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AutoCAD Tips

An Insight to AutoCAD e-Transmit

Emilio Valentin, April 25, 2011

See Also

   Autodesk's official site
   AutoCAD Reading Room - by CAD Digest

If you've ever received drawings from someone else only to find that you are missing xref's, plot styles, custom fonts, images, or more then you'll appreciate eTransmit.

The eTransmit is feature of AutoCAD. It used to be an AutoCAD Express Tool many years ago. The eTransmit feature helps you send drawings to others by collecting all of a drawing's associated files. You can organize a transmittal set of files including drawings, spreadsheets and more using the Add Files option, reference files like fonts and more packed into a single folder (useful when moving files), Zip file, or self extracting EXE. You can even convert the DWG files to a specific DWG version; bind external references "Xref's", set the plotter, purge, apply a password protect, and send as an email. The eTransmit is a great way to pack up files to send externally, and take all files from multiple directories and formats and with one click set to a single directory and the required format. This will surely help reduce the possibility of errors.

Note: All figures in this article are taken from AutoCAD 2010.

To get started, choose the eTransmit from the File pulldown menu.

The Create Transmittal dialog box opens (this varies with each version, but all have some similarities).

 

You can click the 'Files Tree' or 'Files Table' tab to check which files will be included in the transmittal file.

 
             

More files can be added to the package by 'Add File ...' button if you wish. This is important because eTransmit will only add certain files to the transmittal package and let you add the rest.

File Types Automatically Added to a Transmittal Package
File Type Description
*.dwg Root drawing file and any attached external references
Various image file types Raster image files that are attached externally to the root drawing or external referenced drawings, or as part of a material
*.dgn DGN files that are attached externally to the root drawing or external referenced drawings
*.dwf Design Web Format files that are attached externally to the root drawing or external referenced drawings
*.dwfx DWF file with XPS information that is attached externally to the root drawing or an externally referenced drawing
*.pdf PDF files that are attached externally to the root drawing or external referenced drawings
*.dxe Data extraction files that contain extraction settings and data link information
*.xls Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files that are linked to data extraction tables
*.fmp Font Mapping File used for the In-Place Text Editor when working with Multiline Text objects
*.ctb Color-dependent plot style files used to control the appearance of the objects in the drawings of the transmittal set when plotting
*.stb Named plot style files used to control the appearance of the objects in the drawings of the transmittal set when plotting
*.pc3 Plotter configuration files used to control the device and settings for the device when plotting the layouts of the drawings in the transmittal set
*.dwt Drawing template file that is associated with a sheet set
*.dst Sheet set file
*.dws Drawing standards file that is associated to a drawing for standards checking

 

File Types Not Automatically Added to a Transmittal Package
File Type Description
*.arx, *.dbx, *.lsp, *.vlx, *.dvb, *.dll Custom application files (ObjectARX, ObjectDBX, AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA and .NET)
*.shx Compiled shape files used for text styles or complex linetypes
*.ttf True Type font files used for text styles
*.pfa, *.pfb PostScript Type 1 font files
*.pat Hatch pattern files
*.lin Linetype definition files
*.mln Multiline definition files
*.pmp Plotter model parameter files, used to store configuration information specific to a plotter such as custom paper sizes
*.unt Unit conversion file, used by QuickCalc and the CVUNIT AutoLISP function
*.pss Plot stamp settings files
OLE objects (linked files) OLE objects that are linked to files in the drawing are not included in the transmittal package
Rtext objects (linked files) Text files that are referenced by the RTEXT object are not included in the transmittal package
*.xls (Microsoft Excel files Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files that are linked to data extraction tables are not included in the transmittal package

If you want, enter a note to the recipient in the 'Enter notes to include with this transmittal package:' text box at the lower-left corner of the 'Create Transmittal' dialog box.

Tip: You can incorporate a standard note with the transmittal package or emails. To pre-define a custom note, so it would automatically appear in the "Enter notes to include with this transmittal package", for adding any legal disclaimers (copyright, confidentiality, authorization...), technical descriptions, or instructions, simply create a text file named etransmit.txt in your support directory, or in another support folder searched by AutoCAD (usually in C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 20##\support), and the notes field will be pre-populated with your standard text automatically. To insure, view report.

There is a default setting in the 'Select a transmittal setup' called 'Standard' however, you can prepare your own settings by clicking the 'Transmittal setups' button.

Once in the 'Transmittal setups' dialog, you can form new settings or arrange the default one via this window. I advise you to form a "new" setting and naming it, instead of changing the default one.

When clicking 'Modify…' button, the 'Modify Transmittal Setup' dialog will appear. Here you will have an array of options that can be grouped in five sections:

  1. Transmittal type and location
  2. Path options
  3. Actions
  4. Include options
  5. Transmittal setup description

  1. Transmittal type and location

Transmittal Package Type allows you to choose as: Folder, Self-extracting Executable (*.exe), or Zip.

