AutoCAD 2013 – What’s new?

AutoCAD 2013 – What’s new?

As AutoCAD 2013 (yes, that’s what it’s called, shock, horror!) has now been released in Japan (Google translation), I can start to discuss it. I’m not yet free to go into details about anything that does not have publicly released information avaialable, but here’s a brief summary of what I can say. I will discuss some of these things in more detail later.

  • It has a powerful tool for mosquito aggregation (allows you to effortlessly gather together a Cloud of bugs)

OK, I’m kidding around, that’s just the Google translator struggling a little. Let’s get serious and list some new things that are easy enough to understand from the translation:

  • Command-line options that you can click on (could be good, depends on how it performs)
  • Other command-line changes (you can see in some of the screenshots that the command line now looks very different)
  • Property editing preview (similar to the Microsoft Office feature where you can hover over a user interface element and have the contents dynamically show you the changes before you confirm with a click)
  • Viewport preview of the changes (same kind of thing but with viewport display)
  • View and cross-sectional view detailed diagram (Model Documentation improvements including sections and details)
  • Strikethrough in text, leaders, tables, etc. (some will find this very useful)
  • Inventor file import (again, useful to some if it works well)
  • Latest user templates (updated with new title blocks, styles, etc.)
  • Boundary stretching tool according to the situation (PressPull improvements)
  • Extract the surface dividing line (looks like you can pick a point on a surface and have a line generated on it)
  • More context-sensitive Ribbon tabs have been added
  • Tool palettes can now be migrated (not that I trust Migration with anything)
  • Autodesk Cloud connection (you can export drawings to the Cloud; more on this in later posts)
  • Social media connection (I’m sure you’re all delighted to see Facebook and Twitter incorporated into AutoCAD; this makes perfect sense in a production environment)
  • Windows Vista is no longer supported. You can use XP or Windows 7, but not the OS inbetween.

Here are some things that are not so easy to understand from the translation, so I won’t be commenting on them for now:

  • Customize synchronization and support files
  • Application of AutoCAD Autodesk Exchange

There are also several things listed that are specific to AutoCAD 2013 for Mac. The additional functionality here is because it’s still playing catch-up to fill in some of the many functionality holes, but there are still plenty of obvious holes left (e.g. DCL):

  • Project Manager (the Sheet Set Manager)
  • Multi-Edit Hatch
  • Leader line that is included in the text up to the front
  • PDF underlay

So, AutoCAD users, what do you think? In the days before you were financially press-ganged into Subscription, would you have called this a Compelling Upgrade? The sort of thing you would berate your boss to upgrade to? Anything there reach out and grab you?


  1. Kent Elrod

    You ask if the new features of 2013 are compelling enough to warrant an upgrade or justify a subscription. Well it is impossible to read a list of features and make that call, so until we can actually use the product ourselves we can’t answer that question.

  2. ralphg

    I found that I have come to really like the new command-line interface, but all other new features are ho-hum. This is more like a maintenance patch, than a major upgrade. For example, what used to be AutoCAD WS is now renamed “cloud.”

  3. I bet they spent time updating the license manager and EULA to make it more difficult for those who pay for Autocad (of course hackers have no problems with it).

    No, I wouldn’t upgrade, but at least now I don’t have to pay for it… It’s free with the subscription! Ha!

  4. “Extract the surface dividing line” is the only item that may be useful for me. O’course, intersect a solid with a flat plane (2D rectangle) has done the same thing with solids since 1994. That makes five releases that really add nothing useful, finished, complete, or revolutionary.

    Wouldn’t it be nifty to go through all of ACAD’s commands and variables and specify exactly what you want and/or expect each to do – and then get that release? Instead of the so-so ones that show up far too often. Parametric multi-view 3D dynamic blocks anyone?

  5. zzz144

    I wish i had enough money to start my own CAD software. AutoCAD has become a joke. Have been using it for the last 12 years. The 2009 2010 2011 2012 and 2013 have been a waste of money.

    so what do i think?

    considering that AutoCAD will be slower and they have not delivered since the 2007/08 edition – i think its a ripoff. they are taking the profit and channeling it into inventor and combustion bs.

