Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Autodesk University 2015 (AU2015): why am I going now?

Autodesk University (AU) is the premier learning destination for Autodesk customers worldwide. Learn more about us. Learn from experts and follow industry thought leaders.

That's the tag line you will see when you Google search Autodesk University (AU): clear, concise, and, well, self explanatory. This event used to be held only in Las Vegas but has fortunately been gaining world wide demand that this year AU was held in quite a few other cities around the globe ahead of the "big one" in Las Vegas. Read about it all HERE.

So what if you can't go to any of these events around the world, for whatever reason, what are your options for getting in on some of these premier teaching opportunities? You are in luck since Autodesk posts all the classes soon after the AU event online for you to access at your convenience, for free, anytime you want it. Just get started HERE.

So why am I going after all these years? First, I feel like I'm stuck in rut trying to cater to the new needs of my office users of AutoCAD/LT/Architecture 2016 for customizations and overall drafting production speeds, and partly because my curiosity about AU has reached a level that needs to be satisfied. I hope I get my money's worth out of it, it's not cheap attending AU2015.

AU2015 will run from December 1 through December 3 this year, and I signed up for many classes on each day. I plan on blogging (and Tweeting) on my daily classes, experiences, events plus my overall Freshman experience at AU.

If you are attending, please seek me out and introduce yourself: in between classes you will most likely find me at the Expert Elites (EE) area of the Autodesk Booth where I and my fellow EEs will be on hand to answer those nagging Autodesk software usage questions you may have or need resolved.

Friday, November 20, 2015

AutoCAD/LT 2016 for Mac (aka Mandalore) is here!

After a very long wait, Autodesk has finally released AutoCAD/LT for Mac version 2016 to the world. Autodesk continues to play catch-up with the Windows version when it comes to program features, and this 2016 version is no exception.

System Requirements

LT remains a resource hog on the Mac, and it's best run on the PRO series of hardware offered by Apple, if you own an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, Mac Mini or any Mac after the year 2010 (not 2009 in my opinion as they list) it might just work with the correct OS:
  • Mac Pro
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Pro with Retina Display
And with the following Apple Operating Systems:
  • Mac OS X El Capitan v10.11 (or later)
  • Mac OS X Yosemite v10.10 (or later)
  • Mac OS X Mavericks v10.9 (or later)

New AutoCAD/LT 2016 for Mac Features

Core AutoCAD/LT for Windows tools added to the MAC versions
  • CHSPACE - Change objects from model space to paper space or vice versa.
  • PASTEORIG - Paste objects using original coordinates.
  • PASTEBLOCK - Paste objects as block.
Xref Server Path Mapping
  • References stored on Windows server can be found.
  • XREFPATHMAPPING command has been added.
  • Supports reference of DWG, PDF, Image, and datalink.
  • Path mapping edit after creation.
  • Supports all types of disk drives.
  • For new reference, path saves in Windows path pattern if a path mapping is defined.
Properties Inspector Enhancement
  • Add/Remove your favorite properties to "My Properties" tab basing on object type.
PDF Output Enhancement
  • Output PDF size reduced.
  • Truetype font text is recognizable in output PDF.
TrueType Font Performance Improvement In Canvas
  • Zoom/Pan performance improved.
  • Turn on/off this feature with "DTTEXT" system variable.
Revision Clouds
  • More options: Rectangular, Polygonal, Freehand, Modify (similar to Windows versions).
  • Better grip edit experience.
  • Dim command now can add multiple types of dimensions conveniently. One command to do it all.
  • Text wrap in dimensions.
  • Preset the layer of new dimensions by system variable DIMLAYER.
  • New "match property" button on Text Editor visor.
  • New toggle button on Text Editor visor to turn on/off the ruler.
  • New property "Text frame" has been added to enable you to create a border around Mtext objects.
Geometric Center Object Snap
  • Snap to Pline center.
  • Settings available in Draft Settings dialog and OSNAP system variable.
Command Preview
  • Preview the result during a command.
  • Extended to the BLEND, ERASE, STRETCH, ROTATE, and SCALE commands.
Commandline Enhancement
  • Mid-string command search.
  • Autocorrect command input.
  • Turn on/off this feature from commandline context menu.
Graphics Engine (and why non-Pro and older hardware will choke)
  • OpenGL Core Profile is enhanced and now enabled by default on capable graphics card. Improves overall performance, especially in 3D.
Xref Enhancements
  • Able to control the properties of objects in DWG underlay. XREFOVERRIDE system variable to turn it on/off.
  • Xref layers show in grey in Layer palette.
Line Smoothing
  • Anti-aliasing in 2D visual style.
  • Turn on/off line smoothing with system variable LINESMOOTHING.
Selection and Pre-Selection Effect Enhancement
  • More visible selection and pre-selection effect.
Notification Setting
  • Turn on/off receiving AutoCAD messages(except Update notifications) in Notification Center.
Support File Path
  • Clean up the list, some paths removed/hidden from the list.
Cloud Service
  • Cloud Storage Usage is now showing in the Application Preferences dialog Online page.
Multiple Language UI
  • No new Language versions added. Not sure why.
  • Switch UI language(English and French) via Preference dialog.
Express Tools Added (not in LT)

