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AutoCAD 2004 Customization Tutorial: Creating Shapes with Express Tools

June 16, 2003

Express Tools has made the creation of shapes very easy. With Express Tools MKSHAPE command you can skip the hurdle of entering shape codes. If you are not familiar with shapes read the following tutorial first:
AutoCAD 2004 Customization: Using Shapes

If you have not installed Express Tools, start AutoCAD 2004 setup program. In Install tab click Install Express Tools [Figure 1]. Follow the wizard to install the Express Tools. The first time you start AutoCAD the Express menu and toolbars will be enabled.

Figure 1 - Click on image to enlarge

1. Download R16_express_shapes.dwg. There are 4 set of drawings available in the file [Figure 2].

Note: If you are using an earlier release of AutoCAD download R15_express_shapes.dwg.

Figure 2

2. Select Express > Tools > Make Shape to invoke MKSHAPE command [Figure 3].

Figure 3

3. In MKSHAPE Select Shape File dialog box select a proper folder [Figure 4].

Figure 4 - Click on image to enlarge

4. In File name text box type "sample".

5. Click Save.

6. At the first prompt type "apple" and then press Enter:

Enter the name of the shape: apple 8

7. To have a better quality increase the resolution to 256:

Enter resolution <128>: 256 8

8. Select the lower Midpoint of the apple as the insertion point:

Specify insertion base point:

9. Select all the objects that define the apple.

10. Press Enter to exit the command.

11. The shape is now created. To view a report, press F2. The Text window appears [Figure 5].

Figure 5 - Click on image to enlarge

Note: The shape file has been compiled automatically and loaded into the current drawing.

12. Use the SHAPE command to insert the new shape (i.e. apple).

13. Invoke the MKSHAPE command again (Express > Tools > Make Shape).

14. Select the same shape file "sample.shp" then click Save.

15. Define a new shape called table with similar method to steps 6 through 10.

16. Invoke the command two times more and define chair and table respectively.

17. Start Notepad.

18. Open "sample.shp". Now you can view the definition of shapes and make any modifications [Figure 6].

Figure 6

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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