AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 15 – Background

You may have noticed that the default AutoCAD background is an off-white shade. In a comment, Tim asked if this is the same as the Block Editor background. No, not quite. This image shows the different backgrounds and some linework, with black as a comparison: Paper space is pure white (Red, Green, Blue is 255,255,255), Model space is very pale cream (254,252,240) and the Block Editor is a slightly darker cream (255,252,229). In common with most people in my experience (and most people who need to use drawings with yellow linework), my backgrounds are all going to be 0,0,0 (black). …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 13 – ViewCube

For many 3D users of AutoCAD, the ViewCube is likely to be the most useful new thing in AutoCAD 2009. There are a couple of problems with it, at least in the Release Candidate: It does not work in 2D wireframe mode (which is, paradoxically, where 90% of my 3D work is done). You need to choose another visual style before it will appear. It seems to slow things down quite a lot in complex drawings. That said, if you have more than enough computing power for the drawings you usually deal with, then this is a very, very nice …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 12 – Controlling Screen Elements

How do you turn the new screen elements on and off using the keyboard? How about the not-so-new ones? See this table: Element On Off Toggle Advanced Render Settings RPPREF RPPREFCLOSE   Clean Screen CLEANSCREENON CLEANSCREENOFF Ctrl+0 Command line COMMANDLINE COMMANDLINEHIDE Ctrl+9 dbConnect DBCONNECT DBCCLOSE Ctrl+6 DesignCenter ADCENTER ADCCLOSE Ctrl+2 Layer palette LAYER LAYERCLOSE   Lights LIGHTLIST LIGHTLISTCLOSE   Markup Set Manager MARKUP MARKUPCLOSE Ctrl+7 Materials MATERIALS MATERIALSCLOSE   Menu bar MENUBAR 1 MENUBAR 0   NavCube NAVCUBEDISPLAY 1 NAVCUBEDISPLAY 0   Properties palette PROPERTIES PROPERTIESCLOSE Ctrl+1 Quick calc QUICKCALC QCCLOSE Ctrl+8 Ribbon RIBBON RIBBONCLOSE   Rollover tool tips ROLLOVERTIPS …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 11 – Docked Vertical Ribbon

This video shows how the AutoCAD 2009 vertical Ribbon behaves when it is docked on one side. The labels explain what is going on. The main thing that used to drive me batty with the Dashboard was the way in which expanding one panel would contract another. The vertical Ribbon doesn’t do that, it leaves panels how you left them, which I much prefer. Something else you may have noticed is that when there is no docked horizontal Ribbon, the red A in the corner shrinks. I’ll describe what’s lurking beneath that A in future posts.

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 10 – Dude, where’s my Dashboard?

Dude, Dashboard’s dead. Defunct. Done. AutoCAD 2009 replaced the Dashboard with the Ribbon. If you type in the DASHBOARD or DASHBOARDCLOSE commands, they are just converted to the RIBBON and RIBBONCLOSE commands, which turn the Ribbon on and off. If you’re a fan of the Dashboard (and I never was), there is good and bad news. The good news is that you can right-click on various parts of the Ribbon, pick Undock and you get a Dashboard-like floating vertical Ribbon that can be resized and configured very easily in terms of turning panels on and off. You can’t do that …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 9 – Docked Toolbars

If AutoCAD 2009’s floating toolbars are the best ever, what about when they’re docked? As a starting point, here is AutoCAD 2008 with the Express Tools toolbars docked. Here is the same thing in AutoCAD 2009. So a few pixels have been shaved off in one direction and added in another. The end result is that they use about 99% of the space used in 2008. Not too bad, but I think it could be better. Here’s my suggestion: That uses about 80% of the space. In addition to shaving off a few more pixels, I think this looks a …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 8 – Vista Startup Times

I’ve now tested startup times of various AutoCAD releases under Vista. Here are the results, alongside the XP results for ease of comparison: Release First Startup Subsequent Startup XP Vista XP Vista 12 8.6 – 8.2 – 13 2.6 1.8 1.3 0.8 14 2.1 – 0.5 – 2002 3.2 2.1 0.6 1.1 2004 – 4.3 – 1.7 2005 – 7.9 – 4.5 2006 14.9 8.7 2.6 4.4 2007 13.8 11.9 3.5 6.6 2008 14.6 10.5 3.6 6.0 2009 28.9 17.3 7.2 13.3 Same caveats as before, plus the following: Some AutoCAD releases were not installed on both XP and Vista …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 7 – Subsequent Startup Time

