Have you ever wanted to create a command alias that represented a specific option of a command? Or maybe you have established CAD standards, but some of the settings cannot be set up through a drawing template alone, so you want to make sure that the settings are set before any work on a design begins? If so, you have come to the right place — or section of the book. AutoCAD is more than just a drafting tool. Although customizing AutoCAD can help increase productivity by itself, the programming interfaces allow you to tap into much more powerful resources that are contained in the depths of AutoCAD. (Okay, saying the resources are in the depths of AutoCAD might be a bit of an exaggeration because they are used every time you run a command from the AutoCAD interface.)
This chapter is aimed at AutoCAD users only. Sorry AutoCAD LT users — the programming interfaces are limited to AutoCAD.
The supported application programming interfaces (APIs) for AutoCAD are available after you install AutoCAD or after you've downloaded them from the Autodesk Web site. APIs are used to communicate with AutoCAD, any open drawing files, and the objects in a drawing. With some of the APIs, you can create your own custom commands that users can execute from a command prompt or by using an element in the user interface. The power behind some of these programming interfaces is that you don't need to be a programmer to take advantage of them.