Paste on the command line, a font with visible spaces

Paste on the command line, a font with visible spaces

For BricsCAD and AutoCAD, the use of the space bar corresponds to the Enter key. Why would you want to use a font where spaces are clearly visible? To see what you are going to paste on the command line of your CAD program of course!

The principle

You can type a number of commands in a word processor and then copy and paste them on the command line.

The challenge is to ensure that everything is correctly selected during copying – near spaces at the end you have to be careful, because every space is an enter.

An paste example where each underscore is a space:

  • A circle with a radius of 1: circle_0,0_1_
  • A line from 0,0 to 1,1: line_0,0_1,1__

Note that there are two spaces at the end of the last example.

A font with visible spaces

How nice would it be if there were a font with visible spaces?

I searched and did not find it.

So let’s make it! Fontforge is heated up and character 0020 (space) will be hit by the forging hammer. The default font is FreeMono. During editing, the capital S and P are placed together as SP and then scaled to 35%, after the anchor points have been removed. Then a TTF was created with the name FreeMonoSp.ttf

FreeMonoSp.ttf is here:

Create a style in LibreOffice. And it works!

This way a problem has been solved in a very nice way. However …

The minuses

However, many people are not used to receiving LibreOffice documents. And they also have to install the font with the spaces. One more reason to get started with this package!

Everything looks very good in PDF. But copying does not work well. Almost all PDF readers see extra spaces after a text as an error and thus delete the spaces! A big bug that you can not work around.

So you have to think every time: copy the text, paste the text and do not forget to add the unselected spaces.

Yet useful!

Despite the minuses, this font clearly shows exactly what needs to be pasted on the command line. This makes this font a great addition to the documentation of CAD programs such as BricsCAD.


The license is inherited from FreeFont and is GPL. See

Apparently there are more applications for fonts with visible spaces, such as log-in screens of computers.

NedCAD’s expertise: processing 16,000 CAD drawings within one week

NedCAD’s expertise: processing 16,000 CAD drawings within one week

From our client IFE Tebel Technologies, part of Knorr Bremse, we recently got the question whether we could quickly convert 16,000 CAD drawings to PDF, PNG, TIFF. A spreadsheet with all information about the drawings – such as revisions, scale and paper format – was required.

Previous attempts by other parties with various utilities did not produce the desired result.

The background to this story is that IFE Tebel Technologies wants to store its CAD drawings centrally in the document management system of Knorr Bremse in Austria. For distribution and easy readability, all CAD drawings that had ever been made had to be converted to a specific PDF format.

In order to carry out this task properly, NedCAD has deployed a computer grid with CAD-optimized hardware and software.

By using LISP and BASH scripts in Linux, the 16,000 CAD drawings could be prepared and exported in a number of batches. By first checking all drawings for errors and imperfections, and immediately solving them, the next steps were a matter of sufficient computing power.


  • BricsCAD v18.2 was able to process 2000 drawings per processor per hour.
  • The sizes of bitmaps of drawings increased up to 140 Mpixel.
  • For many tens of thousands of cycles of opening, editing, and saving, BricsCAD has not crashed once.

Interested in what NedCAD can do for you in this area? For more information contact us, without obligations.

LibreOffice Writer Template Changing

LibreOffice Writer Template Changing

Internally, LibreOffice Writer has been used for technical documentation for many years:

  • Writer is very strong in combination with style sheets and
  • SVG format is perfectly supported. Vector-based images can therefore be inserted very well.

When you work with large documents, there are two annoying peculiarities you should be aware of.

  • The first is that the program stops organizing pages when the document becomes large. This can be overcome in an ugly way. Just add more trees, by always embedding images as a character. It concerns this bug. If you deal with this the right way, then Writer has no problem with documents containing hundreds of pages.
  • The other one is that it is not possible to link templates to documents. This sounds a bit crazy and yes, it may be considered to be a bug.

An extension “Template Changer” was available for linking template files. However, it does not work with new versions. That is why we created a BASH script as a tool to solve this. It has been tested on Linux but should also work with Cygwin on Windows. OS-X should work with minor changes, like the date function in Unix does not require an @ sign.

The underlying idea is that you have documentation projects where both the documents and the templates are in the same directory. If that is the case with you, then this script can help you. The script is a txt file, put it in your documentation directory, rename it to and give it execute rights.

Download link: cht , we hope you like it!

Update 2018-11-19: Now both ODT and ODM files are supported.

Software Adoption in the CAD World

Implementing software is actually nothing more than ensuring that the software works well within your organization. Training, tuning, acceptance by users and more. Software adoption is often mentioned in the same breath as implementation but that is not correct, there are clear differences, if you want to see them…

Adoption can be, must be, taken in the literal sense. Adoption means that you make a choice for the long term, that you choose a file format for the storage of valuable CAD documents, that you knowingly make a choice for a product that others may not be able to deal with – or the opposite.

For many software developers, the file format is a tool to lock you in. Do you have package A once? Then you do not quickly transfer to package B, because B does not read your existing A-drawings 100%. Everyone who works with CAD immediately recognizes this problem.

The merit of the Open Design Alliance is that the closed .dwg format of AutoCAD is now “open”. This also applies to the .dgn format. How many dwg drawings are roaming around the world? Although AutoCAD is technologically outdated for many applications, it appears that the dwg format is still used extensively.

With the dwg specification known, new possibilities arise. Object types such as “line” and “text” are nice, but why should we not add complex object types such as “flange” or “wall”? Bricsys understood the value of this format very well and that is exactly what they did with BIM and Sheet Metal.

Adoption was the subject, suppose you adopt Revit alongside AutoCAD. Then you have a problem. Both products are from Autodesk but the data is not easily exchangeable. With BricsCAD that is not a problem, in fact, everything is in dwg format, so there is simply no need to exchange anything at all. There are many companies that use AutoCAD and Revit side by side. Bricsys is brilliant by betting 200% on .dwg.

You better understand our slogan now: “Explore the power of DWG!”

I am an opponent of the use of brand names. I do not have a TomTom but a navigation system, I never Google but I use a search engine ( is actually quite refreshing where Google fails). In the meantime, we are looking for a Revit draftsman for our company and not a BIM-draftsman. That is unfortunate, because you exclude talented employees. What is also unfortunate is that this is the current practice. A BIM draftsman publishes in ifc format and that is interchangeable with Revit, BricsCAD-BIM and many other BIM programs. Well, just forget it for now, that will take a few years. But it is an important consideration that belongs to adoption. Adoption is longterm thinking. The Danish government has made the ifc format mandatory within the government and that is a start. Revit developers will have to go along at some point if they want to keep existing users. It is more certain that Bricsys is fully committed to .ifc, today. BIM can only succeed in the near future if information is interchangeable and all parties involved realize that very well. In the Netherlands too, people realize this and that is what the “BIM-loket” stands for: “Open BIM standards are essential to the successful widespread implementation of BIM within the Dutch building industry.”

Of course, the product must be good, of excellent quality. However, what does the future bring? How much confidence do you have in the software developer? It makes sense to make a future forecast based on past results. Look at the release notes of the last 4 years, what has changed? Is it only eye-candy? Are they developments that really affect your productivity?

In addition, you try to estimate what kind of company is behind the product. Autodesk has let its flagship run aground and fully exploited the users. These are considerable negatives. But with Revit they seem to do better. Other listed developers can be sketched in the same breath as “steadily moving forward”, for example Dassault Systèmes (SolidWorks, CATIA). As a limited company, Bricsys deviates from this, shareholders are directly involved and it feels much more like family, where people are listened to. Trust in the producer is perhaps the most important criterion when adopting software.