AutoCAD 2013 for Mac – the holes live on

AutoCAD 2013 for Mac – the holes live on

A couple of years ago, I reported on the missing features in AutoCAD 2011 for Mac. While some generous souls were prepared to accept something half-baked as a first attempt, even that excuse doesn’t wash when it comes to a third iteration. So how well is Autodesk doing at filling those holes? Decide for yourself. Here’s an updated list of missing features in AutoCAD 2013 for Mac:

  • Quick Properties Palette
  • Layer State Manager
  • New Layer Notification
  • Various layer commands including LAYCUR, LAYDEL, LAYMRG, LAYWALK, and LAYVPI
  • Autocomplete doesn’t work entirely properly, including offering commands that don’t exist
  • Filter
  • Quick Select
  • DesignCenter
  • Tool Palettes
  • Navigation Bar
  • ShowMotion
  • Sheet Set Manager (but there is Project Manager)
  • Model Documentation Tools (but at least now there are object enablers)
  • Geographic Location
  • Table Style Editing
  • Hatch Creation Preview
  • Multiline Style Creation
  • Digitizer Integration
  • Change Space
  • Express Tools
  • Material Creation, Editing, and Mapping
  • Advanced Rendering Settings
  • Camera Creation
  • Walkthroughs, Flybys, and Animations
  • Point Cloud Support
  • DWF Underlays
  • DGN Underlays
  • Autodesk 360 Connectivity
  • Data Links
  • Data Extraction
  • Hyperlinks
  • Markup Set Manager
  • dbConnect Manager
  • eTransmit
  • WMF Import and Export
  • FBX Import and Export
  • Additional Model Import
  • Ribbon Customization
  • Right-click Menus, Keyboard Shortcuts, and Double-Click Customization
  • VisualLISP
  • .NET
  • VBA
  • DCL Dialogs
  • Action Recorder and Action Macros
  • Reference Manager (Standalone Application)
  • Dynamic Block Authoring
  • Custom Dictionaries
  • Password-protected Drawings
  • Digital Signatures
  • Workspaces
  • User Profiles
  • Migration Tools
  • CAD Standards Tools
  • CUI Import and Export

Many of these are big-ticket, dealbreaking items. No DCL? Still? Seriously? To these we can add a whole application, Inventor Fusion, which comes as part of the AutoCAD 2013 for Windows install set. (Edit: Inventor Fusion for Mac is available to download as a Technology Preview application from Autodesk Labs and from the Apple App Store). I don’t expect many Mac users will be heartbroken about the lack of a permanent Ribbon (although there are Ribbon-like things that come and go), but as Autodesk reckons it’s responsible for a 44% productivity boost, maybe they should be. Oh, and it isn’t supported and doesn’t work properly on the current release of OS X.

To be fair, it’s not all one-way traffic. Here’s the list of features that appear only in AutoCAD for Mac:

  • Content Palette
  • Coverflow Navigation
  • Multi-touch Gestures
  • Project Manager (instead of Sheet Set Manager)

Well, that’s all right, then.

We’re used to Autodesk’s unfortunate mastery of the long-term half-baked feature, but carrying on with a whole product this unfinished for three releases is more than a little embarrassing. Charging the same amount for it as real AutoCAD adds insult to injury. While I’m sure there are dozens of Mac users happy to be using anything with the AutoCAD name on it on the platform of their choice, this is not a sustainable state of affairs.

Autodesk really needs to make up its mind about this product before embarking on more Mac misadventures such as porting Revit and other products. Autodesk needs to either take AutoCAD for Mac seriously and finish it off to an acceptable standard, or kill it off as a bad idea. As there’s no sign of the former happening and Autodesk history is replete with examples of the latter, I wouldn’t suggest anybody gets too attached to running AutoCAD natively on OS X.

Source: Autodesk knowledgebase article TS15833488.


  1. Lloyd

    I knew they were missing some stuff, but holy crap…. They have no business calling it “Autocad for Mac”. At best, it should LT. In fairness, though, they are giving away Inventor Fusion for free on the app store. Requires Lion or above as an OS, but….

    I agree that for an initial release, maybe, but for the 3rd release? Nope. I’ll stick with Draftsight, thank you.

  2. ralphg

    Fusion is this week available for OS X, although only on the most recent version of the Mac operating system, and that costs $20 to upgrade.

    AutoCAD 2012 and 2013 for Windows has Content Palette, but runs really slowly due to the indexing it does.

    AutoCAD for Windows also supports multi-touch, but I am not sure if it is implemented. (I don’t have a touch-based Windows computer on which to test it.)

    Yah, it is wrong for Autodesk to charge 100% for an AutoCAD that’s only 67% there. OTOH, they charge $900 for LT Mac (with no refunds) but $0 for the more powerful Fusion. Krazy Ed’s pricing!

  3. Problem Solved

    The great news for people loving the Mac platform and wanting results is a solution called Vectorworks. This program is phenomenal and was built for a Mac platform. They excel at 2D/3D modeling and the price is much lower then the current AutoCad.

