Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tool Palette Order and Grouping

I consistantly see users asking how to make tool palettes display the same way on multiple computers to match a standard layout. This seems to be a recurrent topic in many companies. I made a brief comment on the file in a previous post, last paragraph - however, I don't feel I gave it enough attention as to why you need this file that is buried deep within Documents and Settings. The Tool Palettes are extremely flexible, yet trying to share them with others that follow a standard format can be frustrating. Hopefully this will help demistify it and help you understand better an easy way to share a standard layout of tool palettes.

The contains a number of things about how palettes - specifically tool palettes - are displayed. The aws file extension stands for AutoCAD Work Space and is a fitting name since it remembers changes you make to the environment of AutoCAD. If you were to open the aws file with Microsoft word or Internet Explorer you will find that it is based on XML code. While I do not write or fully understand XML code, the structure of it allows you to start to understand it if you look long enough (kinda Matrix esq, huh?). One thing you can try if you open it with MS Word is to use the find command on the Edit menu to search for a name of a tool palette you know is available in the program. Once it finds the palette name, look at the surrounding text to see what is around it and it should give you an idea of what data is stored in the file.

In vanilla AutoCAD, tool palettes allow you export the tool palette groups to an xtp file which can then be imported to another users computer. While this is dandy, for those using ADT (even if you run a profile to use ADT as AutoCAD), this option is disabled to prevent exporting tools on palettes that only run in ADT to users of AutoCAD. While I find this response from Autodesk somewhat lame, it is what it is. While I would know better than to load ADT palettes onto a system running only vanilla AutoCAD, appearently Autodesk thinks there are some that wouldn't know any better. I suppose they are right but this leaves us advanced users trying to figure out how to make ADT have standard tool palette groupings. One could use Catalogs and have them mimick tool palettes, but I find this to be somewhat of a long winded process that novice users have a difficult time with. This means the advanced user is stuck going around dropping palettes from catalogs onto everyones system and we all know the advanced users time is better spent elsewhere.

Enter the - this file contains all the info of the tool palettes on a system - order of palettes, which palettes belong in which group and the location/size of the palette on the computer screen. This file exists for both vanilla AutoCAD and ADT, so it does not matter which platform you run on. So if you as the advanced user builds and organizes 50 palettes into multiple groups and sub groups with specific ordering to them, this file is the key to duplicating that orginazation to everyone else on your team or in the company. Where can you find it? There will be a in a folder that corresponds to the profile name in AutoCAD. This is the *.aws file you want - the file will do you no good. If you installed AutoCAD (or ADT) via the application defaults for support files then you can find the in a location similar to this: C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Autodesk\ADT 2006\enu\Support\Profiles. Once inside the last folder in that list, Profiles, you will see folders for each profile available in AutoCAD. Go into the one for the profile we are working with and you will find the file Export your profile from options and import it to a test system. Close ADT and then copy the aws file and drop it onto the test system in the mirror location for it. Reopen ADT and you should have the palettes grouped in the same order as the source system!

1 comment:

intercad said...

A friend runs a woodworking shop and wants to modernize. What software can he use for design and also for providing customers estimates on their projects?.

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