Tips for working in AutoCAD 2000 under wine

Be sure to check AutoCAD 2000 in wine HOWTO if you don’t have acad installed allready.

TIP 1: GRAPHICS CARD Get a decent graphics card. Nvidia has the best opengl drivers and performance in linux is way beter even with a “cheap” 8400 or 7600 geforce. ATI SUCKS in linux (i know i have bought 3 and dumped them for cheaper nvidias when i switched to linux) although they try to catch up lately, they still have a long way to go. Intel cards work sufficiently for opengl apps but don’t expect miracles (they are better in opengl rendering than ATIs under linux no matter what the benchmarks say). Do install the proprietary drivers if you are planning to do more than just surfing and [open]office work on your pc.

TIP 2: SHADE MODE After you follow tip #1 go to autocad and Tools->Options->System->Properties and between software and hardare select hardware and pick the wopengl6 driver. This enables hardware acceleration in all 3d shade modes in autocad. To do that go to View->Shade->3D Wireframe or use the corresponding toolbar icon (ACAD->Shade). Even if your drawing is just 2d, switching to 3d wireframe mode will accelerate your viewport drastically.

[Cons: only solid linetype for 3d wireframe (meaning you can’t see the dotted/dashed lines but they are there) see also TIP #4]

[Cons 2: ATI users with catalyst drivers, you are out of luck, acad will crash immediately on hardware acceleration or the drawings will disappear from the viewport. The only solution i can think of is TIP#4a. And get yourself an Nvidia next time :) ]

TIP 3: DESKTOP EFFECTS Disable desktop effects when working in autocad. Compiz will make autocad unusuable under some circumstances. For examle if you minimize and restore the window. In general, as a rule of thumb: if you are going to work for a long time on autocad (or even on blender or any app that uses 3d acceleration) your best bet would be to disable desktops effects temporarily. Desktop effects is very nice for browsing, (open)officing etc but it stil has some issues with 3d apps and wine, so better be safe than sorry. If  disabling/enabling desktop effects is not your thing, or you want max viewport performance and space see TIP#5.

TIP 4a: TEXT pt. 1 One thing that slows down the viewport rendering significantly is TEXT. The workaround here is to work with text cleverly. Text rendering is slow only in 2d wireframe mode. There is an option to speed up the display by not rendering text when in 2d wireframe mode. Go to Tools->Options->Display and at the bottom-right of the window there is an option called “show text boundary only”, check this, click ok and issue a REGEN command. This will render all text in the viewport as rectangles. Usually when working on a drawing you don’t need to see text (i use “di” to get dimensions). At some points when you start dimensioning and documenting the drawing, where you need text, you can switch to 3d wireframe or 3d flat shaded mode where you can see text without a big impact in performance (if u have a decent graphics card that is).

TIP 4b: TEXT pt. 2 Use .shx fonts instead of TrueType in your drawings. SHX fonts are line-fonts originally developed for old-style pen-plotters but still useful for laser-cutters etc. Since these fonts have no fill and are just lines they are faster to draw on screen. AutoCAD ships with this sort of fonts (i.e. simplex.shx). The hard thing is to find good SHX fonts nowadays that support languages other than english. [Note for greek readers: there was some good shx fonts that support greek in the CADWARE for autocad 2000 package. Google for it.]

TIP 5: FULLSCREEN Did you know that all applications in GNOME (maybe in kde too but i don’t know how) can become fullscreen? This maximizes screen space and also improves performance for apps that utilize 3d acceleration (like autocad in 3d shade modes and blender)[This is especially true when you have 3d desktop effects enabled]. To access the “magick” function of fullscreen windows you have to assign a shortcut for it in System -> Preferences -> Keybard Shortcuts. Look for the entry that reads “toggle fullscreen blah blah” and assign a key. I prefer to assign Alt+F11 as it is similar to other apps that use F11 for fullscreen mode.

[Note 1: to exit fullscreen press the shortcut again]

[Note 2: To switch workspaces when in fullscreen without exiting it you can use Ctrl+Alt+R/L Arrows]

TIP 6: LARGE DRAWINGS Break up large drawings into smaller ones whenever you can. Use CTRL+TAB to switch between drawings.

TIP 7: ZOOM In autocad enter the command ZOOMFACTOR and set it to something around 60. By default in acad 2000 you get a value of 10 which translates to REALLY SLOOOOW zooming with the wheel of the mouse.

TIP 8: TRIM When trimming or extending multiple lines there is a way to do it fast. It’s called “fence” and is one of the burried options of the trim command. Look it up in the Acad help. Short story: issue a trim command, select trim borders, issue F (for “fence”), draw a line that intersects all the lines you want to trim, hit enter or space and voila! multiple trimming! [ Actually this is better than the option – later introduced in acad – for rectangular selection of lines to trim, since you can select diagonally or lasso-style. So long for innovations in acad 2006.]

TIP 9: SAVE OFTEN Do save often! Autocad was not designed to work under linux and wine is still buggy. Although it works sufficiently, acad still crashes from time to time. You have been warned!

TIP 10: TEXT EDIT In acad 2000 text can’t be edited by simply double-clicking on it. If you are like me and want minimal toolbars around and no right-click menus, you should add at least a custom button for the edit text command. Other usefull commands to go into buttons under wine are 2d & 2d wireframe shade mode.


more to come