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AutoCAD offers a wealth of features that you can use to improve your productivity. But even with these aids to efficiency, there are always situations that can use further automation. In this chapter, you’ll be introduced to the different ways AutoCAD can be customized and enhanced with add-on utilities.

First, you’Il discover how the AutoCAD Express Tools can help boost your productivity. Many of these utilities were created using the programming tools that are available to anyone, namely AutoLISP and VBA. Next, you’ll learn how to load and run AutoLISP utilities that are supplied on this book’s companion CD-ROM. By doing so, you’ll be prepared to take advantage of the many utilities available from user groups and online services. Finally, you’ll finish the chapter by taking a look at how third-party applications and the Internet can enhance AutoCAD’s rol in your workplace.

Enhancements Straight from the Source

If you’ve followed the tutorial in this book, you’ve already used a few add-on programs that come with AutoCAD, perhaps without even being aware that they were not part of the core AutoCAD program. This section will introduce you to the AutoCAD Express tools: a set of AutoLISP, ARX, and VBA tools that showcase these powerful customization environments. The best part about the Express Tools is that you don’t have to know a thing about programming to take advantage of them.

There are so many of these Express tools that this chapter can’t provide step-bystep instructions on all of them. Instead, you will get a detailed look at some of the more complicated tools and read shorter descriptions for other tools. Let’s start with the Express Layer tools.

Opening the Express Toolbars

If you don’t have the Express toolbars on your screen, here’s how to open them.

  1. Right-click any toolbar, then select Customize at the bottom of the popup menu. The Toolbars dialog box appears.
  2. Open the Menu Group drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box, then select Express. The Toolbars list box changes to show a listing of toolbars available from the Express menu group.
  3. Click the check box to the left of each item in the list.
  4. Click Close to close the Toolbars dialog box.

Loading the Express Tools

If you installed AutoCAD using the Typical Installation option, you may not have installed the AutoCAD Expresstools yet. Fortunately, you can install these utilities separately without having to reinstall the entire program.

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