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Frequently Asked Questions and Our Answers
Some Xzibitware Tool Kit Misconceptions


Before you review the questions, see some misconceptions we've heard about Xzibitware Tool Kit.

a.  Doesn't Xzibitware only work with 'System' exhibit parts?

No.  Parts can be anything that goes into an exhibit, not just 'System' parts.  For those who design mainly with 'System' parts, the Xzibitware Tool Kit happens to also include several Tools that make creating exhibits from any vendor's 'System' parts go much faster than using just AutoCAD alone.  It really works well when users need to create 'Hybrid' exhibits, since it supports use of any materials.  ...And, by relying on our Tool Kit to Tag each part, the user doesn't have to make pages of notes about different part sizes and materials in an exhibit.  Very detailed materials lists for any kind of exhibit can be created automatically in seconds (4 to 8 on average) at any point in the drawing creation process.  No more missing parts at show site from errors in materials lists.  Identifying parts by manually typing in text labels in drawings can take up a lot of time.  Xzibitware's Drawing Annotator tool eliminates the need for this typing and reduces the possibility of mislabeling parts through typos.

b.  We build mainly custom exhibits and that means we use a lot of custom ďone-of-a-kindĒ parts.  If we use Xzibitware, having to describe each new part to make a data table record would mean an extra step for our detailers when they create their drawings.

Since describing a part so it can be reported in a materials list is being called an ďextra stepĒ, it sounds like detailers don't normally create materials lists for exhibits.  But, we know that they do.  The misunderstanding here may be that detailers may not realize that they only have to describe a brand new part once:  Not once to create a data record for part tracking and reporting, and then once again when they use AutoCAD text to manually create a Materials List (a List automatically created in seconds by Xzibitware).

With the Xzibitware Tool Kit, the user enters a part description 1 time.  From that 1 time, a multitude of printed reports, spreadsheets, and custom drawing BOM Lists may be created over and over again.  Howís that for time-savings?

c.  If Xzibitware really does so much, itís probably going to take a few weeks to learn how to use it.  Since I donít have the extra time, there isnít much point in trying it out even on a Trial basis.  My boss expects me to keep up with my workload if I want to keep my job.

This is a comment we hear again and again.  Unfortunately, itís usually true that management will not set aside time for employees to learn how to use new software.  Users are hired on the basis of already being proficient with software such as AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, and Autodesk 3ds Max the day they go to work for a company.

But, these employees had to make time at some point to learn how to use these complex programs.  ..And, they probably learned on their own time or under pressure on-the-job for modest wages early in their professional work experience.

Naturally, once they become proficient with the software and find a good-paying job opportunity, employees resent being expected to learn even more software on their own time.  This is especially true if they donít see any immediate benefit to themselves.  The promise of lower stress while detailing, not having to consume valuable work time tediously counting and documenting parts, getting faster part annotation and BOM list creation isn't that important to them.  The time spent is just part of the job.  As a result, they shy away from taking up any of their after-work time to learn how to use our Tool Kit (or any other work-related programs).

What is the ďLearning Curve for the Xzibitware Tool Kit"?  We placed a series of Video Tutorials and an ONLINE Manual on our web site.  This appears to be helping a lot of people get "up-to-speed" with the Xzibitware Tool Kit fairly quickly.  If all a new user wants to do is Tag some of their current exhibit part symbols so Xzibitware can report them, they can be creating Materials Reports in 20 to 30 minutes after program setup in AutoCAD.

To learn how to use all the tools in our Tool Kit, a new user could go through them in about 2-3 hours while they create practice drawings.  This is something they could easily do "after hours" or over the weekend on their own.  And, because it's fairly intuitive, they should be able to remember practically everything they need.  But..some people just don't learn well without interacting with a trainer.  So, using free screen sharing software at https://join.me, we could schedule a time during the week to walk those users through the Tool Kit (there is no charge for this).

d.  I need to look busy when my supervisor stops by our department.  If Xzibitware speeds up creating exhibit drawings, it may look like we donít need as many detailers and one or more of us could get laid off.  With that in mind, we think weíre better off if we donít try to use Xzibitware.  If they make us try it, I donít think any of us should have anything good to say about it.  We all need our jobs.

In tough economic times, employees are especially sensitive to any potential threat to their employment.  And, if they don't understand Xzibitware Tool Kit's long-term benefits, it could cause unwarranted concern.  Our Tool Kit actually provides opportunities to employees and their employer.  When it takes less time to produce quality exhibit project drawings or to just count parts and report materials, that also means lower overhead per project and higher profit.  Higher profit can lead to company growth and better wages.

