The AutoCAD status bar has been updated with new tools and icons! The left side of the status bar includes button toggles for familiar functionality such as Grid, Osnap and Dynamic Input. A right-click menu enables you to easily switch the status bar display between icons and the traditional text labels.
The right-click menus for some status bar toggles include additional controls, which are relevant for that particular toggle. You save clicks by applying these controls from the right-click menu rather than having to access the Drafting Settings dialog box. You can turn on the polar or grid snap from the right-click menu of the SNAP toggle. You can set the polar tracking angle from the right-click menu of the POLAR toggle. And, you can apply object snaps from the right-click menu of the OSNAP and OTRACK toggles… (My favorite!)
The last button on the left side of the status bar is the new Quick Properties toggle. The Model and Layout buttons have moved to the right side of the status bar where several new tools have also been added. I’ll describe all of these new tools in future posts!
The Layout flyout is replaced by the Quick View Layouts button, which is followed by the Quick View Drawings button. The status bar provides easy access to navigation and viewing tools including Pan and Zoom as well as the new Steering Wheel and Show Motion functionality. The Annotation Scale, which was introduced in AutoCAD 2008, is replaced by a Viewport/Annotation toggle that links the Annotation Scale to the Viewport Scale. This ensures they stay in sync. A new Workspace Switching button replaces the Workspaces toolbar, providing the same functionality in considerably less space! From this single button, you can easily restore any of the predefined workspaces as well as any custom workspaces that you create.
The new Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is displayed at the top of the AutoCAD window, next to the Menu Browser. By default it includes six frequently used tools: New, Open, Save, Plot, Undo, and Redo. You can easily add your own tools to the QAT by right-clicking on the toolbar and choosing Customize Quick Access Toolbar.
Select the Customize option displays the Customize User Interface (CUI) dialog box in a collapsed form so that only the Command List is shown. You can drag and drop tools from the Command List to the QAT.
The QAT is stored on a per-workspace basis. You can reorganize or remove tools by expanding the QAT node under each workspace.
In addition to the option to Customize the Quick Access Toolbar, the right-click menu enables you to turn on the menu bar, which is off by default.
The QAT is the only toolbar that is turned on in the default workspace. You can turn on additional toolbars from the right-click menu.
It isn't too late to register for the Seattle CAD Camp! If you're in the Seattle area, this is your opportunity to attend Autodesk University-type classes in your own back yard! I'll be teaching a morning session on Annotation Scaling using AutoCAD 2008. Then, during lunch, join me for a live demonstration of AutoCAD 2009!
The new AutoCAD 2009 user interface includes a Menu Browser located in the upper left corner. The Menu Browser provides easy access to a variety of content including commands and documents.
It displays a vertical list of menus items, emulating the menus that were traditionally displayed horizontally across the top of the AutoCAD window. You can select a menu item to launch the associated command.
A search tool at the top of the Menu Browser enables you to search the CUI (Customize User Interface) file for key terms. For example, as you begin typing L-I-N-E in the search field, AutoCAD dynamically filters the search options to display all CUI entrees that include the word LINE (Linetype, Command Line, Line, Multiline, etc). You can click on a listed item to launch the associated command.
In addition to command access, the Menu Browser enables you to view and access recent or open documents. You can display the document names with icons or with small, medium, or large preview images making them easy to identify.
Hovering the cursor over the document name automatically displays a preview image and other document information. You can view the recent documents as an ordered list or you can group them by date or file type.
In addition to recent documents, the Menu Browser offers easy access to recent actions. You can view a list of the recent actions and then select one to repeat it.
Right-click menus within the Menu Browser offer additional controls including the ability to pin a recent document or action so that it remains on the list. You can also clear the Recent Documents or Recent Actions lists from the right-click menu.
The new action recorder in AutoCAD 2009 can help you increase productivity by automating those repetitive tasks!
For example, imagine you’re a landscape architect and each time you receive a new site plan from a client, you have to add standard layers with the appropriate layer properties. You could create a custom LiSP file, but for such a simple task, it hardly seems worth the effort… especially if you don’t have an in-house LiSP expert! You could store your standard layers in a template file but, still, you must somehow get them into the client’s drawing, which takes time. Using the new action recorder, you simply begin recording and then perform those monotonous tasks that you’ve performed many times before. While it is recording, you can launch commands, enter values, and select objects using familiar AutoCAD functionality. The action recorder records everything that passes through the command line plus it can also record typical actions from:
Layer Properties Manager
When you’re finished performing a repetitive operation, you simply stop the recording and enter an appropriate name for the action macro. Each action macro that you create is saved as an individual file and stored in the location specified by the Action Recording File Location option in the Files tab of the Options dialog box. A second option for Action Recorder Settings on the Files tab enables you to include locations for reading additional action macros making it easy to share action macros among your design team. The action macros in these specified locations are automatically listed in the Action Recorder panel.
