Introduction

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Block Library Add / Update Links Colour by Spec Status Colour by Block Version Reset Colour Drawing Check Export Quantities Redefine Superseded Blocks from the Specs & Standards Website Redefine Selected Blocks from the Specs & Standards Website Redefine Blocks with Drawings in a Local Folder Apply a Set of Standard Parameters to Blocks Create a JPEG Thumbnail Image Help Display the IconCAD Version Number IconCAD Add-In for AutoCAD®

The IconCAD AutoCAD Add-in is part of the IconSystem® BIM Toolkit which is an online specification, library and cost plan solution (with complimentary Add-Ins and Apps) that can be shared across teams, departments and offices worldwide.

For each client an IconSystem Specs & Standards solution is created for the cloud-based library. This allows the publishing, notification and versioning of any type of CAD File or BIM Object (AutoCAD®, Revit®, 3ds Max®, IFC, etc.).

The IconCAD AutoCAD Add-In allows any authorised users to search for AutoCAD Blocks held in the library and then drag-and-drop them directly into their AutoCAD Drawings.

Additional routines provide functionality such as highlighting out-of-date items, importing data into AutoCAD drawings or Revit Projects and scheduling from AutoCAD or Revit into an online cost estimate. Additionally, any information, pictures, installation guides, risk assessments, costs, etc. can also be held in the library and associated with the CAD / BIM files.

Using the Add-in

In the Drafting section of the Add-In there are the following set of routines:

  • Block Library: Search for and then drag-and-drop selected AutoCAD Blocks from Specs & Standards, directly into your AutoCAD Drawing
  • Add / Update Links: No need to pre-populate blocks with IconSystem attributes or hyperlinks, this routine does it 'on-the-fly' for you
  • Colour by Spec Status: Automatically identify blocks based the status of their corresponding specification on the Specs & Standards website, i.e. blocks relating to Innovation items will change to Green, Current will go Yellow, items under Review will turn Magenta and Archived Red. You can also use this to identify non-specification items in the drawing, as they will not change colour
  • Colour by Block Version: Automatically identify blocks that have been superseded by newer versions in the Block Library by highlighting them in a specific colours, i.e. Current Blocks will change to Yellow, Superseded to Red and Deleted to Grey
  • Reset Colour: Undo either / both of the two process above
  • Drawing Check: This routine performs a 'client specific' pre-defined set of processes and checks on the current drawing
  • Export Quantities: This part of the Add-In scans an AutoCAD drawing and exports a list of blocks to a text file ready to upload to a Project Cost Estimate held in the IconSystem . (Note that this is not fully functional yet as the upload functionality is still in development)

In the Redefine Blocks section of the Add-In there are the following three routines:

  • Superseded from Specs & Standards: Automate the process of redefining blocks in the drawing with any updated versions that have been published on the Specs & Standards website
  • Selected from Specs & Standards: Redefine user-selected blocks placed in the drawing with ones that have been published on the Specs & Standards website
  • From Folder on Local Disc: Automate the process of redefining blocks in the current drawing with ones of the same name that are held on a local disc drive or network folder.

The Block Routines section of the Add-In is intended to ONLY be used by Block Library 'Content Creators'. It contains the following two routines:

  • Block Tidy: Run a series of commands to impose a level of consistency to block drawings before they are uploaded to the Library.
  • Create Thumbnail: Automate the process of creating a small JPG images that can then be used as the preview images in the Library.

The Add-In, which is compatible with AutoCAD 2017, 2016, 2015  and 2014, is free to download and trial.

To run the Add-In you will either need to be a registered user of an IconSystem website that is in use by one of Elecosoft's clients or, if you are considering purchasing IconCAD, you can trial the solution on IconSystem Demonstration Website by following the registration process in the 'Try IconCAD with a Sample AutoCAD Drawing' section below.

If you have access to YouTube, you may like to watch our IconSystem Specs & Standards CAD Library (pending) demonstration and then the IconCAD (pending) demonstration.

