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What's new in AutoCAD 2015?

Autodesk invited a handful of AutoCAD bloggers to their offices in San Francisco yesterday. They showed us many fun things, and among them, some highlights of Acad 2015. I would like to share my notes from these demonstrations so you can get an idea of what to expect.

We learned that there were three spears of focus in this release:
Modernity - Connectivity - Productivity

A highlight list of improvements -
Darker theme
Selection improvements
Tuning for visible performance improvements
Reality capture evolved more
Productivity - command preview and AutoCAD experience

Darker theme -
With regard to the color theme changes, 2014 was high contrast whereas 2015 is smoother and less blocky in UI
Palettes have a smaller form factor
Smaller status bar gives slightly more screen space

Connectivity -
Design feed
Settings sync
AutoCAD 360
File sync/storage
Exchange store
Online maps
Cloud rendering

Productivity tools -
There is now an ability to preview command outcomes, such as offset, fillet, chamfer, trim, extend and match prop. You can see how the action will appear afterward, potentially reducing time spent undoing and retrying to obtain the desired result

Fun fact -
AutoCAD has around 17 million lines of code

Heidi Hewett (who blogs as The AutoCAD Insider) walked us through a demonstration of the 2015 release

There is now a Launch Screen when opening AutoCAD, which is not dissimilar to Revit's launch screen

This is actually a slider page, so, it has two screens:
Create Page
- new file (open files or sheet sets)
- recent files (can pin)
- Connect section
Learn Page
- new features
- getting started videos
- tips & online resources (including The Hitchhiker's Guide to AutoCAD, check this out if you haven't already)

You can adjust the theme (button display color theme) through the Display tab of the Options dialog

The Ribbon now sports preview galleries. Users can see thumbnails of blocks and annotation styles (text, dims, mleaders, table & table cell styles)

Help -

image from http://augi.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8345202af69e201a3fcdf0f1a970b-pi

Don't know where a command button is on the ribbon? Now there's a 'find' link in the Help file, click & it pulls up the appropriate tab & an arrow highlights it (this arrow will *not* capture on Camtasia, unsure if it'll work with Project Chronicle)
If that tool is not visible in your current workspace, a message box pops up and says so
If you define in the CUI, you can add this
I admit that I am a command line junkie, but, support users who are not quite as old school. This is a seemingly minor add, but, will probably be a headache reducer

Layer Sorting -
2014 had 'natural order sort' like in the layer manager (previous behavior grouped Layer10 after Layer1 rather than after Layer9)
2015 introduced a SysVar called SORTORDER so that you can go back to the older behavior if you wish
Now this sort order has been rolled out to all commands that list layers (like qselect)

There is no variable with which to bring back the text labels on the status bar

Smooth line display can be adjusted as needed. Try this out to appreciate how angled lines aren't as jagged in appearance as they used to be

Highlights as you drag a crossing window, so you can see what will be selected

Hold down & drag - you can lasso select (hit F for Fence option or hit Spacebar to cycle between selection options)

'Cursor badges'
Like command preview for trim shows an X when hovering over a line to be removed. These match the command icons as closely as possible, like move and copy.

Lengthen will now retain options across uses

Command preview makes the Break command much easier to use

Model space viewports - more flexibility than the old tilemode
Can save the custom configuration

Height/width drag to resize at once
Bullets & numbering (how configurable are Sublists when tabbing?)
Stacked fractions are easier & more flexible (diagonal, horiz, off, stack options dialog accessible immediately)
Buttons for subscript & superscript
Paragraph dialog in MTEXT - modify button

MText Align (annotate > text panel) - similar to mleader align - works with MTEXT, attributes etc

MTEXT - autocaps detection - if you have caps lock on when typing and you hold the shift key down by habit, as soon as you hit space after the first word, it switches the case of the letters automatically

Can now fillet polyline arc segments

Pline - when drawing an arc segment, hold CTRL to make the arc go in the opposite direction

New status bar tool - isoplane settings

Geographic Locations - some subtle enhancements
Once you select a boundary, the area is embedded in the drawing as a static capture
Changing the boundary will re-query most recent data
How will that save down? It does not know what type of object it is, it'll just show as a rectangle.
They all print and show up across xrefs (on current version)
Fading on ribbon, transparency on properties palette

3d orbit -
New variable called ORBITAUTOTARGET (default set to 1) - orbit around entire model
Set to 0 to not auto target - whenever you hold middle mouse button while orbiting, it orbits around where you've pressed

Point clouds
- now working with ReCap for point clouds (no longer supports the other formats)
- if the point cloud & DWG both have geographic locations, the point cloud will line up thusly

New display options - elevations and classifications display (intensity was the only option before)

Point limit increased from 10 mil to 25mil. (Default is still 10mil, but, can be increased.)

Point Cloud Manager now in AutoCAD, similar to the tool in ReCap.
- can turn scan files on & off
- double click scan to be taken to the point in the scan, rather than using traditional navigation tools. From that point, you can continue to move around
- region - define area in ReCap (rooms, etc) and access/control them in AutoCAD

- status bar - less common settings aren't on by default, use the customize button on the far right of the status bar

Design Feed -
Introduced in 2014. Way to associate 'text messaging' to a DWG.
Requires a 360 account.
In 2015, the drawing can be saved locally and on a network drive or Dropbox (in the last release, it only worked with cloud-stored drawings).
Post created will show up in file, if you tag a specific person to a certain note, they'll also receive email notification of the post.
Can attach an image to a post (5mb filesize limit. Photo IS copied to cloud. Can reply to posts, but cannot attach photos to replies.).
When doing SaveAs, there's an option to Copy the Design Feed stream, off by default (disconnects from the original feed)
When doing an etransmit, it creates a copy of the feed, but that feed is not linked to the original

Random tip, there is still no network version of LT.

Autodesk Application Manager

image from http://augi.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8345202af69e201a73d99e955970d-pi

This app "ships and auto-installs with AutoCAD 2015, and informs customers of product updates and extensions, seamlessly downloads and installs updates and can be centrally managed from Autodesk Account portal."

Thank you to Autodesk and their amazing employees who brought me out and showed all of us bloggers a good time while introducing us to new tools
(Images in this post were provided by Autodesk)


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