Zero errors in counting parts also means no more expensive last minute parts shipments to show site to make up for missing parts.  Higher quality drawings and materials lists can also reduce costly I&D errors.  And, finally, with a greatly reduced drawing production bottleneck, thanks to our Tool Kit, there is less need for overtime charges and exhibit companies can take on more projects.  More projects mean more work for Designers and Detailers, A/Eís and Shop Personnel, and the potential for higher annual revenues and profits.  When seen from this perspective, Designers and Detailers might begin to view using the Xzibitware Tool Kit as a way to improve their job security.

Frequently Asked Questions and Our Answers
Q1: Why should an experienced exhibit designer or detailer even consider using Xzibitware?
Answer:
In a nutshell, it offers large time savings in creating exhibit drawings and parts lists. It makes the boring, tedius and error-prone steps of counting/labeling parts--constructing detailed tabular part lists quick, easy "push a button" tasks.

Xzibitware Provides Tools that:
========================
1) Tag exhibit parts to track and report them when the user needs materials lists.
2) Semi-automatically identify exhibit parts using user-specified label text to eliminate typing errors.
3) Automatically Group and accurately Count parts in any size drawing in seconds, not in 30 minutes or much longer.
4) Effortlessly create Custom Metal, Custom Structures, Custom Wall Sections, flat and curved Panels, Fabric Frames.
5) Create custom in-drawing BOM lists, Excel spreadsheets, hard copy--pdf files in only seconds.

In addition, Xzibitware never miscounts parts and provides more accurate part sizing. It can create and insert new "tagged" Panels and Metal parts in a drawing much faster than using AutoCAD alone.

Q2: Does Xzibitware work with a 64 bit version of AutoCAD?
Answer:
The Xzibitware Tool Kit is available as either a 32 bit or a 64 bit add-on. It runs inside AutoCAD on Windows XP, VISTA, Windows 7, and Windows 8. AutoCAD has been enhanced for 64 bit operation and the Xzibitware Tool Kit works just great with it.

Q3: Are there are any special requirements to install Xzibitware Tool Kit on a workstation?
Answer:
As far as the basic requirements in terms of processor power, RAM, Display, and the Operating System, they are the same as for the AutoCAD product. You will need approximately 27 Mbytes of space on a local workstation. Some of that space can be reduced if a Symbol Library is moved to a File Server drive along with Materials Information Tables. The Xzibitware Tool Kit can be used 'standalone' on a workstation but typically part of it resides on a File Server so that multiple users can share the Symbol Library and Information Tables. Before setting up the Tool Kit inside AutoCAD, you should turn off the UAC (User Account Control). After setup, you can reenable it as needed. You will need ADMINISTRATOR privileges to install the Tool Kit. Once installed, though, the same privileges needed to run AutoCAD will suffice.

Q4: What versions of AutoCAD are currently supported by Xzibitware Tool Kit?
Answer:
We currently support AutoCAD versions 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. As newer releases become available, we will support them as well.

Q5: Does each workstation have to have its own software license or does Xzibitware provide a floating license?
Answer:
At this time we only provide individual licenses for each workstation.

Q6: Will Xzibitware work with "Light" versions of AutoCAD?
Answer:
No. Xzibitware makes use of AutoCAD ObjectARX software libraries to support many of its features. These libraries are not available in the "Light" versions of AutoCAD.

Q7: Can I use regular 'dumb' (non-attributed) wblock symbols along with the symbols I create with Xzibitware Tool Kit? And, can we continue to use attributed Title Blocks in our drawings?
Answer:
Yes, you can use any kind of AutoCAD wblock symbol with Xzibitware. When Xzibitware extracts exhibit part data from a drawing, it doesn't try to process symbols that don't conform to its attribute group specifications. The 'dumb' wblocks can be put into a symbol library subFolder like any other symbol.

Q8: If I want to set up a Symbol Library, how does Xzibitware know where to find it?
Answer:
Xzibitware Tool Kit provides a Library Path setup selection form for the user. The path is stored automatically and can be changed as needed. Xzibitware provides a default Library Folder (drive:\XZWare\Library) that contains subfolders with parts for various part Categories. This gives new users something to work with when they first use Xzibitware Tool Kit.

Q9: How does Xzibitware know what subFolders to use for its "Block Builder" tool?
Answer:
The Xzibitware Tool Kit uses a text file, "SubDirs.fil", to hold the names of Symbol Library subFolders that will contain the user's part symbols. This file is read automatically whenever the "Block Builder" tool is used. The subfolder names are needed to help the user quickly select a target folder for a new symbol being created. "SubDirs.fil" is located in the drive:\XZWare\Confiles subFolder. [XZWare is the default program Folder name] The file contains a line for each subFolder name and can be easily edited using a program like Windows Notepad. A default "SubDirs.fil" file is provided for the user. The names can be changed as needed. If you change the contents of SubDirs.fil, it is your responsibility to create matching subFolders on your disk drive. Some required SubFolders are "Smart_AGAM","Smart_Alusett","Smart_Metal","Smart_Octanorm", "SmartPanel" and "Symbol_Group" that Xzibitware requires for certain tools. For a multi-user environment, the Symbol Library and its subFolders are typically maintained on a shared File Server.

