Unable to execute the tool – Fixing the Toolpalette

Here’s a quick remedy for the following error:

In AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012, when I want to insert a subassembly from the Toolpallette or Content Browser, I get this error:

I did not know what caused this error. But repairing or even re-installing the application did not solve the issue. At least for me it didn’t. I couldn’t find any solution from the Autodesk support website so I made a support request at Autodesk Subscription Tech Support. They replied: re-install the application. Well that didn’t work.
So I was delivered to the resources of the internet community. And that’s not bad as you may read right after the jump.

Out there on the web I read that it had something to do with the way you’ve made the installation, through manual installation or through network deployment. Working as a CAD application administrator I always use deployments because of the many installations we need to make. Looking further on the internet, I even found a blog page describing the same error and the solution for an AutoCAD MEP installation. Read here for their findings. Their solution was that within the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder I should have had the appropriate files in it.

So I made a manual (stand-alone) installation on another system and compared that with the network deployment. With the manual installation under the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder I found the right files in it as described before with the AutoCAD MEP installation. Where the network deployment installation did not had these files under the User’s roaming Support\RegisteredTools folder.

The location for Windows 7 or Vista is:
“C:\Users\<user account>\Roaming\App data\Autodesk\C3D 2012\enu\Support\RegisteredTools”.

So I’ve copied those files from the manual installation location to the network deployment installation location, started AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012, and there you go. Inserting subassemblies from the ToolPalette or even from the Content Browser did not gave me the “Unable to execute the tool” error anymore.

You can download these 3 .atc files here.

November 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm 5 comments

Preview of Queried Survey Points seems lost

New survey features are introduced with the release of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013.

One of those new features is the Survey Query Builder. The Survey Query builder gives you the opportunity to build your survey data (point and figures) by using queries or filters. This way you can select what survey data you want before you import it into the drawing.
On the internet you can find lots of information how you can build such a survey query. The User Guide documentation of Civil 3D 2013 has also sufficient information how to do so.

Once you’ve build your query, you can preview the result in the drawing editor. And if satisfied you can save the query for later use to import your result into the drawing.

One thing I’ve noticed when I tried to Preview a points query only, is that I could not see the result (any points) in the drawing editor.
Taking a closer look, and I actually had to zoom in from great distance, you could finally see the points. That is awkward.
I could not find any documentation how to change the display style of the points in preview mode.

So to see the points in preview mode I have added a large drawing (or annotation) scale like 1:5,000 or 1:10,000 to the scale list. Set this large scale before you want to see a preview of your queried survey points and voila there are your points.

When you’re done with querying your survey data do not forget to turn your drawing scale back to an appropriate scale. If not you could end up with very big annotations or graphical representations of your points when you want to import those points into the drawing. If so, you know how to change the scale back to a more working presentation.

Note: this problem only occur with the Metric version of Civil 3D 2013.

August 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm 2 comments

Civil 3D book reviewed: AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Essentials

As a Civil 3D addict I read a lot of resources about this subject. Besides the many great resources found and available on the internet like blogs, I also read great Civil 3D books. One of those great books is AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Essentials written by Eric Chappell.
I have reviewed this book with Amazon. You can read it right here
The clear approach of a likely real world Civil project from start to end through the whole book is really great. Not to mention that besides Imperial units it uses Metric units too. The approach of the use of supported videos is innovative and can be downloaded via the Amazon or Wiley website but can also be watched via YouTube.
The book is targeted for starters, but even I as a Civil 3D teacher have learned better understand the automated field to finish in Survey. This is the first Civil 3D book I’ve found which clearly and extensively explains how the automated field to finish works in Survey using a point file in the PENZD text format in a likely real world project. The only thing I’ve missed in this part is the explanation of how a surface can be build by using the newly introduced survey query command. Besides that it is really a great book.
I can recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn Civil 3D by themselves or as a guidance when learning by a teacher in a class.

