autocad 2017

Evolution always comes with a few hiccups, and AutoCAD 2017 is just as guilty as anything else. Have you encountered problems with your LISP routines in AutoCAD? If you have, you’re not alone. A lot of CADsoft customers have come across them recently as well. The good news is, to avoid them in the future, you just need to make sure you just need to make sure that you are setting them up properly.

Manually adding your old custom content will help you avoid corruption and slave away at uninstalling and reinstalling your AutoCAD software. Before you begin adding your custom content, however, make sure your install didn’t give you any problems during the installation of AutoCAD 2017. Always open the software and make sure it is operating properly. Sometimes, however, this might not work, so we’ll walk through some handy tricks.

One user, when trying to run their LISP routine, was receiving an error stating that there was a problem with the Base.dcl file. This type of file is installed with the software, and sometimes when people are adding previous old custom menu content, this file can get modified accidentally in the process. Luckily, we were able to correct the issue by resetting the AutoCAD software from the Windows Start Menu, which you can read more about here.

You can also try to repair the software, a command in the control panel (Add/Remove programs), but be warned: This may remove custom content back to the out-of-the-box settings.

autocad repair or install

Steps to Accessing LISP Routines

First, make sure that you know the location and have access to the folder and the routine. Keep all required (or dependent) files needed for the routine to operate in the same folder to make your computer easier to manage and in return your job easier! I would also recommend that you do keep it in a location that will not have to move–don’t burry it deep down inside your file structure–and remember to stay within the maximum 255 characters for the length (see more about that here). I would recommend that you copy the location to your clipboard so you can paste this location easily to the required settings later.

autodesk lisp routine

Now, open AutoCAD and go to the Options dialog box. You can use any of the many ways to open it, but typing OP <Enter> on the command line may be the fastest. When it is displayed, go to the Files tab and add that path to the Support path. Simply click the + next to it to expand the list. Next click the [Add…] button on the right-side menu. You will see a new path field display at the end of the list. You can now right-click and paste the path in the field or click the [Browse…] button.

autocad options

If you clicked the [Browse…] button, you will see the Browse for Folder dialog display over the other dialog. (Unfortunately, like in this case, not all dialogs have a field where you can just paste the location.) But if you forgot the path, you could paste it in a text file to navigate to the correct location. In that case, though, your best bet would have been to just paste that copied path location into the empty text field in the first place.

autocad browse for folder

Once you have navigated to the correct folder, click the [OK] button at the bottom of the dialog. It should now be displaying the path at the bottom of the list. This path is search by AutoCAD in order, and if you need it to be higher (meaning searched sooner) in the list, use the [Move Up] or [Move Down] buttons to set the proper order of search.

Next, you will want to add it to the Trusted Locations so you don’t see an alert dialog box appear when the routine is trying to load in AutoCAD each time. Expand the list in the category list like before by clicking the + sign next to Trusted Locations. Click the [Add…] button and add the same path as before.

(Note: For speed, you copy and paste the same path from the one you added to Support above.)

autocad trusted locations

You may see this Alert dialog box appear if the folder location is not read only. Just hit Continue. You can always change the folder options afterwards if you are concerned.

autocad alert

AutoCAD 2017 Security Options

The Security Options are available in the System tab of the Options dialog box. The display of Trusted Paths is updated. AutoCAD now trusts any files and folders under Program Files, which is under the operating system’s UAC protection. This is indicated by displaying these implicitly trusted paths in the Trusted Paths UI and graying them out. Previously, the implicit Trusted Paths were not displayed. You can also add Trusted Locations in this dialog if you wish.

autocad security options

Load Custom LISP Routine Into Your AutoCAD Software

The software itself does not load the LISP routines automatically, and there are several ways this could be accomplished, which you can read about here.

Let’s run through a few simple ways to load the LISP routine through the Load/Unload Applications dialog. You can open the Load/Unload Applications dialog by typing in the APPLOAD command on the command line or on the Ribbon menu in the Manage tab.

autocad load application

You will see the Load/Unload Applications dialog display. To load the LISP into the current AutoCAD session, click the down-arrow in the Look in: field and navigate to your folder where your LISP folder.

autocad lisp load

Then select the LISP file and click the [Load] button.

autocad load

Next time you can use the History tab if you click the check box Add to History.

If you want to have AutoCAD automatically Load this LISP routine when you launch AutoCAD, then you will want to add it to the Startup Suite. Click the [Contents…] button and Startup Suite dialog displays.

autocad startup suite

Click the [Add…] button and navigate to the LISP folder and select the lisp file. There several types of application extensions that can be loaded. See the files of type section to the right of the File name: field to display all of the acceptable file type extensions.

autocad application extensions

Once you pick the file, click the [Open] button. The Startup Suite dialog will now display with the file name and path. You can add more or click close to exit the dialog.

autocad startup suite file name and path

Next you should see that the Lisp file was successfully loaded at the bottom of the Load/Unload Applications dialog. You also might want to check the Add to History option if it is not checked. Click the [Close] button at the bottom of the Load/Unload Applications dialog when you’re finished.

load unload application dialog

You are now ready to run your command from the command line (or from a menu item, if you have a custom one created.)

autocad command line

If you follow these procedures, you should be able to counter any hurdles you run into with custom AutoLISP routines in AutoCAD 2017. Keep checking back here for more updates on how to better operate AutoCAD 2017.


  1. Thanks for your article!

    A few years back I read a few books to teach myself the basics of writing lisp routines. I wrote a bunch of them which continue to save me countless hours of time today.

    I would really like to take my knowledge and understanding of lisp to a whole other level or 2 or 3.

    Do you have any recommendations on how I might go about more fully mastering writing lisp routines?

  2. Hi Jeff,
    First of all you are welcome. Next to answer your question it would depend on your available time, and how you best learn. I used to teach AutoLISP at a local college, but it’s been a few years. But we have offered some intermediate level AutoLISP classes here at CADsoft if that interests to you? Other than that, there are some good AutoLISP books out there, (Mastering AutoLISP, Hot-tip Harry’s Favorite Lisp routines… to name a few.) But I would also recommend doing a search for some existing AutoLISP routines on the WEB, run them to see what they do, and then open them up and see what makes them tick. You may want to also look at Visual Basic and some other programming formats to broaden your skill-sets.

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