Alright, it's getting to be that time again. New AutoCAD time.
I have been lucky enough to get to work again for the lovely and talented Ellen Finkelstein on her AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2009 Bible, so be sure to keep an eye on her store and check it out if you need a wonderful reference.
Alright... let's just get this out of the way...
OH MY FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER!
There's a new interface!
Right. Now that that's out of our system. We don't have to be afraid. Some of us have already been annoyed by this in Office 2007.
I'd like to take a little step back in time. AutoCAD 2008. Lookee lookee, I can customize my dashboard panels, and I love them! Well, take a peek at my screenshot up here.
I right-clicked on the ribbon, and chose to 'Undock' it. Wow, check it out, it's my dashboard... only we're calling it a ribbon.
I had to use AutoCAD in it's default configuration for testing purposes, and found, after a couple of weeks, I kind of liked coming home to this nice, clean interface. It's purty.
BUT, I'll be the first to point out, I don't use the drop-down menus. I type many things, and use the dashboard for others. But, not everyone grew up on r10 and never took to toolbars like I did.
Oh, and YES, the Screen Menu is still here.
I'll admit I'm a bit irritated by the new icons down on the status bar, I'm used to text down there, so it will take some getting used to. I do like some of the new icons up on the ribbon, though.
I also included the 'menu browser' in my screencap at the beginning, because the entire menu system is right there, under the big red 'A'.
You can even search through this menu, which is pretty cool.
Documents here (recent and open drawing lists) can now have a thumbnail image.
I also like that the file close button is moved away from the application close button. It's now a little white 'x' down in the drawing area instead of resting directly below the button that closes AutoCAD. Some folks are really annoyed by this, but, I must have really bad eyesight, because I'm forever clicking the big one when I want the small one.
Of course, you can just switch your workspace to AutoCAD Classic, and you've got your menu and standard toolbars back how they were in past releases.
Now to My Favorites
Finally, a modeless layer dialog!!! Yay!
Alright, I've already talked to some other folks who are sorta 'meh' about that feature. But, honestly, with the type of work I do (finding, compiling, standardizing, tidying and disseminating loads of varied multi-discipline information), I'll find this pretty handy. It's like when I got so excited about a dialog box for the Layer Merge (LAYMRG) command. That made SUCH a difference in my work. (And, yes, I do automate some of what I do, but, believe me when I say 'CAD Standards' have been historically very loosely interpreted over the years)
Arrays can be previewed live... that's sweet, because I tend to muck these up at times, I'll admit.
DGN support isn't just for V8 anymore, now V7 is covered, too. You've now got layer control with DGN underlays, too.
Oh, speaking of working with referenced files, clipping boundaries can now be grip-edited. This isn't as cool as the 'invert clip' that came out in 2008, but, it's still an improvement.
Find and Replace is on steroids. Good tweaks here, a lot more control available now.
Things that should be mentioned
Macro Recorder. I think that pretty much says it all. This will open the door to automation to a lot of folks.
Geographic locations with Google Earth import.
View Cube/Nav Wheel thing. I like this better than 3d Orbit.
Quick Properties tooltip palette-like thingy.
Quick View Layouts and Drawings. This is actually pretty cool with the ability to scroll through like windows explorer thumbnails, but, with the added bonus of being able to zoom and print or save, etc.
Tooltips are on steroids. This could be helpful to some people. You get your basic tooltips, but, many of them expand further if you hover over them longer, providing visual examples of tools, or longer definitions.
Oh, a few people should appreciate the little tweak of better control over Hidden Message Settings (ie, the things you click 'always do such and such' or 'don't show me this again').
Layiso is now in the layer properties manager (and there's something about undo/redo operations in there, too, but, I haven't touched that yet).
There were a couple of other things listed in the docs, but, I don't really care about them.