  • Convert Text to Mtext(TXT2MTXT)
  • Break-line Symbol (BREAKLINE)
  • Explode Attributes to Text(BURST)
  • Move/Copy/Rotate (MOCORO)
  • Replace Block…(BLOCKREPLACE)
  • Super Hatch (SUPERHATCH)

Section Objects Added (not in LT)

  • New "slice" option for sectionplane command.
Render Enhancements (not in LT)
  • Provide Cloud Rendering options. RENDERONLINE command.
  • Provide feedback channel for Rendering feature.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Are you curious about the MAC version of AutoCAD/LT? Or a current user looking for basic answers? This blog post will attempt to answer the most common questions you might have about this Apple OS based software (This is not an April Fools post).
  • Where is the Ribbon?
    The MAC version of AutoCAD/LT has an Apple-base user interface that reflects Autodesk's complete rewrite of the program from the ground up. They chose not to implement a Microsoft Windows interface for this new variant: they probably still remember the backlash when, back in the day, AutoCAD for DOS' interface was used on Mac, Unix and Sun workstations much to the dismay of core users of those systems. Other visual differences:
    - All toolbars are accumulated in Tool Sets palette with the ability to switch between tabs with sets of icons.
    - All UI elements could be either floating or docked to the sides of the screen (Tool Sets to the left or to the right: Layers, Properties, Content, References, Projects, Materials palettes to the left or to the right side; Command window and Status Bar to the bottom side).

  • Will I be able to share DWG and DXF files between the Windows and Mac versions of AutoCAD?
    Yes. And it requires no special effort or any change. Just send and receive your files freely.

  • I want to import my custom CUIx file from AutoCAD for Windows to the MAC version, how do I do that?
    Unfortunately there is no such feature in AutoCAD for Mac. You cannot import personal CUI file from PC to Mac.
    If you want to transfer your custom commands or macros from PC to Mac, you need to do this manually with the CUI editor. Note: not all functions are available in the Mac versions and some custom commands (macros) may not work in AutoCAD/LT for Mac.

  • Can I import and use plot style tables (STB or CTB) from AutoCAD in Windows?
    Yes you can: place your plot style table file in the "~/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/roaming/AutoCADversion/Rxx.x/enu/Plotters/Plot Styles" (Library folder in your Home folder); after that it should appear in "Advanced" dialog box of "Page Setup" dialog (or "Print" dialog). You can also try this method HERE.

  • How do I create a new plot style table file in the MAC versions of AutoCAD/LT?Not an option yet: AutoCAD/LT for Mac has no plot style creator/editor available.
    Either ask a Windows version user to create/edit one for you, or use THIS free cad software for mac that allows you to edit CTB and STB.

  • How do I change my DWG file from using STB to using CTB (or vice versa) plot style tables?
    Unlike AutoCAD/LT in Windows, AutoCAD/LT for MAC have no CONVERTPSTYLES or  CONVERTCTB commands to convert named plot styles to color plot styles (or vice versa) "on the fly".
    But there is workaround - if you want to convert STB-based DWG to CTB-based:
    1. Create new drawing using CTB-based template
    2. Copy all objects from your STB-based file and paste it into this new file.
    3. Reverse the process for moving from CTB to STB.

  • How do I add custom or extra fonts to AutoCAD/LT for MAC?
    If these are AutoCAD SHX fonts, than you need to place them inside AutoCAD application folder: find the AutoCAD/LT application in Applications folder on your Mac, right-click on it, select "Show package contents" from context menu. Now type SHX in the Spotlight search field of the current Finder window, then look for the SHX folder in search results, double click to open it. Here you can copy your font files. Restart AutoCAD and now you can use fonts.
    If your fonts are TTF, than you need to place them to the ~/Library/Fonts folder, and don't forget to restart AutoCAD/LT.

  • Can I create PDF files in AutoCAD/LT for MAC? There is no AutoCAD driver installed.
    Yes, you can save (plot) or export to PDF without adding any drivers: the MAC OS is equipped with it by default and is available to all MAC OS programs, explore HERE. Note that there are currently no options to include Layer lists into the PDF.

