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AutoCAD 2019 – There can be only ONE….

For those of you old enough to remember the movie Highlander, when the Quickening starts there can be only one. Apart from the stunning Queen soundtrack, it was a great movie, and Connor MacLeod (actor Christopher Lambert) of the clan MacLeod was THE one, combined with incredible support from famous co-star Sean Connery as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, who (unfortunately) does lose his head.

As they say in the movie (and the Queen song), it’s a kind of magic……

(For those of you that like a bit of Freddie and the band Queen, here’s the link to the album, A Kind Of Magic – CLICK HERE).

So, here we go, why ONE AutoCAD?

ONE AutoCAD

In the world of the new version of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2019, we have only ONE too. When you subscribe to AutoCAD 2019, you get ONE subscription, but the many faces of AutoCAD; Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, and various other flavors. This not only gives you a specialized AutoCAD by allowing you to work in various disciplines and verticals, but also gives you various workflow improvements too. However, Civil 3D has been omitted from the ONE AutoCAD intentionally, and I am sure Autodesk have their reasons for that.

Design Toolsets

When you log in to your account portal, you will see that it has changed and the view of your subscribed AutoCAD you get now is one (pardon the pun) of many, listing all the products under your main AutoCAD subscription. You will also find that the view of AutoCAD in your Autodesk Desktop App has changed as well.

What’s nice here is that you can select all the AutoCADs to be trialed or you can select individual flavors of AutoCAD to be trialed. This is especially advantageous if you are already a vanilla AutoCAD user and want to test a specific flavor of AutoCAD to see if it fulfills your needs and requirements. For those of you that just want all the flavors, but for one price, it is a great move by Autodesk also.

On your desktop, each flavour of AutoCAD will still have its own individual icon (just to clutter your desktop, I guess…an untidy desktop is a sign of a great mind, right?), plus, there will be no change to the DWG Launcher. You know, that little gizmo in Windows that allows you to open all DWG files using AutoCAD as the preferred application to do so.

Web and Mobile

There have been some great improvements in AutoCAD 2019. One of these is the ability to save your desktop AutoCAD designs directly to AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile. If you go to the Quick Access Toolbar (top left of the desktop AutoCAD application window), you will see the new icons there that not only provide you with the facility to save to web and mobile but also go directly to those saved cloud-based designs and open them directly in the AutoCAD desktop again as well. This is also available in the AutoCAD application menu. These cloud-based files go to A360 Drive in the usual way.

Save to Web and Mobile

So, what’s new with AutoCAD Web and Mobile then? Well, AutoCAD Web is much enhanced to give a highly sophisticated browser-based AutoCAD interface, that is quicker and faster. I won’t bore you with the techie stuff, but suffice to say, you will be using the equivalent AutoCAD executable (EXE) in your browser, the same as you would be on your desktop. This makes for a much-needed boost to what was (sometimes) quite a jerky, laggy web-based application in the past.

You will find AutoCAD Web at web.autocad.com and if you are using the subscription version (it comes with full AutoCAD), you get a great new command panel incorporating some of the more familiar AutoCAD drafting icons, that even have a preview, just like desktop AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Web

What’s also new is the referencing capability of AutoCAD Web. You can add reference drawings (XREFs) at your leisure, and if they are saved in the cloud in the same location as the host drawing, using the save to web and mobile options in your desktop AutoCAD, they will operate in the same way as relative XREFs that you might use locally.

Something I love (yes, love, not just like) is that you now have the native AutoCAD window and crossing selection tools in AutoCAD Web. They work in the same way as your desktop AutoCAD and provide a rounder user experience. We have grown used to these methods of selection, and it is great to see Autodesk taking the desktop user experience tools in to the web-based version. It is by no way perfect yet, but I can see AutoCAD Web getting to a point where your AutoCAD desktop will become fully mobile. The hardware is there now; such as the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface Pro, that have the grunt under the hood to run AutoCAD Web and AutoCAD Mobile well.

What makes AutoCAD Web even more like desktop AutoCAD is that there are even some keyboard shortcuts included as well. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a keyboard shortcut or two? Trust me, as a seasoned AutoCAD user (thirty years this year), I am a big fan of keyboard shortcuts!

Overall, though, I have to say that I am mightily impressed with the new AutoCAD Web. It has been well thought out and gives you a great browser-based AutoCAD experience that relates back to your desktop AutoCAD this time. And with regular updates promised by Autodesk, I can see AutoCAD Web developing at a quick pace to bring you a much slicker experience with AutoCAD Web on the web. Did I say ‘web’ enough there for you?

