One of the unique features of Computer Aided Design is the length of time you often work on a single design (drawing) file. It's possible to start on a drawing for a particular job (let's call it JohnDoeHouse) and work on it many times over a period of weeks. Even if you save often, there are only two copies of the file in existence - the native gCADPlus file with its .lcd extension and the .bak version of that same file. With the best intention in the world, no computer, operating system or application is immune to file corruption so you need to protect that valuable work.
gCADPlus offers various levels of protection - an automatic save every 15 minutes (configurable in the pop up reminder dialog box), error checking etc. However, we believe that the incremental save tool (found behind the green cross on the standard toolbar) offers landscape designers the best level of protection. Click once on this icon and a copy of the file is saved under its existing name, and the name of the current JohnDoeHouse drawing file increments and becomes JohnDoeHouse_01. Each time the green plus sign is clicked, the drawing file increments by one. This means you can have multiple copies of the drawing file and an audit trail. At any time, you can go back to an earlier version of the design. Our users report that this is a really valuable feature from a design viewpoint - it is not uncommon to head in one design direction and want to retreat when things do not work out. In that case, all you need do is open an earlier version of your design. The figure below shows the location of the incremental backup tool (increment and save).
Incremental save

It is really important to protect your valuable data. It can be devastating to lose information and have to recreate the drawing. It is important to safeguard your data so don't forget to backup you entire drawing stock to a backup device. We recommend using DropBox for that as it provides an off site backup facility.

Good working practice

Your CAD drawings are a valuable store of information and need to be protected.

Keep work organized

We like to create a Jobs folder in the My Documents > gCADPlus folder  and then sub folders for each calendar year and then sub folders for each client last name. For example, a job carried out in 2013 for M/s Smith would be filed in My Documents  > Jobs > 2013 > Smith. 


Here is a link to a little YouTube movie demonstrating how to use the free file compression tool 7Zip as an aid to backup.

New symbols

It is common to make new symbols for particular purposes when making a new design. We store any new symbols and blocks that are not part of gCADPlus in a New Symbols folder at the same level as the Jobs folder.

New symbols

Backing up data is then quite straightforward - the Jobs and New Symbols folders are copied to a backup device. This can be as simple as a high capacity USB drive. Better still, we suggest that you investigate using a cloud storage system and have the Jobs and New Symbols folders backed up without any intervention from you.

Microsoft with their OneDrive service, DropBox and Google + have an excellent free systems while SugarSync offers an excellent commercial cloud service.

AutoSave and backup drawing files

Every new gCADPlus drawing you create has the extension .lcd (.lcd is the gCADPlus native file format).

When gCADPlus saves and closes a drawing in lcd format, a backup copy of the file is saved with the extension .bak. Thus once you have started work and saved a design for the first time, there are two copies of your work - an lcd file and a .bak file. 

If for some reason you need to access backup files and work working on a design, the backup (.bak)  file needs to be renamed perhaps to a name such as RecoveredSideGarden.lcd in order for the backup copy to be worked on. In other words unless a file has the extension .lcd, it will not open in gCADPlus.

Use File Manager (or the Your Computer tool), Select the file, right click and select rename to rename and change the file extension. On the Mac, use Finder.

*** Use the incremental backup tool - the green + sign on the standard toolbar while developing your design. As well as saving an additional copy of the drawing, this provides a 'reverse' option if you find that a new design idea is not working out. **

As an additional safeguard, every 15 minutes while you are drafting, gCADPlus saves a further copy of the drawing with the extension .lc$. These automatic backup files are normally stored in the same folder as the original file. For example, if the drawing SideGarden was located in a folder called Drawings - in User > My Documents > gCADPlus > Drawings folder an additional file called$ will be saved. The .lc$ files are cleaned up (removed) on a normal save and close of a drawing file. They (the lc$ files) should only be used (and renamed to .lcd) if your computer crashes such as a power failure.

What to do if you have been working on a drawing for hours and gCADPlus will not save

Start a new instance of gCADPlus.

Switch back to the copy of gCADPlus that will not save. Select all entities. Right click and Select Edit > Copy to Clipboard.

Switch to the new copy of gCADPlus, Right click and paste from the clipboard. Save the new drawing under a different name.

Backup data