Q10: We just started working with the Xzibitware Tool Kit and we noticed that Panels created by AutoPanel, Custom Panel, or AutoWall are smaller in size than what we expected. Why is that?
Answer:
When creating new Panels, the Xzibitware Tool Kit always creates them so that their edges end precisely at the opening of the groove in the Post or Crosspiece they are supposed to fit into. By stopping short at the openings, it is easier to see the face of the metal parts as well as the edges of the Panels. When the actual physical size of the Panels is reported, however, the Tool Kit automatically adds a user-specified penetration depth to each Panel's Height and Width values. These depths are stored in data tables for metal profiles. The user can adjust the amount of panel penetration needed.

Q11: When I use the "AutoPanel" or "AutoWall" tools I notice that the flat panels have an 'X' crossmark going from opposite corners across the panel. Is there any way I can get rid of these 'X' crossmarks?
Answer:
The 'X' crossmarks are put there to make it easier to select a panel for editing. It also makes it easier to see that the Panels are actually in place. To turn these 'X' crossmarks OFF at any time, simply turn the automatically-created layer called "Show_Layer" to OFF. The marks will disappear. The 'X' marks are not used at all with "AutoPanel" or "AutoWall" if the user selects the 3D Solid (panel creation) option.

Q12: How do you track Labor Time and Component Weight in Xzibitware Tool Kit?
Answer:
With regard to Component Weight, Xzibitware stores user-specified weight values for each part in data tables. It also uses a Materials Reference Table to dynamically calculate weight for items such as Panels, Countertops, Doors, Shelves, and certain types of Accessories that vary in weight based upon physical dimensions and type of material. Labor times come directly from part data tables.

If you take a look at the part data tables for Accessory, Metal, Panel, and Other item types, you will notice that there are part record fields labeled: Shop In; Shop Out; I&D In; and I&D Out. These fields store average user-specified labor times in [decimal] minutes for each part tracked by Xzibitware. Typical entries might be: 3, 1, 4, and 2 for those four (4) fields respectively. That is, on average, it takes about 3 minutes to find and pull a part from stock and put it into a crate for shipment, 1 minute to pull it out of the crate and put it back in stock, 4 minutes at event [show] site to find/unpack and install it, about 2 minutes, on average, to remove it from the exhibit and put it back into its shipping crate for its trip out. As each part shown in a drawing is processed by Xzibitware, it uses these average labor times as a reference for calculating labor time associated with each part. The user is free to reset any of these values as needed.

Q13: What kinds of reports are provided by the Xzibitware Tool Kit?
Answer:
1) Exhibit Materials Information reports that cover 5 materials categories including Panels with Graphics (single-side or double-sided Art Panels).
2) Exhibit Materials 'Pull List' (or 'Pick List') reports for each material category to help Shop personnel identify and check off items that must be packed and shipped per exhibit.
3) Estimated Component Fabrication Labor Time reports.
4) Exhibit Information reports (and, optionally, exhibit cost details pricing spreadsheets).
5) Summary of Labor Times, Weight, and Costs report broken down into 23 different categories (same data fed to a pricing spreadsheet).
6) Summary of Labor Times and Weight for the Shop and Shipping personnel.
7) Customizable BOM (Bill of Materials) reports that are created directly inside an exhibit detail drawing. There are BOM Lists available for each one of 5 material categories. The Lists include Callout Label, Quantity, and any user-selected field for the report. All row and column grid lines, optional centered Title, column headings, and tabular text contents are created quickly and automatically for the designer/detailer using the specified text style, text height, and list position. This alone can save from 30 minutes to 1 or more hours per drawing.
8) An Excel Multi-worksheet Consolidated Data report.
9) Estimated Vendor [part] Preparation Costs report.
10) Table Record Inventory reports for 8 different Data Tables used by Xzibitware (very useful for part inventory audits).
11) Consolidated Materials reports that include all selected part categories.

Note that reports may be previewed and/or printed to a selected device as required.

Q14: Will Xzibitware work on anything other than an IBM PC-compatible workstation?
Answer:
No. Currently it only works with 32 or 64 bit operating systems like Windows XP, VISTA, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

Q15: Does Xzibitware only work with AutoCAD?
Answer:
Yes.

