What’s New in AutoCAD 2021

We are approaching summer, the air is getting hotter, and we are stuck in a pandemic. Fun times for sure. With the new #WFH, we are diving into the new releases of Autodesk software.

This article will cover what’s new in AutoCAD 2021. We will not be discussing the new AutoCAD with Specialized Toolsets, which includes the likes of AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, and many more.

Drawing History

The new Drawing History feature is a huge change for your workflow, giving you insights on the evolvement of your drawings. Over time, you can see the changes made and get instant visuals by comparing previous versions right within the context of your current drawing.

Subscribers who access a file saved on OneDrive, Dropbox, or Box can easily compare a drawing with previous versions of that drawing in AutoCAD.

XREF Compare

You now have the capability to compare two version of an XREF and implement changes without leaving your current drawing session.

With XREF Compare, you can toggle visibility to turn off the previous XREF version, or to turn off the most recent XREF version. You can also toggle visibility for the geometry in the XREF that hasn't changed, as well as the geometry that isn't being compared, such as the host drawing, or other references. As you navigate to the changes in the XREF, you can edit the geometry of the host drawing.

A balloon notification displays to let you know something needs updated. By default, the box is checked to use the Compare feature. Alternatively, you can uncheck the box and reload the XREF as you normally do.

Blocks Palette

Stay connected to your block content anytime, and anywhere. You can insert blocks efficiently from the Libraries tab on desktop or in the AutoCAD web app.

The Blocks palette now lets you sync recent blocks in a drawing to a cloud storage location and access them from desktop or web.

The Other Drawings tab is now the new Libraries tab, displaying the five most recently used block libraries for faster access. You can now specify a folder, drawing file, or any block definition stored in a drawing to insert as a block in the current drawing.


  • Revision cloud enhancements - automatically adjust the radius of the revision cloud when you use it for the first time in your file. In the previous version, you need to adjust the radius by yourself.
  • Break objects at a single point - the new BREAKATPOINT command, the Break at Point tool on the ribbon can now be repeated by pressing Enter. This command directly separates a line, arc, or open polyline into two objects at a specified point.
  • System and graphics performance – faster saves and install times, as well as leveraging multi-core processors.
  • Support for gestures - Pan and zoom. When no command is in progress, drag with one or two fingers to pan. When a command is in progress, drawing with two fingers to pan. Pinch or spread with two fingers to zoom. Selection. Tap on an object to select it. When a command in progress requires you to select objects, you can drag one finger to create a window or crossing selection. ESC. Double tap with one finger to end a command or clear a selection.
  • Autolisp extension for Microsoft Visual Studio (VS) Code - A new AutoLISP extension was released for use with VS Code that allows you to edit and debug AutoLISP source (LSP) files with AutoCAD. Create and modify LSP files using features such as Autocomplete and Code Snippets, format all or selected code statements in a LSP file, add watches and breakpoints while debugging a LSP file, and execute AutoLISP code statements, AutoCAD commands in the Debug Console, and support for Unicode characters.

Quick Mode for Trim and Extend

Instead of having to first select boundaries for the Trim and Extend commands, the default Quick mode selects all potential boundaries by default. Other effects include the following:

  • After you start the TRIM or EXTEND commands, simply select the objects to be trimmed or extended.
  • The default options for selecting the segments to be trimmed or extended are individual selection, freehand selection, and two-point fence selection.
  • Start a freehand selection by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the cursor through one or more objects.
  • Start a fence selection by clicking two points that define a segment crossing through the objects.
  • Selected objects that cannot be trimmed are deleted instead.


There is not a whole lot of new features, but the ones provided should get you working a little faster and a little more productive. That’s the idea, right? There are several blogs, and of course the Autodesk AutoCAD Help Guide, available with more detailed and robust descriptions with videos on these new features and enhancements; not to mention better remote functionality.

Mr. Todd Rogers is a certified Partner Service Expert (P.S.E.) and certified Autodesk instructor with over 27+ years of experience in teaching, managing, and, providing hardware and software solutions for hundreds of engineering firms throughout the greater Houston, Texas area.  Mr. Rogers is a valued member of Walter P Moore, where he works as a BIM Manager. He also holds the “Autodesk Expert Elite” status - a program to recognize individual community members who have made extraordinary contributions with helping customers by sharing knowledge, providing community leadership, and exemplifying an engaging style of collaboration that drives a healthy and valuable Autodesk customer community.  He is an active blogger. Through his personal blog website (, he shares tips and solutions with Autodesk software issues.

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