What’s new in AutoCAD 2019?
In Spring this year, Autodesk released the latest version of their flagship product, AutoCAD 2019.
There are the usual things you’d expect from a new release of AutoCAD – a modernised user interface, and various enhancements with the emphasis on new web and mobile apps that let you access your projects and work from anywhere.
But that’s not the big news. The big news is One AutoCAD, which provides access to all industry specific toolsets in one application, AutoCAD.
This blog begins by looking at One AutoCAD, and then explores the new features and enhancements incorporated into AutoCAD 2019.
In previous years, you had standard AutoCAD, and separate ‘vertical applications’ such as AutoCAD Plant 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D and AutoCAD Electrical. These vertical applications would have to be purchased separately, and they could cost significantly more than standard AutoCAD. If you use several of them, it could prove particularly expensive.
With One AutoCAD, the vertical applications have been rebranded as ‘industry-specific toolsets’, and they’re all included with AutoCAD. You buy AutoCAD and have full access to seven toolsets included in the price.
The industry-specific toolsets included with One AutoCAD are:
- Architecture – formerly AutoCAD Architecture application.
- Mechanical – formerly AutoCAD Mechanical application.
- Electrical – formerly AutoCAD Electrical application.
- MEP – formerly AutoCAD MEP application.
- Plant 3D – formerly AutoCAD Plant 3D application.
- Map 3D – formerly AutoCAD Map 3D application.
- Raster Design – formerly AutoCAD Raster Design application.
As well as these toolsets, One AutoCAD includes two apps that let you use AutoCAD when you’re away from your desktop:
- AutoCAD Web app – a brand-new app that lets you run a cut-down version of AutoCAD in a browser. It offers the core commands that are available in standard AutoCAD. See AutoCAD Web app, below, for further details.
- AutoCAD mobile app – provides a convenient means to access your drawings and plans from a mobile device when on-site or visiting a client. Any changes or mark-ups made are fed back to your desktop. See AutoCAD mobile app, below.
There’s a couple of things worth you being aware of in relation to One AutoCAD:
- It’s available to subscription license holders only, i.e. those who rent their software from Autodesk, rather than buy it outright. Perpetual license holders will have to convert to subscription be able to access the One AutoCAD toolsets. This is consistent with Autodesk’s policy to encourage customers to subscribe rather than purchase software outright.
- One of the AutoCAD vertical applications, Civil 3D, isn’t offered as a toolset. This has been taken out of the AutoCAD family to become Autodesk Civil 3D and is now a separate product.
- One AutoCAD essentially consolidates the AutoCAD product line into a single product offering. This shift is mostly a rebranding exercise, if you just use AutoCAD as a standalone application on a workstation, it won’t really affect you.
- If you use the toolsets you’ll save money.
AutoCAD Web app
Put simply, the brand-new AutoCAD Web app is the desktop version of AutoCAD running in a browser. Powered by the same underlying engine as the standard application, AutoCAD Web lets you access and work on your projects wherever you are – at home, on-site or on the move.
No download or installation is required – simply go to web.autocad.com and login to begin working. It works exceptionally well, offering a desktop-calibre AutoCAD experience in a browser.
AutoCAD Web offers the core commands that are available on your desktop, including MEASURE, RECTANGLE, CIRCLE, LINE, ARC, POLYLINE, FILLET, EXTEND, TRIM, MIRROR, COPY, OFFSET, REVCLOUD, DIMENSION, MTEXT, MLEADER, ROTATE, MOVE.
Overall, these commands perform as well their desktop counterparts.
No doubt over time further commands available will made available, but even as it stands, AutoCAD Web provides an entirely usable tool for passive AutoCAD users, and a useful supplemental tool for active AutoCAD users.
AutoCAD Mobile app
The AutoCAD mobile app provides a convenient means to take your work into the field.
The app provides many of AutoCAD’s traditional desktop tools, adapted for a mobile environment. You can edit, annotate, create and view your DWGs, as well as add laser measurements or photos that you take. Any changes made are fed back to your desktop.
Many users use the AutoCAD mobile app in conjunction with AutoCAD on a desktop computer. Typically, you create the initial drawings/plans on your desktop, and then use the app to access these from a mobile device such as an iPad Pro or Windows Surface when on-site or visiting a client.
The app takes advantage of the high-resolution display and supports the stylus for more precise drafting, editing, and annotations.
Modernised AutoCAD 2019 interface
The AutoCAD 2019 user interface has been updated, with the emphasis to ensure the best possible viewing experience, particularly on high resolution displays (4K+). The changes you’ll notice include:
- Refreshed icons. The heavy gradients have made way for flat designs that are easier to identify.
- The status bar icons now have a blue background to match their counterparts in the Ribbon.
- Updated dialog boxes and interface elements throughout.
A brand-new Drawing Compare tool is available to identify graphical differences between two revisions of any drawing, making it easier to review and understand which parts of the drawings have been changed.
The Drawing Compare tool lets you:
- Specify the colours used to highlight the differences between drawings.
- Control whether text and hatches are considered when comparing drawings.
- Insert information as a table into the current drawing about the compared files such as the filename, who last saved each file, and when each file was saved.
- Choose to place a revision cloud around what’s changed between the two drawings. You can choose whether to put a revision cloud around every change, or to group many changes inside a single revision cloud.
Shared Views is an enhancement to the Share Design Views feature that makes it easy to share your designs with project stakeholders and clients for review and feedback, without providing your DWG files.
Your collaborators simply click a link you provide to view your design in their web browser. They can then review, measure, comment and markup.
As it runs in a browser, stakeholders don’t need to install any software – they can just focus on their feedback.
By default, Shared Views expire after 30 days, but you have full control over the links you create. You can terminate links you no longer need or extend those you need to keep.
AutoCAD 2019 is not so much about new enhancement and features, but more about One AutoCAD, and the access to the ‘industry-specific toolsets’ that are now bundled.
The benefits this will offer you depends entirely on whether you’re an existing user of the vertical applications that the toolsets are replacing. If you are, you could save a significant sum over the coming years, and you’ll benefit from the simpler easy-to-understand integrated package over multiple discrete applications.
For other users, the main enhancements are the anywhere, anytime access to the power of AutoCAD through the web and mobile apps.
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