You can create more robust and interactive macros by including text messages and requests for user input. And, you can edit input values even after you’ve recorded the macro.
Action macros behave very much like commands. You can type them at the command line, assign short-cut aliases, and can call one macro from another. You can even call LiSP and ARX routines from a macro simply by running the routine while recording the macro!
Learn more about the new AutoCAD 2009 functionality by reviewing the AutoCAD 2009 Preview Guide. Keep in mind, however, that I write these preview guides to highlight NEW functionality in the latest release. If you’re upgrading from an older release of AutoCAD or if you have the latest release (AutoCAD 2008) but don’t use it to its fullest potential, take a few minutes to review some of the older preview guides as well. Remember, if you don’t know about it, it’s NEW to YOU!
AutoCAD 2009 is on its way! Here’s a quick peek at some of the new functionality that AutoCAD 2009 has to offer!
Microsoft Logo Certification – AutoCAD 2009 and AutoCAD LT 2009 have earned certification for Windows Vista; the highest level of Microsoft Logo Certification.
Modern User Interface - The default AutoCAD user interface has a new look and feel; similar to Microsoft Office 2007.
The Menu Browser provides easy access to a variety of content, including commands and documents, from a single button in the upper left corner of the AutoCAD display.
The Quick Access Toolbar, displayed at the top of the AutoCAD window next to the Menu Browser, includes frequently used tools and is easily customizable.
The InfoCenter provides more flexibility when searching for help, including the ability to search for online solutions.
The Ribbon, displayed near the top of the AutoCAD window, provides easy access to AutoCAD tools through a collection of tabs and panels.
The Status Bar has been updated with new tools and icons!
Quick Properties – Use the new Quick Properties panel to view and modify object properties right at the cursor, when you need them, without sacrificing screen real estate.
Quick View Layouts – Easily switch between model space and layouts using this new Quick View Layouts. They provide a faster and more visual alternative to using the traditional model and layout tabs.
Quick View Drawings –Use Quick View Drawings instead of the traditional Ctrl-Tab key combination or Window menu to easily (and visually) switch between open drawings.
Tooltips – Improved tooltips throughout AutoCAD 2009 provide you with more information as you need it; including quick access to relevant topics in the AutoCAD Help system.
Action Recorder – Automate repetitive tasks by easily recording actions to replay in the future.
Layer Management – Easily manage layer properties while you work in the drawing. The new palette-style Layer Properties Manager provides easy access to layer controls while consuming minimal screen space.
Microstation DGN Support – Import and export drawings in Bentley’s MicroStation® V7 DGN as well as V8 DGN format. Also control layer visibility of attached DGN files and map properties such as color and linetype between DGN and DWG files.
DWF Support – You’ll find DWFx listed along with DWF in all DWF- related functionality including Markup, External References (DWFATTACH), Publish, and Plot. DWFx files can be easily viewed on the Windows Vista platform with no need for additional viewing software or plug-ins.
XREF support - Use grips to edit the boundary of a clipped external reference and even invert the clipping are with the simple click of a grip!
Mtext – Automatically check your spelling as you type in the Mtext editor. Array Preview- When you preview the results of an array, you can now zoom and pan while still in preview mode.
Find and Replace - The Find and Replace functionality includes an expandable dialog box and more options. Plus, the display automatically zooms into the text as it is found.
View Shot Properties - Named views are more flexible and powerful than ever. Choose from three types of views and apply shot properties, such as transitions and motion, to the named views.
Show Motion – Use the new Show Motion functionality to find, restore and play named views.
Lighting – The new VSLIGHTINGQUALITY system variable offers more control over the lighting quality in the current viewport.
Geographic Location - AutoCAD 2009 provides you with more options for defining the geographic location of a drawing, specifying the format of latitude and longitude values and controlling the visibility of the geographic marker.
View Cube – Easily restore standard viewpoints in a 3D model with a simple click on the new View Cube.
SteeringWheels – Easily navigate around- and through your 3D models using the new SteeringWheels.
eTransmit – Create transmittal sets (of the last saved version) without have to first save the current drawing. Also, automatically purge drawings when created the transmittal set.
Layout geometry – Automatically export all the geometry on a layout into modelspace of a new drawing.
Find and Replace – New options in the Find and Replace dialog box enable you to find and replace text within blocks and external references.
Get ready for a new round of CAD Camps! The US CAD Camp tour kicks off next week in Seattle, Washington. Select from a wide range of courses about Autodesk products, taught by national instructors including Dave Espinosa-Aguilar, Robert Green, Matt Murphy, and Alex Penney. I’ll be there as well, helping you maximize your efficiency with AutoCAD Annotation Scaling. And, during a special lunchtime session, Shaan Hurley will offer you a glimpse into the future of Autodesk products.
For more information about AUGI CAD Camps and to register for the upcoming Seattle event, visit www.cadcamp.com.