July 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Updated

As you probably know as an Autodesk Subscriber you can access and download Product Enhancements from the Autodesk Subscription website.
One of those product enhancements are the Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 which include a lot of extra tools which you can add to your Civil 3D 2012 installation. These tools were released on 10 May 2012.

Lately, as of the 1st of July 2012, the Bridge Modeler tool from Autodesk Labs http://labs.autodesk.com/graduates/ has graduated and is also made available to Subscription customers. But you can’t find it under the normal download root where all the other tools are found. Instead Autodesk choose to add them under the Productivity Tools for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 section. Other new tools were also added in this section.
So the list of tools is now updated by these new tools:

  • Bridge Modeler
  • CorridorSolids
  • Curb Gutter Subassemblies

Go and get them!
And don’t forget to check this page regularly. You never know when other new tools will be made available here too.

July 2, 2012 at 8:36 am 1 comment

Autodesk Quick Uninstall Tool

Working as an CAD administrator for a big leading international consultancy and engineering firm I have to create and prepare a lot of Autodesk product deployments.

The out-of-the-box Autodesk products comes with a Deployment Wizard Tool which is very intuitive and very helpful but it doesn’t cover add-ons installations like Subscription Advantage Packs, Extensions or Object Enablers. For these add-ons to install I use a sort of script which installs the applications sequentially.

One of the annoying things is that I need to have to uninstall all products to test the total installation script I’ve made. Or when I have to add extra installations to this script and test the total installation all over again.
I need to uninstall all the products one by one. And that is a time consuming business. For this I made a copy of the install script but now for uninstalling the software and add-ons by reversing the installation. But what I can’t do with it is to select the onces I do want to uninstall and the onces I want to stay.
Here is what I found, right after the jump.

Along with the Autodesk Product Design Suites a handy uninstall tool comes available after installing the suite.

You can find this tool via Start >;; All Programs >;; Autodesk >;; Quick Uninstall Tool for Autodesk Product Design Suite 2012

When you start this tool it will show you all the installed products from this suite. Like this:

Now by ticking the boxes on the left you can uncheck or re-check the products you want to uninstall.
Hitting the Uninstall button it will warn you for possible shared applications and ask you for confirmation.

After that it will sequentially uninstall the checked applications.
When done you get a small report of what is uninstalled succesfully or failed.

Now that’s a very nice and helpful tool.

But what I found more interesting is the way it works and how I could benefit from it.

Looking closer at this uninstall tool mechanisme, I discovered that it uses an associated XML file which contains all the GUIDs of the installed applications belonging to this suite (or any other suite). A GUID is a unique reference number used as an identifier for software products. For more indept information click here.
The XML file can be found in this folder: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Uninstall Tool\. The program that reads this XML file and that actually starts this Uninstalling Tool is InvCleanup.exe
I believe that in the background the msiexec program will be executed using the GUIDs from the XML file as a parameter.

But more important is that you can alter the XML file with GUIDs of other Autodesk and non-Autodesk products.
GUIDs of all kind of installed software products can be found in the Windows Registry under the HKLM tree: HKLM\Software\Classes\Installer\Products\

So that makes this tool more useful then delivered out-of-the-box.
You even can change the title of the program. 🙂
So here is an example of what I made:

Thank you Autodesk for delivering this very helpful tool.

March 31, 2012 at 9:33 am 3 comments

Use your iPad as an interactive whiteboard (IWB)

This is a bit off-topic.
Doing AutoCAD/Civil 3D trainings with my laptop and a big lcd screen or borrowed projector, I always use traditional whiteboards or flip-overs for extra explanation to support my presentation. Since I’m an iPad owner I was looking for something to replace those traditional whiteboards/flip-overs for something I could use on my iPad like the expensive interactive whiteboards nowadays do.

So I found a niffty app what can do this for me, and I want it to share it with you.

So do you own an iPad and do you want to use it as an interactive whiteboard tool for training purposes?
Then you should take a look at Doceri’s interactive whiteboard and remote control solution for the iPad.

