AutoCAD 2015 for Mac: the most worthy upgrade ever!

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October became a traditional month for a new release of AutoCAD for Mac. Last year it was on October 22, this year the new release is ready even earlier. While all are awaiting Apple event in a few days with new Mac OS release, AutoCAD 2015 for Mac is already here.

This year, developers have done a great job. They added not only new features that have become available in AutoCAD 2015 for PC, but also those features that AutoCAD for Mac still lacks in compare to PC version. So let’s start with those long awaited features.

Dynamic Blocks – yes, AutoCAD for Mac now received an ability to author Dynamic Blocks. AutoCAD 2015 for Mac supports creating and editing Dynamic Blocks that add flexibility and intelligence to block references. You can now insert one block that can change shape, size, or configuration instead of inserting several static blocks. For example, instead of creating multiple interior door blocks of different sizes, you can now create one resizable door block.

Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD 2015 for Mac contain parameters that are used to manipulate the appearance of the block reference. Each parameter needs to be assigned an action to define the behavior of the block manipulation. To create Dynamic Blocks, you use the Block Editor visor, which was redesigned to allow Dynamic Block creation and editing.

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The Block Editor visor provides a list of parameters that can be used to manipulate a block reference and a list of actions needed to associate with the parameters.

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When you add a parameter to a Dynamic Block definition, grips are displayed at key points of the parameter. Key points are the parts of a parameter that you use to manipulate the block reference. For example, a linear parameter has key points at its base point and end point. You can manipulate the parameter distance from either key point.

Actions allow you to define how the geometry of a dynamic block reference will move or change when its grips are manipulated. You can manipulate a block containing action parameters with grips.

This release also introduces the Enable Visibility parameter, a visual control feature for dynamic blocks. Using visibility states, you can create a block with different graphical representations. A visibility state is a custom property that allows only specified geometry to display in a block reference. For example, using visibility states, you can combine the following commode views into a single dynamic block.

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You can add new visibility states using Visibility States dialog.

You can control the way parameters are displayed using the Properties Inspector. When you select a parameter or action in Block Editor space, block properties are listed in the Properties Inspector. You can edit various properties like assigning labels to parameters, assigning the number of grips to a parameter, controlling the base location, value sets etc.

To help AutoCAD users to get comfortable with Dynamic Blocks now theycan find the sample Dynamic Blocks in Content Palette. All the Dynamic Blocks are sorted in different libraries.

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Quick Select – yes, now Quick Select feature available in AutoCAD for Mac. The interface of this feature has Mac look and feel.

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You can create a selection set of objects in your drawing based on your filtering criteria. The filtering is done by object type and property parameters.

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You can launch Quick Select: using QSELECT in the command line, from the Edit menu, from the right-click context menu or with Quick Select icon from Properties Palette. The “Where to Select” pane provides you two options to choose from the drop-down menu: “Current Selection” and “Entire Drawing”. Using Selection Rules, you can specify the filtering criteria for selecting objects in your drawing. “Object Type” allows you to specify the types of objects to include as filtering criteria. If the filtering criteria are applied to the entire drawing, the “Object Type” list includes all object types. Selection rules also include property elements to add to the filtering criteria. This list includes all possible properties for the selected object type.

“Preview” option is turned ON by default and allows you to see selected objects in the Drawing area.

Layer States – in AutoCAD 2015 for Mac you can save your layer settings as layer states. The layer states can store information like color, linetype, and also information whether a layer is turned off, frozen or locked. Through the Layer State Manager dialog, you can create and manage sets of layer settings. You can also restore layer properties using this feature.Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 17.01.01

You can edit existing layer states by clicking the “Gear” drop down menu and selecting Edit. This opens the Edit Later State dialog.

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Data Link Feature – in AutoCAD 2015 for Mac you can link a table to data in a Microsoft Excel (XLS or XLSX) file. You can attach an Excel file through three ways: use the Reference Manager palette, type DATALINK in the command line, Click Data Link… from the Insert menu.

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Through the New Excel Data Link dialog, you can select the sheet from the Excel file. You can now link to a range in the Excel sheet. After you click the OK button, the table is attached to the cursor. You can specify an insertion point to insert the table to the drawing. With DATALINKUPDATE command to update to or from an established external data link. You can either update the linked data in a table in your drawing with data that has been changed in the external source file or update the linked data in an external file with data that has been changed in the table in your drawing.

