Thursday, October 13, 2016

Plotting Stuff

Well, I’ve been told writing stuff down and explaining stuff makes things easier to remember. So the point of this blog post is so I remember most of the stuff in it.

So I was on the phone with an architect and he mentioned the numerous yellow boxes around the text in my newly created PDF. Now I know from experience they don’t have any negative downsides and when printed again the yellow boxes go away. But I realized I didn’t have a good reason to explain why those yellow boxes are there. So I decided to find out the reason why.


Well it turns out people wanted searchable text in PDFs. The main reason AutoCAD to PDFs are not searchable are due to a design decision from a long time ago about how to create fancy text in AutoCAD using SHX fonts. The fonts aren’t actual fonts, but a representation of fonts using stuff. So to make things searchable Autodesk could have removed support for SHX files or come up with another solution. The solution Autodesk came up with is to add comments to all of the SHX text as the actual text. This way the PDF is searchable through the comments and the text shows up as it has been historically.

So if you want searchable text without the yellow boxes then you’ll want to use True Type Fonts since PDFs can render them as long as the font is loaded into the machine. So if you don’t care about the searchable text you can turn off the feature by setting the system variable EPDFSHX to 0. Not this is only available on AutoCAD 2016 Service Pack 1 and above. In 2017 a new system vairable PDFSHX was added to AutoCAD.

This knowledge Network Article has more info.

In other news HP celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary with SPAN Architects, one of the principles received the first HP large format printer to in 1991.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Profile Tangent At MidPoint

Sometimes a profile is split across section views. This may mean if we label a tangent at the midpoint it might disappear from view. In order to get it to show up we can use some magic of not showing a label segment.

So create a line label segment and set it to start at the Anchor Tangent Start and end at the Anchor Tangent End In View. Then set the Visibility to False. Note that the order does not matter.


Then go to the Grade component and anchor it to the middle of the hidden line. Now the label will stay at the midpoint of the tangent shown in the view.


Here is a link to a sample drawing.

When Good Sheets go Bad

If you use Civil 3D across multiple years and use Sheet Set Manager you might run into a problem of bloated Sheet Sets. This happens when you open say Civil 3D 2016 and modify the Sheet Set Publish options. This adds some special AEC items into the Sheet Set. Then when you open the Sheet Set in Civil 3D 2013 and modify the Sheet Set Publish options the program doesn’t know what to do with the added AEC Items.

Now a normal response might be to take that data and say I don’t know what to do with it so I’m going to ignore it. Unfortunately AutoCAD says I don’t know what to do with the data so I’m going to copy it and put it into a junk draw. Which is fine if it only did this once. Instead when the Sheet Set Publish item is saved again, AutoCAD finds the same bad data, says I don’t know what I’m going to do with it so copy it again and put the new copy in the same junk drawer. So now I have at least 3 copies of the data. The original and two copies. Do it again and the problem doubles. Keep the actions going and now you’ve got a monumentally bloated sheet set.

So how does one solve this issue? Well the first think I did was search for a solution on line. I didn’t find anything directly related. Only vague reports of something going wrong. This led to an old forum post on AUGI by RK McSwain which pointed to JTB World tools to see the data in an XML file and delete it and then magically the XML file was to turn back into a Sheet Set. Well it looks like from that post to now modifying the XML file no longer turns it back into the same Sheet Set.

So I contacted JTB World to see if he had a solution and it just so happened he did have one in development. This however didn’t benefit me since I had an immediate need for it so I wrote my own App to handle the removal of the bad data. I haven’t had time to publish the App, but JTB World has. You can not only purge bad data, but also merge and merge copy Sheet Sets. You can find more information about the app from this location: JTB DST Tool


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