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AutoCAD Tutorial



Loading Applications into AutoCAD 2002

By Alireza Parsai, October 1, 2002

AutoCAD benefits from an open architecture. Open architecture means the user has the ability to customize the AutoCAD environment, features, and commands. Users are allowed to create third-party applications that can be loaded into AutoCAD. Such applications normally add new features and/or commands to AutoCAD. You can even define new menus and toolbars.

There are several methods to create AutoCAD-acceptable applications. Among them AutoLISP/VLISP applications are the most popular ones. In general you might receive applications created in the following formats:

  • AutoLISP (.lsp)

  • ObjectARX(.arx)

  • VBA (.dvb)

  • ObjectDBX (.dbx)

  • Fast Load AutoLISP (.fas)

  • Visual LISP executables (.vlx)

Figure 1 -
Click on image to enlarge

The dialog box consists of several sections. Let's explore them.

Look in the drop down list: The list helps you in browsing your computer or local area network for files and folders.

 takes you to the last folder visited in Look in drop down list

 takes you one level up the current folder

 allows you to create a new folder

 allows you to select the method of showing icons in the main list. The available options are: Large icons, Small icons, List, Details, Thumbnails

 searches the web for applications

 looks in Windows Favorites for the folder or file.

 adds the selected folder or file to Windows Favorites. This helps you to access the folder or file easily in AutoCAD and other applications.  

 loads the application into AutoCAD. Later you can click the Close button to exit the Load Application dialog box and start using the application. If you select a DVB, DBX, or ARX file it will be loaded immediately, but LSP, FAS, and VLX files are queued and loaded after closing the dialog box.

If the file is loaded previously, it will be reloaded. This is not true for ObjectARX files. If you want to reload these files you should unload them first.

The Load button is applicable for applications that are selected in the main list and History list, or those that are addressed directly within the File Name text box.

If you select a file in History List you can also right-click and select Load to load that file.

 unloads the application. Select the application from Loaded Applications list and then click this button. If the application is grayed out, it cannot be unloaded.

belongs to the Startup Suite section. If you are using an application quite often then you may need to load it automatically. This will guarantee the presence of the application in every drawing session. Startup Suite is used to fulfill this task.

Click Contents button in Startup Suite to view Startup Suit dialog box [Figure 2].

Figure 2-
Click on image to enlarge

Click the Add button to view Add File to Startup Suit dialog box [Figure 3]. The dialog box helps you to browse and add new applications to the list. 

The applications that you add are also loaded in the current session. If you add an application it is loaded automatically when you start AutoCAD, or open a new file.

Figure 3 -
Click on image to enlarge

Add to History: Select this option to add the loaded application to the History list. This list is a shortcut to find applications easily. Some applications are needed in many drawing sessions but for those you do not want to load automatically add them to History List. To manage the list you can right-click in the list area and choose a proper option from the menu [Figure 4].

 removes a file from History List. This button will not unload the file and just removes the name of the file from the list.

Figure 4


Download primitivecurves.zip from http://www.geocities.com/cad_tips/downloads.htm. (The file is located under AutoLISP Programs topic and the name of the link is: Draw circles, ellipses, arcs, and elliptical arcs with a single dialog box (PC).)

Figure 5 -
Click on image to enlarge

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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