January 30, 2014

ACA: MNL Files Have Moved in 2014

AutoCAD® AutoLISP® Menu Source files have long been used to enable the loading of AutoLISP code and support files used by an AutoCAD Customization File (CUIX) and, if you go back far enough, the old AutoCAD Menu files. All that is required is that the file name (other than the file extension) of the MNL file match that of customization file and that the MNL file be found in the AutoCAD search path, and when the customization file is loaded, so is the MNL file.

In previous releases, the MNL file was kept in the same folder as the associated CUIX file, so if you knew where the CUIX file was, you knew where the MNL file was, as well. The default installation location in Windows 7 was under C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\ACA 20xx\enu\Support, where [USERNAME] is your user name and xx represents the last two digits of the release year for the version being used.

In ACA 2014, this has changed. The default installation location for the CUIX files remains the same, but the MNL files are now installed in C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2014\Support\en-us (Windows 7).

Why should you care? If you are running ACA more or less out-of-the-box, or at least using the ACA.cuix file as your main customization file, you probably do not need to care. But if you choose to make a copy of the CUIX file and give it a different name (in anticipation of making customizations for yourself or your office), then you will also want to copy the ACA.mnl file, renaming it to match the name of your copied/renamed CUIX file. ACA uses the MNL file to undefine and then redefine several AutoCAD commands, including the FILLET command (which is redefined to run the AECFILLET command, enabling it to work on Walls as well as the usual AutoCAD objects). If you want that to happen for your renamed CUIX file, then you have to be able to find the MNL file in order to copy and rename it.

January 14, 2014

ACA: Transferring Display Representations Between Drawings

Once you have your Display System set up the way you want it in your template file, you generally do not have to spend a lot of time or effort with it. There are occasions where you need to copy display system settings from one file to another, and the Display Manager comes in handy here. We are preparing to deploy AutoCAD® Architecture/MEP 2014, to replace our current 2010 versions, and I am taking the opportunity to review our current AutoCAD Architecture/MEP 2010 display settings to make certain that we maintain desired customizations while not losing any new features introduced in the more recent versions. I am planning to rebuild our settings, starting with the out-of-the-box 2014 Display Representations. To do so, I want to start with the 2014 Architectural settings, and add the MEP settings that are not present (including additional object types). While the Display Manager will allow you to copy Display Configurations and Display Representation Sets between file, it will not allow you to copy object types or individual object Display Representations. It will import Display Representations referenced by a Display Representation Set being copied that are not already present in the target file, and I used this to do what I wanted done. Here is what I did.
  1. Open the source drawing, or create a source drawing by starting a new drawing from a template file that has the desired Display Representations. (In my case, I used AMEP to create a new drawing, using the out-of-the box Aecb Model (US Imperial Stb).dwt template file.) Also open the target file to which you wish to copy the Display Represenations.
  2. Open the Display Manager (on the Manage ribbon tab, on the Style & Display panel, select the Display Manager tool) and select the Sets node under the source drawing file in the left pane of the Display Manager.
  3. In the right pane, in a blank area at the bottom, right click and choose New from the context menu (the only choice), and name the new Set Transfer Display Representations (or any other unique name of your choice; Transfer Display Representations will be used in the example here).
  4. In the left pane, select the new Set.
  5. In the right pane, choose the Display Representation Control tab.
  6. In the upper left corner of the Display Representation Control tab (in the rectangular area labeled Objects), right click and choose Select All Display Representations from the context menu. This will put a check mark in all of the boxes in the Objects/Display Representations matrix in the right pane.

    NOTE: If your task is to copy some of the Display Representations from the source file, but not all of them, then you will need to select just those that you want. If you are copying more than half, you may want to use this technique to select all of them and then clear the ones you do not want.
  7. Select the Sets node under the source drawing file in the left pane, then scroll the left pane, if necessary, to bring the target drawing into view.
  8. In the left pane, expand the target drawing node and the Sets node below it, but do not select either of these nodes.
  9. In the right pane, which should still show the Sets from the source file, left click and drag the Transfer Display Representations Set from the right pane over to the Sets node under the target drawing. You should see a "+" icon next to the cursor. Release the mouse button to drop the Transfer Display Representations Set, copying it to the target drawing.
  10. The copied Set should appear under the Sets node of the target file. All of the selected Display Representations will also be copied. If you select the Representations by Object node under the target drawing, the right pane will display a matrix of Objects and Display Representations that are now defined in that drawing. If Display Represenations for objects not previously defined in the target drawing are copied, the new objects will appear in the matrix. The object list under the Representations by Object may not update immediately, but will after exiting and reopening the Display Manager.
  11. Select OK to register the changes you made to the drawings and dismiss the Display Manager.
As always, click on any reduced-size image to see it full-size.