As you’re no doubt very aware, Autodesk release a new version of AutoCAD® yearly. This year is no different, with AutoCAD® 2012, codenamed “Ironman”, now available as of 22nd March 2011.
So, I think it befits the occasion to summarise the new features you can expect from this new release.
To kick off, there is a new Content Explorer feature. With this you can specify a number of local or networked data sources and search for and access content. This is a great addition, and is a real step in the right direction for data management. Not sure if it will be a substitute for a full electronic data management system, but certainly a great addition.
There are many subtle enhancements to commands we use regularly – the join command for example now works for joining different object types. There are also several general drafting productivity enhancements. There’s a really cool ‘nudge’ feature for moving object orthogonally by only a few pixels using CTRL and the arrow keys. Another tweak has added more options when manipulating grips of various objects, including Lines, Arcs, Dims and MLeaders.
While on the subject of MLeaders, there have been some improvements here too. We now have much better control over text frames, which have been somewhat problematic over previous releases. Additionally, AutoCAD® will remember your settings for MLeader text frames, so you will no longer need to make so many manual changes as before.
Several preview features have been added in this release. This is useful as you can specify your settings for the fillet and chamfer commands, and see a preview of the result without committing to the change. There is also now the ability to preview various surface editing processes such as lofts, blends, and patches.
My favourite by far though is the associative array features that have been added – I can see this in particular being really useful. You can array objects now along a path whilst keeping the associative link with the array path. You can also use the divide option to equally space X number of object along the path. Naturally you can array using a fixed distance too. Also, an Array option has been added to the frequently used Copy command. I think this could really get us thinking slightly differently when drawing to really take advantage of this very powerful new feature.
Integration with AutoCAD® WS – this new feature will please those on the cloud computing bandwagon. This is a really great addition for collaborative working, and I think probably a step towards the future of computing.
And finally, for those of you that dread the day you upgrade because it screws up all your menus, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a migrate settings feature that assists with migrating between releases. This includes various options for porting your settings from old to new, accessible directly from your start menu. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve at some point lost all your menus and have been left scratching your head for a while wondering how to get them back… so the reset to defaults option is very welcome indeed!
So, AutoCAD® 2012 is certainly an upgrade. Let me know what new features you like in 2012, and what features you’d like to see!
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