Archive for the ‘Design Software’ Category

Reports in MacDraft Pro

January 4, 2016

MacDraft Pro has some powerful reports that allow you to generate dynamic reports for your plans. You can set up the program to create a materials list. First, get organized. Look at your general ideas and notice how many things are duplicated. You might have several brick walls, or stepping stones. You can define walls with their associated studs, drywall, or panelling —whatever comprises you wall. You’ll go in and define that stepping stone, then lay down as many as you want, and your report will reflect the total number. Just remember to define each object the first time you use it, and then using it again gets in down for the total count.

Saving A Library Object

December 7, 2013

Yes, I promised.

I promised a couple of posts ago that I’d follow up on the post about Adding a Border to Your Plan.

Today I’ll show you how to take the border we created and make it into a Library Object that you can use and re-use in any plan you create.

Here’s how.

1. Open the Ez-Architect file where you saved the border.

2. Be sure your border (or other object) is selected. If it’s not already grouped, group it and then select it.

3. If you already have a library file with your own custom objects, that’s good. You can add this new border object to it. If not, go to Options/Library/Create New Library and create a new library file. Depending on the permissions on your computer, you may need to change permissions for the Library directory if you want to add your own file there. This can be done. Otherwise, just put your custom library file in your My Documents directory, or with your other Ez-Architect data files. Your Library file will be an *.aal file. Your Ez-Architect files are *.aad files.

4. Next select the object. (Read 2, above again if you haven’t grouped it).

5. Go to Options/Library/Add Object to Library…

6. The default Library directory will open. If you have placed your new library file there, find it and click. If your *.aal file is somewhere else, then navigate to it and then click the file.

7. To make sure your border is now in your library file, go to Options/Library/Manage Library.

8. When the Manage Library dialog opens, click Open, navigate to your library file via the file dialog and then open it.

9. You’ll see your border as an object in the library. You can use the Rename option to give it a name. Then save.

10. To use your border, click the Library icon Tool and draw a rectangle, the Library file dialog will open where you can select your library file (or navigate to where you saved it). Click to open.

11. Double click the library object. Click done, and it will be placed in your drawing. Drag it so it’s the size you want.

That’s it!

Are you having trouble Registering Ez-Architect ?

November 25, 2013

We’ve had a couple of incidents where users have had some trouble registering Ez-Architect.

Did you see something like this?

Do you see this when you try to register your key?

Do you see this when you try to register your key?

There are reasons and solutions (not reasons and excuses…). First, solutions:

Solution A

  1. Check to see what version of Ez-Architect you are using. Go to Help/About. This will operate whether you’re using the demo or have an older registered version.
  2. If you have a version prior to 6.0, you should not be seeing anything like the message, above. If you do see this and you’re trying to register an old version, contact us and tell us about it. We’ll find it very interesting… and strange. And then we’ll encourage you to upgrade to version 6.
  3. If you have version 6.0 or 6.1, you’ll need to download version 6.2 (see why below). You can do this here: Ez-Architect 6.2 demo download
  4. Be sure to uninstall any previous version.
  5. Install version 6.2
  6. enter your key.
  7. Ez-Architect should be in full operating mode.

Solution B

Upgrading from 6.1 to 6.2 if you’ve already Registered

You might be wondering how to get the latest and greatest and what will happen if you’ve already registered.

This is not a problem. If you’d like to upgrade to version 6.2 from 6.0 or 6.1 and you’ve already successfully registered, follow the instructions above (Solution A). But skip step 6. Your software will automatically be in full version (not demo) mode.

Why no re-registration? Because you have registered your computer. So even if you uninstall Ez-Architect, and reinstall Ez-Architect at this version level, you will be automatically registered for the newer version. That’s also why you can’t use the same key on a second computer. AND it’s why we make 2nd and 3rd key options available at a very reasonable cost ($2 bucks) when you make your original purchase. So you can use Ez-Architect on more than one computer. You just have to use the 2 or 3 key option when you purchase (or send us green rectangles after the fact). See this page for more info about getting extra keys after your original purchase:

Get more keys

But I digress.

Why the message?

Explanation 1

I promised an explanation of the message for those of you who care; And more explanation for those who are asking ‘why, if I was able to register version 6.1 a couple of months ago, why can’t I register 6.1 with a new key on a different computer?’

When you register Ez-Architect, it contacts a special server that records your email address and Ez-Architect key. A few months ago, we switched to a new server and so Version 6.2 of Ez-Architect was set to contact the new server. Earlier versions were set to contact the old server, which alas, is no longer there. So if you try to register version 6.1, it cannot do it, and you get the friendly message above when you try.