Q16: What's the difference between the Regular and the Trial version of Xzibitware Tool Kit?
Answer:
The Trial version of the Xzibitware Tool Kit is fully functional. It operates exactly like a regular (non-Trial) version. However, the Trial version has a limited number of days in which it will run inside AutoCAD.

Q17: What do I have to do to upgrade Xzibitware to work with a new release of AutoCAD? And, secondly, what happens when I want to install Xzibitware on a new workstation?
Answer:
We contact users via Email when support for new releases becomes available. The updates are placed in an assigned DropBox Folder so a user may download and install them. To install Xzibitware Tool Kit on a new worktation, the user must contact MALEKKO to obtain a one-time Authorization Code after program installation and setup.

Q18: Why can't you include the Xzibitware Authorization Code as part of the installation documentation?
Answer:
Currently, the one-time Authorization Code is created dynamically on a user's workstation and is based upon several factors, all of which can only be determined during the course of installation. New users need to call us (770-314-7199) or send us an Email to request this code to permanently activate Xzibitware.

NOTE: The Trial version of Xzibitware Tool Kit does not require an Authorization Code.

Q19: Is there a way to prevent certain symbols from being detected and then, later, include them so that they are counted and reported?
Answer:
Yes. Any symbol that resides on a layer that is Frozen and/or Locked is ignored by Xzibitware. When Xzibitware extracts data from a drawing, each symbol that is detected as a valid active symbol is automatically "blanked-out" on the screen as "visual feedback" to the designer/detailer to verify that the symbol has been detected (Regen will restore the screen). Any symbol still remaining on the screen after a drawing has been processed has been ignored.

Symbols that are ignored would be 'dumb' (non-attributed) symbols and attributed symbols that do not conform to Xzibitware attribute group standards (like Title Block symbols, e.g.), and any Symbol residing on a Frozen and/or Locked layer.

Q20: Will Xzibitware detect and report all the AutoCAD wblock Symbols we have already?
Answer:
No, not without Tagging them first using the Xzibitware Tool Kit. We have prepared very comprehensive videos (on the "Video Tutorials" page) on this topic. They explain how and why this is done. But, Xzibitware also contains a facility that makes it easy to update legacy drawings so that all their parts can be counted and reported by Xzibitware. In a test, a drawing with 267 'dumb' symbols was updated in less than 3 minutes so that its parts could be counted and reported.

Q21: Can Xzibitware report on multiple exhibits, not just one at a time?
Answer:
Yes, the user can easily consolidate virtually any number of exhibits to list their combined Material Requirements and estimated costs.

Q22: Where is information about an individual Exhibit Project Booth/Stand stored so that I can view it?
Answer:
All basic information about each Exhibit Project is stored in a record in an Exhibit Project Information Table. This information includes [client] Company Name, Booth [or Stand] ID, Job Code [an accounting code], Event Name, Venue, Work Order, Design Due Date, Project Status, Turnkey Budget Amount, Designer's Name, Salesperson's Name, and a Memo for comments about the design. A Record Edit/Browse Window is provided for creating, maintaining, Finding, and Listing exhibit project information records.

Q23: Can we work on several drawings at once on our workstations while we are using the Xzibitware Tool Kit?
Answer:
Yes. Xzibitware supports the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) so that you can have several drawings open at the same time. The drawing data that is referenced when data is being extracted is the drawing that is currently active in the AutoCAD Drawing Editor.

Q24: Does Xzibitware support the use of multiple monitors on a workstation?
Answer:
Yes. All of Xzibitware's control and data entry forms appear entirely on whichever monitor the user designates as the primary monitor.

Q25: The Xzibitware Tool Kit appears to be set up to help designers and/or detailers create exhibit drawings and then later, get part data from those drawings to report materials, labor, weight, and, maybe, cost estimates. Isn't that pretty much it?
Answer:
That's a simplistic but accurate description. We suggest people try creating detail drawings and their parts lists for medium to large size exhibits with and without Xzibitware and see how long each way takes. For many users, particularly those who create exhibits that don't contain 'System' parts, just being able to Tag parts (using "Block Builder", "QwikBlock", "AutoBlock" tools, e.g.), Label parts, where needed, and easily create detailed Materials Reports is a strong reason to use Xzibitware Tool Kit. For others who work mainly with 'System' parts, the Tool Kit contains dozens of time-saving tools to speed up creating exhibit drawings. This is the group that benefits the most from Xzibitware Tool Kit.

Q26: Can any of the Panels created with "AutoPanel" be changed to other sizes without having to remake the panels?
Answer:
Yes. Regardless of what size a "scaled-to-size" Panel was when it was first created in a drawing, its current size (plus in-groove depths) is recorded when it is detected during part data extraction. That means Panels can be resized as needed after creation. This does not apply to Panels created as 3D Solids.