Every year Autodesk releases a new version of AutoCAD but, should you install it right away?
Through my experiences as a CAD Manager and now as a Application Specialist my suggestion is to wait for the 3rd release of the current file format. What does this mean? Since the 2004 version there has been 3 file format relased which include 2004, 2007 and 2010.
AutoCAD 2004, 2005 and 2006 are all release 2004 format.
AutoCAD 2007, 2008 and 2009 are all release 2007 format.
AutoCAD 2010, 2011 and 2012 are all release 2010 format.
The version with the least amount of bugs and fastest is always the 3rd release. Therefore, in the past I have always suggest loading either 2004, 2007 and now I suggest 2012.
For a CAD Manager this means that a complete overhaul of AutoCAD will happen every 3 years. This also allows for better budgeting of software.
It is always best if every user in the office is working on the same version.
And above all, create a customized company CUI file that can be carried forward through to the new releases. If you are still living in the world of MNU, MNS, MNC it time to learn CUI.
When using AutoCAD MEP or AutoCAD Architecture it is always important to open a version that preloads the correct profile. For example, when AutoCAD MEP is installed it automatically loads an imperial and metric profile with 2 preset desktop icons.
The challenge for a user is to make sure they have the correct version open when working on a DWG. If you are working on an imperial dwg you should open the imperial version of MEP.
To help users understand which version (current profile) is currently open without resorting to checking the profile in the OPTIONS, the following steps can be used to display the version in the status bar like this:
You will need to modify the acad2012doc.lsp file in AutoCAD MEP. Look for a similar .lsp file in AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture
1. Locate and open the acad2012doc.lsp file in Notepad. In my computer the file is located at: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD MEP 2012\Support
2. Scroll to the end.
3. Add this variable as the last line item: (setvar "modemacro" (getvar "cprofile"))
When starting a new drawing in AutoCAD, the user can choose from a variety of templates (DWT) that are loaded with the program. Most users are taught to start with the ACAD.DWT file which is a color-dependent plot style template(CTB). It contains not preloaded layers or styles. There are also a number of named plot style templates (STB) to choose from. A drawing can use either named or color-dependent plot styles, but not both.
The difference....a CTB is based on colors. A color = pen wieight. This is the most common type of plot style and very popular in the architectural and building engineering industries. A STB based drawing uses words that are assigned to layers or objects instead of colors. For example, THICK = 0.02mm. In other words, the color of objects in a STB drawing does not control pen weight for plotting. It is controlled by the "name" assigned to it.
Here's the big issue. When plotting a STB drawing you will not be able to select your company's traditional CTB pen weight in the drop-down list. The plot dialog box will only display CTB or STB plot styles.
To convert a STB to a CTB:
1. Open the STB based drawing
2. On the command line type the variable:CONVERTPSTYLES
3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
To convert a CTB to a STB:
1. Open the CTB based drawing.
2. On the command line type the variable: CONVERTCTB
If I can give some a word of advice to aspiring and existing CAD managers....TOOL PALETTES. Learn, create, maintain and enforce them. By moving your existing block library to a shared tool palette it will help enforce CAD standards and assimilate new employees into the company's CAD world. You can also create objects that are preset to specific layers, linetypes.....etc.
The sky is the limit for what can be added to palettes. Start using them now and migrate to every new release of AutoCAD.
This function has been available in AutoCAD Architecture and MEP for many years but it has now found its way into regular AutoCAD. It allows the user to control the display of objects by isolating or hiding a selection set.
This has nothing to do with layers. You can either individually select or window select objects to be isolated or hidden.
When it comes to AutoCAD, it does not take too much advantage of multi-core processors like a Dual Core or Quad Core. AutoCAD uses the power of a single core but there is a system variable called WHIPTHREAD that can be adjusted to use multi-core for specific functions. WHIPTHREAD lets AutoCAD use the other processors to improve the performance of regeneration and redraws for commands such as ZOOM.
The default value for WHIPTHREAD is 1. See image below for a description of each value.
Credit goes out to William "Billy" Wright for starting a much needed AutoCAD and Revit MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing) blog. I encourage people that are not familiar with AutoCAD and Revit MEP to take a look.
In my opinion, BIM (Building Information Modelling) is the future of design and drafting for the MEP industry and Revit MEP is a great application to do so.
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