What’s the best thing about AutoCAD 2009?

It’s starting to look a bit negative around here, and it is only going to get more negative when I start describing the details of my still-unresolved Autodesk customer service debacle. So here’s something to provide a bit of balance. What do you like best about AutoCAD 2009? What is better, faster, easier, more cool or just plain fixed when compared with the release you were using previously? I have a few ideas of my own, and will run a poll when I get a few suggestions from you.

AutoCAD 2009 – Top reasons to be Ribbonless

I’ve closed the poll for those of you who are using 2009 with the Ribbon turned off to show us the reasons why. The top 10 choices were: Tab concept means extra clicks (65%) Uses up too much screen space (64%) No advantage over existing methods (64%) Dislike concept of hiding tools – want buttons to stay visible (60%) Too hard to find things (51%) Using it minimised requires an extra click/hover (47%) Doesn’t make good use of my screen size/shape (45%) Tab switching is too slow (45%) Customising it is too difficult (44%) Ribbon content doesn’t match my needs …

AutoCAD 2009 – How many people really are using the Ribbon?

I was interested to see Shaan Hurley reporting the Ribbon usage figures from the Customer Involvement Program (CIP). Shaan’s figures show Ribbon non-users at 46%, my poll results show it as 71%. Why the discrepancy? Is somebody telling fibs? I don’t think so. First, blog nauseam poll respondents represent a biased sample, comprising people who are more interested in AutoCAD than average users. Dare I say more knowledgeable? More likely to be power users or CAD Managers, anyway. They are probably more likely than average users to make changes from the default AutoCAD settings. But Shaan’s CIP users are also …

AutoCAD 2009 – Why aren’t you using the Ribbon?

Following on from the earlier poll to find out what you were doing with the Ribbon (mostly turning it off, apparently), I’ve added a poll for those of you who are using AutoCAD 2009 Ribbonless. I hope I’ve covered all the bases with my 23 possible reasons! You can pick as many or as few as you like.

AutoCAD 2009 – Why do you hate the Ribbon?

Judging from the results of the Ribbon usage poll (and the usual poll caveats apply), you are turning off AutoCAD 2009’s Ribbon in droves. I’m surprised. I thought there would be a significant minority of 2009 users who turned it off, but it looks I was wrong and it’s a large majority. The non-Ribbon numbers have hovered around the two-thirds mark right from the start and have now settled above the 70% mark. If nothing else, this validates Autodesk’s decision to make the Ribbon optional and keep all the old user interface elements. Now I’m curious about the reasons. Why …

The Ribbon Man interview – fluff?

Looking at the comments, it seems not everyone is happy with the Matt Stein interview. If so, I’m sorry you feel that way about the piece. In my own defence, I would point out the following: I like to think my work at Cadalyst represents a balanced viewpoint. I pride myself on being fair. Whether Autodesk deserves praise or criticism for something, I provide it. But an interview isn’t really the place to do that. An interview is supposed to be an opportunity for the interviewee to say things, not a platform for the interviewer’s opinions. My job as an …

AutoCAD 2009 – Ribbon content for Express Tools

One of the many unfinished aspects of the AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon is the lack of Express Tools content. One enterprising user has put the effort into correcting this, and has posted an Express Tools CUI replacement in this Autodesk newsgroup thread. I have not tested this myself. As usual with CUI, be paranoid. Back up everything before you touch anything. While I wouldn’t normally suggest you do any Ribbon custom work in 2009 in its current state, it shouldn’t hurt in this case as it should be easily redoable once Autodesk has fixed up the worst of the 2009 CUI …

The Ribbon Man interview – part 2

The second and final part of my interview of Matt Stein has now been published on the Cadalyst site. There were some other questions I would have liked Matt to answer, but some unfortunate logistical problems prevented that from happening. Never mind, I guess it ended up plenty long enough anyway!

AutoCAD 2009 – Do your old drawings need recovery?

I’ve seen quite a few complaints that AutoCAD 2009 refuses to open some drawings saved in 2000 or 2004 format unless the Recover command has been used on them. Autodesk has now issued a Knowledge Base item about this issue. There’s no real fix in AutoCAD 2009 yet, just an external workaround. You will have to fix up the drawings in AutoCAD 2008 or TrueView. Either save the drawings in 2007 format or set the system variable 3DCONVERSIONMODE to 0 and then save them in the old format.

