This section will be expanded as information is gathered.  If you want to submit any information to be included, please e-mail me at Ian White or .  Due credit will be given.


Don't make calls at 9:00 am every day to try and hurry a job along - IT DOES NOT WORK

When getting someone to prepare some work for you, do not call at the start of every day to ask if the work is ready. Also do not make multiple calls through the day to do the same. It does not speed up the preparation at all. On the contrary it can get contractors offside, with work put to the bottom of the pile.

If nothing was provided by the close of business the previous working day, then it is highly unlikely that there is going to be anything ready the first thing on the start of the next working day. Surely if it was, it would have been provided.

A much better way to get work on time is to clearly set out the timeline when requesting the work in the first place. If circumstances change, then let your contractors know about the revised deadline. If the deadline is unreasonable, let your client know that the new deadline cannot be met. Don't blindly accept a new deadline and then apply pressure to your contractors and believe they somehow they will meet this deadline simply because you badger them.

Contractors are reasonable and the last thing they want to do is let you down.

Remember, when a project deadline is so critical, always request a formal written quotation and make sure that the quotation clearly states when work will be done and when it will be delivered. Do not ignore this information and then make promises to your client that cannot be met. Above all, do not then expect your contractor to perform miracles to deliver the work when they clearly cannot. All this does is strain the relationship between yourself, your client and your contractors. 

Clients would much rather know the truth. This way they can better plan their affairs.

Above all, don't attempt to change the terms of a contract as this will always be seen as a breach of terms and conditions that could see your contractor cancel the contract.

Compose your Written Communications Carefully

With the use of e-mail these days, it is very easy to compose an e-mail on the spur of the moment and pick the Send button. A poorly composed written communication can destroy any goodwill that might exist between yourself and a client or contractor. Above all, if a situation arises where a poorly composed e-mail has caused a problem to arise, do not further inflame the situation by being indignant and refusing to accept your e-mail has caused a problem. This does not do anyone any good.

Do not think that because you do not use e-mail that this does not apply to you. Many projects have ended up in trouble because a poorly composed fax, letter, memo, RFI and the like has caused problems with a client or contractor.

After you compose the message, read it from the recipient's point of view. If you would be offended to receive such a message, it is time to re-write it.

Telephone Communications

When dealing with contracts, always communicate in writing. It is very easy to get annoyed if calls go unanswered for whatever the reason. A message left on an answering service can convey a totally incorrect message irrespective of what is actually said.

Telephone calls go unanswered for many legitimate reasons, and leaving a message that berates the receiver does not fix anything. It is much better to sit down and calmly put the request in writing.

Again, remember not everyone is on broadband, or has instant access to faxed messages.

Communicate in writing

Always communicate in writing (sorry for repeating this). You will find that just about all contract terms and conditions require all communications to be in writing. Even if a telephone call is made, these terms and conditions require that a written transcript of the conversation be provided in by letter, fax or e-mail. Problems then arise where the person providing the transcript believes the telephone conversation conveyed something different to that which the was said.

Simplify things and put it in writing every time. This complies with the terms and conditions and has much more standing if there is a dispute.


Drawing Size

Users should aim at keeping the drawing file size as small as possible.  This said, purging everything out of a drawing that is not referenced can mean more work later when one of the structures that has been purged has to be created again.  The biggest single cause of unnecessary drawing size results from users not understanding how AutoCAD performs various operations.

When you insert a block that you subsequently explode will result in the elements of the block firstly being in the block definition (a Table object), and then as the individual objects that result from the explosion.  If the block that has been exploded is no longer needed, the block definition should be purged.

When you  WMFIN a file, the file is inserted as a block.  If you explode this block to further work on it, you end up with the same situation as when you manually insert a normal block.  Again, once you have exploded the block, purge the block definition.

The "randomly" named blocks that result from a cut/copy/paste operation between concurrent sessions of AutoCAD are probably one of the biggest causes of excessively large AutoCAD drawings, as these blocks are generally exploded and rarely left unexploded.  As with other blocks that have been exploded, purge out these definitions that are no longer needed.  I have been provided with drawings that are 6 MB in size, only to reduce to around 600 kB after these blocks have been purged.

So, don't take pride in having the largest drawing files in a drawing office, and similarly, don't take pride in having the smallest drawing files either.  Both extremes can cause problems.  The key is to remove unnecessary information, generally that which you might not have realised was there.

Editing Text

When editing text, do not erase all the text in the edit dialog to delete it.  This does not delete the text object, but leaves you with a text object that has no characters.  Such objects can only be selected with the ALL selection method.  If you want to delete dext, use the ERASE command.

Cursor Trails

If moving your cursor leaves images of the cursor behind, this is generally a video driver problem.  Check with the manufacturer of your video card for an updated driver.  If none are available, try turning Graphics Hardware Acceleration down a notch until these trails do not show.

Creating PDF files

PDF files can be created using programs like Adobe Acrobat.  There are also a number of other programs that can do this as well.   One such way is by using the Ghost Script and GSView.  You can download these programs from

Once installed, you will need to add a plotter to AutoCAD.  Add a PostScript Level II device and set it to print to a file.   You then process the created EPS file with GSView to create a PDF file.

You can also download PStoEdit.  This allows you to convert a PDF file to a DXF file.  While this will create something AutoCAD can use, the resulting file will not necessarily be accurate, however it can be used when all else fails.

This will only work if the person or organisation that prepared the PDF file did not apply any encryption to it.

Please remember to respect the copyright of others if you want others to respect your copyright.

Annotating PDF files

PDF files that have permission to be annotated can have comments added. There are a number of programs that can do this. One is the paid version of Foxit Reader (, and another is Bluebeam PDF Revue ( Any annotations can be saved with the PDF file and the resulting file can then be e-mailed back. This is getting closer to the "paperless" office often talked about and is a very efficient way of commenting a PDF file..


Protect your work

Do not make it a habit of giving away your work. There is a lot more in a DWG file than there ever was in a paper or film print. Just because you are asked to provide a DWG file does not mean you should, or are contractually obliged to, do so. You may be using libraries, fonts or shapes that are subject to other agreements and providing a DWG file means you have distributed parts of those libraries which will likely put you in breach of the agreement you entered into with the library provider.

When asked to provide files in electronic format, first provide them as PDF files using the procedure outlined above, or using one of the many free or commercial PDF generating programs. Even here, make sure that you set security limiting the recipient to view and print the file, or just view the file. If your PDF software allows, you can set the resulting file to have this security but still allow for comments to be added.

If you have to provide a DWG file,  about the only utility to do this properly is CADLock available from Some systems cannot deal with the locked files, and under these circumstances you might want to use WAI-LOCK and WAI-LOCKALL. Please note that these utilities do not provide absolute protection, however they do act as a deterrent to casual theft. A determined individual can work around them, however they might just find that the time and effort involved makes it a rather pointless exercise. No business or individual that values its reputation should ever get involved in trying to break any protection mechanism.

Respect the copyright of others if you want others to respect your copyright (beginning to sound like Ali G)

Be very careful about using features like "Pack-n-Go", eTransmit, or any other electronic transmittal system as these can "gather" up all related files and send them to the recipient. Such features and utilities rarely if ever tell you to check that you are entitled to distribute the gathered files. You will also notice that none of these utilities ever pack and send themselves on to the recipient. Always make sure you know exactly what you are giving away.