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AutoCAD 2004 Customization Tutorial: Environment Variables

By Alireza Parsai, May 6, 2003

Windows environment variables are strings consisting of environment information, such as a drive, path, or file name, associated with a symbolic name that can be used by Windows. With the help of Windows environment variables you  are able to define shortcut names for AutoCAD search paths. The following example is conducted in Windows XP Professional for AutoCAD 2004 but might be applicable for other versions of Windows and/or AutoCAD.

Note: You should have the administrator permissions to be able to add or edit a environment variable.

1. In Windows desktop, double-click My Computer icon.

2. In My Computer window, click Tools menu title.

3. Select Folder Options.

4. Click View tab.

5. Make sure that Display the full path in address bar option is selected [Figure 1].


Figure 1

6. Click OK.

7. Browse the main folder for AutoCAD application.

8. Select the path shown in the address bar.

9. From Edit menu select Copy to copy the address to Windows clipboard.

10. In Windows desktop, right-click on My Computer icon.

11. In the shortcut menu select Properties. The System Properties dialog box appears.

12. Click the advanced tab [Figure 2].


Figure 2

13. Click Environment Variables button. The Environment Variables dialog box appears [Figure 3].


Figure 3

14. In User Variables section click New.

15. In Variable Name field, type AutoCAD.

16. Click in the Variable Value field.

17. Press Ctrl+V to paste the address for AutoCAD 2002 in the field [Figure 4].


Figure 4

18. Click OK continuously to save changes and close all dialog boxes.

19. Start AutoCAD.

20. Invoke OPTIONS command.

21. Select Files tab.

22. Open Support File Search Path tree.

23. Select Support folder path [Figure 5].


Figure 5 - Click on image to enlarge

24. Click Remove to eliminate the path.

25. Click Apply to make changes permanent.

26. Select Support File Search Path.

27. Click Add.

28. Type %AutoCAD%\support [Figure 6].


Figure 6 - Click on image to enlarge

29. Click Apply.

30. Select the created path.

31. Click Move Up continuously to locate it on the second line of the list [Figure 7].


Figure 7 - Click on image to enlarge

32. Click Apply.

33. Open Working Support File Search Path tree. The expanded address is added to the tree [Figure 8].


Figure 8

About the Author

Alireza Parsai is the founder of cadpanel.com. He is a mechanical engineer with more than 12 years experience with AutoCAD. Alireza is an Autodesk Authorized Author, the AutoCAD consultant for Al Khawarizmi Institute, a contributing editor for Augiworld magazine, a writer for CAD Digest, an instructor for AUGI Training Program, and an elected speaker for Autodesk University 2002. He has written 7 books in Farsi, 3 booklets in English, and more than 30 articles for different magazines and newsletters. You can reach him at alireza.parsai@cadpanel.com or visit his website www.cadpanel.com

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