AutoCAD 2009 – How do you use the Ribbon?

It would appear from comments made on the Autodesk newsgroups that a lot of AutoCAD 2009 users have their Ribbons turned off. That’s actually one of eight possible states for the Ribbon to be in. Is it really the most popular configuration? Does it apply to 12.5% of you or is it more than that? I’ve added a poll to find out. Please vote only if you’re an active AutoCAD 2009 user, as I want to see what people use in production.

AutoCAD 2009 – The Reaction Part 3

I’ve closed the poll asking for your initial reactions to the shipping release of AutoCAD 2009. It’s interesting to compare it with your reactions when asked to speculate prior to the release date. It seems your collective opinion of AutoCAD 2009 has taken a sharp drop now you’ve actually had a chance to use it. In the speculative poll, the average opinion was “OK”; in the first reactions poll, the average opinion has slipped two levels to “Bad”. In the speculative poll, 39% of voters used the “bad” half of the poll; in the first reactions poll, that number has …

AutoCAD 2009 – Drawing integrity tip – urgent!

AutoCAD 2009 users, I strongly suggest you go and set the new system variable OPENPARTIAL to 0. Now. Why? Because if it’s set to the default value of 1, purging can be harmful to your drawings. I’ll fill in the details in a future Bug Watch column, but for now I suggest you just go and fix up that variable. It’s stored in the Registry, so you should only need to do it once unless you use multiple profiles, in which case you should do it once per profile.

AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to normal revisited

I see Lynn Allen has written a post explaining how to restore the “classic” interface. I commend Lynn for doing this in response to the requests she’s been receiving. It must be pretty painful for some people at Autodesk to see their Technical Evangelist showing people how to turn off AutoCAD 2009’s Big New Feature, but it’s absolutely the right thing for her to do. The worst thing Autodesk can do right now is go into denial mode, which has happened more than once in the past when users have reacted negatively to various things. This post from Lynn gives …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Reaction Part 2

I won’t beat about the bush, AutoCAD 2009 is getting a pretty hostile reaction out there. Have a look at Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2009 newsgroup, for example. It’s true that many releases receive a hostile welcome, but this year it looks particularly bleak. Frankly, AutoCAD 2009 is taking a hammering. I think it’s possible to gauge the general AutoCAD user reaction reasonably well by looking at what is said in places like this, but adjustments do need to be made. There are always some people who are resistant to any change, some who are habitually hostile to Autodesk, some who dislike …

Where have all the developers gone?

I noticed in Ralph Grabowski’s latest upFront.eZine that Autodesk has announced that 100 developers have 200 add-ons working with its 2009 series of software. I hope I’m not supposed to be impressed by those numbers. I remember when Autodesk boasted about having over 3500 third-party developers. What happened to the other 3400-odd? This is a serious question; if anybody knows where they all went, and why, I’d love to know. Of those two hundred 2009-ready applications, how many of them take advantage of 2009’s Big New Feature, the Ribbon? My guess would be close to zero. Why? Because the AutoCAD …

The _XREF_XREF killer

If you’re an AutoCAD 2008 user you probably already know what the title refers to. If not, you probably don’t need to know. If your drawings are afflicted, I suggest you hop over to Between the Lines, grab the scale list cleanup utility and start cleaning up. Although I’ve found that this utility works very well, paranoia is usually wise in computing so make sure you back up everything before you start! The utility is installed into the AutoCAD 2008 or 2009 main installation folder, and you can make a shortcut to the CleanupScales.exe file on your desktop if you …

AutoCAD Migration – continued

I have added two more polls (see right) about this subject making a total of four. I have an inkling that the people most dissatisfied with Migration are those with many users to support, and I’m interested to know how accurate that impression is. If you voted that you were totally or generally dissatisfied with Migration, please use the top poll, otherwise use the second poll. If you haven’t voted yet in the satisfied/dissatisfied poll, please do! I’ll keep these polls open for a while. Feel free to add your comments here to expand on what you have selected in …

AutoCAD Migration – what do you think?

For a few years now, AutoCAD has allowed you to migrate your settings forward from an old release to a new one. Since AutoCAD 2006, this has included your custom CUI stuff. How well is this mechanism working for you? I will keep my opinions to myself for now, but I’m interested in yours. I have added two polls about this (see right) and have more polls on this subject waiting in the wings. Feel free to add your comments here to expand on what you have selected in the polls.