New Features and Enhancements

Back to the desktop AutoCAD now. Autodesk have added a couple of new features to AutoCAD 2019.

On the new Collaborate tab in the AutoCAD ribbon, you will find the DWG Compare command. This new feature is, quite simply, excellent. I wish I’d had it years ago. You can now compare two separate DWG files and AutoCAD creates a new comparison DWG file, highlighting any differences between the two compared drawings, using colors and revision clouds, providing tools to iterate between each difference and zoom in to each difference automatically.

DWG Compare

Another great new feature on the Collaborate tab is Shared Views. You can upload your designs directly to the web in to the Autodesk Viewer, a cloud-based viewer. You can invite other collaborators to view your design by way of a private URL that can be emailed to the respective team members. Also, in the Autodesk Viewer, there is a Comment feed that allows all invited users to comment on the shared design and link their comments to the design as well.

Shared Views

You may also notice that there are enhanced icons in AutoCAD 2019 that look different too. To bring AutoCAD 2019 in line with the 4K monitors out there, over 5000 icons have been revamped and redesigned in the ribbon, status bar and application menu. They provide a slick, professional look to AutoCAD that looks modern and clean. The cartoony icons now have a tidier, minimalist look that I have to say I prefer.

Enhanced Icons

Conclusions

Autodesk are taking AutoCAD to a new level with this release. Not only are you getting numerous flavors of AutoCAD as one subscription package, but you’re also getting a great web-based offering too, along with some cool new features and enhancements in the desktop application, with cool command icons. And don’t forget, you STILL get seamless DWG compatibility with AutoCAD for Mac too.

Overall, a nice AutoCAD offering from Autodesk, and I love the new AutoCAD Web, but I would still like to see more new features and enhancements in the desktop AutoCAD, especially on the new Collaborate tab. Collaboration is becoming more and more prevalent in this age of email, webmail and the cloud, and I hope to see Autodesk take advantage of that movement to make AutoCAD even more mobile in the future.

Happy AutoCAD’ing!

SCB.

PS – As some of you may know, I provide online AutoCAD learning content over at LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com. You’ll find all the new AutoCAD 2019 Essential Training material below: –

LinkedIn Learning – CLICK HERE 

Lynda.com – CLICK HERE

 

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AutoCAD 2018: It’s here and here’s the new stuff….

As a member of the AutoCAD Blogger Council and a part of the AutoCAD Influencer team, I thought I should get some stuff out there about AutoCAD 2018 now that the embargo has been dropped!

Now, AutoCAD is a VERY mature product. So what can Autodesk do to AutoCAD to make it even better? Here are just some of the improvements and new features….

New DWG file format

Autodesk have released AutoCAD 2018 with a new AutoCAD 2018 DWG file format, so when you save a drawing using AutoCAD 2018 out of the box, it will save to the 2018 DWG file format. As quoted by Autodesk in the AutoCAD blog, the new 2018 DWG will improve the efficiency of open and save operations, especially for drawings that contain many annotative objects and viewports. So be careful if you upgrade and work on existing projects. Older versions of AutoCAD cannot read the 2018 format, so you will need to Save As to an older DWG format, or perhaps set your default Open & Save settings in Options? Just be careful with that one, as it is the first DWG upgrade since the 2013 DWG file format.

PDF SHX text support

When drawings and designs were exported to PDF using older shape code fonts (SHX), there was no support for the SHX text in the PDF and when PDFIMPORT was used to bring the PDF in to an AutoCAD drawing, the SHX text was converted to AutoCAD entities, such as polylines and arcs and the like. AutoCAD 2018 now provides SHX support when imported via a PDF, using the PDFSHXTEXT command. All you need to do is run the PDFSHXTEXT command, set the appropriate settings, select the AutoCAD entities that form the text objects and, hey presto, the entities become text.

External reference (XREF) path enhancements

How often have you had a broken external reference (XREF) filepath? AutoCAD 2018 provides some great new features that allow you to manage your XREFs much more effectively. Even when you have a new unsaved DWG file open (you know which one I mean, drawing01.dwg, right?), you can still XREF in another drawing in AutoCAD 2018. You can alter your reference path type from a relative path to an absolute path. You can also find and replace XREFs, which is very useful should newer versions of your existing XREFs need to be brought in to the host drawing.

Object selection

In previous versions of AutoCAD, you could select a group of objects with a window or crossing selection, then pan them off screen, and when you panned back to the original position in the drawing, those selected objects that were panned off the screen were deselected. Frustrating, right? AutoCAD 2018 now keeps those off screen objects selected, even if you do pan them off screen.