I’m using it and it is an awesome and affordable IWB solution for small business.

With Doceri for iPad you get an interactive whiteboard (IWB) solution where you can use the iPad as a wireless writing tablet to make annotations/remarks to support your presentation.

So you don’t need any traditional whiteboards or flip-overs to support your presentation/training anymore. All annotations/remarks can be saved to distribute later to your attendees. Or even beter, those annotations/remarks can be revised and altered for later use.
You even have the possibility to record your written presentation up front and control the speed of replay and pause it at any moment you want.

How it works:
Doceri for iPad uses a piece of software, a so called streamer, which needs to be in place on your laptop to communciate with your iPad. Communication take place over the same (wifi) network and shows the display of your laptop on your iPad. Your iPad works with Doceri as a wireless remote control for your laptop. With Doceri for iPad you then can make annotations/remarks and store them for later usage. Kind of print screens, but with extra and intelligent functionality.

I’m not going into deep what Doceri for iPad can do. You can find more information here:

Doceri App Overview
How to use it with a Powerpoint presentation

An independant and good review is to find here and here.

Alternatives and choices:
There are numerous IWB solutions for the iPad available like Ink2Go and Splashtop Whiteboard. I’ve tested both but Doceri for iPad is far out the best of three.
The most important reasons:

  • it is very responsive. and that is a must have.
  • replay of your annotations/remarks and to control it speed.
  • pinch and zoom the display of your laptop on your iPad to make annotations/remarks more precise and more smooth. This will reslult in fine, and clear lines when drawing/writing the annotations/remarks.

What do you need?
Hardware:

  • iPad (generation 1+), having a stylus can be handy but it’s not necessary.
  • Laptop
  • Projector
  • wifi network infrastructure

Software:

  • Doceri for iPad
  • Doceri Desktop for Windows / Mac
  • Wifi connection!!

Your iPad and your laptop should be on the same wifi network. If clients doesn’t give you access to their wifi network for security reasons, then you have 3 choices:

  • Create an Ad-hoc (computer-to-computer) wifi connection with your laptop. This is not easy and should be done with great care.
  • Don’t do an IWB session. 🙂
  • Or purchase and use a portable wifi router like the huawei portable hotspot mifi router. Update: you can also use the hotspot function (if provided and supported by your provider) on your smartphone or iPhone.

Costs (besides the iPad/Laptop/Projector):

  • Doceri for iPad is available and can be downloaded for free from via iTunes .
  • A single license for Doceri Desktop for Windows / Mac cost (OT) $50,- per PC/Mac (update: price is lowered to $30,-). But the licenses is portable and can be transferred via your iPad to another PC/Mac. A 30-days trial is available here.
  • A portable hotspot mifi router will cost approx. $ 100,- .

As you can see, having and using interactive whiteboard tools are no longer only for large or big companies. As an individual I now have the tools to do interactive whiteboard sessions during my trainings or presentations.

What I really like using my iPad as an IWB tool is the freedom to move around in the class room when possible.

And that’s it folks. Happy interactive whiteboarding!

February 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm 2 comments

Appending or Merging Service Packs with Civil 3D 2011

When you create a network deployment, one of the interesting options I always found was the option to Append or Merge available Service Packs resp. onto the deployment or into the Administrative image msi file.

But what is the difference between Appending or Merging a service pack?

The difference is exactly as the option tell you:

Appending will append the supplied Service Packs onto the deployment, forcing the msi installation to re-run the installation process replacing files of the installed deployment with the ones delivered with the service pack

While merging will integrate the supplied Service Packs into the Administrative Image msi file. It will in fact do the same as above but only once, letting the installation to run on the client only once.

Depending on what you want to achieve with your deployment you choose one of the techniques. I prefer the Merge option so deployments only occur once on the client system.
Unfortunately due to a fault in the Setup of Civil 3D 2011, creating the network deployment of Civil 3D 2011 will not let you merge the service pack into the Administrative Image msi file.

January 11, 2011 at 9:00 am 4 comments

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