    1. Heather Cameron

      Am glad you wrote this zzz144. I upgraded at 2008 and bought the subscription then,
      which gave me a free 2009 version. I upgraded to this but have kept my 2009 running in 2008 mode. Dont like the ribbon and all the new tricks…too slow for me as I use keyboard and mouse a lot for the speed of creating good drawings What am I really missing out on in the later versions has me stumped? Nothing convinces me to upgrade further. Does the 3D work a lot better so you dont need a 3D addon> Is there shadow drawing capabilities with proper terrain production capabilities? I doubt it. Each time I look at SketchUp it seems so much more use-able. Fortunately my software keeps on working and I dont have to reinstall and ask for a new activation key. Will my current PC lasts forever?

      Tend to think you are right, all those versions could well be rip-offs, as I have not gone near them and am want to pay a fortune to upgrade to 2013 when I probably wont even use it as such.
      Also have read about how this version wont talk properly to 2009. Really why would one bother with all the stress and money out of pocket just to be up-to-date when one doesn’t really want to be “up-to-date” on the level of reality and getting good drawings done fast. It is a terrible worry all this.

      Have test driven some of the software based on Intellicad and it pretty much works just the same, Autodesk must be feeling the pinch, and one wonders when they will crack, and do some decent deals for a change. People would be willing to pay for some good software and even the extra add-ons from true inventiveness if they are useful. One should be able to choose what one wants, for their software to work well, instead of all the new gimics and fancy stuff that costs an arm and a leg, not to mention the stress to get it working properly. Yes! in an ideal CAD world huh!

  6. Chris Cowgill

    I’d say the core console I read about is the only one that really has a likelihood of being a compelling feature.
    Based on the previous three releases, help has been getting worse and worse, if AutoDesk went back to the old help system and abandoned this online “anti-help”, that would be a very good reason to switch, but I dont see that happening.

  7. S Lafleur

    I would love to see a valid study of the increase/decrease in real productivity & cost comparing now vs. years ago. (say, v.14 or 2001) Seems we push out a whole lot more paper (because we can), and, sure, the 3-d presentation drawings and videos are nifty, but seriously, I know we killed fewer trees back in the pen-plotter/slow printer days (maybe v.12?), because more thought went into what was going on the paper – not quite at a hand-drafting level, but definitely more forethought.
    Now, it’s like, whoops, there’s a typo – send, oops,there’s some cad-droppings, send.
    We also managed, it seems, to get the same sort of facilities built in an even shorter amount of time, and the drawings were readable, useful, and efficient (vs. the blobs of ink that some drawings turn into because people are too “busy” to clean the threads, nuts, bolts, etc. out of the vendor drawings. At least that’s what happens here.
    I know it’s not all the fault of the software, but it sure seems like every release coming down the road has us spending more & more time futzing with the tool instead of actually using it.
    I am SO over it. Lest you think me a total dinosaur, I have embraced many of the changes since v2.6. Up until pretty recently, I even got excited about the improvements, because they were actually improvements. The last few releases have been just torturous.

    1. R. Paul Waddington

      S.Lafleur, I have done a number of studies for my own purposes comparing increases in productivity between versions of AutoCAD and between AutoCAD and Inventor.
      What those test have revealed is, for a great many users, many of the changes made make absolutely no positive difference to the speed documentation is created. This may not necessarily mean a person is slower with a newer version but it does mean the productivity is quite probably reduced due to losses in change over time and cost.
      Reality is, for productivity “tests” to be valid they need to be applicable to a particular office. What I do is valid for me and my customers but may not be valid for you.
      The other problem of doing “productivity studies” is that they take time to develop and run; therefore those costs also need to be factored in. Alternatively, as is often done, managers will simply compare one project with another making a guess about whether they have increased the productivity or not; put to the test this method will often be found highly inaccurate.
      As a matter of interest: I have contacted a number of companies who have allowed their names to be used by CAD companies espousing just how much the CAD products they had implemented had saved their companies and or improved productivity. In all cases, of those who would actually talk about what was done, it was easy to see NO “system or repeatable process” was used to check for savings or productivity improvements. Therefore the statements made in the advertisements could not be believed or used, by another company/individual, as the basis for selecting the products.
      In summary, if you want to know if you will be more productive create your own bench marks and processes and use these each time you need, or are told you need, to upgrade.

