Lots of folks ask us about this option when customizing the UI of AutoCAD. In general, the idea is that the CAD manager defines the look and feel of AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Plant 3D, etc. via an Enterprise customization file (CUI). The application does have a MAIN CUI that contains the out of the box interface (ribbon, tool palettes, etc.). Some folks simply copy content to their COMPANY CUI and only use that. I am partial to a slightly different paradygm, keep the OOTB CUI and various other settings and simply add to that default UI and COMPANY specific elements via the Enterprise option. OK, slow down… Start from the begining.

WHen you open the OPTIONS in AutoCAD, there is a tab named FILES which indicate the location of various elements including templates, printers and customization files.

As you can see, there are two options for customization files, MAIN and ENTERPRISE. When AutoCAD is installed, it will use the MAIN entry by the intended application tools to display the appropriate user interface. While using the application, any ‘changes’ you make are saved to this file. What constitutes a change? Opening the Layer Manager and leaving it open when closing AutoCAD. Or maybe you hide specific Tabs in the Ribbon. Maybe you dock and hide the Civil 3D Toolspace. All of these examples are interface changes and are subsequently saved to the CUI when exiting the application.

The ENTERPRISE CUI is similar to the MAIN except is read-only by default. What ever is shown by this CUI file cannot be changed. Any tabs that are visible, any toolbars or palettes configured are not changeable (is that a word?). Therefore, it makes a great option to deliver a standard user experience across an organization. Well, if this ENTERPRISE file is read-only, how do we create it? That is the focus of this post!

The key is actually using two profiles; one to emulate the end user (we’ll call this one STAFF) and the other acting as the CAD Manager (which we’ll call CADMGR). In that same options dialog, switch over to the profiles tab and choose ‘Add to List’. This action will save the current profile as a new name. We’ll start with STAFF. Then click ‘Add to List’ again but giving it a name of CADMGR. Let’s double click CADMGR to set it current.

Our next step is to define our ENTERPRISE CUI. To do that, we’ll open the cui editor (type CUI). Here, we want to use the transfer tab at the top left of the dialog. The transfer tab is split into 2 halves’ MAIN on the left and blank on the right. On the right side we will make a new cui by clicking the ‘New’ button and then ‘Save’ typically to a shared location.

That’s all we need to do for now. Yes the ENTERPRISE cui is currently empty. Let’s return to the Options dialog. We need to make the main customization file the enterprise and vice versa. OK, a picture is worth more than words here. Take a look below. I just copied the main path into the enterprise and then went back to the main, selected the Browse button on the right to find the ENTERPRISE cui file.

Now, you’re ready to go back into CUI editor and add custom ribbon tabs & panels, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with that portion, here’s a quick tip for you – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndYwbkVMt0E

Now we need to go back to the STAFF profile (switch to Profiles tab while still in the Options dialog and double click on STAFF). With the STAFF profile current, switch back to Files tab and add in the path to the ENTERPRISE cui.

Just like that, you now have a user profile with an enterprise cui! Rolling this out can be done many ways which I might cover in another post… Happy standards day!