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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a poll ‘Should Autodesk Purge AutoCAD Command Line?’. The result is kind of obvious: 90% votes don’t want Autodesk to mess with the command line. 5% want it to be removed completely, and the other 5% want it to be removed, but leave it as an option.
Don’t take this seriously. I’m just a user who want some improvement, not the one who make the decision :)
Not all of the voters leave comments, but most of them worry if command line has gone, AutoCAD lost its versatility. Some blogs responded to that poll. I have a feeling that my message was not clear enough. So I would like to discuss more about it.
It’s not removing the engine, it’s upgrading it
AutoCAD now looks like a fancy sport car. But probably still have old engine attach to it. Well, at least it still using the old DOS style. I know it works great for AutoCAD users, but if you use many applications it can be confusing. Many other CAD applications don’t use something like command line. And they work great. Let us look to the Autodesk products family, besides AutoCAD and AutoCAD based products, none of them using command line. But they are still very popular and powerful.
Don’t worry about shortcuts. Every application has it. Many of them are customizable just like acad.pgp. Don’t worry you will not get information what you should do when you are using a tool. Most applications use status bar for it. Tooltips, dialog box, or option bar can provide it too.
Command Line needs you to define settings sequentially and repeatedly
I was thinking about changing the command line workflow (or whatever that is), not only removing it from the screen. You can do it now by pressing [ctrl] + 9.
Let’s take draw polygon tool as an example.
After we activate draw polygon, AutoCAD will ask us several questions sequentially. We may want to change the number of sides only, but we have to go through all the questions. After we finished drawing a polygon and want to create another polygon, AutoCAD will ask the whole same questions again.
Command: _polygon Enter number of sides <4>: 6
Specify center of polygon or [Edge]:
Enter an option [Inscribed in circle/Circumscribed about circle] <I>: I
Specify radius of circle: 500
Sure we can press [space] or [enter] quickly. Let’s take a look to Revit option bar.
We can change only the properties we want to change. Yes I know there is no shortcut to change it in Revit. But I know some CAD applications allow you to use shortcut to change the properties.
After you define the number of sides once. You can create dozens of similar polygons without changing the properties again.
Honestly I don’t think we can compare to use or not to use command line directly. There are many advantages and disadvantages. My main concern is: why should AutoCAD so different with the others? If you’ve never knew AutoCAD, it would be easier to learn Inventor. No actual survey on it, but I found that fact from my classes. The difference makes switching from AutoCAD to the others become difficult.