Explanation 2

There is one other possible reason that you might see the message above: Sometimes your firewall will block you from connecting with our server. If this happens, please try to set your firewall to allow the connection and try again. If it’s still a problem contact us and we’ll assist you.

And there you have it!

Adding a Border to your Plan

November 11, 2013

In some circumstances, depending on what you are drawing, you might want to add a border. In fact, you might want a standard border for all of your plans, kind of like a logo or a way for your customers/clients/friends to quickly identify that the work they’re looking at is from you. Almost like a trade mark or identifier.

There is no specific border tool in Ez-Architect. But there are plenty of tools included that make creating a border easy enough. You can even create a border and save it as a library object so you can use it over and over. You can create several different borders for different types of projects.

You can easily come up with a way to create your border. I’ll just give a couple of simple examples. (I’ve drawn these smaller than a full page so they’d capture more easily.)

First start with a simple hollow rectangle. See the fill pattern with the dash in it at the upper left. That’s your empty fill “color.”

This is simpler than you'd want for a special saved border. But it's a good place to start.

This is simpler than you’d want for a special saved border. But it’s a good place to start.

Next, change the rectangle’s line thickness by selecting the rectangle and then clicking on the thickest line icon. Then right-click on a color in the color palette. (Be sure the rectangle is still selected before right-clicking on the color.)

Here's the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Here’s the border, now in blue with a thicker line.

Note, the fill is still empty, but now your corner color indicator shows up in blue. You’ve made the simplest border of all!

Next I make an arc pie.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

The little Arc Pie, selected.

Then I rotate it.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

Use Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 1 to rotate the arc into a new position.

And next, I duplicate it 3 times.

The duplicated Arc Pie.

Duplicated Arc Pie.

Now the fun begins. First group the new object. (Forget about the old rectangle. No one needs that any more…)

Then duplicate it again. You can experiment with difference offsets to make it interesting. I settled on 60″ to come up with this. It’s just duplicated 3 times.  The first object plus the 3 dupes. Be sure to use the duplicate tool (it’s shown in the icon bar to the left of the border) so that you have perfectly spaced duplicates. If you don’t use the tool, you’ll have to carefully place them individually which is a silly exercise, if you ask me. (You didn’t, I know.)

Duplicated group.

Duplicated group

I experimented with a variety of fills for this pattern. But I like the dynamics of how it looks “empty.”  Fills made it look flat. But you can certainly experiment, and depending on what object shape you begin with, a fill pattern may be just what you need for your own unique border. Fill the pattern if you wish and then continue to group and duplicate it until you have a complete border. You’ll have to rotate it a couple of times, too.

Here’s the complete border. After positioning everything, I did group it. I didn’t want any of the segments to go astray.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

Complete Border. The right, left, and bottom were rotated and/or flipped.

One more thing (as Colombo was wont to say). Be sure to place the border on its own Ez-Architect layer. That way it won’t interfere with other objects in your drawing, nor they with it.

Next time, we’ll look at saving it as a library object that you can bring into any new plan.

Ez-Architect 8 Has Even More Great New Features!

October 6, 2013

How’s that for an opening title? Here’s what’s been added to the newest version of Ez-Architect:

NEW FEATURES for Version 8:

  • Rotation of imported bitmaps
  • All the toolbars can be floated and moved around
  • A new View menu that controls tool bar visibility and floating and unfloating tool bars
  • A new item in the Preferences dialog sets up whether tool bars float on start-up
  • Updated manual
  • Printing in landscape mode on A3 size paper has been improved
  • Textures being added to objects can be rotated after selecting them
  • You can now input text with one click, which will set a text area about 20 characters long and one line in depth; and you can still set a text area by dragging with the mouse as before
  • A Door Tool—this new door tool allows you to cut doors in existing walls
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you rotate textures

 

NEW FEATURES for Version 7:

  • Ability to add textures to objects
  • Eyedropper Tool
  • Ability to change order in which layers display (9 layers are available)
  • Drag and Drop objects from the library
  • Updated manual
  • Solid dimension arrow option as well as hollow dimension arrow for dimension lines
  • Fractional feet and inches and fractional inches problems fixed
  • Area display fixed
  • File import default fixed
  • Object Properties dialog now lets you change the size of objects by percent
  • A3-size paper printing fixed
  • Drawing size fixed
  • Registration simplified and fixed

NEW FEATURES for Version 6:

