Author: Daniel Armstrong AutoCAD

As an Application Specialist at Ideate I provide technical support to our customers besides teaching and mentoring. An occasional issue that AutoCAD users experience is a random change to a system variable. Interestingly, while mulling over what feature to write a post about, I got a text message about the very same issue. A former coworker stated that his Open Drawing dialog box no longer pops up in Land Desktop 2006. All he gets is a command line prompt to enter the filename and path.  He couldn't remember the system variable. Do you know what system variable controls the appearance of the open drawing dialog?  If No, that's OK. I wouldn't remember if it did not "pop up" in tech support. It is FILEDIA. The value should be 1. It gets reset to 0 many times after a crash.

Well, with AutoCAD 2016 based products, you have a new helper that monitors whether those pesky system variables change on you.  It's appropriately called the System Variable Monitor.  How do you get to it?  Let's take a look.

Type SYSVARMONITOR in the command line (no ribbon icon) to bring up the System Variable Monitor Dialog.


System Variable Monitor Dialog


You may notice that the setting for Enable balloon notification is unchecked.  This is the default. AutoCAD will notify you of a monitored variable change via the command line and through the appearance of an icon at the far right of your drawing status bar.


System Variable Monitor Icon Notification


This may be fine if a change occurs while you are in a drawing, but if the change occurs while AutoCAD is closing, you'll only see the icon.  Want a more obvious notification?  Then we need to enable balloon notification.

Now we'll get "Warning Will Robinson…Warning!" when a change occurs…almost.


System Variable Changed Balloon Notification


Several common system variables are already in the monitored list, including our friend FILEDIA.  You can add other system variables by selecting the Edit List button.  Then select the desired variable from the left pane. Select the highlighted chevron to add it to the monitored list and hit then OK.


Edit System Variable List Dialog


With the new System Variable Monitor in AutoCAD 2016, you can be confident that you won't be pulling your hair out and wasting time when FILEDIA or another variable changes on you.  That's good news. Now, if I can only convince my former coworker to upgrade from 2006 to 2016.

Get a closer look in my video, Autodesk AutoCAD 2016 System Variable Monitor.

Get more tips and tricks here.

For more information on the software solutions, training, and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate, Inc. homepage.

    Daniel Armstrong
Daniel Armstrong
ENI Application Specialist

Daniel is an Application Specialist for Infrastructure Solutions at the Ideate Sacramento office. He is a California licensed Civil Engineer and LSIT with over 9 years land development design experience and 6 years Civil–GIS software consulting. Additionally, he provided 6 years of engineering support at a municipal public works department. At Ideate, Daniel assists Civil Engineering and Surveying firms in maximizing their utilization of AutoCAD Civil 3D through consulting, training, mentoring, and technical support. He conducts standard classroom and custom training on AutoCAD, Map 3D, and Civil 3D.