Add Your Own Synonyms to AutoCAD

11 May, 2015

Do you work with software products besides AutoCAD? Would you prefer to use some of the same “lingo” that you’re familiar with? Or perhaps you’d just like to customize AutoCAD to talk the way you want it to. In this video tip from Cadalyst and Lynn Allen, you'll learn how to add synonyms into AutoCAD to improve your user experience!

Video Transcript

Hello there, this is Lynn Allen. Welcome to another AutoCAD tip, courtesy of Cadalyst magazine. Thank you for joining me. Today I come to you from sunny Phoenix, Arizona, where in about 1/2 hour, I'm going to be doing a presentation to a group of land surveyors. But first, it's all about you.

Today I'm going to share with you a tip that has to do with the Command line, so that will make those of you who are Command line lovers -- you know who you are -- very happy. A couple of releases ago inside of AutoCAD 2014, Autodesk added the ability in AutoCAD to create your own synonyms. I'm going to show you how to do that.

But first, what the heck am I talking about, right? Many of you work on other software products, not just AutoCAD. Imagine that. If you worked on say Microstation, you know that they use the Symbol command quite a bit when they need to insert. So you'll see that in AutoCAD 2014, quite a few synonyms were put in to make it easier on people who maybe AutoCAD is not their first language. So you'll see if I type in Symbol, you'll see an option that shows up to execute the Insert command. In fact, if I hit Enter, it will execute the Insert command.

What's another phrase that a non-AutoCAD user might think of? We use a command called ETransmit. But let's face it, outside of the AutoCAD world, no one really uses ETransmit to pack up a bunch of drawings or everything that you need for a drawing and send it to somebody else. They often use the Zip command. So you'll see if I type in Zip inside of AutoCAD 2014 or higher, you'll see that it wants to execute the ETransmit command.

So the good news is can add in your own. You know, have fun with your friends. I'm going to show you exactly how to do that. It's super easy. I'm going to come up here to Manage and where it says Edit Aliases, we're going to go down and we're going to hit Edit Synonym List. This is really just a version of the ACAD.PGP  file. In fact, you'll see, if I wander down here -- and it looks scary, but it's not scary. It's super, super easy. You'll see Zip, and you'll see that it executes ETransmit.

Look at the format. You just type in what you want to key in at the Command line, a comma, a space, an asterisk, and then the name of the AutoCAD command you want to execute. In fact, you'll see there's quite a few that execute ETransmit. Transmit, Send, Share. Did you know if you type any of those commands, it would execute ETransmit? That's pretty cool.

You'll find some of the other synonyms in here as well. In fact, one of my favorites is actually controlling the way you spell things. Apparently a lot of us type in Xfer instead of Xref. You can also do this if you have common errors of things that you type in. You can also put those in here. Some of them AutoCAD will figure out anyway, but some of them they will not. Look how easy this is. You are going to love this. Now it looks like they all need to be uppercase, but it doesn't make any difference.

So I'm going to say I'm going to create a synonym for the Donut command. Many of us like donuts, myself included. How about -- what's a popular donut place? I'm going to make it easy and say "Dunkin." Everywhere I go I get different answers. But let's start with Dunkin. It doesn't have to be uppercase. A comma, right? A space. An asterisk. And then we want it to execute the Donut command. Look how easy that was! Piece of cake, right? You can put in as many as you want -- whatever makes you happy. So let's save it, and let's get out of here.

Now if I type in "Dunkin" right now, it won't work because one of the things about the ACAD.PGP file -- incidentally, PGP stands for program parameters. Although we did used to call it the pigpen file. It boots up when you load up AutoCAD. So I can leave AutoCAD, and I can come back in and my new Dunkin command could work. But I'm much too lazy for that -- you've learned that from previous tips, right?

So I am going to do a cheater command called ReInit. It reinitializes a bunch of things, and one of the things you'll see in here is the PGP file. So you don't have to remember that if you don't want to. You can just leave AutoCAD and come back in. In the interest of time, I'm going to use the ReInit command. So that kicked the PGP file back into place, so it's ready to go. So now if I type in Dunkin, you'll see as soon as I start, it does that autofill, which is nice. You'll see that it wants to execute the Donut command.

I don't know, make AutoCAD a little more exciting. Add some synonyms. Or if you are familiar with another product that uses a command that you prefer, you can map it to an AutoCAD command. And that's cool. Thank you so much for joining me, and I hope that you have a great rest of the week. As for me, I hear some land surveyors calling me. Take care.


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Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD video tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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