What’s new in AutoCAD 2013: Interface

What’s new in AutoCAD 2013: Interface

Autodesk has launched their 2013 product lines recently. You probably already read the new features on many website already. But if you haven’t, let’s see and give your comments about the new features.

Welcome screen

Like every new release, Autodesk introduce new appearance of welcome screen. 2013 has no exception.

I’m not a big fan of welcome screen. But it’s there, whether you like it or not. If you do like to take a glance at this screen when you launch AutoCAD, now it has links to AutoCAD Exchange Apps and Autodesk 360.

It makes sense that Autodesk want to promote those websites, because they are relatively new. AutoCAD has exchange apps store in AutoCAD 2012, but we can only access it from within the application. Now they move it to website.

Autodesk 360 is the platform for all Autodesk services. You can access all the features here.

AutoCAD welcome screen

I personally prefer this screen is off by default. I’ve never seen anyone actually read it. And it feels like I’m visiting a website and they give me pop-ups to subscribe or purchase their products. The thing is, I already purchase it.

Command line enhancement

Command line has some facelifts. When you see it at the first time, you will see additional buttons to close it and access AutoCAD options.

autocad 2013 command line

See the icon, it’s like Windows PowerShell, isn’t it?

There are not much differences if you leave the command line docked. But try to drag it and undock it. It looks sleek, isn’t it? Doesn’t consume too much space.

undocked command line

You can resize it by dragging its corner. I like it narrow and one line only, then place it on the left bottom.

resize command line

Now try to activate a command and draw something. You will see three lines (by default) of prompt history above your command line.

prompt history

If you don’t like it, you can click the customize button and change lines of prompt history. Or you can change CLIPROMPTLINES variable for less (or more) lines.

customize command line

Notice that you also have transparency option when its undocked. I personally like this new look, now I can have more desktop area but still have fully functional command line.

There’s one more difference when you use undocked command line. Try to press F2. In previous version and when you docked it, it will open separate AutoCAD text window. But this time, you will see the history above your command line.

prompt history embedded

If you want to open text Window, you can press [ctrl] + F2.

Remember: this shortcut change is only when you undock it.

Another enhancement is clickable option in command line. So if you don’t like using dynamic input, but you are lazy to type character to change option, you can use it.

clickable options

See the new command line in this video on YouTube

In-canvas property preview

If you select object and change the properties using property palette, then you will see immediate preview on your screen.

in canvas preview

You can turn off/on this feature from AutoCAD option, selection tab, preview category.

property preview option

You can also change PROPERTYPREVIEW variable to ON/OFF.

Quick view drawing

There is small change in quick view drawing. Now you can distinguish which file and which layout is now active. It is shown in bold font.

quick view drawing

What do you think about AutoCAD 2013 interface?

I like the new command line, and use it undocked since the first day I installed it. I don’t see any value in welcome screen and quick view drawing. And I think property preview might be useful. But honestly I will have it turned off by default.

What about you? Do you like these interface enhancements?

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