Using the Active Toolbar
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Architectural Production Software 2005

Contents

 

What is an Active Toolbar?

The active toolbar is a set of toolbar buttons that change with the layer scheme selected. This allows only the toolbar buttons that apply to the current layer scheme to be shown and reduces the number of toolbars that need to be on the screen at any given time. Example: The floor plan toolbar (shown here)

has commands on it that are frequently used in floor plans but many of these commands would not be needed when drawing an elevation.

When you switch to the elevation layer scheme the toolbar changes and displays commands that are frequently used when drawing elevations. Since only the toolbar for the current layer scheme is displayed your screen space is not cluttered unnecessarily.

To see all of the standard active toolbars see APS Standard Toolbars.

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How Active Toolbars Work

Screen menu:
Pull-down:

Change layer schemes by selecting a new scheme from the list of layer schemes in either the screen menu or the pull-down and the toolbar will change with it.

Example: We will assume that you were in the "1 New Floor Plan" layer scheme and are changing to the "1 Roof Framing" layer scheme. Select the "1 Roof Framing" layer scheme from either the screen menu or the "Layer Scheme" pull-down and...

Switches to...

The "1 New Floor Plan" toolbar has been replaced by the one assigned to "1 Roof Framing".

 

A toolbar is assigned to each layer scheme in the Layer Scheme Editor (SCHEMEDIT).

Each of the active toolbars is defined in a file called "APS-AT.MNU" which is located in the "...\Software\Custom" folder. If you would like to edit any of the toolbars in this file see Customizing the Active Toolbars below.

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Using Active Toolbars Without Layer Schemes

If you are not using layer schemes you may still use the toolbars that are defined in the "APS-AT.MNU" file. They just won't be "active".

Typically when layer schemes are not used the "1 Software Generic Toolbar" is displayed (shown above).

 

If you would like to see any of the other toolbars from this file you may right click on any of the buttons in the generic toolbar (or any other of the active toolbars) and a list of all of the available toolbars will appear with a check mark next to all that are currently being displayed. (This works in AutoCAD release 2000 and later. Click here for a description of how to do this for AutoCAD releases 13 and 14).

In the list of toolbars shown above all of the toolbar names that begin with "Software..." are the toolbars that are meant to be used with a particular drawing type.

 

The toolbars listed that end in "flyout" are the toolbar definitions for the flyout toolbars (drop-downs) in the main toolbars. The "Windows flyout" is shown "flying out" from the generic toolbar above.

At the bottom of the list is "Customize...". Selecting this will allow you to customize any of the toolbars in the active toolbar menu.

Note: Any customization to the toolbars done from within AutoCAD will remain until the next time the "APS-AT.MNU" menu file is loaded. For more on editing the active toolbars from within AutoCAD see Editing toolbars from within AutoCAD. If you would like to permanently modify the toolbars see Editing toolbars in the menu file below.

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Customizing the Active Toolbars

There are two ways to customize the active toolbars, you may edit them from within AutoCAD or you may edit the menu file that defines them. There are pros and cons to each, editing the toolbars from within AutoCAD is graphic and some feel is the simplest method but if the "APS-AT.MNU" file is ever loaded again you will lose your changes. Editing the toolbars in the menu file can seem more complicated or "scary" to some since you are editing the menu source code but the changes are permanent.

 

Editing toolbars from within AutoCAD

For help with editing the toolbars from within AutoCAD releases 13 and 14 see AutoCAD's help under "Toolbars" then  "Customizing".

In AutoCAD release 2000 and later, right-click on a toolbar button and select "Customize...". The following dialog will appear:

This dialog lists all of the toolbars for any given menu group.  To view a toolbar check the box next to it's name. The AutoCAD toolbars are shown above. At this point you may add or delete buttons from any of the toolbars (see below for more on adding or deleting buttons).

 

Adding a toolbar button from within AutoCAD

To add an Software command button to one of the active toolbars (or any other toolbar) first make the toolbar visible that you are going to add the button to.

