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    By Dennis Collin


    On a previous post (below), I discussed how the System Variable Editor Express Tool could be a useful asset in understanding the myriad of system variables that can be set for an AutoCAD system and its drawings.


    However, it can be hard to know when variables get changed from an ideal company standard and users do not often have time to check those variables have been set or unset correctly!

    Typical symptoms are line type patterns not scaling correctly, dialogue boxes not displaying and undesired functionality on editing and drawing commands. Fortunately help is at hand with a variable monitoring tool. The command can be accessed by typing in SYSVARMONITOR which will then present a dialogue where a list of variables can be selected and preferred values set. Should any setting be changed by manual user intervention or via a script or external application, a warning notification will appear offering a choice of actions.


    Should the user choose to ignore the inconsistency from the standard, an alert will display as an icon adjacent to AutoCAD’s drafting aid icons.


    Most variables will have a value of zero or one, (off or on), but some variables like IMAGEFRAME will have a super state setting of 2. Other variables have many more and are detailed further in AutoCAD help.

    Some sample system variables to monitor could include:

    • LTSCALE               Typically set to ‘1’ if using annotative scaling
    • MSLTSCALE         Controls whether line types are affected by annotation scale
    • CELTSCALE          Current entity linetype scale (typically 1)
    • PSLTSCALE          Controls scaling of linetypes through viewports.
    • FILDIA                  Controls whether dialogue boxes are displayed when opening and saving files
    • SDI                        Controls whether AutoCAD can edit multiple drawings at a time
    • IMAGEFRAME     Controls whether raster images display a frame and whether it prints
    • MIRRTEXT           Controls the readability of mirrored text

    This monitoring utility is a useful asset to any CAD manager who wishes to reduce the number of logged support calls from often a typical mis-set variable causing common drawing related issues.

    An ideal standard can be set up to monitor not only internal drawings, but also to scan and check incoming third-party drawings that are not drawn to a consistent standard. It is important to remember however, that the system variable monitor only checks for key variable values. To monitor and fix layers and annotation style settings, then the CAD standards checker should be used. I will discuss that function, along with its enhancements in a future blog.