  • Where are the Express Tools in AutoCAD for MAC?
    There are no Express Tools in AutoCAD for MAC, nor in LT for MAC.

  • How do I change command shortcuts in the MAC version? Is there a PGP file to edit?
    Click the Tools menu > Customize > Edit Command Aliases (PGP). Note: The default PGP file can also be opened by launching Finder, pressing and holding Option, and clicking Go  Library. In the Finder window, navigate to Application Support/Autodesk/Roaming////Support and double-click acad.pgp (or acadlt.pgp for AutoCAD LT) to edit the file. If prompted for an application to use, select TextEdit.
    In the text editor, add your new command aliases to the bottom of the file. Save the PGP file after you make the desired edits.
    In AutoCAD or the AutoCAD LT, click Tools menu  Customize  Reload Command Aliases (PGP).
    Alternate Method: Find the acadlt.pgp file on your Mac: it is in ~/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/roaming/AutoCAD LT Standdalone/Rxx.0/enu/Support folder, then edit it in as described in Help documentation (Help->Customization Guide->Basic Customization->Create Command Aliases.

  • Pressing the F-Keys like F3 and F8 don't work? Delete key doesn't work?
    On a MAC you have to press and hold the fn key first to activate those keys: fn+F3, fn+F8, fn+DELETE activate these keyboard keys while in AutoCAD/LT for MAC.
    For a permanent fix, go to the MAC OS System Preferences > Keyboard >Keyboard and check "Use all F1, F2, etc keys as standard . . . ". You can check the other box for "Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar" so you can jump right to this preferences pane from the Menu bar and change it. While Standard F1 keys is checked, you can hold fn to go back to the special functions (volume control, brightness, etc).

  • I can't find any option for Layer States in my AutoCAD/LT for MAC, why?
    You need to upgrade to AutoCAD/LT2015 for MAC for that ability: older versions offer an older subset using -LAYER command (there is a dash in the name) that is not quite as advanced.

  • Can I create and use Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD/LT for MAC?
    Yes, starting with the 2015 versions you can create and edit Dynamic Blocks. In earlier versions, creating them was not an option.

  • Does AutoCAD/LT for MAC support Retina Displays?
    According to Autodesk, Retina support works as designed only if you set resolution in Mac OS System preferences to "Best for display", which means effective desktop resolution of the standard 15-inch MacBook Pro's 1440 x 900 panel, but with four physical pixels driving every single pixel represented on the screen.

  • There is no eTransmit command: how do I send drawing files to others from the MAC version?
    While that is true for older MAC versions of AutoCAD/LT, you can set up a free AutoCAD360 web account and ships it like THIS to solve it. eTransmit is available in current versions.

  • Where can I download language packs for AutoCAD/LT for MAC?
    To date there are no language packs for any version of AutoCAD/LT for MAC 2015 and lower versions. MAC versions of AutoCAD/LT are only available in English and French.

  • Can I set the mouse middle button in the MAC versions to behave like the Windows version?
    Yes you can, read this AutoCAD Forum thread on the topic HERE.

  • What other commands are missing from AutoCAD/LT for MAC that are found in the Windows versions?
    The following core commands do not exist on the MAC versions as of this blog date: CHSPACE, Geolocation and ADCENTER (Content Palette has some similar, but not all, abilities) are a few of the differences, for more details explore these links for AUTOCAD and LT.

  • Ready to get started? Still not sure?
    Visit this webpage for quick short tutorials to help your Migration From Windows To MAC with AutoCAD/LT. You can also review the AutoCAD/LT Shortcuts Guide ONLINE or as a downloadable PDF.
I would like to thank my fellow Autodesk Expert Elite Maxim Kanaev for his many posts at the Autodesk Forums that made this blog post possible. ◦

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The AutoCAD/LT 2016 Beta Test: stats and more

With this AutoCAD 2016 series release, 2000+ Beta Testers tried it first before you received your download link tis week: they tested it, used it, reported their findings in survey after survey, and did their best to make it stable for you to use. Where you part of the 2000+? If not, we hope that after reading this you will throw your hat in for the next one and join in/participate.

What is Beta Testing? It is Second level, external pilot-test of software before commercial quantity production. At the Beta Test stage, the product has already passed through the first-level, internal pilot-test ( called Alpha Test) where glaring defects have been removed. But since the product may still have some minor problems that require user participation, it is released to selected customers for testing under normal, everyday conditions of use to spot the remaining flaws.

Beta Testing is not about adding features not already there, it's not about addressing previous software version shortcomings, and it's not about making the software perfect for every customer Autodesk has out there.