Toggle Viewport Model Space control – AutoCAD 2015 for Mac now has Paper/Model toggle button in Statusbar and allows you easily switch between Paper and Model space:

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Copy Nested Objects (NCOPY) – this command now is a feature in AutoCAD for Mac too – you can copy objects contained in XREFs and blocks. Instead of exploding an xref or a block, you can now directly copy objects nested within them.

New features which became available in AutoCAD 2015 for PC, and now they are in Mac version too:

    •    Command Preview – the Command Preview feature shows you exactly how the objects would look when the command is executed. As you make the changes within the command, you can instantly preview the final result. The interactive preview applies to the following commands: TRIM, EXTEND, LENGTHEN, BREAK, MATCHPROP, FILLET, CHAMFER, OFFSET. BTW – MATCHPROP is my favorite one.
•    Lasso Selection – you can click the cursor in a blank area of the drawing and then drag around objects to create a lasso selection. For a traditional rectangular window or crossing selection, click and release to pick each corner of the rectangle. During Lasso selection, you can press SPACE to cycle Lasso selection options.
•    Create and Edit Enhancements – improved visual feedback when creating and editing objects. For example, during a Move operation, the selected objects are displayed in their original position with a faded deletion effect instead of a dashed selection effect. Unlike Command Preview which displays a preview of the result of your action, create and edit enhancements provide a view of the old state prior to your action in gray color.
•    Dimension Enhancement – AutoCAD now offers a more intelligent object snap behavior when creating dimensions. When you place dimensions, existing dimension extension lines are ignored to prevent them from being inadvertently snapped to while attempting to pick nearby geometry. When you create continuous or baseline dimensions with the DIMCONTINUEMODE system variable set to 1, AutoCAD inherits the layer in addition to the dimension style of the dimension that is being continued or used as a baseline.
•    Cursor Enhancement – The cursor is enhanced to provide contextual feedback. It includes badges to reflect the state of many common operations. The crosshairs have been removed from the inside of the pick box to make it easier to see what you’re picking. An inspection badge is displayed when using inquiry tools such as Distance, Radius, Angle, Area, Volume, List, and ID. Rotation badges are displayed when specifying the angle of rotation during a Rotate operation. Relevant badges are displayed for other editing commands including Copy, Move, and Scale. Zoom and Erase/Delete also display relevant badges. FYI: If you don’t like Cursor Badges you can turn them OFF with new CURSORBADGE System Variable, just set CURSORBADGE=1.
•    Model Space Viewports Enhancements – Model space viewports have been significantly enhanced in AutoCAD 2015 for Mac offering more flexibility and greater ease-of-use. After creating multiple viewports in model space, a bright blue boundary clearly identifies the active viewport. You can easily resize any of the viewports by dragging the horizontal or vertical viewport boundaries. New “+” icons on the viewport boundaries enable you to easily add more viewports by simply clicking on the icon and dragging to size the new viewport. You can also hold the ‘Ctrl’ key while dragging the boundary to split a model space viewport. Model space viewports can be e joined or removed by dragging a boundary to the edge.
•    MTEXT Enhancements – the MTEXT editor is updated to offer better visibility and control. The background is now transparent, so you can see drawing geometry even when the editor opens on top of it. A corner resizer offers more obvious and intuitive resizing of columns allowing you to adjust both the height and width at the same time. If you pass the cursor over the bottom or right edges of the text editor, you can change either the height or width individually.
•    Text Alignment – The new TEXTALIGN command enables you to quickly align single and multi-text as well as attribute text. You can do this by selecting the text objects to be aligned and then picking the text you want them to be aligned to or selecting points to manually define the alignment line. You can also choose from a variety of spacing options including the ability to distribute them evenly, set a spacing value, maintain the current vertical spacing, or maintain the current horizontal spacing.

There are some other enhancements, but I think I’ve already convinced you that AutoCAD for Mac 2015 is a fantastic release with a lot of significant new features.

Ah, yes – one of the main things I forgot to mention – AutoCAD 2015 for Mac will be fully supported in the upcoming Mac OS X – Yosemite (of course the current OS X Mavericks is supported too).

Now it is a time to think about this great upgrade…

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