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Autodesk has launched AutoCAD 2016 at the end of March 2015 in US. We in other countries can download it few days (or maybe weeks) later. As usual, when a new version is released we cover the new features here.
Let’s start with the AutoCAD interface.
The first Look
It’s good to see that Autodesk doesn’t waste much time in changing unnecessary interface. The most obvious, the splash screen is still the same in the last 3 versions. The icons and theme color is the same.
Hopefully it means Autodesk spend more time to work on real enhancements.
There’s a little change in trial installation. If you install it as trial, there is an interesting thing: you need to login to Autodesk account before you can install it.
It means Autodesk can find out if you install trial version a few times.
After you install it, AutoCAD 2016 doesn’t look that different with previous version.
In AutoCAD 2015, Autodesk introduce the New Tab. In AutoCAD 2016, the name is changed to Start Tab. It may sounds weird to change the tab name, but I think they change the name because the behavior is also changed.
AutoCAD 2015 New tab gives you options to create/open files and several other things. But after you open the file, the New Tab will disappear.
AutoCAD 2016 Start Tab do the same thing, but it is persistent. It will stay as the left most tab after you create a new file.
In AutoCAD 2015, when you click the plus (+) tab, it will open the New tab to allow you create a new file again.
In AutoCAD 2016, (+) icon will immediately create a new file (similar to QNEW). The Start tab will remains open at the left most tab.
So now you can click the (+) icon to quickly create new file. And if you want more options, you can go to Start tab.
There is a new command introduced with the Start tab: GOTOSTART. You can type it or press ctrl+Home. This command will bring you to Start tab without having to click the tab.
There is also new system variable: STARTMODE. You may have guessed correctly. Yes, you can disable Start tab by changing the value to 0. Change to 1 (default) if you want to show it again.
In AutoCAD 2016, there is a new command: CLOSEALLOTHER. This command will close all drawings, except the current tab.
This command is only available by typing the command at command line. This command is not available from ribbon.
This command would be useful if you want to close unnecessary drawings to free some computer resources.
Layout scrolling when dragging
In AutoCAD 2015, when you have too many layouts AutoCAD will hide some of the Layouts. You can only arrange the layout order by dragging if the Layout name is shown.
For example, you can’t move Layout 1 to after Layout 12 because it’s not visible.
In AutoCAD 2016, you can drag to the end of Layout tabs and AutoCAD will scroll to the next hidden Layout. Allows you to arrange it, even if the Layout location is not currently visible.
Status bar appearance has changed since AutoCAD 2015. Autodesk has implemented minor changes in this version.
New Items on Status Bar
Now you can turn on/off Lock UI and Isolate Objects. Isolate Objects is already here before, but you can’t turn it off in AutoCAD 2015.
Status Bar layout enhancement
In AutoCAD 2016 if you resize AutoCAD window narrow enough, you will see the status bar will be displayed in 2 rows. This will make AutoCAD can display all status bar icon when you have lower screen resolution.
And no, AutoCAD will not display it to 3 rows. AutoCAD will hide the icons if the status bar can’t display it in 3 rows.
GALLERYVIEW system variable
In AutoCAD 2015, Autodesk introduced Ribbon Galleries. It will display thumbnails of blocks and annotation styles at ribbon.
In this version, you can turn it off using GALLERYVIEW system variable. It looks like not everyone like Gallery View.
GALLERYVIEW = 1 will display Ribbon Galleries and changing it to 0 will turn it off.
To Sum up
So nothing is really new in AutoCAD 2016 interface. Many of them are the fix for features implemented in previous version.
For me, this is actually not a bad thing. There are several new features that you might find useful. We will cover more in the next article.
What do you think? Do you find the enhancements useful?