What are the best and worst features ever added to AutoCAD?

What are the best and worst features ever added to AutoCAD?

Audience participation time, I think. A comment on one of AutoCAD 2012’s new features recently set me thinking about what were the worst features ever introduced to AutoCAD. That in turn got me thinking about what were the best.

I’ll keep my opinions to myself for a while, as I’d like your input and don’t want to influence it. Please add a comment with your list of what you consider the best three features ever added to AutoCAD and the worst three. If you can’t think of three of each, you can submit less, but please don’t submit more. By all means discuss at length the things you love or loathe, but make it clear what you’re submitting by using a clear format like this (meaningless examples only):

1. Content Explorer
2. Online Help
3. Nudge

1. AutoLISP
2. Transparent zoom and pan
3. Paper/model space

What do the words “feature”, “best” and “worst” mean? I’ll leave that for you to decide for yourself. You might consider “worst” to be something that’s a bad idea, poorly implemented, slow, inefficient, poorly documented, bloated, buggy, half-baked in the short or long term, clueless in some other way, or some or all of the above. It’s up to you.

When I have enough submissions, I’ll collate the most popular (and unpopular) features into a pair of polls for you all to vote on. Have fun!

Edit: I have now added the polls and closed comments on this post.


  1. Chris Cowgill

    Difficult to come up with my own:
    dimension styles
    ability to pan with the center mouse button without loosing your selection set
    online help
    spell check after version 2007
    layer palette

  2. Brendan

    Sheet Set Manager
    Reference Manager Utility
    Dynamic Blocks

    AnnoScales build up bug (2008)
    Memory killers (2009+ UI upgrades, floating xref/layer palettes)
    Palette portability restrictions

  3. Best
    1.Autotracking (will always be number 1 with me)
    2.Direct Distance Entry, I got RSI typing @ all the time
    3.Paperspace Dimensions that work properly
    1.Quick Props
    2.Sheet Centre
    3.Annotative Scaling (although I like it, not enough people understand it and screw things up with it – scalelistedit anyone ???)

  4. Brad

    – I don’t care for the Quick View Drawings (I might used to it though, its just cumbersome when you have several drawings open, each with several tabs. I’m glad I have dual monitors)
    – Array (Its a cool concept, however I haven’t found away to edit an item within the array without exploding the array)
    – Annotative Scaling (Why make this more restrictive I type scales in all the time)

    Overall I feel like the improvement to autocad since 2008 have made autocad cumbersome and more diffcult to work with. Keep it simple …..

  5. Dave

    We (our office) have just upgraded from 2008 to 2011 and one of the things i really dislike is the wishy washy toolbar icons. The old (2008) icons were much easier to recognised and had a much more “solid”feel about it. I like things to be easy on the eye! I’m visually struggling a bit with 2011.

  6. Matt Stachoni

    VisualLISP (although not the editor, which sucks)
    Dynamic Blocks
    Tie between MLeader and interactive polyline editing (no more PEDIT, yay)

    Honorable Mention: Annotative text and MSLTSCALE

    2012’s Array command line sequence, which IMHO is incomprehensible
    2011’s “improved” hatching, which is a mess
    Wipeouts (do these even work?)

    Honorable Mention: The loss of the middle mouse button for customization

  7. Best :-
    Object Creation -This new tool allows you to create new objects based on a selected object that is already in your file.
    Action Recorder -It is a great tool that allows you to create macros to help you get a series of steps done, again and again. AutoCAD 2011 now allows you to add or remove user messages for view change operations.
    Transparency -AutoCAD added a new object property called Transparency, a setting that allows you to make an object or objects translucent. It can be assigned to objects or layers just like color and linetype are.

  8. Timothy

    Slightly skewed because I’m using ACAD2010

    Best –
    Vlisp, don’t think I could operate a standard install without my custom functions.
    Sheet Set Manager, vital on most projects.
    Layer Visability per Viewport – nice for when using xrefs.

    Worst –
    Sheet List Table, whoever thought that hard coding the Revision field to the drawing file and not the “Sheet” cripples the use of this feature.
    Ribbon – enough said!
    Annotative Scaling – great idea, just some of the implementation left a bit to be desired.

  9. Best:
    1. “Undo” like most of them said.
    2. “Close all and Xref” for big reference projects.
    3. “Vlisp” No words to describe it. Really Awesome stuff.

    1. “Renderings and Shade” In older versions it is good. But it newer versions its not that much good.
    2. “Purge all” in newer versions it is little bit difficult to use it. It is used inside the “purge” dialog box.

  10. Andrew Kirk

    I am dating myself, but most of the best features happened a long time ago in the version history. There really has nothing amazing in the last ten years.
    1. copy and past from different drawings
    2. zoom wheel support
    3. customizable toolbar buttons
    1. Yearly update cycle
    2. help function (I have better results googling help)
    3. Release 13

  11. Hard to name only 3 🙂
    1. Otrack, extension osnap and other drafting functions
    2. Design Center
    3. Isolate and Hide objects
    1. Ribbon
    2. Action Recorder
    3. Memory management
    and of course MATERIALMAP command

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