About the Book

This book is the product of eighteen years teaching Computer Aided Design to Civil and Industrial Engineering students at the University of Cantabria. During this time I have published two books about Visual LISP programming for AutoCAD. Back in 2003 the book Programaci├│n en AutoCAD con Visual LISP published by McGraw-Hill, which I wrote in collaboration with Professor C├ęsar Otero was the first one dealing with this subject in Spanish. For ten years it has been the main resource in Spanish for Visual LISP programming. I still receive messages asking me where to buy it. It is impossible, since it is now out of print. 

In 2010 I undertook the task of preparing an updated version. The new functionalities added since 2003 to AutoCAD required a thorough revision and rewriting of the text. The new book Experto AutoCAD con Visual LISP was updated to Release 2012. But being written in Spanish limited this kind of book’s readers.
My English speaking friends encouraged me to prepare an English version which may reach a wider audience. During this time AutoCAD 2013 had been released, so that first English edition was updated to cover the few changes introduced from 2012 to 2013.
But time goes on, and now in 2018 I felt that an update was demanded. During these years we have gained experience with the new non-Com Property System which in many cases make it posible to obtain results that previously demanded the use of ActiveX properties and methods which are only available under the Windows platform. This accounts for most of the 40 new pages added to the book. The new version is identified as the Release 2019 Edition.

Back in 2003 when the first book was published, AutoLISP was not "in fashion". Not even with Visual LISP’s new contributions. Fashion followers then bet on the novelty represented by VBA. But fashion is not always rationally justified. In that book we aimed to demonstrate that the availability of other Windows dialog box modalities was not reason enough to forgo what had been our way of customizing AutoCAD for more than 15 years. That’s why we ended our book with a chapter devoted to Chad Wanless’s ObjectDCL, a plug-in which allowed the use of this kind of Graphic User Interface with AutoLISP. And ObjectDCL, now available as an open-source project under the name of OpenDCL which we can use free of charge once more deserves the new book’s last chapter.

I wish this book will guide he who uses AutoCAD in becoming a real expert. That kind of AutoCAD expert that is acquainted with, understands and can manipulate the program’s inner workings to achieve the desired output in a fast and efficient way. He who is not satisfied with what comes out of the box, but demands more.

Among the most significant new contributions of recent versions we have 3D modeling, including surfaces associativity. To them, and other advanced techniques, including parameterization, reactors, user graphic interfaces and compiling applications, more than half of this new book is devoted.

The source code for all the examples included in the book can be freely downloaded from this blog. I hope that you will not only learn from this book, but that you will enjoy doing it.


  1. I have heard two stories at AU this year; 1) learn C or .net for lisp is on the way out 2) Just the opposite, Quote “No worries, Autodesk can’t figure out how to do away with it”.

    Sir, do you have an opinion or insight on this subject.

  2. LISP in general and its AutoLISP flavor in particular are examples of the "functional programming" paradigm in contrast with "imperative programming" languages like C or .NET. Each has pros and cons. Functional programming has recently grown in popularity with the implementation of languages like F#.
    Regarding AutoLISP, this is the ideal tool for AutoCAD users, meaning by this people that make a living not as programmers but as Draftsmen, Designers, Architects, Engineers and so on. Those that require a greater control over the program than that offered by the user interface. Old AutoCAD users like myself couldn't do without it.

  3. Hello !
    ObjectDCL is ObjectDCL and didn't "turn to" opendcl.
    In my opinion, you'd better say that it is splitted in two : objectdcl and opendcl.
    It would fairer to say that a commercial version exists. Opendcl is a an open-source system that is not the case with obectdcl. The rules of use and disctribution are not the same.

    1. I was a registered user of ObjectDCL back in 2002 when I wrote the Visual LISP book in Spanish. When Chad Wanless released it as Open Source under the GNU General Public License in 2006 I began using it under the name of ObjectDCL as renamed by Owen Wengerd and his team. It is true that some time later DuctiSoft bought it from Chad and is selling it under the original ObjectDCL name. As a user of the OpenSource version I lack experience about the commercial ObjectDCL. Interested readers can visit DuctiSoft's website at http://www.objectdcl.com/.

  4. Ok, I was too ! maybe in 2003...
    Good job anyway. I read rapidely a part of your book in a bookstore and, althought I know most of it, I found it dense and well organized and ordered it ! I have to work out what you intend to teach on modern 3D. Curious to read.
    I like to have paper as a base when I prepare a course.
    The same anonymous...

  5. I just bought this book a few days ago and I'm studying, I find it very full and thorough, especially in 3D programming.
    Surely you must have a basic knowledge of the main commands of AutoLISP, but with a careful reading and methodical, you can achieve a high level of competence.
    The language used is very simple (perhaps too simple), almost scholastic, so it is understandable even by those who have a little knowledge of English.
    After the publication of the manual "AutoLISP for AutoCAD vers. 13 by Joseph J. Smith and B. Rustin Gesner ed. Jackson" in 1993 (now obsolete), this book is, in my opinion, the best on the market.
    The price is very affordable.
    P.S. This review was written using the Google translator (ital-> Engl)