This table shows both the initial and subsequent startup times for various releases. Most of the qualifications and caveats from my AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 6 – Initial Startup Time post still apply here. Release First Startup Subsequent Startup 12 8.6 8.2 13 2.6 1.3 14 2.1 0.5 2002 3.2 0.6 2006 14.9 2.6 2007 13.8 3.5 2008 14.6 3.6 2009 28.9 7.2 AutoCAD 2009’s subsequent startups are much less slow than its agonising first startup, as to be expected. Windows XP is doing that by caching and reusing recently used parts of memory. Release 12’s old code, …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 6 – First Startup Time

One thing you’ll notice (and dislike) right away with AutoCAD 2009 is that it takes a lot longer to get started. How much longer? About twice as long as recent releases, or about ten times longer than ancient speed demon Release 13. (I bet a 1994 AutoCAD user transported forward in time would be shocked to hear that description being used). Here’s a video that shows what the first startup looks like in a collection of releases from Release 12 to 2009: Now for the qualifications and caveats: Tests performed on a Core2Duo E6600 PC with 4 GB RAM, under …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 5 – Floating Toolbars

There are many areas of AutoCAD 2009’s new user interface that pointlessly waste your screen space. Floating toolbars do not. You have probably already noticed that AutoCAD 2009 concentrates on the Ribbon as its primary screen-based user interface, with the default state lacking any toolbars at all. So it’s somewhat ironic that AutoCAD 2009 sports what are easily the best floating toolbars in the history of the product. Ironic but very welcome. Why are they better? Because they’re smaller. Let’s compare the number of pixels taken up by a typical small group of floating toolbars in different AutoCAD releases. These …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 4 – More on the Status Bar and Layouts

Here are a couple more tricks AutoCAD 2009 has up its Status Bar sleeve, this time to do with layouts. You may love the new Quick View Layouts feature or you may find it too slow. You may wish to use it sometimes and at other times use the traditional layout tabs. How do you quickly switch from one to the other? Right click, as shown in this animation. The left clicks are red, the right clicks are blue. As you can see, when the layout tabs are visible, the model space button and most recent layout button are replaced …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 3 – Status Bar Right

Having covered the left side of the status bar, let’s move onto the other side. Some of it is familiar, but much of it is new or modified. Let’s have a look: This animation shows the following: The first icon switches to the model space layout. The next icon switches to a paper space layout, but which one? The one you were in most recently. The third icon gives access to the new Quick View Layout feature. Shaan Hurley has covered this quite extensively, so there is not much point in me going over the same ground. However, I will …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 2 – Status Bar Left

Enough of linking to other peoples’ observations about AutoCAD 2009, here are some of mine. There is a lot I don’t like about AutoCAD 2009, and I will be covering that side of things in more detail once I have the shipping product to play with and I’m certain that the bad stuff is still there. This post is about the mostly good stuff that will definitely appear in the finished product. AutoCAD 2009 is all about the user interface, but it’s not all about the Ribbon. There are other interface changes too, and some of them are quite welcome. …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Prequel Part 1 – Links

AutoCAD 2009 is about a month away, but people with pre-release copies are already allowed to start talking about the product. I intend to do so soon, but for now here are a few mentions I found: http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2008/02/the-2009-produc.html http://lynn.blogs.com/lynn_allens_blog/2008/02/autocad-2009-is.html http://lynn.blogs.com/lynn_allens_blog/2008/02/the-autocad-200.html http://heidihewett.blogs.com/my_weblog/2008/02/the-word-is-out.html http://heidihewett.blogs.com/my_weblog/2008/02/autocad-2009-a.html http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?threadID=643193 http://discussion.autodesk.com/thread.jspa?threadID=643871 http://mistressofthedorkness.blogspot.com/2008/02/some-autocad-2009-thoughts.html http://rcd.typepad.com/rcd/2008/02/time-flies-its.html http://rkmcswain.blogspot.com/2008/02/autocad-2009-in-2-minutes.html http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2008/02/autodesk-worl-1.html http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2008/02/autocad-2009.html http://www.theswamp.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=31k5jnveooq0qn8ecci6i72o34&topic=21356.0 http://forums.cadalyst.com/showthread.php?t=5808 http://thecadgeek.com/blog/2008/02/13/introduction-to-the-autocad-2009-ribbon/ http://cadit.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/02/autocad-2009–.html How do you get a pre-release copy of AutoCAD? Well, assuming you’re not a pirate, you can join up with the Autodesk MyFeedback program. It’s too late for AutoCAD 2009, but sign up now for 2010…