Exporting Custom Toolbars to Different Computers

      You can invest a lot of time in creating a custom AutoCAD toolbar. How do you share it with office-mates? May 16, 2005

Question
Does anyone know of a way to transfer a custom toolbar to a different computer? I have created a custom toolbar that uses a lisp routine to automatically set the layer, scale, angle, etc. for hatch patterns that I use on a regular basis. I would like to set it up for other users in our office but can't figure out how, without having to recreate the entire toolbar on every computer. I know how to transfer the lisp file, but I am having problems with the icons I've drawn for the toolbar. The AutoCad book says that a file with the .mns extension is needed, but I have searched for this type of file and am unable to find any. Anyone have suggestions?

Forum Responses
(CAD Forum)
From contributor V:
Did you create the Toolbar, or just the Toolbutton? I am not sure if you are clear on what menu you have actually edited. It could be Acad or Express or...

If you right click on empty gray area where the toolbars are locked, you should see a dropdown with all the menus loaded. Then you have to find which of the menus does include your custom toolbar. After that, you should be able to copy the menu file somename.mns to other computer. Please note that unless you will export the bitmap of the toolbutton, the other computer will have the smiley face only.

I suspect that you have edited the ACAD menu.



From contributor T:
Are all of the your users in your office on a network? If so, you can do what I did in our office. I copied AutoCAD's support directory to a mapped network drive. In that directory I keep all of our custom lisp routines, custom menus and custom bitmaps for tool bars. Then I go into the Tools/Options/Files dialogue at each CAD station and point the "Working Support File Search Path" to the network drive. I usually make this the first drive searched. With this type of installation, updates to the custom menus are easy, as you only have to update the files on the network drive.


From the original questioner:
Contributor V, I have created a new toolbar (hatchtools) and it is listed under the Acad menu. I was able to locate the file with the .mns extension. However, it seems that when this file is loaded onto another computer, it not only carries over the new toolbar, but also changes that have been made to other toolbars. (I have not tried it yet - this is just how I interpreted the tutorials.) Is this correct? The reason for my concern is I've removed toolbuttons for commands I always key in at the command line to free up screen space. If these are suddenly missing on other computers, I don't believe it will be well received.

Contributor T, I think that is a good idea. It could simplify things.



From contributor V:
Before you start moving things to the server/shared dir., let's do the basics.
1. Editing the acad. mns is a big DDT (don't do that), especially if you are not working alone.
2. You should create your own menu. Make new text document.txt and rename it to Mymenu.mns. Inside the file you will have:
***MENUGROUP=Mymenu
***TOOLBARS
**TB_HATCHTOOLS
**HATCHTOOLS

Here you will cut and paste only the info from your existing Acad.mns under the heading **HATCHTOOLS. So once you have acad.mns open in notepad, do search (ctrl+F) for the [**hatchtools ] string.

Also, you will have to export all your custom toolbuttons bitmaps. Go to edit the button image tab and do save as. Once you have your Mymenu.mns, and all the *.bmp files for the buttons, try to load menuload on your computer first. Then on the host computer, create a directory/customMenus (or put it on the server, as mentioned above) and do MENULOAD command. You must create file support path for the directory of your menu.



From contributor T:
That's good information. Since I've basically set up our system and trained everyone from scratch, it was much easier to have everyone using the same menu and tools. Now some of my "students" have surpassed me in their abilities and we have, in fact, set those users up with their own menus and toolbars, as you have suggested.


From the original questioner:
Thank you for the help. I got them to work.


From contributor M:
Go to C:\Documents and settings\Yourname\Application data\Autodesk\Autocad 200?\R16.1\enu\ ---

Copy whole enu file from your computer to floppy or another media and then replace enu with this enu in the computer that you want to add custom tools to AutoCAD. When you start AutoCAD, all those tools will come up.



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