  8. I.Sednev

    Wow, has Autodesk this feature as the first-in-the-list really?
    * Command-line options that you can click on

    This feauture existed in a Russian freeware CAD called nanoCAD at least for 2 years already. It is difficult to find their .com website, but it is worth to try.

  9. S Lafleur

    @ R. Paul W:
    We will be performing no studies here. I’m in the trenches and get to listen to the bitchin’, but the powers that be have drunk ALL the Kool-Aid about what is “latest & greatest” and will “bring us into the 21st century”. Personally, retirement can not come soon enough, at which point, I will be happy to wave buh-bye to AutoCAD (I may design the occasional quilt or figure the square footage for wallpaper or something…but there is freeware that can do that just fine)

    1. R. Paul Waddington

      S Lafleur, “retirement can not come soon enough, at which point, I will be happy to wave buh-bye to AutoCAD”: disappointing on several fronts, for industry, but I wish you well.

  10. G. Tremblay

    Since the integration of dynamic blocks and visibility parameters, and annotativity, not a single feature has grabbed my attention. Not much stability improvements have been brought. Not much gain in speed… I mean when switching layouts for example, even on a 24 Gb ECC RAM with 2x quad Xeon and a quadro FX4500, it takes the same old route and I still have to suffer the price of having 25 layouts within the same dwg. Again, with 2013, we will also experience the same annoyance of having to deal with a new updated file format. But still a lot of sales powder and so little work have been done on the user experience level. Adsk follows the same path that Microsoft does, it seems that they are milking the cow as much as they can, take the money and invest in market integration bureaucracy. They lick architects asses and try hard with revit, and let alone their biggest user community. I am also using 3D Studio Max, and since Adsk have bought the franchise from a Montreal company called Discreet, nothing really happened but THE RIBBON!!!! And what can I expect from 2013 but a transparent command line, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!!!!!!! I am completely overburdened. Come on, wake up Adsk when it is still time, before you become definitely enslaved in the Microsoft ranks. Bottom line: if it was my money, I would still be on 2006. But it is corporate money invested in subscription. They drink the kool-aid, look at polished presentations and yell at people that they should be so much more productive. Wow! Thanks for all that Adsk. It makes me want to work and develop so much more on SolidWorks, I mean I am not even excited anymore when your product refresh cycle arrives, I am annoyed. But oh, I forgot, all this that I have said is so bad you don’t want to hear that. Stop licking asses with Revit and Naviswork, the world needs people and tools to actually MAKE all that poetry possible.

  11. Well, downloaded 2013 last night. Downloaded the offline help files today. Didn’t bother to install the program. Did so with the “help system”.

    It makes the 2012 offline help look extremely professional and usable. No command reference, or any other usable links. Just a search box so you must know the name and spelling of that new feature that you’ve never heard of. No “New Features Workshop” again.

    Incredibly bad. It’ll be awhile till the program gets loaded, if ever. Wonder if anybody inside Autodesk bothers to look at the installed product before March rolls around.



    Maybe time to see what Solidworks looks like again…

  12. AM

    When my Company is anti facebook, this integration of social networks in AutoCAD becomes a serious problem at a professional level.
    Autodesk should be careful if you want to enter the business through professional, and not by social / personal.

  13. what even makes it worse is the hydracad overlay onto the autocad. you can’t get any help from autocad and hydracad just blames autocad for their failing software. overall…i think we would be better off with an excel spreadsheet and a napkin.

  14. yesterday viworts in paperspace wer not showing what ihad just typed in model space. While later one of the sheets in the file, in paper space some of the viewports had nothing in them. didn’t move anything in model space. Whats going on.

    1. Sounds like the annotative scale feature may be interfering with what you expect to happen. There’s a good test for the AutoCAD 2013 Help feature…

      Or it could be a bug. I’ve seen a few odd things happen in 2013 with viewports in certain drawings. Had to copy & paste the drawing contents in model & paper to recreate a problem-free drawing.

  15. Maritza Sierra

    autocad 2013 for mac WHAT’ THESE?¡¿. $$$$$$ not even a decent tutorial comes with it.
    I need somebody kind to help with title block fill, viewports, printing.

    almost $5,000. starving artist stuck in the poor house unless a good autocad for mac
    guru tutor me.

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