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AutoCAD® 2009 & AutoCAD LT® 2009 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies® by Lee Ambrosius

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Chapter 4. Introducing AutoLISP

AutoLISP in AutoCAD is a feature that is often left undiscovered by many users. This is partly due to the number of new users who just don't have the time to master all the features AutoCAD offers. AutoCAD is also a much more robust program now than it was during its earlier years, so not as many people write custom programs with AutoLISP as they once did. AutoLISP is now more of a niche feature that helps to improve workflow, instead of a necessary tool to create features that are not part of the program.

Utilities such as Revision Cloud and Justify Text were originally AutoLISP programs found in AutoCAD; a majority of the Express Tools that ship with AutoCAD were also developed with AutoLISP. For more information on Express Tools, see Book IX, Chapter 4. As I discuss in this chapter, AutoLISP is a powerful language that is relatively easy to master. After you start creating your own custom programs, you might wonder why you didn't start programming with AutoLISP sooner.

Accessing the AutoLISP Development Environment

Over the years, the main development environment for creating AutoLISP programs has been Notepad. Notepad was the tool of choice simply because Autodesk didn't offer a development tool for working with AutoLISP files. This all changed when Autodesk purchased a program called Vital LISP. Vital LISP was developed by a third-party software company and it extended the capabilities of AutoLISP. Shortly after Autodesk purchased Vital LISP, they ...

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