out by CAD Studio Inc. (former: XANADU Inc). Our GIS solution is based on Autodesk MapGuide and Autodesk Topobase.

    Telefonica O2 Czech Republic is operating more than seven million mobile and fixed lines, and it is also a leading provider of information and communications services.
    O2 manages an extensive network of copper and optical fiber cables. Records of both networks are supported by two solutions: a stand-alone data capture and cleanup system and a data presentation and access system. Various employees use the data in these systems, including engineers and sales team sales teams. In addition, the investment team uses the data to analyze customer connections to determine where to expand the network. The security team assesses flood or storm areas that might affect service outages. And, the marketing department uses the information to create telecommunications service coverage maps.

    Telefónica O2 wanted to create a tool for various geo-analyses. To do this, the company needed to visualize its CAD data in a simple, intuitive environment to support a range of enterprise processes and functions. One of the company’s main goals was to establish environment for start documentation creation, which serves as the basis for investment operations such as adding new cables, new customer connections and more.

    This system is pivotal as it helps to create a rough scheme of the future network. It is based on information about the existing infrastructure and helps to produce an accurate investment estimate. Telefónica O2 designed the automated presentation environment to replace the need to tediously gather data from specialists in more than 70 documentation departments across the Czech Republic. The data are currently stored in only 13 districts and they are easily accessible by collaborating project members.

    Read the full story at XANADU brings faster and more effective access to GIS information in Telefónica O2.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    List of AutoCAD commands and variables

    With the localized versions of AutoCAD 2010 being released in these days, we have updated our list and dictionary of AutoCAD command names and variables. This database now contains all AutoCAD commands and variables, including those introduced in AutoCAD 2010.

    AutoCAD command names in different localization languages (currently: EN, DE, FR, IT, CZ, PT, RU) can be important for local users and application developers supporting multiple languages. This is now even more important as AutoCAD 2010 introduces the "language pack" concept - additional languages can be now installed on top of the primary installed version.

    In the command database, you can also inspect commands introduced in a specific AutoCAD version, find obsolete commands, discover undocumented commands, compare the limitations (missing commands) of the AutoCAD LT version, lookup commands from a fragment of the command name, etc.


    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    New Autodesk Design Review 2010 for DWF, DWFx and PDF files

    As a part of the release of the new 2010-family of products, Autodesk has published the new version of its free viewing and markup tool for CAD files - Autodesk Design Review 2010.

    Like all other members of the 2010 family, Design Review 2010 sports the new ribbon user interface and like all other "2010" applications it is easier to use. E.g. the open dialog lists not only DWF and DWFx but also all other supported file formats (sounds much logical than the older Import). So you can now directly open also the DWG and DXF files (they are converted to DWF on background), the newly supported PDF files and also the DGN and JT files (if you install the plugins).

    The markup tools are enhanced with highlighter, line formatting, markup summaries and secured markups. For better data security, DWFx files can be now digitally signed.

    There is a new bootstrap installer which automatically downloads and installs the neccessary system components of Design Review.

    Go to Design Review download at:
    or at

    We can also finally publish the 2010-version of the screen capture for the January posting Hidden, free drawing software by Autodesk:

    Design Review 2010

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    DWF drawings now also in Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera or Safari

    Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari
    Even when you are using alternative internet browsers, you can now also utilize DWF objects for interactive viewing of CAD drawings inside web pages. This is a new option to the current Freewheel web rendering service.

    The newly released Firefox Add-on for Autodesk Design Review (see Autodesk Labs) is an add-on for displaying objects of the Design Review application also in non-MSIE browsers - these do not support ActiveX objects by default. The object with DWF or DWFx data allows fully interactive access to your CAD data - similar to the standalone Autodesk Design Review application. So you can use such web pages not only in the standard Internet Explorer, but also in browsers like Firefox (Mozilla), Opera, Google Chrome or Apple Safari.

    DWF is a publishing format for effective, precise and secure transfer, markup and measuring of CAD data.

    More information, tips and samples (in Czech) on XANADU DWF and DWF-FF sample (not for MSIE).