Here are the stats from Autodesk's AutoCAD 2016 beta testing: note that this was not just for plain AutoCAD, but almost all of it's primary variants as well. Yes, that's more than one software package.

Autodesk reports that a little over 2000 trusted worldwide customers and partners participated in this round of Beta testing. They honest feedback, shared ideas, and reported issues to help make this the best release of AutoCAD possible. From their feedback, many improvements were made and issues fixed.

By participating in this Beta program, these top product experts and best spokespeople offered non-biased advice and commentary on this release.  They filed over 400 problem reports, made over 150 feature requests, filled out more surveys that a normal person does in a lifetime, and actively participated in the beta forums.

Let's do the math: 2000+ users (I doubt that plus sign means there were a million users more) beta testing Three/Four/Fiver variants of AutoCAD 2016 is several countries. You probably run into or pass more people on your daily morning commute to work: these 2000+ users will not be able to test and validate every aspect of every variant and almost impossible for them to meet your exact daily workflow needs. Also remember, these folks also have day jobs, just like you, so their testing is done after hours and on their own time. How much time is free in your workday?
With AutoCAD 2016 out, are you testing it? If you find any flaws, the beta testers probably did not get to it to replicate but all is not lost: you can report these to Autodesk HERE. But ask yourself, would you have spotted this flaw if you were on the beta testing user team? If the answer is yes, why not do yourself and fellow end users a huge favor and join up. With annual releases of AutoCAD, Autodesk should be ramping up for the next round of beta testing during the second half of this year. Sign up now at


Friday, March 20, 2015

LT2016: New, Changed and dropped commands

New AutoCAD LT 2016 Commands and System Variables List:
  • CLOSEALLOTHER command: Closes all other open drawings, except the current active drawing.
  • DIGITALSIGN command: Provides a separate command to add a digital signature to a drawing. Removes the Digital Signature tab from the SECURITYOPTIONS command.
  • GOTOSTART command: Switches from the current active drawing to the Start tab.
  • SCRIPTCALL command: Executes a sequence of commands the same as the SCRIPT command, with the additional capability of also executing nested scripts.
  • SYSVARMONITOR command: Displays the System Variable Monitor dialog box.
  • DIMLAYER variable: Specifies a default layer for new dimensions.
  • DIMPICKBOX variable: Sets the object selection target height, in pixels within the DIM command.
  • DIMTXTRULER variable: Controls the display of ruler when editing a dimension text.
  • GALLERYVIEW variable: Controls the type of preview in the ribbon drop-down galleries.
  • LINEFADING variable: Controls whether line displays are faded when hardware acceleration is on and you have exceeded the line density limits.
  • LINEFADINGLEVEL variable: When hardware acceleration is on, controls the intensity of the line fading effect.
  • REVCLOUDCREATEMODE variable: Specifies the default input for creating revision clouds.
  • REVCLOUDGRIPS variable: Controls the number of grips displayed on a revision cloud.
  • SELECTIONEFFECTCOLOR variable: Sets the color of the glowing highlighting effect on object selection.
  • STARTINFOLDER variable: Stores the drive and folder path from where the product was started.
  • SYSMON variable: Specifies whether changes to system variables values are monitored.
  • WORKINGFOLDER variable: Stores the drive and folder path of the operating system's working folder or current directory for the process.
  • XREFOVERRIDE variable: Controls the display of object properties on referenced layers.

Updated AutoCAD LT 2016 Commands and System Variables LIST:
  • DIM command: Creates multiple types of dimensions within a single command session.
  • OPTIONS command's Online Tab: Automatic saving to your A360 Drive has been removed. Instead, save or copy the drawing files that you want to upload to your A360 account directly to your local A360 Drive folder.
  • PAGESETUP and PLOT commands: now display fully expanded and add PDF options button.
  • REVCLOUD command: Creates a revision cloud. New options for modifying an existing revision cloud and creating rectangular and polygonal revision cloud have been added. Rectangular is the new default revision cloud creation method.
  • UCS, VIEW and -VPORTS commands have been updated to include new features outlined above.

Obsolete AutoCAD LT 2016 Commands and System Variables List:
  • DIM1 command: Obsolete but still included in the product to maintain legacy script compatibility
  • NEWTAB command: Replaced by the Start tab. Use STARTMODE to control the display of the Start tab. Use GOTOSTART or Ctrl+Home to switch focus from the current drawing to the Start tab
  • WELCOMESCREEN variable: Removed.

Watch the AutoCAD LT 2016 New Features Overview Video here
Tour the AutoCAD LT 2016 User Interface