Tuesday, May 4, 2010

LT 2011 Help

So, you just loaded LT2011 went through the new pop-up guided tour, decided to start drafting and you needed to look some new feature up in Help (I know, some AutoCAD users do that).

With LT2011, you get an HTML web browser based Help document. It has a new look, with lots of links and shortcuts to even more content. The trick to using it is to think of classic web pages of the last decade (no, I don't mean 2009) and stick with the gray side bar on the left to navigate.

If you ever used Help in earlier versions, this tries to maintain some of the content labeling familiarity: main headings like User's Guide, Customization and so on lead you to links to what used to be Chapters displayed in the middle of your screen. Clicking on one of these links does the ultimate 'web' sin however: it bounces you away from the top page, completely changes the web page format, introduces an all new structure and layout, and offers no real intuitive way to just go up to your chapter heading. I suspect someone built this in their garage, because any web master worth his paycheck would have balked at this horrible web-based Help.

It's not even as good as the R2010 Online Help file, which was merely a copy of the old Help files online in a web page. See that one HERE.

So, while we all wait for some sort of fix, Autodesk has posted some alternate options for accessing Help in other formats that are less clunky. Click on these options to get them:

AutoCAD 2011 CHM-Based Help

AutoCAD 2011 Help in PDF format

There are some issues with the CHM Help based files for Win7 64bit users, so read the fine print first. And yes, LT is not specifically addressed again, so be careful. ◦

Autodesk Assistance Program

Unemployed Designers, Engineers and Architects Can Receive current free student-license Autodesk Software, as well as free Training, Certification and Other Company Resources to Help Extend Their Skills and Improve Employability.

Student-license software is not crippleware, but it is limited to 13-months and does introduce a plot stamp to prevent it's use in a working environment. Current software on offer include:

AutoCAD 2011
AutoCAD Architecture 2011
AutoCAD MEP 2011
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011
AutoCAD Map 3D 2011
AutoCAD Electrical 2011
AutoCAD Mechanical 2011
Autodesk 3ds Max 2011

Enrollment in the Autodesk Assistance Program and software download availability is through January 31st, 2011. Read all about it this Autodesk offer to keep your skills current HERE.