Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AutoCAD/LT 2014 is here!

Today Autodesk will officially share all the hidden secrets and more for their entire 2014 products, including our favorite LT2014, so visit Autodesk's LT Webpage for all the glossy presentations.
From us here, you'll get a honest no-frills list of what's new, what's changed, and what got dropped, with more indepth reviews in future blog posts that will expand on each category:
  • Supported Operating Systems for AutoCAD/LT 2014:  Microsoft® Windows XP Professional SP3, Microsoft® Windows XP Home SP3 (32-bit only) , and 32bit-64bit versions of Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise, 7 Ultimate, 7 Professional,  7 Home Premium, Microsoft Windows 8, 8 Pro and 8 Enterprise.
  • If you are using a Windows 8 touch-enabled screen, you can benefit from smoother pan and zoom performance. A new control on the System tab of the Options dialog box displays a touch mode ribbon panel when a touch screen device is detected. The Touch ribbon panel enables you cancel the current command and returns you to the Select/Command prompt.
  • Hardware Requirements: sadly, they still publish low end "minimum requirements" that really don't allow this software to shine. So instead of repeating them here, we will just move on.
Now for the good stuff, WHAT'S NEW! Here are the highlights with much more to come in future posts:
  • Cloud sharing is here to stay: renamed Autodesk 360 also has some new usage and legal language that acknowledges your privacy, privacy of your files, and your complete ownership of your files. Log on and read the fine print even in LT2013 if you did not get the email that was released last week.
    Autodesk 360 includes a new Open Folder tool for easy access to the Autodesk 360 folder on your local machine and the new Design Feed enables you to enter posts and Images for a drawing tgat can be shared online.
  • The commandline is here to stay with some really great new abilities: look for a separate post on many of these new and exciting features.
  • Files tabs: built into AutoCAD/LT 2014 release, they offers drawing tabs as a fast and visual way to switch between open drawings or to create new ones. You can turn the file tabs bar on or off using the File Tabs control on the View ribbon tab. When File Tabs are turned on, a tab for each open drawing is displayed at the top of the drawing area.File tabs are displayed in the order they were opened. You can drag and drop tabs to change their order. A lock icon on a tab indicates that the file is open as readonly and an asterisk indicates if the file has been modified since its last save. When you pass the cursor over a file tab, preview images of the model and layouts are displayed.
    Best feature: The rightclick menu for file tabs enables you to create, open, save and close files including the ability to close all open files except the one on which you rightclicked. You can also copy the full file path to the clipboard or open the file location in Windows Explorer.
    A Plus (+) icon to the right of the drawing tabs, enables you to easily create new drawings, automatically adding their tabs as they are created.
  • Layer Manager: The number of layers displayed on the ribbon has been increased. Layers are now displayed using natural ordered sort. For example, the following layer names 1, 4, 25, 6, 21, 2, 10 are sorted as 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 21, 25 instead of 1, 10, 2, 25, 21, 4, 6.
    A new Merge option in the Layer Manager enables you to select one or more layers from the layer list and merge the objects from those layers onto a different layer. The original layers are automatically purged from the drawing.
  • Xref Enhancements: The display of linetypes and layers from externally referenced drawings is enhanced in AutoCAD/LT 2014. Xref linetypes are not displayed in the linetype list of the ribbon or Properties palette. Xref layers are still displayed in the ribbon so you can control their visibility but they are not displayed in the Properties palette.
    You can easily change the attachment type for an xref between Attach and Overlay by double
    clicking in the Type column. A new option in the rightclick menu enables you to change the xref type for multiple
    selected xrefs at the same time.
    The External References palette includes new tools to easily change the path of selected xrefs between Absolute and Relative. You can also remove the path completely. The –XREF command includes a new PATHTYPE option enabling you to automate these path changes through scripting.
  • Geographic Location, similar to abilities found in AutoCAD MAP have been added: this feature and it's uses will be explored in a future blog.
  • Arcs: Easily draw an arc in either direction using by pressing the Ctrl key to switch directions as you draw.
  • Polylines: the ability to fillet a polyline to itself, creating a closed polyline, has been added.
  • Sheet Sets:  When creating a new sheet in a sheet set the CreateDate field stored in the associated template (.dwt) displays the creation date of the new sheet rather than the creation date of the template file.
  • Plot Styles: the CONVERTPSTYLES command is enhanced to support style names with spaces.
  • Single line text is enhanced to maintain the last justification setting until it’s changed.
  • The new DIMCONTINUEMODE system variable provides you with more control when creating continued and baseline dimensions. When DIMCONTINUE is set to 0, the DIMCONTINUE and DIMBASELINE commands create dimensions based on the current dimension style. When set to 1, they apply the dimension style of the selected dimension.
  • The Hatch tool on the ribbon maintains the previous method for selecting objects to hatch: Pick internal point or Select objects. The Undo option is added to the command line.
  • Design Feed: accessible from the Autodesk 360 ribbon tab, displays a palette in which you can enter text messages and attach images to be shared online with colleagues, clients, and consultants through Autodesk 360. Posts appear with related drawings on the desktop, on the web, and across mobile devices.You can associate your message with a location or area within the drawing. In the example below, the first post was associated with an area and indicated with a design feed bubble. The settings button on the Design Feed palette lets you control the display of the bubbles.You can tag colleagues, clients, and consultants to notify them of your post; notifications will be sent to them by email and will also appear within AutoCAD. After you finish creating a post, it is saved to your Autodesk 360 account with the drawing, along with any images that you attached. Using Autodesk 360, the people that you have authorized can view the drawing and its associated posts, and the people that you have tagged can post replies. When the questions in a post and its replies are no longer active, you can resolve the thread to hide it in the Design Feed palette.
  • AutoCAD/LT 2014 offers improved access to online Help, particularly when using proxy servers.
  • HELP in LT2014 has an improved Search feature that seems to work well, see screenshot below. Sadly the results are still disconnected, links are not intuitive, referenced additional commands are not easy to seek and more. The huge mess that was LT2013 seems to have been carried over to LT2014.

Stay tuned for more information about LT2014 today and in the near future right here.