New Look, New Features

Icons! Icons! Icons! They are all different! Every. Single. One. Autodesk has revamped every button and clickable graphic in AutoCAD® 2019. It has a new flat design that is intended to display more clearly on higher resolution monitors.

One of the more interesting, and perhaps more useful, updates is the new Drawing Compare tool. This tool will come in handy. It looks at the linework between two files and displays what is different. If the linework is the same it will be grayed out. The differences will be either red or green, depending on the file to which it belongs. It makes drawing differences easier to determine in an easy-to-see visual display.

Go to the Application Menu when you don’t have a file open. If you have a file open, then go to Drawing Utilities to start the DWG Compare tool. The tool is also accessible from the ribbon in the Collaborate panel. There are two new commands and 15 system variables to go along with this tool. COMPARE is the actual command. COMPAREINFO will display the dialog with information about the two compared files.

Figure 1: The grayed out linework is the same. The red and green linework indicates what is different.

Another new tool is the Shared Views feature. It extracts and stores data from your file into the cloud and provides a sharable link for others to view the drawing. Whoever receives the link will be able to view, review, measure, comment, and markup the drawing from Autodesk Viewer in their web browser. Shared Views allows you to share your drawings with others without having to release your CAD files.

The reviewer can access your drawings from their computer, tablet or mobile device. Once they have provided feedback, you will be able to see their markups from within AutoCAD. To create Shared Views, you must have, and be signed into, your Autodesk account and be a subscription member. CAD Managers who run a multi-license account for a company can grant or restrict access to the company users as they see fit.

The Shared Views commands are based in a palette, which can be accessed via the Collaborate panel on the ribbon. This palette will display the views from the current file that have been shared. This palette also provides the controls for the shared links, control of the views themselves, as well as responses or comments from those who have reviewed the shared files.

Figure 2: Access the Shared Views commands via the Application menu.

Views and Viewports have been refreshed and are a bit easier to create and use. A new Named Views panel has been added to the View tab on the ribbon, making it easier to create, restore, and edit named views. This provides a simpler version of the New View/Shot Properties dialog box, providing the basic controls that are more commonly used.

Many times a named view is created that is intended to fill in a viewport. It makes creating the view in a viewport easier. Now you can make a viewport from a named view. This saves several steps in drawing creation. Go to the contextual Layout ribbon tab (when a layout tab is activated) and use the Insert View tool. Select the named view you want to use and place it into your layout. A preview of the view will be displayed, providing a visual guide that will assist you in placing the view on the drawing.

Figure 3: Easily access the view controls in the new dropdown on the ribbon.

Viewports are a bit easier to update. They have built-in grips for editing that will allow you to change the scale quickly.

There is a New View tool that will quickly create a viewport by allowing you to select the area in model space to be displayed and creating a viewport of that view.

Have you ever had trouble getting your drawings to print the way you want because somebody didn't follow standards? Or maybe you received CAD files from an outside vendor? The Layer Properties Manager has a new status icon that shows when an Xref layer contains an override.

There is also a toggle switch to sort the layers according to overrides. Now, if you right-click on a layer you have the option to reset the layer to match what is in the Xref file. Very handy. There is also the option to remove layer overrides in the command line when using -LAYER.

Figure 4: A mouse-over will show what has been overridden in each layer.

The layer setting dialog box is updated (changed) to include new tools for managing Xref layer properties. You get to it from the settings icon in the Layer Manager. The Visretain settings are there now and the new ability to treat Xref layer objects as bylayer regardless of the object settings allows you to override object overrides and display the objects in your drawing as you like. This is huge for those who work with third-party CAD files often. There is a new XREFLAYER system variable that forces Xref files to a specified layer when inserted into a drawing. No longer will an Xref be on the wrong layer.

Behind-the-scenes tweaking promises faster performance during use. It also now supports higher resolution monitors for 4K support.

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