BricsCAD Journey – Part 19: Settings

Welcome back and thanks for joining me on my BricsCAD Journey! In a previous post, I briefly introduced you to the Settings dialog box. Now, it’s time to dive deeper!

Access the Settings dialog box

Unlike AutoCAD®, BricsCAD centralizes all system variables and user preferences in a single dialog box called Settings. If you like to type, you can access the Settings dialog box with the OPTIONS or DSETTINGS commands. It’s like accessing the Options or Drafting Settings dialog boxes in AutoCAD.  If you prefer graphical access, you’ll find the Settings tool on the Quad.

Settings tool on the Quad

Tools in the Settings dialog box enable you to find and edit the 900+ system variables and user preferences in BricsCAD. You can even export all them and their values to a CSV file. The settings are divided into three primary categories: Drawing, Dimensions, and Program options. An additional category, Compare, is also included.

The tools at the top of the Settings dialog box, allow you to view the settings in different ways. Below those tools is the list of settings. And, at the bottom, you’ll find useful information about the selected setting.

Tools in the Settings dialog box

Categorized View

The Categorized tool displays a tree view that groups the variables into the four categories. You can expand each category to access relevant variables. And, in many cases, you can expand additional subcategories. The Drawing, Dimensions, and Program options tools display the corresponding categorized view.

Drawing

The settings in the Drawing category control a variety of drawing behaviors. These include many of the settings you would find in the AutoCAD Drafting Settings dialog as well as other locations.

Settings dialog - Drawing category

Dimensions

The Dimensions category is, as you would expect, dedicated to dimension settings.

Setting dialog - Dimensions category

Program Options

The Program options include many of the settings you would find in the AutoCAD Options dialog box. These include File paths and Open/Save controls just to name a few.

Settings dialog - Program options category

Compare

Compare includes just one setting that is specific to drawing comparison functionality.

Settings dialog - Compare category

If you’re coming to BricsCAD from AutoCAD, you may find the Categorized view a bit overwhelming at first glance. But, don’t let it intimidate you. While you can access any of the settings by expanding the categories as shown above, there are other ways. Fortunately, you can find most of the settings without having to learn the category structure. For example, if you right-click on the SNAP or GRID controls from the status bar and choose Settings, the Settings dialog opens with Snap/Grid settings expanded. And, you can view all the settings alphabetically or use the Find tool.

Alphabetical View

If you know the name of the setting you want to modify, you may prefer to display the settings instances rather than categorically. Doing so lists all the settings alphabetically based on their Title. I emphasize Title because in most cases, the title is different from the actual variable name. For example, Angle direction controls the ANGDIR system variable. It’s comparable to the Clockwise Angle control in the AutoCAD Drawing Units dialog box. If you’re concerned you may not find what you’re looking for, don’t worry! Be happy! Why? Because the powerful Find functionality helps you find the settings you need, even when you don’t know what you want!

Settings dialog - Alphabetic view

Find

The Find tools include options, a search panel, and up/down controls to navigate through the occurrences it finds. This makes the Settings dialog incredibly powerful even if you’re new to CAD. For example, you may not know the name of the ANGDIR system variable.  And, you may not know its title is Angle Direction. But, you probably know one of the key terms such as Angle, Direction, or even Clockwise. You can enter any of these terms in the Search field to easily find the setting you want. By default, it searches for the term in the variable name, title and value. It also looks for any occurrences in the help description or category names. You can turn off any of these options to limit the search criteria. You can also require it to match case.

Settings dialog - Find tools

View and edit settings

After you find the setting you want, select it to view its current value and properties. If the setting is editable, you can click in the value box to change it. The value options vary depending on the setting. For example, some may require you to enter a number, while others may include a check box or drop-down list.

Settings dialog values

Some settings are grey indicating they’re read-only. In addition, a lock icon in the lower left corner of the Settings dialog box clearly identifies them as read-only.

Settings dialog read-only values

The name and type of variable for the selected setting also displays in the lower left corner of the dialog box. The setting title and description are to the right of it. And, for some settings, a preview image displays in the lower right corner.

Setting properties

Other icons in the lower left corner of the Settings dialog box indicate where BricsCAD stores the variable. It saves some in the drawing. Others are stored in the registry as system variables or user preferences. A few variables are not saved.

Variable icons

Most BricsCAD settings correspond to AutoCAD variables. There are, however, a few that are unique to BricsCAD. They are clearly indicated by an additional icon.

BricsCAD-only variables

Edit system variables at the Command line

The Settings dialog box offers a graphical and intuitive method for you to view and edit system variables and user preferences. It can be particularly useful if you don’t know the exact name of the variable or if you want to change several variables. However, if you prefer to view and edit variables via the Command line, you can do that too! Simply enter the variable name or launch the SETVAR command.

Export settings

Regardless of how you view or edit settings in BricsCAD, you can easily export them to a comma delimited (CSV) file. Use the Export tool then enter the file name and location.

Export settings

With the CSV file created, you can open it in a spreadsheet app to easily view all the variable properties. This can be especially helpful for troubleshooting behavior differences between different systems or drawings.

Settings CSV file

What’s Next?

I hope you found reading this post as valuable as I found writing it. Suddenly those 900+ system variables and user preferences are a lot less intimidating! Join me next time as our BricsCAD Journey leads us to another unique and powerful dialog box… Customize!

A quick overview of Heidi’s Journey

Here is an overview of all the articles of Heidi’s journey:

1) First impressions
2) Download and install
3) Welcome to BricsCAD
4) Exploring the interface
5) Command access
6) Exploring trial levels
7) Exploring each workspace
8) Drawing Entities
9) Settings for Drawing Entities
10) Drawing with Styles
11) License options
12) Working with blocks
13) Working with references
14) Working with Layers and Linetypes
15) Editing Entities
16) Entity Manipulation
17) Selection Methods
18) Drawing Explorer
19) Settings (Current article)
20) Classic Edition

Heidi Hewett

As User Success Manager, Heidi brings her passion for learning to Bricsys, where she will work to help our customers understand the fastest path to success with BricsCAD products. During her 26-year tenure at Autodesk, Heidi worked as a Training Specialist, a Senior Applications Engineer and as a Technical Marketing Manager.

1 comment

  • The “settings” panel is great, for sure. All variables in a single place, with detailed and complete information, really fine. But, as you said yourself, it’s a little overwhelming. I think that some kind of “bookmark” or, even better, “tag” system, to help keep track of the 50-or-so variables one uses most frequently, would be extremely useful.

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