Downloading, Installing and Running the IconCAD Add-In for the First Time

Click the appropriate link below and download the installer that matches your AutoCAD version; these installers are all for 64-bit Windows Operating Systems. Note that if a previous version of the Add-In is already installed, you should not need to uninstall it as newer versions should overwrite any existing version. Under certain circumstances you may receive a Windows Installer message saying that 'Another version of this product is already installed.' If this is the case, please remove the existing version as instructed. Note also that to install the Add-In, your Windows user account may need administrator privileges. The latest version is 2.4.2 / v20.89 which was released on 16 August 2017:

When you have clicked the required link, choose 'Run' or 'Save' (followed by 'Run') to install the program. If AutoCAD was open during the installation, please re-start it.

NOTE #1: If you receive an error message that the .msi file is corrupt or invalid, please right-click the required link above, select 'Save link as...' (or 'Save target as') go to the folder you downloaded it to and install the program from there.

NOTE #2: If, during the installation, you get the following .NET Framework error message...

IconCAD Add-In for AutoCAD® - .Net Framework

...do NOT click 'Yes', but instead install .NET v4.5.1 from this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=40773.

Try IconCAD with a Sample AutoCAD Drawing

If you are NOT already a user of an IconSystem website, you can trial this Add-In by using the IconSystem demonstration website. To get you started we have created a sample AutoCAD Drawing that you can trial the Add-In with. If you have not already registered on the demonstration website, please follow this Registration Process.

Once you have submitted the registration, you should receive an email confirming your access to the system within an hour or so (during office hours).

Whilst your registration is being processed, you can download our Sample AutoCAD Drawing (this is in AutoCAD 2013 format).

Configuring and running the Add-In

Please note that you will need to have been granted access to the demonstration website before you can run the Add-In.

When AutoCAD has started you should see the IconCAD ribbon (as per the image at the top of this page). If you get any 'File Loading - Security Concern' messages when running any of the routines, but sure to click the 'Always load this application' tick box then click the 'Load' button:

IconCAD Add-In for AutoCAD® - Security Concern

When you first click the Block Library icon, you will be asked to configure the Add-In. You can either use the IconSystem demonstration website demo.iconsystem.co.uk or whatever other IconSystem website you already use. Next enter the Email Address and the Password you used when registering on the site.

IconCAD Add-In for AutoCAD® - Sign In

Once you've successfully logged, the Add-In asks you to specify file paths for the Local Library and Search Results folders. By default they are placed in an 'ICON' sub-folder of your 'Documents' folder:

IconCAD Add-In for AutoCAD® - Settings

Please note that you can change these paths by clicking the 'Settings' icon on the bottom right of the block-library search window.

If you have any trouble with this, please call the Elecosoft Helpdesk on 01858 436925 (for users outside the UK please use the international code: +44 1858 468925).

This has been a short introduction into the IconCAD AutoCAD Add-In. For further information and pricing please call Elecosoft on 01858 436345 (for users outside the UK please use the international code: +44 1858 468345).

IconSystem Specs & Standards Overview

The IconSystem Specs & Standards solution is in use by some of the UK's largest retailers who use it to manage their building design, specification and branding requirements. Essentially the system holds all the information the client wants to impart to the design, construction, fit-out and maintenance teams in terms of 'this is what we want you to build' and 'we installed this, here's where you find the maintenance guidelines'. It's the client being prescriptive about things like:

  • 'You need to adhere to this health & safety policy'

  • 'Complete this risk assessment before commencing work'

  • 'We are specifying these light fittings (because they are economical / last a lifetime / our procurement department has struck a deal with the supplier)'

  • 'Read this installation guide when you install that item of equipment'

  • 'Here are the approved design drawings so you can construct this item of shopfitting'

  • 'You need to install this item this way to ensure we don't have people tripping over it'

  • 'We are no longer using that item of equipment / floor finish / door as we have replaced it with this one'

  • 'This is what was installed, this is when it needs servicing and here is the maintenance manual'.


Along with all of the above, the system can also provide the clients with accurate cost model data across the range of building types and sizes it constructs. Some of Elecosoft's clients know to the penny what it will cost to build, fit-out or re-fit a property. They can also very quickly assess the knock-on effect of procuring items at an alternative price because the Specs & Standards solution knows exactly how many have been specified.