Select the "Menu Group" that contains the toolbar that you want to edit then place a check mark next to the toolbar that you would like to edit so that it will become visible on the screen.

We are assuming that you will be adding an Software toolbar button so you should get all the Software buttons visible on the screen so you may copy the button you want to the toolbar you are editing.

Click on "APS_BAS" under "Menu Group" and the list of Software basic toolbars will display in the "Toolbars" window. One of these toolbars is a special one that contains all of the Software toolbar buttons. Click the box next to "All APS Buttons" and the following toolbar will appear:

This toolbar is designed to be used when customizing toolbars and contains all of the Software toolbar buttons. There are also some flyouts that are already done for you should you want to use one of them.

 

Check the box next to "APS Flyouts" and the flyout button toolbar will appear for use when customizing.

 

adds the "Steel Angles" button

To add one of the buttons from the button or flyout toolbars to one of the active toolbars (or any other toolbar) select the toolbar button image, hold down the <Ctrl> key, and drag the button image to the location in the toolbar that you would like it to go. By holding down the <Ctrl> key you will copy the button so that it remains in the "All APS Buttons" or "APS Flyouts" toolbars should you want to use the button again in another location.

 

Deleting a toolbar button from within AutoCAD

To delete a toolbar button from an active toolbar (or any other toolbar) select the toolbar button that you would like to delete and drag it off of the toolbar and on to blank screen area. The following dialog appears:

Press "OK" and the button will be deleted.

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Editing toolbars in the menu file

Each of the active toolbars is defined in a file called "APS-AT.MNU" ("APS-AT04.MNU" if using AutoCAD 2004 or later) which is located in the "...\Software\Custom" folder. Open this file in Notepad or any other ASCII text editor.

The simplest way to edit an active toolbar is to cut and paste existing button/flyout definitions from one file/location to another.

Adding a toolbar button in the menu file

For this example we will assume that you would like to add the "Acoustical Tile" toolbar button to the active toolbar for elevations.

From the "...\Software\Custom" folder open the "APS-BAS.MNU" file (or the "APS-BAS04.MNU" file if using AutoCAD 2004 or later) in an ASCII text editor (NotepadŽ shown above) and scroll down until you find the section titled "**APS_2002_Customize". Below this title you will find the definitions for all of the Software toolbar buttons. Find the button definition that you would like to use (they are listed alphabetically). Highlight the entire line and "copy" the text (<Ctrl>C will do this in most text editors, in NotepadŽ you may also right-click and choose "Copy" from the menu as shown above).

 

Now open the "APS-AT.MNU" (also located in the "...\Software\Custom" folder) and find the toolbar that we would like to insert this button definition in to. In this case it is the elevation active toolbar (shown above). Place the cursor where you would like the new toolbar to go and "paste" the definition. It should end up on it's own line as shown below.

The next time the "APS-AT.MNU" menu file is loaded the "Acoustical Tile" toolbar button will appear (use the AutoCAD "MENULOAD" command to unload and then load it again).

 

Deleting a toolbar button in the menu file

Deleting a toolbar button is actually quite easy. Open the file containing the button that you wish to delete in your ASCII text editor. If the button to delete is in one of the active toolbars, the file to open would be "APS-AT.MNU" which is located in the "...\Software\Custom" folder.

Place the cursor in front of the button definition that you would like to delete. Type in two (2) forward slashes. This "comments" the line so that AutoCAD will no longer read it. In the image above the "Acoustical Tile" button has been "commented" out and will no longer be used. The advantage to deleting a line in this manor is that it may be easily put back should you change your mind and want the toolbar back (just get rid of the "//" and the button reappears).

The next time the "APS-AT.MNU" menu file is loaded the "Acoustical Tile" toolbar button will not appear (use the AutoCAD "MENULOAD" command to unload and then load it again).

You may notice that several of the toolbar buttons in the "APS-AT.MNU" file are "commented out". These have been left in the file to make it simple to add these buttons.

Note: You may also delete the button definition if you are sure you will never want it there again.

For more on creating toolbars, toolbar buttons and flyouts see Editing Toolbar Buttons in a Menu File.

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