  • DXF file import and export (2D only)
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained (any angle) angles; continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous, colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down fine while the continuous wall tool draws continuous, 3-pixel-wide walls AT ANY ANGLE
  • Option to maintain height and width ratio when changing sizes in the Object Info dialog
  • Can import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

FEATURES for Version 5 (originally published in 2009):

  • Four dozen colored patterns
  • Auto-dimension lines for lines and rectangles
  • Drawing method 2 mouse clicks without dragging has been added as an option along with conventional drag-and-click method
  • Printable reports containing all objects, their name, sizes and angles
  • Colors have been added to pattern editing and you may add your own permanently to the palette
  • PDF file export
  • wmf file export
  • Fractional Inches and Fractional Feet and Inches can now be selected as Drawing Units
  • Right click brings up Edit menu display
  • Red lines in rulers that follow cursor
  • Expanded Preferences dialog
  • Preview feature in File Menu allows viewing unopened plans as thumbnails
  • Program opens with all settings the same as last session

Some features of this home design program that make your floor plans easier are the duplicate tool for automatically placing rows or columns of boards, studs, trees, plywood, joists or whatever exactly where you need them—spaced on-center like you need them when you design your own home. And there’s a layering system for keeping upper stories, electrical, and plumbing schematics separate. On the other hand, if you just want to create simple floor plans without any complications or layers or construction detail, this is the home design program for you!

Did you try it yet?

August 24, 2013

Don’t forget to try Ez-Architect 6. You can download the demo here:

Ez-Architect 6 demo download

Try out the new features to see if you can’t live without them.

New features in Ez-Architect 6

If you’re already an Ez-Architect 4 or 5 owner, you can upgrade from here (You’ll need your Ez-Architect 4 or 5 key and your email address to get our super special upgrade price.): <this is not a frown-y face>

Upgrade Page

If you’ve tried the demo and fallen in love and you’re a new buyer, you can purchase from here:

Purchase Page

Questions today:

What features are you fond of in the new version?

What features would you like to see in future versions? (If you don’t tell us, we won’t know what you need…)

Ez-Architect 6 Released 7-27-13

July 28, 2013

Hello All,

We have just released today, July 27, 2013 Ez-Architect 6. (Actually we released it last night. But we’re announcing it today since we had to put a few finishing touches on some web pages.)

So what’s new in Ez-A 6? Why would you want it? Why would you want to upgrade? Super upgrade deals are available BTW. You need the email address you originally ordered with and your key. You can upgrade from version 4 to version 6 or from version 5 to version 6 for the same low cost. (10 bucks, US)

We also have special prices now for a second or third “copy.” Buy your first copy at the regular price of 19.99, and get a second copy for just an extra $2 or a second and third copy for $4. What a deal!

The new features are dynamite and powerful. Here’s what’s new:

  • DXF 2D file import and export
  • Continuous wall and hollow wall tools which support auto-dimension lines, constrained (0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 degrees) and unconstrained at any angle;
    • continuous hollow wall tool draws continuous colored or patterned hollow walls AT ANY ANGLE that scale up and down perfectly
    • continuous wall tool draws continuous, 3-pixel-wide walls AT ANY ANGLE
  • Option to maintain height and width ratio when changing sizes in the Object Info dialog
  • Import graphic files directly at their original size from the Import item in the File menu
  • Updated manual
  • Better wall scaling

All with new Continuous Wall and Continuous Hollow Wall  icons, too. Can you pick them out?

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

Ez-Architect 6 Icon Bar

This isn’t a long list, but it’s a powerful one. We will continue to make improvements and welcome your input on features you would like to see in future versions.

You’ll find a complete features list here, which includes Ez-Architect version 5 changes as well, in case you’re still working with version 4.

Questions:

What features would you like to see in future version?

What’s your favorite feature about Ez-Architect (any version)?

Visit here to purchase the new version of Ez-Architect.

Or go ahead and download the demo to try it out.

The demo provides all the features of the program. You just can’t save or print or export, things like that…

Using Photos to Show Modifications to Ez-Architect Elevation Plan

July 1, 2013

It’s easy to add a photo to your plan. This is especially useful if you’re doing some remodeling and you want to see how the remodel changes the look of your elevation(s).

Here’s how to do it:

Take Some Shots

Take some photos of each side of your house (or just the sides that will be affected by the remodeling). Make those photos as square to the house as you possibly can. You might have to go across the street or into your neighbors’ yards. (Maybe that’s a good excuse to meet your neighbors…)

If you can’t get a square shot, you can use an angle shot, but your plan will be more of a drawing than a true elevation. But that’s okay. There are no laws about this!

