BricsCAD: Preparing Your Team's Work Environment
It’s essential to set up BricsCAD for the Team environment so resources can be shared and managed centrally. These resources include plotting, templates, fonts, blocks, detail libraries, and customizations such as lisp files, menus, and standard profiles. Doing this promotes the sharing of tools in a standardized, organized manner.
To begin, you should designate a place in a shared location for your CAD assets. If you do not know what those are now, you will know by the end of this post. Consider the following folder structure to create in that shared location.
Example of Shared Resource Paths
- Blocks – Drawing files representing or containing block symbols. These files would represent chairs, tables, plumbing fixtures, mechanical equipment, utility structures, signage, or any symbols you would typically use in the drawings you produce. Configuring this path as a resource in Settings, would make these blocks readily available without the need to browse to a location for them.
- Customizations – Custom lisps or scripts, and plugins. Often you can pick up handy utilities from co-workers or websites that will automate tasks for you; you may also create your own script files.
- Details – Construction details, sections, or elevations for plan insertion. These files would be organized into a library here, facilitating ease in locating details.
- Fonts – Custom AutoCAD compiled fonts in the form of SHX files. Many SHX files ship with BricsCAD, but if you pick up some custom files along the way, this is where you would place them. TTF and OTF fonts are install in your Windows environment and would serve no purpose here. Configuring this path as a resource in Settings, would allow the program to resolve the definitions of custom fonts used in drawings.
- Layers – Layer state files enable you to restore standard layer configurations quickly before plotting.
- Linetypes – Custom linetypes. Sometimes you receive transmitted files with custom linetypes attached. Sometimes you create your own to depict items on your plan clearly. These files will have an LIN extension. Some custom linetypes require a shape file to define a shape incorporated in the linework. In an uncompiled state, this file would have a SHP extension. Once compiled, it has an SHX extension, like the font files. SHP and SHX files representing shapes should be stored here as well. Configuring this path as a resource in Settings, would make these linetype definitions readily available without the need to browse to a location for them.
- Palettes – Company tool palettes for serving up custom blocks, hatch patterns, and customizations. If you don’t have any developed now, this could be a location to use for future development. Configuring this path as a resource in Settings, would enable the integration of custom tool palettes into the standard set in BricsCAD.
- Printing – Plot configurations, parameters, styles, and page setups would be organized in this location. This path can also be configured as a resource in Settings, ensuring that all printer/plotter setups are supported.
- Profiles – Exports of BricsCAD configured user profiles any customization of settings can be exported using the User Profile Manager so that company configured settings can be quickly setup for new users.
- Templates – Drawing templates and sheet set templates will hold custom tools and settings. This is another path that can be configured as a resource in Settings.
These folders will serve as libraries to hold necessary tools put together in your organization offering one convenient location for the team to reference. Some of these folders can be defined as resource paths in the Settings dialog under Program Options; doing so will integrate your custom content within the BricsCAD environment.
Settings > Program Options > Files > Support File Search Path
This setting can hold multiple paths. You will find several paths configured here already after program installation. It is important that you do not replace or remove these paths; just add to them.
- Click the ellipsis (the button with 3 dots) to open the path list.
- Click the Add button to add another path to the list. An additional space will appear at the bottom of the list.
- Clicking on the right edge of the additional space will reveal another ellipsis. Click this ellipsis to browse to the folder holding your resources.
If you are using the Example of Shared Resource Paths above, steps 2 - 3 would be performed three times for Blocks, Customizations, and Fonts.
Settings > Program Options > Files > Printer Support
There are two paths to configure under this section:
- Plot Styles Path – where BricsCAD looks for color plot tables (filename.CTB) or style name-based plot tables (filename.STB).
- CTB file – maps colors used in the drawing to pen settings such as color, line weight, and screening intensity used when plotting.
- STB – holds named plot styles. Each plot style contains pen settings such as color, line weight, and screening intensity. Plot styles can be configured to objects or layers as a property as we do with color and linetype.
- Plotter Configuration Path – where BricsCAD looks for custom printer settings (filename.PC3). Ideally, you would have one for each printer. A PC3 file could have a Plot Model Parameter file associated with it (filename.PMP). A PMP file would hold custom settings regarding paper size and calibration.
If your organization is small, you may put all the above-mentioned files into one folder. Otherwise, if you have a long list of these files to manage, you may want to separate each file type to a separate folder. Both path settings can hold multiple file paths as shown below, giving you the option of keeping the original folders’ files as available options when plotting. Add additional paths by clicking on the ellipsis on the right side of the settings path.
Settings > Program Options > Files > Templates
There are two paths to configure under this section:
- Template path – where templates (filename.DWT) for clients, consultants, and your organization are stored. These files contain all layers, blocks, styles, and default drawing parameters and settings for creating drawing files.
- Sheet Set Template Path – where sheet set templates (filename.DST) are stored. These would contain default settings for sheet sets such as common and custom fields for both sheet sets and sheets, new sheet location, path to template with default layout tabs for new sheet creation, and view label configurations.
Again, if your organization is small, you may put all of the above-mentioned files into the same folder. Or you could use one folder for the template path and another folder for sheet set templates. Add additional paths by clicking on the ellipsis on the right side of the settings path.
Settings > Program Options > Files > Tool Palettes
There is one path setting for tool palettes. This setting will hold multiple paths. It is common practice to keep the original path which contains the AutoCAD stock tool palettes, then add a custom path for custom tool palettes. Add additional paths by clicking on the ellipsis on the right side of the settings path.
Organizing your CAD resources into an easy to navigate location for your team will increase productivity in your organization. It also ensures that each will be utilizing standard, consistent content when working on projects. It also promotes a collaborative work environment.