The IconSystem Specs & Standards solution is not a document management system, but a full database-driven content management system where the possibility of having conflicting information is eliminated because the system imposes a 'no duplication' principle.

Information held in the system is revised using a robust, built-in, change management system. When a revision is approved, all references to the information are instantly updated, a full version history is recorded and change notification emails are automatically sent out at chosen intervals ensuring all teams are made aware of the update.

Access to the system is granted via pre-determined user permissions, so you can trust that information is only viewed by the people that need to see it, ensuring sensitive information is kept confidential.

Technical Information

The IconCAD AutoCAD Add-In needs an Internet connection as it is pulling live data directly from our servers. This is important as our clients' specifications often change on a daily or even hourly basis. The search results and images you see in the Add-In is downloaded as and when needed. The Add / Update Links is pulling information directly from the live server so that you can be certain that it is the latest, current and approved specification information. No files or data are included as part of the installation package.

This app has been developed using the IconSystem API / Web Service which allows approved software developers to access information held in an IconSystem website.


Version History

Note that the Version History shown here is for the main installation package, as available above. The individual components of the IconCAD Add-In are versioned separately. Please refer to the components' help pages for the individual version histories.

2.4.2 / v20.89 - 16/08/2017: Minor revisions to a number of functions together with one 'client-specific' update. Automatic update function replaced by a manual update request.
2.4.0 - 08/04/2017
: Minor revision.
2.3.2 / v20.67 - 08/09/2016: Minor revision to Client Specific Update function.
2.3.2 / v20.66 - 02/08/2016
: Minor bug fixes.
2.3.1 / v20.66 - 27/07/2016
: Revised to allow the AutoCAD Add-In to run concurrently with the CAD File Downloader Desktop App; forced additional Sign In when running multiple copies of AutoCAD
2.3.0 / v20.66 - 20/07/2016
: Revised colouring processes. Added identification of Deleted blocks. Help moved online.
2.2.3 / v20.49 - 22/06/2016
: Updated storing and restoring of AutoCAD variables. Revised a number of routines so that specification version colouring is dealt with separately from block version colouring. Reporting updated. Reporting added to Export Quantities routine. Layer states are now saved when a number of routines start, then restored when they complete.
2.2.2 / v20.28 - 16/06/2016:
The colouring routines now store any specific block colours prior to colouring. Implemented a rule in certain routines that the drawing must be in Model Space before the routines will run. Added functionality to create a set of selection sets based upon the results of running either of the colouring routines. The user can then use the selection sets, as required, to help in manipulating the results. For example, if the MOVE command is used, the user can enter a selection set name at the 'Select Objects: ' prompt and then see the matching items moving around the drawing as the cursor is moved. Reworked a number of processes for ignoring blocks that the routines need not be working with.
2.2.1 / V18.10 - 31/05/2016
: Fixed Sign In error caused if an incorrect Web Site name is entered.
2.2.0 - 20/05/2016
: Optimisation and performance increases made across all components. Progress timers and counters added wherever appropriate.
2.1.0 - 13/04/2016
: Once installed, please refer to the individual help pages of each of the components for update details.
2.1.0 beta - 07/04/2016:
Once installed, please refer to the individual help pages of each of the components for update details.
2.0.0 - 16/03/2016:
Production release - updated Block Library interface. Help function added.
2.0.0 Beta 2 - 04/03/2016:
Multiple minor updates to all routines apart from the Block Library, where no changes have been made.
2.0.0 Beta 1 - 29/02/2016: Block Library interface brought into line with the IconSystem CAD File Downloader Desktop App. Add / Update Links, Colour by Spec Status, Colour by Block Status, Reset Colour, Update Blocks, Drawing Check, Export Quantities, Create Thumbnails, Blocks Tidy and Version added.
1.2.0 - 29/10/2015: Update to the Block Library: if multiple blocks are attached to an item, they are all made available.
1.1.0 - 17/09/2014: Implemented SHA256 authentication.
1.0.1 - 27/03/2014: Revised Insert command to force redefining of blocks already in the drawing. Fixed issue where a new instance of the Block Library window opens when the ribbon button is clicked again.
1.0.0 - 04/02/2014: Initial version.