June 03, 2009

AutoCAD® Architecture 2010 – UI Changes, Part 4.5 – Ribbon Tools

If you have not been able to get the "Ribbon Tools" in 2010 to work for you, I made an interesting discovery today that may help. I knew that the ribbon tools that "run" tool palette commands, such as the Schedule Tag or Schedule Table tools on the Annotate ribbon tab on the Scheduling Panel, use the AECRIBBONTOOL command to magically reference a tool from the tool palettes that are loaded into the current workspace. The syntax in the CUIX file can be seen in the image below.
The command takes the name of the tool palette tool to be referenced. I was unclear as to what the " - ribbon" part meant, until my discovery today. I had assumed that you needed to have the out-of-the-box tool palettes loaded into your system (or at least all of the ones referenced by the ribbon tools), but it turns out that Autodesk was not willing to trust that the end users would not modify, fold, spindle, mutilate or delete the referenced tools, and so they created a single tool palette to hold all of the tools referenced by the ribbon. I assume these are copies of the similarly named out-of-the-box tools, with " - ribbon" appended to the name. That tool palette is read only, and while it is installed in the workspace, it does not appear in any of the out-of-the-box tool palette groups. A clever ploy, if your goal is to keep someone from accidentally breaking the ribbon tools.

You can customize your tool palette groups, of course, and add this tool palette to one so you can take a look at what is on it. The image below shows the first eight tools on the US Imperial version, along with the helpful note at the top indicating that it would be unwise to mess with this palette.
Curiously, this palette is not part of any of the tool catalogs that loaded when I installed 2010. I have not had time to look through the various folders to see if there are any catalogs that are not automatically included in the Content Browser library file, but a search of those that were included came up empty when searching for "Ribbon Tools", and "Ribbon" merely returned six Curtain Wall or Curtain Wall Unit tools. So if you have somehow managed to install 2010 without getting the appropriate Ribbon Tools stealth palette (or you did get it but deleted it along with all of the other out-of-the-box palettes), you may have to recreate an equivalent palette and/or edit the ACA.cuix file to point the ribbon tools to tool palette tools you do have installed. If anyone reading this has managed to find a source catalog for the Ribbon Tools palette(s), leave a comment indicating where you found it.

I suppose you could always do a direct-from-the-DVD installation on a spare computer, create a new Tool Catalog in Content Browser and then go through all of the out-of-the-box profiles you get and look for "Ribbon Tools" palettes. Temporarily add each one you find to a tool palette group and then drag-and-drop the palette into your new catalog for safe keeping and sharing with installations that need the palette. But that would only be useful if the content files behind the tools are installed in a place that can be accessed by your production machines and also installed in the same location on the spare computer. My experience with installation is limited to local, standalone installations, so if you have network-based content or use deployments with custom content locations, my suggestion here may not work, or it may be more trouble than it is worth.


Unknown said...

Could this be it?

C:\Users\{currentuser}\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\ACA 2010\enu\Support\WorkspaceCatalog (Imperial)\Ribbon Tools.atc


David Koch said...


That file does open in Content Browser like a catalog file, but it is the source for the palette in the Workspace, just like the ADTSamplePalettes (Imperial).atc file in the same folder.

Those sample palettes have a "proper" catalog file located here:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD Architecture 2011\Sample\Sample Palette Catalog - Imperial\Sample Palette Catalog - Imperial.atc
The Ribbon Tools - AutoCAD Architecture (US Imperial) tool palette does not, so far as I can tell, have a home in a "proper" tool catalog.