AutoCAD 2009 in 2 minutes
Well, it's that time again. Another 12 months, another version of AutoCAD, whether you are ready or not. You will find all sorts of detailed reviews at various websites. This is not meant to be a detailed review. This is simply a quick look at some of the highlights in AutoCAD 2009.
AutoCAD 2009 is going to blow you away at first, not because of any spectacular new features, but because the UI has changed in such a dramatic way. So where to start...?
First off, there is the Ribbon, copied from the latest Office versions. You might think of it as a sort of meshing of toolbars and the Dashboard (in fact the Dashboard is gone). So you are probably looking at the image below thinking "where are the pull-down menus???"... Well, hang on a minute. While you are looking at that image, notice that the Communication Center is buried in the Title Bar now, which saves a bit of space.
(Note: Image below is broken horizontally so it will fit on this page)
Ok, where are the pull-down menus? Do you see that Big Red "A" in the upper left corner? Click on that to expose the Menu Browser. This is sort of like the Windows Start Menu, except it's in the upper left hand corner. Judge for yourself, if you want the old style pull-down menus, set MENUBAR to 1.
Quick Properties is a mini version of the properties palette that automatically appears when you select one of more objects. It is customizable.
Quick View Drawings is basically a version "Drawing Tabs" on steroids... Rather than just a set of tabs with drawing names, you get a preview of the drawing and a preview of the layouts in the drawing. Click on a drawing or a layout and you are taken directly there.
Quick View Layouts is similar to Quick View Drawings, except that this shows you are preview of the layouts in the current drawing. Click on one to switch to it.
The Layer Properties Manager is now a floating palette. You can leave it open while working. Changes are applied immediately which sounds like a good thing, but if you are manipulating many layers at once it could slow things down - as opposed to making all your layer changes and then pressing Apply. CLASSICLAYER will open the 2008 and earlier version of the Layer Manager.
Regular and super-sized ToolTips are everywhere. Hover over a button in the Ribbon and a regular tooltip appears, wait a second and the larger one appears. This may be helpful for new users, but thankfully you can disable this feature.
Action Recorder is a tool that you can use to record drawing and editing activities, and play these back later. It does not write VBA code like the Macro Recorder in MS Office. Editing capabilities are limited.
There are some new 3D visualization tools such as the Steering Wheel and ViewCube.
By default the buttons in the status bar for things like ORTHO, SNAP, and OTRACK are now icons. You can revert back to "text" buttons if you want to.
XCLIPFRAMEs now include grips for on the fly editing and a "flip" grip to switch from a regular clip to an inverted clip.
What should have been a bug fix in 2008 is now available, and that it the ability to suppress XREF scales from the Scale List. Set HIDEXREFSCALES to 1.
That is it for now. The big change is the UI for this release. The DWG format is unchanged (still 2007). On the programming side, nothing major has changed from 2008. VBA is still available. The VLIDE is unchanged.
Below are the new and changed commands and system variables.
***NEW COMMANDS*** ACTRECORD ACTSTOP -ACTSTOP ACTUSERINPUT ACTUSERMESSAGE -ACTUSERMESSAGE ALLPLAY BACKGROUND CLASSICLAYER -DGNEXPORT -DGNIMPORT DGNLAYERS DGNMAPPING DWFFORMAT EDITSHOT EXPORTLAYOUT HIDEPALETTES IMPRESSION LAYERCLOSE NAVSMOTION NAVSMOTIONCLOSE NAVSWHEEL NAVVCUBE NEWSHOT QVDRAWING QVDRAWINGCLOSE QVLAYOUT QVLAYOUTCLOSE RIBBON RIBBONCLOSE SEQUENCEPLAY SHOWPALETTES VIEWGO VIEWPLAY ***CHANGED COMMANDS*** DASHBOARD DASHBOARDCLOSE DGNATTACH -DGNATTACH DGNEXPORT DGNIMPORT GEOPGRAPHICLOCATION LAYER NEWVIEW QUICKCUI VPLAYER ***NEW SYSTEM VARIABLES*** ACTPATH ACTRECORDSTATE ACTRECPATH ACTUI CAPTURETHUMBNAILS DGNIMPORTMAX DGNMAPPINGPATH GEOLATLONGFORMAT GEOMARKERVISIBILITY HIDEXREFSCALES LAYERDLGMODE MENUBAR MTEXTTOOLBAR NAVSWHEELMODE NAVSWHEELOPACITYBIG NAVSWHEELOPACITYMINI NAVSWHEELSIZEBIG NAVSWHEELSIZEMINI NAVSWHEELWALKSPEED NAVVCUBEDISPLAY NAVVCUBELOCATION NAVVCUBEORIENT NAVVCUBESIZE NAVVCUBOPACITY OPENPARTIAL PREVIEWTYPE PUBLISHHATCH QPLOCATION QPMODE QVDRAWINGPIN QVLAYOUTPIN RIBBONSTATE ROLLOVERTIPS SHOWMOTIONPIN SHOWPALETTE STATUSBAR THUMBSIZE *** CHANGED SYSTEM VARIABLES*** CROSSINGAREACOLOR GRIPCOLOR GRIPHOT GRIPHOVER OSMODE TABLETOOLBAR WINDOWAREACOLOR