5 Major Updates to AutoCAD 2018 That Can Help You Be More Productive
AutoCAD 2018 was officially released on March 21st, 2017, offering several new enhancements, features, and time-savers for the AutoCAD community. In their “AutoCAD 2018 New Features” Skype chat, CADLearning’s Senior Content Manager David Cohn, and U.S. CAD’s Senior Technical Specialist KaDe King, shared their favorite new updates to the AutoCAD 2018 release. With their combined 64 years of experience using AutoCAD, David and KaDe covered 5 major topics: Tech and Performance, UI, PDF Import, Text to MTEXT, and Xrefs updates.
Here’s a breakdown:
1. Technology and Performance
With AutoCAD’s new code in 2018, users will experience overall performance improvements across the board.
- 4K Display Support – AutoCAD now supports 4K resolution on all dialogue boxes, toolbars, CUI editor, layer manager, etc.
- Improved Open and Save performance – With the new DWG File Format, opening and saving documents have become more efficient. Objects with the biggest improvement in saving include blocks with annotation scaling, MTEXT with columns, and attributes and attribute definitions with multi-lines.
- Navigating in 3D and working in 2D is smoother.
2. User Interaction
New enhancements and fixes in AutoCAD 2018’s UI will give the user a more intuitive and efficient workflow with the tools below.
- Open Dialogue Box – Sorting files by Date or File Type will automatically load the most recently modified file at the top of the Open Dialogue Box for convenience and quick access.
- Layer Control Option – In the Quick Access Tool Bar menu, you can now easily change layers without changing tabs by checking the Layer Control option.
- Drafting Settings dialog boxes are now resizable.
- Off-screen Selection – You can now begin selecting an object from one part of your screen and pan across while still selecting the objects off-screen. This feature saves a great deal of time since prior versions would ignore selections outside of the window frame.
3. PDF Import
This new feature allows the user to import PDF files into AutoCAD like never before.
- Importing Geometry from PDF – AutoCAD 2018 offers the ability to import a PDF file into AutoCAD, intelligently recognize the geometry in the PDF file, and convert those objects into AutoCAD geometry.
- SHX text recognition tool – With this newly added tool, you can convert geometric shapes of text into actual text. When importing PDFs into AutoCAD, the text objects are automatically converted from TrueType into MTEXT fonts. However, objects not recognized can be selected using the SHX text recognition and convert those geometric polylines into text objects. This feature even recommends the closest matching font to the geometric shape.
4. Text to MTEXT Enhancements
These features help users clean up their files and properly organize, view and work in their documents.
- Combine Text Tool – In the Insert Dialog Box, AutoCAD 2018 now includes a Text to MTEXT tool called the Combine Text Tool. This allows you to select both Text and MTEXT and combine them together at the same time. This feature is especially useful when recognizing and converting SHX text from a PDF file that has been imported.
- Inferring Justification – In the past, converting from Text to MTEXT would automatically position your text objects less justified. Now, AutoCAD infers the justification based on the objects.
- Top-down sorting order – Sorting is relative to the current UCS and left to right when text objects are collinear. Multiple collinear text objects are recognized and treated as if they’re on the same line with a space between them.
5. External References
AutoCAD 2018 includes shortcuts and new settings in External References that will enable the user to save more time.
- Relative path default setting – The default path type in AutoCAD 2018 is relative path as opposed to full path as in previous versions. Sending drawings to other users will now be easier as the path will not be hard-coded. Having relative path as your default is also useful for moving relative folders around in your drawing files without breaking any Xrefs.
- Assigning relative path to file before saving – Prior versions of AutoCAD required saving before assigning a relative path to a file. With AutoCAD 2018, you can assign a relative path for a file even if the host drawing hasn’t been saved. The host drawing will show up in the Xref palette with an asterisk, indicating the change will take place once the host drawing is saved.
- Select New Path tool – This feature allows you to fix missing reference files by browsing and applying a path to any or all missing references. This is a very quick and easy fix with a single-click.
- Find and Replace tool – This tool enables the user to locate every reference for a specific path and replace that path with a new selected path. With the Find and Replace tool, you can save a great deal of time replacing several paths with a single-click.
Have you already upgraded to AutoCAD 2018? What are your favorite new features? Let us know in the comments below!