Note: eTransmit uses WinZip which is not UNICODE compliant (a representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems). Attempting to add certain files to an archive using WinZip prior to 11.2 results in the error message "Warning: Could not open for reading: ...".
Although the (*.exe) are more convenient, they are also vulnerable to viruses.

File Format allows you to choose an earlier release of AutoCAD (options will vary with each version).

Tip: It is more convenient to send the files using older versions of AutoCAD, just in case the recipient has an earlier release. Otherwise, the recipient might come back with questions because of invalid file on their end. If you choose an old version, it will be better to add a note in the 'Transmittal setup description' to remember.

Maintain Visual Fidelity for Annotative Objects is checked by default. This keeps your drawing scale, so if you are using Annotative Scaling, each scale of annotation will be placed on separate layer for recipients using older version.

Transmittal File Folder allows you to navigate to the location you want to find your transmittal file. More than one file will be created in the path if the file format is set as folder. If you leave this blank, the files are saved in the same folder as the current drawing.

Note: If you're transmitting a sheet set, the file goes in the same folder as the DST files (Look into the Archive command in regards to sheet set)

Transmittal File Name allows you to be prompted for a file name, let AutoCAD assign a name (overwriting any existing file with that name), or let AutoCAD assign an incremental file name.

  1. Path options

Use organized folder structure/source root folder: defines the source root folder (primary folder) for relative paths of drawing-dependent files, such as folders containing material textures, external references (xref) etc.

A Fonts, PlotCfgs, and SheetSets/DTS folder is created if necessary.

This option is not valid if the file is being packed to a web path.

Place all files in one folder - All files are placed in one location. This is mostly the best choice because AutoCAD firstly seeks for the external references in the drawing folder when a drawing is opened.

"Keep files and folders as is" recreates the exact paths of the existing files. This is very useful if there is a certain order the company uses.

  1. Actions

Send e-mail with transmittal check box to open your e-mail program, create a new message, insert the note in the body of the message, and attach the transmittal file.

Default Plotter to 'None' if your recipient will plot the drawing and has a different plotter. This way when the drawing is opened and plotted by someone else, the user won't get the dreaded error of your plotter not being found on their system.

Tip: It's also a good idea to consider documenting the colors/widths used since plotters usually displays widths and lines differently.

Bind External References: This option attaches the external references (XREF) to the drawing. AutoCAD 2010 improved the eTransmit setup by giving the user an option to Bind or Insert. When sending a transmittal, the xref's link may be lost, so one option (especially if the recipient is not familiar with xref's) is to bind or insert, the difference is 'Bind' put a $0$ in front of the name of every layer coming from an Xref's and the 'Insert' keeps the original layer name.

Tip: When eTransmit does not bind the xref's - run an audit on the drawings and try it again. Also, consider putting all files in one folder if you have xref's and making your xref's relative path.

Prompt for Password allows you to specify a password after you save the transmittal file to keep safe and avoid any possible corruption. The password should be given to the recipient (by phone), to make sure no one else can open the drawing.

Purge drawing maintains the basic drawing requirements on all drawings. It could also minimize the file size.

  1. Include options

Here you can choose what types of file to be included. Sometimes you don't need to share certain files in a data link.

Include Fonts to include AutoCAD fonts used. Particularly if you have created your own AutoCAD fonts that the recipient might not have.

Note: TrueType fonts (*.ttf) are not included just the font map file (*.fmp). Make sure to use the 'Add Files' feature in the 'Create Transmittal' dialog to include custom fonts. Be cautious with copyright, purchased fonts, or other restrictions that may apply with fonts.

Include Textures from Materials to include JPG, TIFF and TGA etc.. type of files used for material assigned.

Include Files from Data Links to include Excel or CSV files that the drawing links to.

Include Photometric Web Files include web files that you have used for photometric data for lights.

  1. Transmittal setup description

The information here will display in the 'Create Transmittal' dialog within the 'Select a transmittal setup' section.

Finally, before completing your transmittal, it always a good practice to consider checking the 'View Report' in the Create Transmittal dialog - as if you were receiving the information. Many operators will just send the information and then realize that something was missed.

 

About the Author

Emilio Valentin is a Technical Associate in computer-aided design and drafting operations on civil and structural projects for 14 years. His experience includes a wide range of engineering including: roadway design, structural design, geotechnical engineering, traffic data collection, water management, right-of-way, utility engineering, environmental, land surveying and digital mapping projects since 1997. The clients for these projects have included state, county and local governments, transit authorities, and private corporations. He provides CADD support on Microstation, AutoCAD, Iplot, and peripheral devices.

 

 
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