Monday, March 2, 2015

Tweaking AutoCAD, Inventor, and Windows to Improve CadTempo's CAD Time Keeping

There are a few things that can be tweaked so CadTempo can do its best in keeping track of your CAD file time.

Windows hides file name extensions, but making them visible helps CadTempo in file name discovery.

To show file name extensions in Windows Explorer

  1. Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button , click Control Panel, then click Folder Options.
  2. Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings:
    • To show file name extensions, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

AutoCAD too can be optimized for CAD file name detection by displaying the full path in the AutoCAD window title bar like this:

To show the full path in AutoCAD's title bar

  1. Open AutoCAD Options by right clicking in the AutoCAD command line or typing Options.
  2. Click the Open and Save tab, and then, under File Open settings, check the Display full path in title and then click OK or Apply.

Autodesk's Inventor does not have a convenient option to set as does AutoCAD, but thanks to a tip discovered on the CADforum by CAD Studio cadforum - how to display full document path in inventor title bar it is possible to do so.

To show the full path in Inventor's title bar

To display a full document path (subfolders) in the Inventor window titlebar, you can use a simple iLogic macro.

  1. Use iLogic to define a new rule (name it e.g. "LongCap") containing a single line: ThisApplication.Caption = ThisDoc.Path
  2. Then let the rule "LongCap" run/invoke (see Event triggers) automatically on each event of the type "Document open".
Since I do not have a copy of Inventor I asked a favorite blogging friend Paul Munford to confirm this works and indeed it does. Thanks Paul and of course CADforum.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Creating a Batch Script for AutoCAD with CadTempo

Have you ever found yourself with a large number of AutoCAD drawings that you need to make changes to? It can be a very tedious and time consuming task.

AutoCAD comes equipped with a number of tools that can address this situation. The most simple of these is the script file - which also works with AutoCAD LT. I've used this method many times in the past to process hundreds of drawings at a time. When left to its own devices, the editing time that CadTempo had captured for those drawings was lost. In order to eliminate that problem a script generator was added to CadTempo. This article describes how to create a batch script within CadTempo and reclaim that logged time.

First, we need to enable and display the script maker. Open the CadTempo viewer and navigate to Options, then the Setting tab. Check the checkbox labeled Show Script Maker as shown in the image. *If you operate a different CAD program this will not be enabled. If your CAD program has scripting available please let us know and we will investigate adding its functioning.*

The AutoCAD Script Maker will now be visible when you return to the Files window and you can begin creating your AutoCAD script template.

CadTempo populates the script edit box with a basic script template. You can modify this script to suit your needs, or load a previously saved template. You'll notice there is a placeholder named Filename. When the batch script is created this will be replaced with the drawing names that you select for processing. Once you have determined the script template is functioning properly in AutoCAD you can save the template for future use.

Select the Drawing Files

If you already have multiple folders checked for other viewing or reporting purposes, you can save the current check list for later reloading. From the main menu bar go to File>>Save Check List. Now you can click the Clear Checked button. The button label will change to "Oops..." to immediately restore the checkbox state if needed.

Select the AutoCAD drawing files to be processed by placing a check next to the desired files in the list box. To process all the files in the folder you can place a check in the folder tree. If you wish you can restrict the files to be included in the batch script to a single folder by checking the "This Folder Only" checkbox.

Create the Batch Script

When you click the Create... button you will see a dialog box that displays the list of files that will be included in the batch script.

If you determine the list is incorrect the Cancel button will return you to the Files window and allow you to modify the selected files. Optionally you can add or remove files in the list, however care must be taken to insure each line entry is a valid drawing file name. When you are satisfied with your selection, press OK to create and save the batch script. After saving you will see a message reminding you to keep the CadTempo viewer open during the batch run. The Restore Logged Data button will be enabled.

If you wish to make a final examination before running the script open the saved .scr file. This is the result from the example.

After running the script in AutoCAD (or AutoCAD LT) click the Restore Logged Data button.

We are very interested in building a library of common tasks that can benefit from batch processing. If you would like to share a script template you find useful please send us an email with your template for future inclusion with CadTempo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just Hit Cancel

It's so easy - just hit cancel. We've all done it, whether it's by accident or to avoid having to enter some information a software program is asking for.

It was a problem for a CadTempo user that was attempting to record time spent by his AutoCAD users for non-CAD activities. As easy as CadTempo makes it to account for this time, it's still easier to just hit cancel.

You see, CadTempo works a little differently than your normal, run of the mill time tracking software. After the CAD operator is away from his or her computer for a predetermined time, CadTempo will prompt the user to account for that time upon return. The idea behind this is interruptions that require immediate attention many times remains unaccounted for. With CadTempo's Activity Logging enabled all that is involved is selecting a choice from a drop-down box (and optionally add a description).

But too often his CAD operators just hit cancel.

 My customer (an engineering manager) had the problem of attempting to discover the amount of time users were away from their CAD station. Upon his request a default term was added to CadTempo. Now, when his CAD operators just hit cancel the time will be recorded and he will gain new insight into the performance of his team. It won't deliver quite the impact of knowing what activities took place but with the proper coaching over time I'm confident better accounting will take place.

Activity settings with new default selection

If you are wondering what type of information is recorded here's an example spreadsheet that CadTempo generated. The document that is open during the activity is recorded along with the selected activity name. The user may also include additional information to further describe the activity.

Do you want to get a better understanding of your CAD work time, or your team of CAD operators? If so then visit the CadTempo website to download a fully functioning 30 day trial.

Friday, August 8, 2014

CadTempo 6.2 has been released. Visit and download your 30 day free trial now.