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Todella kattava kokoelma

    ... you don't understand? This is one of the web links to our free CAD Blocks Library on the web. In Finnish it means (according to Google Translate) something like "a truly comprehensive collection".

    And this is also a typical assessment of in hundreds of other similar links from webs and discussion forums from all over the world. Already more than 4.000 blocks are available for download for all users of AutoCAD, Revit, or Inventor. If you are looking for 3D blocks, 2D symbols, dynamic blocks, details and libraries in the DWG, RFA or IPT formats -- for your architectural project, visualization, map, electrical scheme, mechanical assembly, for your school work or just for your inspiration when making your own blocks -- in our Block catalog, you will most probably find the right block.

    And don't forget to give back your own blocks. Uploading a new file to the Catalog is very simple and your masterpiece is immediately published for all other visitors - including the automatically generated preview image (thumbnail). Show off your useful blocks or take an ad by publishing CAD blocks of the products of your company.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Hidden, free drawing software by Autodesk

    Do you draw your schemes and designs in the secret free "CAD" application by Autodesk?

    This was inspired by the Autodesk's secret free design application blog post on the RobiNZ CAD Blog.

    The review and markup tools in Autodesk Design Review are quite powerful. Powerful enough to be used as a standalone drawing application for simple schemes. As the Autodesk Design Review application is free, you can easily use these "CAD-like" tools anywhere you want. Just download it from

    In Design Review, you get a toolset of simple shapes, texts, polylines, freehand drawing, dimensioning tools (length, area, angle), color selection (line+fill), transparency settings, grip editing, symbol libraries, advanced plotting tools and more. The file format for this "CAD" software is of course DWF and DWFx. With DWFx you can view your drawings natively, without any viewer in Windows Vista, or Windows XP with MSIE7.

    Some of the CAD functions in Design Review are not available even in the big AutoCAD. E.g. you have access to the history of the individual entities - you can see who and when has created each line.

    To start quickly with a blank canvas (which is not a native option in this markup application), you can use the Empty-sheet DWFx file from the CAD Block Catalog. Just open it in Design Review 2009 and start to draw...

    Drawing in Design Review 2009
    Drawing in Design Review 2010
    MyDrawing2009.dwfx (sample)

    The user interface for drawing is much nicer in the upcoming Design Review 2010, currently in beta

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    AutoCAD for Linux?

    One of the most frequented questions on CAD discussion web sites is the theme of AutoCAD version for Linux. Well, to put it short - there is no such AutoCAD and I doubt Autodesk will make one in a foreseeable future.

    What is interesting is the disproportion of the frequency of Linux citations on the web (not only in web discussions) and the number of real day-to-day users of Linux. For several years, even reputable institutions make us believe that Linux will take over the market of operating systems, or at least that it will capture a substantial part of it (e.g. Siemens Business Systems, 2003: Linux will have 20% market share in 2008). But the fact is that Linux, in 2009, has still only negligible 1% of this market. And it does not increase. Some statistics (web portals) even show a decrease of this figure. The reason is simple - the Windows ecosystem is (and was) much broader and networking of users (world wide web, world wide marketing) help to strengthen this position. Academic sphere and computer gurus cannot change this.

    This real-world situation of course influences also the software vendors. It makes little economical sense to put much effort into development of software versions for such small market (and a market that is not much used to pay for software). And for a software vendor, porting and maintaining a CAD application like AutoCAD, Inventor or Revit is much more complicated than just recompiling.

    I don't say that Linux has no sense - it has a strong a respectable position on some niche markets and communities. But it is simply not there on a plain user's desktop.

    A slightly different situation is with the Apple operation system - Mac OS. Its market share is on similar numbers but it has a stronger position on designers' desktops, especially in the US. Autodesk has always offered Mac versions of its "Media & Entertainment" applications (animation, video, film FX) and it seems that Autodesk keeps broadening this Mac portfolio. Today, Autodesk has announced MacOS X versions of its 3D design software Toxik, Mudbox and Stitcher (previously only for Windows).

    Autodesk Toxik - MacOS

    Update: despite the Linux marketshare still decreases, AutoCAD for Linux finally comes - in a surprising form - see: AutoCAD WS for Android