AutoCAD 2011 in 3 minutes
Well, it's springtime again (at least in the northern hemisphere), and time once again for the next AutoCAD release. AutoCAD 2011 is being announced today, and here is a quick run down of many of the new features.
- The default file format remains unchanged from the last version, AutoCAD 2010 file format.
- The standard drawing window now has a dark grey background by default, and the old "dot" grid has been replaced by horizontal and vertical lines. You can still change the background color of course.
- The navigation tools formerly found in the status bar, like Pan, Zoom, Orbit, and the ViewCube, are now located in a new Navigation Bar.
- The ViewCube now works while in 2D wireframe mode.
- The Ribbon cycle button has a new pull-down with choices on how to handle cycling through the various modes of display.
- Other various additions and improvements to the Ribbon, including a new Visual Styles panel.
- The workspaces selector, which shows you the current workspace and allows you to change workspaces, has been moved (once again…) and it now resides in the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The QAT now includes the Save and SaveAs commands.
- There are five new default visual styles, including X-Ray, Sketchy, Shaded, Shaded with Edges, and Shades of Gray.
- The appearance of the UCS icon and the 3D Gizmos have been updated with different colors for each axis.
Object Selection and Creation
- New commands for controlling object visibility independent of layer control. These tools were previously introduced in a (Subscription only) Advantage Pack for 2010.
- New "Add Selected "tool allows you to pick an object, and the correct command to create another object like the selected on will be started. For example, run this command and select a 3D polyline, and the 3DPOLY command will be initiated so you can create a new one. This tool was previously introduced in a (Subscription only) Advantage Pack for 2010.
- New "Select Similar" command provides yet another way to filter entities in a selection set. Select an object (for example, a green circle), then right-click and choose select similar and all other green circles will be selected. There are options available to control what properties to use when considering what is similar. This tool was previously introduced in a (Subscription only) Advantage Pack for 2010.
- New predefined macros to access options within in the GEOMCONSTRAINT and DIMCONSTRAINT commands.
- New "Infer Geometric Constraints" toggle. When turned on, the desired geometric constraints are automatically applied to geometry at creation time. This toggle is available in the status bar.
- New Transparency property that allows you to apply transparency to layers and objects just as you would colors and linetypes. Transparency display can be enabled or disabled by using the new "Show/Hide Transparency" button in the status bar.
In the illustration below, the green square on the left has a transparency value of 75 applied, while the green square on the right does not have transparency applied.
- Polylines now have additional grip points. Clicking on the new middle grip allows you to stretch, add a point, or convert that segment to an arc/line (opposite of it's current state).
- You can now select subentities of a polyline.
- The JOIN command now allows you to join 3d Polylines, 2D Polylines, lines, etc.
- Object Selection dialog. When trying to select a single object when multiple objects are on top of each other, a dialog will appear making this very easy.
- Hatching has been enhanced. Now when you initiate the Hatch command, you are prompted to select point without first viewing the dialog. All of the hatching properties are now displayed in the new Hatch Creation contextual tab. (Click the image below for a larger version)
- While in the Hatch command, when you pass the cursor over an area to be hatched, a preview of the hatch displays in real time. No more pressing Preview in the dialog multiple times.
- Hatch objects now have a new center grip. This new grips allows you to stretch the hatch, change the origin, change the scale, and/or change the rotation angle. All of these can be done in real time while you move the cursor.
- The hatch editor now uses a slightly modified version of the Hatch contextual tab.
- Selecting an external reference in the drawing will highlight that reference file in the palette. Selecting a reference in the palette will highlight that reference in the drawing.
- You can now specify a default scale list, so that when you RESET, it will reset to your defaults.
- If you open a drawing that has missing shape and/or font files, you can choose to ignore these prompts instead of being prompted for each one.
- New control for linetypes to force text annotation to always be "upright".
- New "3D Basics" workspace.
- New "3D" object snaps.
- The EXTRUDE, LOFT, REVOLVE, and SWEEP commands now allow you to select an edge or subobject for using as a profile or curve to create a new surface. You are no longer limited to using planar curves.
- New tools to allow you to attach and display point clouds created from 3D scanning devices.
- The New Features Workshop has been updated.
- The HELP system has been changed to a "web-based" system. Help topics display in Internet Explorer or your default browser. You have the option of disabling the online help and using a local copy.
- Lastly, there are many, many, many 3D modeling enhancements, but I'll save those for later.
- For LT users, Gradient Hatching is now supported in the 2011 version. Many of the above features in AutoCAD 2011 are also added to LT 2011. More detail on this later also.