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Autodesk Web applications

Old CAD veterans like me will remember a time when we solved more or less all of our problems using LISP (Lost In Stupid Parentheses). With the advent of vertical products and the new BIM technologies, it’s become almost impossible to create a LISP, except, perhaps, for short, simple routines that are more entertaining than they are useful.

However, for some time now, Autodesk has offered its Autodesk Exchange Apps website, accessible from the toolbar of your favourite vertical product, which contains applications that let you add interesting features to the products.

Let’s take a look at what we can except from these applications.

Two questions immediately come to mind when I think about this page:

1- Will Civil 3D one day let us apply a constant slope to our pipe networks and, for that matter, modify the slope with a single click?

Slope Across Pipes
Yes, we can apply the same slope across the entire network. As an added bonus, we can also modify it with just a few clicks.

2- What’s a GOOD software for importing/exporting PDF files?

Print2CAD 2015
The all-purpose software for managing PDF files in both directions.

3. It would be great if objects selected in tables were highlighted in the drawing...

Select any object in a table and it will light up in the drawing. It’s like Christmas all year round!

I know I said two questions, but more came to mind... Visit the website to discover tons of apps that will resolve some of these issues, and not just for civil engineering projects. Simply select your preferred software from the box in the top right corner, and away you go. It won’t be long before you think of something else.

Is there any risk to downloading these apps?

Have you ever worried about downloading an app to your smart phone? I would guess that the answer is probably NO. These apps are tested and user-reviewed. Personally, I installed and uninstalled close to twenty of them this summer, with no adverse effects on my version of Civil 2015. It still works perfectly and I haven’t needed to reinstall it at all.

Are they all relevant?

Not for everyone, but several of them are interesting. Everyone’s needs are different, and you’ll no doubt find something you can use.

There are three categories of apps: free, trial, and paid
Some apps are free; simply install them and start using them. Others are offered on a trial basis (30 days or longer), depending on the product, after which you’ll need to buy a licence. Still others you’ll have to purchase before you can download them, although these are less numerous and their features are clearly proven. Each app comes with a link directly to its respective web page for downloading, as well as more information.

In short, whether for CAD managers who are inundated with questions or bombarded with requests for specialized tools, or simply for a user looking for a special feature, this website is a gold mine of information. Take a few minutes to browse the site—you’re sure to find something that will spark your imagination.
However, make sure to read the installation instructions carefully (version compatibility, addition of pilot, system recommendations, etc.).

Before I sign off, here are a few other apps I thought I should mention:

  • Polylines Quantities: create a CSV with perimeter and surface area.
  • Grade Slope Along Surface: trace a line on a surface following a precise slope.
  • Sketch Import and 3D Warehouse Import: insert your SKP models in your drawings.
  • Trace Profile With Polyline: quickly create a polyline from your profiles ($10).


Martin Côté, Consultant in civil engineering

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