I have heard that question one too many times from my children. When they were little I coud just say “because I said so”. But in the production environment where every minute counts this is a legitimate question. Cleanup takes time. You can clean anything, but it’s impossible to clean everything. To establish the scope of your AutoCAD cleanup you first need to determine your goals.
Three major scenarios for cleanups are:
- IN: Cleaning up incoming datasets. The data could be coming from outside sources, old projects, translation from other CAD formats, etc.
- OUT: Cleaning up outgoing datasets. You may need to package your data for outside consultants or restructure it to accommodate client requirements.
- Housekeeping: When data does not need to be reorganized but you need to deal with such problems as file corruption, purging, resetting variables or simply prepare dataset for archiving in your own system.
In all cases your first objective is to maintain graphic and file integrity.
Additionally, your second objective for the IN scenario is to make the data functional in your environment.
- Layer structure from outside data sources may not work well with your plot style table(s).
- Full XREF paths saved in outside data may contain locations that do not exist on your system.
For the OUT scenario, the second objective is portability and liability. In other words, when your dataset is “transplanted” to a different location, the drawings should look exactly the same as they looked on your system.
- Some CAD systems do not have concept of paper space, and the graphics from layouts will be lost.
- If you are using full path for XREFs and keep your drawings on the P: drive in your office, then send them to an office that uses the W: drive, the XREFs and images saved with a full path may not be found.
Housekeeping tasks deal with problems specific to the dataset, and usually would address file corruption, purging, resetting variables and preparing data for archiving.
Before approaching any cleanup task, you need to uncover as much information about the purpose of the cleanup as you can. You can save lots of time by finding out in advance if the incoming data will be updated later. When you expect the data to be updated, make sure to save your tools and settings for processing of subsequent data sets.
Finally, after the cleanup is completed, if the work on the dataset will continue, you would want to make sure that the team working on the dataset is aware of the cleanup process and will not overwrite clean dataset with original versions of the file.
The dataset cleanup tasks can be divided into 3 categories:
- Organizing and cleaning up layers
- Organizing and managing XREFs and other resource files
- Everything else.
In the next post I will go over “everything else”. 🙂 I will show you the tools that are available and will teach you to create your own tools.