I attached an image demonstrating that some help documents are not available locally.
If you use the VLIDE you will not be able to get localized help for your Visual Lisp efforts.
I would like to applaud the death of the chm. It was a horribly disjointed incomplete and confusing piece of documentaion. The only problem is, the new boss is same as the old boss but worse. Sometimes for no discernable reason, Autodeskseek is not available even though my internet connection (DSL) is up and running. Content fails in IE, but the same page will load in Firefox. So having local content is important. I also miss the ability to comment on the poor quality of the documentation that used to exist in the CHM, not that anyone actaully ever read my diatribes on why the documentation is so bad. Regretably the new interface also appears to be full of holes. When trying to find out what happened to the Array Dialog Box, the online article tells me to search for "Array Dialog Box" in the help menu...........which is not available by clicking the help icon, typing help, or pressing f1. Whew, I am feeling dizzy. Wait, let me get this straight, you took away the help menu and then you reference the menu you took away as solution for how to find what you took away? Hey Autodesk, get your head out of the cloud! You can't see your feet from up there, and apparently they are going in a different direction.
Autodesk always appreciates feedback regarding the Help system, and we take your comments seriously.
Help technology has been changing significantly over the last few years, and we've finally replaced the CHM-based Help system that I originally designed for AutoCAD LT 98. But during those 10 years, technology moved forward, toward html, the DITA standard, much greater reliance on search technology, and a profound shift to online accessibility and resources. We simply can't stand still, nor are we satisfied with what we have.
I agree completely with your dissatisfaction with any errors in the Help system. We want our Help to be clear, accurate, and short. We want to include more emphasis on illustrations and procedures (tasks) rather than lengthy explanations, and we're working hard toward these goals.
Finally, we do read the feedback comments that people submit. I've read every single one of them, replied to some directly, fixed many reported problems, and forwarded many feature requests. And yes, that does include the four comments that you submitted starting with one on May 6, 2003. As you noted, in recent versions we dropped the private feedback mechanism for a public one that relies on forum comments such as yours.
Hope that this sheds some light.
AutoCAD UA Lead
San Rafael, California
Thanks for the validation Dieter. Now that we have moved to a forum where everyone can read (and benefit from) user comments, I'll try to keep my four letter missives to a minimum. It is great that you are finding and repairing the help text entries that are circular references or non-starters. I think it would be better to have a reporting function right on the page. This way when a help item is incongruous or misleading that it can be reported directly instead of having to come to a forum and post it.
Yes, good point, Clint.
One thing we need is to be able to separate true doc defects from support issues, wishlist requests, and training gaps. For example, how would you answer feedback like "Your documentation doesn't tell me how to explode text"? The solution would depend on whether the person is trying to arrange text along a curve, modify a character, or create vectors to cut out letters for signage. And none of those involve exploding anything but a misconception.
Maybe we should implement a multiple-choice style feedback button at the bottom of the Help and include a link to this forum something like this:
[ ] Unclear [ ] Incorrect [ ] Incomplete [ ] Broken link [ ] Incorrect or missing link
For technical help, post your question to http://forums.autodesk.com .
What do you think?
AutoCAD UA Lead
San Rafael, California
I like it! To make the user more connected, feedback when the issue is resolved would be "the bomb" as it were. Up until now the help menu was the most disappointing feature in autocad, hands down. I realize that documentation it is a monumental task. I myself am in the middle of documenting our new standards for the office, so I get how difficult it can be to be thorough. My condemnation of the CHM is not a persoanl assault on any one person. The criticism should land squarely on the shoulders of the enterprise and the culture that creates it, because it systematically isolates itself from the common user. Sometimes as a user I overlook the obvious, but more often then not in the chm, the answers were either not there or not relevant. As far as I knew, the issues were not resolved. I did not receive feedback and clearly the chm on my desktop was not updated. Likely by the next time the documentation was updated, I no longer had need for that information. So from my perspective, nothing happened and noone cared. This new idea will be great as long as there is some process for both feedback and updating the local copy (perhaps with service packs) for those who do not have reliable internet access. Thank you for being proactive and if you can deliver a more helpful help system, you will have a convert and maybe even an evangelist.
For example, how would you answer feedback like "Your documentation doesn't tell me how to explode text"?
My response would go like this:
Thank you for your feedback. Actually, there is documentation that tells you how to explode text. Unfortunately, it is somewhat hidden by default and there is a somewhat arcane series of steps required to get to it.
1. Ensure you have the Express Tools installed.
2. If you are using a Ribbon-based workspace, switch to a workspace that has the pull-down menu bar available, such as AutoCAD Classic.
3. If you have no such workspace available, turn on the menu bar by entering MENUBAR 1.
4. If there is no Express pull-down, enter the EXPRESSMENU command and it should appear. It will appear on the wrong side of the Help pull-down, but that little bug has been there for years and is unlikely to ever be fixed.
5. In the Express pull-down, pick the Help item at the end. This will gove you access to the CHM-bases Express Tools Help that is separate from the main AutoCAD Help.
6. In the Search tab, type "explode text" (without the quotes) and pick List Topics.
7. One of the items displayed is TXTEXP. Double-click on that for the documentation you need.
We understand that this falls a long way short of adequate, and are working hard to ensure that this and the other Express Tools commands are incorporated into, or at least linked from, the main body of AutoCAD documentation.
As for you second-guessing why I want to explode the text, that's not so important. I might have one reason for doing it and 99 other people might have 99 other reasons. All 100 of us will want to know how to do it. If you want to incorporate what you think are helpful alternative suggestions at the end of the documentation that explains how to do it, I guess that's OK. But the main thing is that if I enter "explode text" into Help's search box, I should have a link to the TXTEXP command documentation presented to me. Ideally, it would be the top item, or at least somewhat higher than "Import DGN Settings Dialog Box".
tl;dr version: if someone is complianing that the documentation doesn't show them how to explode text, change the documentation such that it does.
This new idea will be great as long as there is some process for both feedback and updating the local copy (perhaps with service packs) for those who do not have reliable internet access.
Yes, exactly. It will take several releases to implement all the changes that we need to make. Our most immediate priorities are to improve Search, to eliminate inaccuracies and blather, and to increase the number and accessibility of procedures.
Thank you for being proactive and if you can deliver a more helpful help system, you will have a convert and maybe even an evangelist.
Thanks. The key is whether we can execute and deliver. During this process, I'll be hanging around here collecting feedback on the information in Help topics, and on wishlist requests regarding the design and delivery of Help.
AutoCAD UA Lead
San Rafael, California
I've received several feedback requests just like this. When I replied to the users, in every case it was because they wanted to display the text along an arc, for which ARCTEXT is a better option than exploding the text and manually arranging the letters. IMHO, the difference here is between an answer and a solution.
Likewise, when someone wants to know how to increase the size of their dimension text, I don't immediately tell them to change DIMTXT before I find out whether they're using a dimension style and whether it's annotative. But I understand your point that not everyone wants advice from a person or from their documentation.
The Express Tool documentation is a sore point with me because Express Tools not officially supported and the documentation is separate from the Help system. In the future, I'd also like to see them upgraded and their documentation integrated into Help.
Thanks and best regards,
Hi Dieter, I've had a few users ask me how to explode text over the years, and none of them wanted to do it to put text round an arc. I've also never had a user want to put text round an arc without asking something like "how do I put text round an arc?"
I think you must have just been unlucky or something.
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