High resolution (4K) monitor support

AutoCAD 2018 now supports high-res monitors and screens making sure that the AutoCAD 2018 user gets the best possible experience on 4K displays and higher. Numerous typical AutoCAD user interface functions, such as the Start tab, Command line, palettes, dialog boxes, toolbars, ViewCube, pick pox, and grips, are scaled and displayed effectively using the 4K Windows setting.

On the surface, AutoCAD 2018 looks very much like AutoCAD 2017. The user interface is similar both in colour and layout, but surely that is what we want? I, for one, like the darker look and feel of AutoCAD, and I really appreciate the consistency and continuity of the user interface. Why re-invent the wheel and change it for changes sake? One thing I do like is that we have moved forward with the DWG version finally. It used to be a regular three year cycle for the DWG file format change, and improvements to the DWG can only be a good thing.

The subscription model is now also in full swing. I have just downloaded my version of AutoCAD 2018 over at http://manage.autodesk.com and it took no time at all over my fibre broadband. Sure I am spoilt with the fibre broadband, you may say, but the Autodesk Download Manager is much improved too. Use it where you can.

Overall, there are no big show-stoppers in AutoCAD 2018, but it is by no means a damp squib either. With the subscription model comes gradual, but regular, improvement to AutoCAD with subscription giving Autodesk the ability to roll out not only new releases but any service packs and hotfixes as well.

You can check out the official Autodesk AutoCAD 2018 blog here: –

http://blogs.autodesk.com/autocad/autocad-2018/

On a blatant self-promotional note, most of you know that I am an AutoCAD content creator for Lynda.com (slowly transitioning in to LinkedIn Learning) and you can find my AutoCAD 2018 Essential Training and AutoCAD 2018 New Features courses at the following websites: –

Lynda.com – https://www.lynda.com/Shaun-Bryant/4625210-1.html

LinkedIn Learning – https://www.linkedin.com/learning/instructors/shaun-bryant

Check out the courses if you wish, maybe even sign up to Lynda.com, or LinkedIn Learning not only for the AutoCAD 2018 titles but all of the other AutoCAD content available too!

SCB

2016: Another trip around the sun….

Well, here we are again. Another year flies by, and we are all another year older, and some might say, another year wiser (albeit that might not be the case in some people I know, including me).

2016 has been a great year for me and the company professionally and I have moved forward with AutoCAD content creation bigtime with the lovely people at Lynda.com (which will slowly transition in to LinkedIn Learning). I have written numerous courses for them, both on AutoCAD and some Revit too. You can check them all out at my authors page over on Lynda.com.

Another Autodesk University (AU) has gone by where I had not one, but TWO classes this year! It is always great to teach there, meet up with old friends and colleagues, and make new friends and contacts. As they say, it is the the BIGGEST networking event for Autodesk users on the planet! And if you haven’t seen Las Vegas yet, it is a great opportunity to do so! Also, bear in mind that AU is expanding. Check out the website. There could be an AU near you real soon!

So, it just leaves me one thing to say in 2016.

I have many colleagues, friends and acquaintances all over the globe. I have met these people through my work, my training, my teaching, through Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) and through many other avenues, and I want to wish every single one of you a great New Years Eve and a prosperous 2017 wherever you are.

Remember that we only grow if we learn, we only expand if we meet and work with new people. Make 2017 that year where you grow and expand your horizons.

Wishing you all nothing but the best for the New Year.

SCB

LYNDA.COM – Using the Command Line in AutoCAD

So there I was using WhatsApp to send a quick message to a colleague today, and I suddenly thought how much we use command lines, text boxes and prompts when we are using social media, especially when using communication tools such as LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter from a smartphone or a tablet (or if you are really geeky, a phablet – you will understand if you are geeky enough, right?).

This got me thinking about how often I still use the command line in AutoCAD as well. I am a seasoned AutoCAD user with (now in 2016) twenty-seven years experience of Autodesk’s flagship product (I started on AutoCAD R10 for DOS – remember those five and a quarter inch floppy disks?). Now, I STILL use the command line. I still type certain commands and use keyboard shortcuts, due to my old DOS-based AutoCAD habits, and the AutoCAD command line is still there, still being the old faithful, ready and waiting to be used, even in the latest version of AutoCAD.

So, when you have a moment, check out that AutoCAD command line. It has a lot more to offer than you might think. Maybe use my Lynda.com course, Using the Command Line in AutoCAD, to discover some shortcuts and workarounds that will make you just that bit more productive at work. Who knows? You might even impress the boss or become AutoCAD guru for the day in the office!

LYNDA.COM link – Using the Command Line in AutoCAD

SCB