Take a bunch of shots so you don’t have to shoot them again. (You don’t want to wear out your welcome at your neighbors!)

Choose Your Photo(s)

When you get back to your computer, look over your photos and decide which one you like best for showing how your elevation(s) will change; not that you’ll modify the photo itself in Ez-Architect. But you’ll be making a sketch of it. Modify the photo, if you feel the need, in any photo editing program (like Irfanview, for example). Save your photo as a jpg, jpeg, tif, tiff, png, gif, or bmp. Be sure to remember the name of the folder where you save it.

Bring Your Photo(s) into Ez-Architect

Start a new Ez-Architect plan. Open a second layer. Call it Photo (or whatever you prefer). Use the Library/Image Tool (lower left corner of the left icon group). Drag an outline and a dialog will open. Use the lower dropdown and select the file type of your photo. Then navigate to the folder where you saved it.

Select your photo file to insert it into your plan. Stretch it appropriately so that it has the same aspect ratio as your original (as your house, that is). That means you want to make it look as much like your real house as possible; don’t stretch it too wide or too tall.

Sketch Your Elevation

Create a new layer. Call it Sketch or whatever you like. Then go back to the photo layer and choose Layout/Layers/Disable Selected. This will change your original photo to gray scale. Add the Sketch layer by clicking on Layer 2. You’ll still see your gray scale photo. But when you start sketching you will only be drawing on Layer 2. Draw as much detail as you like. Draw enough detail so you can (next step) change the sketch adequately to clearly show the changes you’re planning Don’t go into too much detail; do just enough so that you can easily modify the sketch and still have useful “before” and “after” sketches.

Yet Another Layer

Now that you’ve got your photo sketched on its own layer, add another layer. Call it New View or whatever. Select Layer 2 (your first sketch), and now disable that layer. It will turn gray. So when you select Layer 3, you’ll see your gray scale photo and your gray sketch. I suggest that you un-select Layer 1 so that your photo doesn’t show up at this point. You can leave it if you wish, but you might want to keep what you’re seeing as uncluttered as possible. So guess what’s next. You’re looking at Layer 2 which is disabled (gray) and you’re about to draw on Layer 3. Start drawing your modifications by using Layer 2 as a guide and take off point.

Let me know how this works for you. Keeping layers separated can be tricky. So if you don’t see gray when you expect to, just select that layer only and click Disable and it will change to gray once again.

Have you Used your Ortho Today?

May 19, 2013

And I’m not talking about something you put on your lawn… or find at Home Depot…

Truth is, I recently learned the term “ortho” from a customer.

I didn’t do any research on it. But the customer inquired about how to find this tool in Ez-Architect. I wrote back and honestly said I didn’t have a clue what it was. The reply described a tool that would draw straight lines East, West, North South, without a struggle.

“YES! ” I wrote back and explained our term for them “constrained lines.”

If you haven’t made use of this handy tool in Ez-Architect, you’ll want to do it soon. It will make much of your drawing quicker and easier.

So how does it work?

First our ortho lines go in eight directions. Not just the 90 degree angles, but 45 degrees as well.

If your diagonal lines look a little jaggy, like this:

Not quite 45 degrees, a line may look like this. Perfectly acceptable if you need this angle. But what if you want 45 degrees.

Not quite 45 degrees, a line may look like this. Perfectly acceptable if you need this angle. But what if you want 45 degrees.

Look at the difference here:

The perfect 45 degree line is smooth as silk in any resolution.

The perfect 45 degree line is smooth as silk in any resolution.

Again, if you need the odd angle, the non-45 degree-er is perfectly acceptable. But if you want 45 degrees, you don’t have to struggle to get the angle. “How” you ask, “can I draw perfect ‘ortho’ lines?”

“Easy.” I say, “Just press the Shift key while drawing any line.”

Here’s a little sample I drew with the most delicate lines:

Hold the shift key in line mode and your line will snap to these angles.

Hold the shift key in line mode and your line will snap to these angles.

Here we go again with thicker lines:

You can also use lines with special ends, dotted, dashed or any type of line. Just press Shift while drawing! Easy!

You can also use lines with special ends, dotted, dashed or any type of line. Just press Shift while drawing! Easy!

Have you used ‘ortho’ lines in your Ez-Architect plans? Or is this one of those things you wish you’d known a long time ago?

What other “hidden” tools have you discovered? (They hide in every application AFAIK. And we all discover the ones we need eventually, or finally some kind friend shows us. Right?)

You can share your Ez-Architect discoveries here.

 

 


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