  4. James Maeding

    wow, no vlisp, vba, or .net?
    Honestly, I could live without most of the items listed, as you can supplement with free or 3rd party tools that work better anyway.
    Do even non-dcl involved lisps work?
    Price is up to autodesk, but calling it autocad with key things missing, is like calling C3D BIM just because there is another product, revit, that does do BIM.
    There is no “BIM by association”, and there is no “AutoCad [for mac] by association”

    1. Almost all simple AutoLISP routines should work fine. Lots of stuff that has been written since 1999 and uses Visual LISP’s ActiveX functionality won’t work at all. It’s hard to be more specific than that because Autodesk doesn’t document exactly what’s broken. The Visual LISP editor itself is MIA.

      Autodesk has already devalued the AutoCAD name to a level way, way lower than the mediocre standard set by AutoCAD for Mac. It did this by calling its online viewing/markup tool “AutoCAD WS”. It bears no resemlance to AutoCAD other than the name and its limited ability to use DWG files, something shared by many non-Autodesk products.

      1. James Maeding

        wow, no com access through lisp, that cuts out a huge segment of users.
        Just what is Autodesk saying about mac users when they pull this wool over their eyes? I would not take it as a compliment. They should call it AutoCad Into or something to tell people its not quite acad.

        Adesk is also devaluing the term BIM when they call Civil 3D as such. I think they are realizing a lot of purchases are driven by fear of not being on the BIM wagon, when there is no such thing for civils yet.

  5. plawton

    Thinking of a Mac-based office (been there + done that = ugh), at what point does it become easier/more cost-effective to simply buy a couple of PCs for AutoCAD work? First, you can actually buy two PCs for the price of one Mac, and second, AutoCAD will effectively be cheaper to buy, because even at the same price, you get more functionality.

    I think autodesk is taking advantage of the nature of Mac users, (“You’ll get my Mac away from me only when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!”), and laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. James Maeding

      what made the mac-based office experience no fun? I have an architect friend who seems to love it, they use archicad and say they save tons of money by not needing an it person to handle network setup. I don’t know about mac networks so have no idea if its as easy as they say. Their building models are impressive so the software seems to be top notch.

      1. plawton

        Well, from 1994 thru 1998 we had a AppleTalk peer-to-peer network with PowerMacs running AutoCAD R12 (for Apple), and we were VERY relieved to switch to PCs with R14. A few of the disadvantages of the Macs were poor speed, high prices, and very few upgrade options. Since Apple has switched to Intel, ATI, and nVidia, I’m sure they’re faster than when they were Motorola/IBM chips, but the cost remains unjustifiably high – there again, I suspect the vendors are simply taking advantage of the nature of Mac fans, and just charging what that market will bear.

        Besides, haven’t you heard? “Everything is BIM nowadays” (said like Chevy Chase talked about ball bearings in “Fletch”:, and Revit for Mac is not even a jingle in anybody’s pants.

  6. Fab

    I just switched to Mac and therefore Acad 2013 for Mac. Damn, I have to get Bootcamp, this is just unbelievable…

    How can they just ignore User Feedback and not bring this to Mac? Laydel Qsel etc. are essential

  7. John Tsui

    To make a camera view, use command line
    command: plan
    command: dview
    select objects
    (Note: If you have a large drawing with many objects, do not select all the ojects, just select a few reference objects otherwise you will be bogged down every step you make)
    Dview: CAmera/TArget/Distance/POints/PAn/Zoom/TWist/CLip/Hide/Off/Undo
    do not pick a target point yet
    Dview: Specify target point :.xy
    input .xy will allow you to input the z value manually
    Dview: of (need z) 1500
    (usually I input eye level 15000mm (5’0″) as z )
    Do not pick a camera point yet
    Input .xy instead
    Dview: Specify camera point :.xy
    Dview: of 1500
    (usually I input eye level for z 15000mm (5’0″) as z )
    Now select Zoom to set your focal length, default is 50
    Dview: CAmera/TArget/Distance/POints/PAn/Zoom/TWist/CLip/Hide/Off/Undo
    Input 18 for wide angle for interior shot
    Dview: CAmera/TArget/Distance/POints/PAn/Zoom/TWist/CLip/Hide/Off/Undo
    Now select Distance by inputting “d”
    The distance is displayed, you can input another distance
    (somehow, you have to confirm the distance your selected)

    By the way I have one more missing feature to add to the list (Mac AutoCAD 2013)
    Render yields nothing if you apply front CLip. The result is a black image with no object.

  8. RS

    Darn… why oh why didn’t I read this forum before I bought a mac!
    Wanted to start of enthusiast with my brand new mac on a new 3D project within Autocad for mac… to bad
    I can live with the lac of commands but it’s ridicules slow! Looking at the hardware I can only conclude this program is indeed not build for a mac.

    I guess there are two solutions:
    – bootcamping windows (I feel such an idiot)
    – learning vector works ( I do hear lots of positive reactions on this software)

  9. David Metalf

    Why is AutoCAD for the Mac is missing all these features?
    If it was fully funtional on the Mac would Autodesk and Apple be open to lawsuit from Microsoft? Please cite sources if you can.

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