AutoCAD Convert & PowerCADD Demo Questions


I'm an AutoCAD users evaluating the PowerCADD Demo and I have a few questions. Does PowerCADD support scripting? Can Sheet setups include changes to Layer Attributes such as Color? Can I can assign a line weight to a particular layer? Are there any read me files which explain the differences in approach between PowerCADD on the Mac and AutoCAD in Windows?


Mimimun: PowerCADD Demo
Recommended: PowerCADD full version running in Mac OS? X

Background & What To Do

Those are all excellent questions and observations, here a few general points to help in getting started:

Explain in a short document the new way to "think" or "draw" for Windows/autocad users

The latest version of the PowerCADD demo (and all full installations of PowerCADD) includes a copy of the manual in Acrobat PDF? format. It's worth exploring Chapter Two as it covers some of the basic's which will be helpful in providing an overview to getting started. You should also review the PowerCADD Resources secton on this website as there are plenty of posts with text and demo movies describing numerous features and techniques of PowerCADD and how they work.

One of the primary differences/concepts of PowerCADD and the Mac OS is the paper paradigm. You draw 'to scale' on a preset sheet size in PowerCADD just like you did by hand. Don't be fooled by the elegant simplicity of that concept (again Chapter Two of the PDF manual discusses the steps).

quicktime Page Setup Demonstration [1.1MB]: A quick review of the Drawing Setup dialog and how to perform a Page Setup and choose a sheet size -- in this case up to 200 x 200 inches! The movie features menus and dialogs from PowerCADD v6 but the same process applies to the most recent version of PowerCADD.

Does PowerCADD support scripting?
While PowerCADD does support External Plug-in's, they require a high level of C programming knowledge and are not typically tackled by almost 100% of users. It's worth noting the Mac OS in general does have a feature called AppleScript XTNL URL which allows automation of many task but PowerCADD currently only supports a very basic AppleScript Dictionary so scripting within PowerCADD or using AppleScript to control PowerCADD isn't practical in a real world sense.

While scripting is currently not supported, it's very easy to assign key commands to any menu item or tool which may help in some instances. Assigning menu commands it is a point and click operation and explained well in the PDF manual included with both the demo and full versions of PowerCADD. You can also find discussions on assigning key commands in other articles here at

Can sheets have layer properties such as colors?

Sheet setups support layer order and layer status (on, off, dimmed), layer color, and layer opacity! Layers may contain various attributes which would apply to every object on the specified layer including color, locked or unlocked and scale. You can change the layer attributes of multiple selected layers quickly and easily to suit any specific drawing circumstances:

  1. Select the layer(Drunk in the Layer Window
  2. double click any selected layer, and the Layer Attributes dialog will open
  3. Change the desired layer color to say 'red' and all selected layers will now use that specified color attribute. (The same holds true for other Layer Attributes such as locked/unlocked and layer scale.)

It's also worth mentioning one of the primary reasons to have layer colors in AutoCAD was/is for printed output. However, the Macintosh Operating System, and PowerCADD, support a WYSIWYG? (What You See Is What You Get) environment. As such, it's very simple to assign a line weight to the objects on the screen and the printed output uses those specified line weights. The method is quite different from AutoCAD and we believe much more intuitive than what's used in AutoCAD (for completeness, we do note WYSIWYG line weights are becoming more popular in recent releases of ACad but it's currently not common place among most users and old habits die hard with respect to plotting techniques used from legacy versions of ACad)

quicktime You can click here to see a demonstration movie (300KB downnload) of how Layer Attributes can be assigned to multiple selected layers. In this demo movie, we pressed the Command key as we clicked on each layer as it allowed us to select layers at random (i.e. the layers were not all in the same order) ( need movie help?) The movie features menus and dialogs from PowerCADD v6 but the same process applies to the most recent version of PowerCADD.

Can I assign a line weight to a particular layer?
There is no method to assign a line weight attribute to a specific layer. However, given the nature of how PowerCADD and the Mac OS behave in general, there really isn't a need for one. One of the greatest strengths of PowerCADD (and the mac OS) is its WYSIWYG interface and the great deal of flexibility you have over working with objects and attributes regardless of layer.

For example, if all objects are on Layer 1, then you can simply:

  1. perform a Select All (Choose Edit Menu -> Select ALL or press Command + A on the keyboard)
  2. choose the desired line weight attribute from the Attr Menu -> Line -> 3 point (or whatever line weight you like) (alternatively, you can press Control+Click on one of the selected objects and choose the desired line weight from the Contextual menu)

The same technique will work for dash types, arrows, colors, line weights, fill patterns, etc. The visual feedback will be 'instant' which confirms the operation.

Essentially, PowerCADD will allow you to draw much as you did by hand in that you can put any object type on any layer with any attributes (i,e. a red 3 point line with dash type 3 can be on the same layer as a green 4 point line with dash type 5). There are several mechanisms to easily set tool attributes to make the transition fairly simple and it's made the transition for AutoCAD converts we've trained over the years fairly seamless.

Good luck, have fun, and don't hesitate to ask lots of questions.

We hope that helps

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