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    by Dennis Collin

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    A common problem with many organisations using AutoCAD is getting users to follow and adhere to company standards. The larger the organisation using CAD software the more important the subject of adherence to standards becomes.

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    Fig 1. It is recommended that any organisation using AutoCAD should use a well organised template!

    A good start is to define and enforce the using of an AutoCAD template file. This ‘seed’ file will contain all the annotation styles, title sheets, notes, labels, blocks and layers needed, ensuring that the user should be able to produce a drawing in accordance with definitions defined within the company’s CAD manual.

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    Fig 2. AutoCAD’s Tool Palettes and Designcentre are a good way to access project specific symbols!

    In addition to the template, a central repository of blocks (symbols) should be established so that project specific elements can be easily added from an approved location. AutoCAD has several methods for the loading of blocks, but the Tool or Block Palettes are the more recent of interfaces.

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    Fig 3. It is generally recommended to keep all configuration files and templates in a shared network location!

    If issuing printed drawings,  then plotter configuration files should also be hosted in a central location with each workstation configured so that their support paths access these shared files.

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    Fig 4. Accessing the CAD Standards Checker and settings

    These steps should ensure that drawings adhere to standards, however if standards are crucial, I also recommend the implementation of CAD standards using a standards file. This file will monitor certain styles and should these be changed to different settings from the standards file, AutoCAD will display an alert message warning the user of a standards breach!

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    Fig 5. Layers, Linetypes and Dimension Styles are just some of the settings AutoCAD’s standards checker monitors.

    A standards file is simply a drawing, or a drawing template file saved with a DWS extension. This file contains all the company’s standard layers, dimension styles, text styles, multi-leaders and line type patterns. CAD standards monitors these settings, and should anything alter, a warning will occur and action will be taken either flagging a list of non-conformances or will automatically fix non-standard properties.

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    Fig 6. Create a standards checker file from an existing DWG or DWT file.

    Accessing the settings within CAD standards allows the CAD manager to set default behaviours and actions in the event of a standards breach.

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    Fig 7. Configure the CAD standards option from the drawing template file.

    Should a user create a non-standard layer or change a setting from a default value, an alert will appear and with the action stated!

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    Placing the standards file in a secure, read only location will prevent the standards file from being overwritten or otherwise altered.

    Customising AutoCAD and configuring the software to specific needs is one of the topics that we can cover on our more advanced or intermediate courses. For more information on the courses that we offer visit https://training.cadline.co.uk/ or ask a question on the sites’ chat facility where a member of the team will be able to help.