ATP244 What’s new in AutoCAD 2010

Segment 3

Date: April 20, 2009 Instructor: Kenneth Leary Level: All Levels Category: AutoCAD 2010



In the first segment we covered Parametric modeling which entails Geometric and Dimensional constraints. In the second Segment we covered dynamic block enhancements. In our third and final segment we’re going to cover the rest of the enhancements to existing commands that were added to AutoCAD 2010. These are the changes that are often referred to as the Fit and Finish features.

Drawing File Format
AutoCAD 2010 uses a new Drawing file format that offers better save times, especially when saving files with larger amounts of annotative objects. Another new feature of the new drawing format is the object size limits have been increased; in older formats no single object in a drawing could be larger than 256 MB. With the new format in AutoCAD 2010, the object size limit has been increased to at least 4 GB. Since these large objects cannot be saved into old formats a new compatibility option has been added to the Open and Save tab of the Options dialog box.

When the box is selected, or if you type LARGEOBJECTSUPPORT at the command prompt, the object size limits from previous versions will be used instead of the new 2010 format limits.

Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick access toolbar has received a few upgrades. Now when you right click over the toolbar you have some new options available. You can remove the Quick Access toolbar, add a separator between some of the commands, Customize the Toolbar and move the location of the toolbar below the Ribbon.


Ribbon Improvements
AutoCAD ruined, I mean changed, the popular Dashboard palette and created the Ribbon in the 2009 version. The idea was to match the new menu configuration used by Microsoft Office 2007. One of the results of this change was the loss of some of the functionality that the Dashboard contained. AutoCAD 2010 returns the Dashboard functionality and adds some more new features. Vertical Layout - the Ribbon can now be detached or using the proper terminology, undocked from its original location and rotated to a vertical layout, much like the Tool Pallets and the old Dashboard. Also similar to the Tool Pallet, the ribbon can be docked on the left or right side of the drawing area and minimized until you mouse over the minimized palette to expand it. The Tabs will also be displayed along the side of the menu palette. When in the vertical position, the individual panel will now expand horizontally when selected. Widening the panel the button will automatically align to fit the new area.

Sticky Panels – Panels can now be removed from the Ribbon and dragged into the drawing area. These panels are referred to as Sticky panels. When you switch from one tab to another in the panel the sticky panel will stay on screen. When you mouse over the panel, menu bars appear in the sides. Selecting the Toggle Orientation button changes the panel from expanding down to expanding to the left or right. Selecting the top button returns the Panel to its proper location on the ribbon.


PDF Support
After many requests from users AutoCAD will now offer support for PDF files. Adobe PDF files can now be underlayed similar to DWF files. When you attach or modify a PDF file, a context sensitive tab opens on the Ribbon.

From this tab you can modify the appearance and display of the underlay, clipping boundary and edit the layers in the PDF. You can also snap to points on the PDF, which is also a new feature available with DWF files. The PDFFRAME setting can also change the frame settings independent of the image frame settings. PDF output has also been greatly enhanced; now the file output will have a resolution of 600 DPI, which will improve the quality of the files without making them unmanageable.

Reference files
Reference files have several new features that will greatly expand their capabilities and improve their functionality. On the Menu Ribbon select the Insert tab to view the Reference panel. Reference Fading – This is a great new feature if you’re warned about it before the first time you open a drawing with reference files in 2010. Reference fading works just like locked layer fading, by fading the entire reference file. This is controlled by the XDWGFADECTL system variable. The values range from 99 to –99, the higher the number the more faded the reference file becomes. The number 0 or any value with a negative number is not faded. The reason that the negative number is possible is because it can be used as a placeholder. For example, if you want to set the transparency to 60% faded you would enter the value of 60 and if you temporarily disable it set the value to –60. You can enable it again by removing the “-“ symbol and go straight back to your old setting.


Reference Frames – The FRAME command turns the display of frames on and off for all external references, images, and DWF, DWFx, PDF, and DGN underlays.

Frames can be set for individual reference types. The IMAGEFRAME, DWFFRAME, PDFFRAME, DGNFRAME, and XCLIPFRAME settings control the behavior of frames for each of those reference types. The FRAME command will override those individual settings. From the drop down menu you can select the option of Hiding the frames, Displaying and plotting the frames or Displaying the frames but not plotting them. The WIPEOUT command frames are not controlled by this command. Reference clipping – It’s much easier to modify a reference clip boundary. Grips now allow you to select the boundary and pick the grip and move it to the new location.

There is also an arrow grip, which will invert the clip when selected.

Hatch Editing
Editing hatch patterns can be very difficult. The HATCHEDIT command can offer some powerful modifying tools but it has to be an associative hatch with a defined boundary. In AutoCAD 2010, you can select a hatch entity which is not associative and without a boundary and modify it with grips. On the midpoint between each grip point is an additional grip with a rectangular shape. Selecting the middle grip will allow you to add a new vertex, once you select and activate the middle grip you can add the new point to the hatch limits or select the CTRL key and add an arc to the hatch boundary.


The purge command has a new feature that will help remove the headaches that many AutoCAD users face when trying to clean up a drawing. It’s not unusual to have some text style or layer that doesn’t want to go away, even when you know it’s not being used. This is often caused by line definitions with zero length or text, which contains only a space. Now the Purge command will delete zero length geometry (lines, arcs, polylines, etc.) in a drawing. It also deletes mtext and text that contains only spaces (no text). It is important to note that PURGE will not remove zero-length geometry or empty text and mtext objects in blocks or locked layers.

The REVERSE command gives you the ability to reverse the direction of lines, polylines, and splines. Simply select the object(s) to reverse. Changing the direction of these lines gives you the ability to control the display of special linetypes. The PEDIT command has also been updated to include a Reverse option. Using the Reverse option has the same results as using the REVERSE command.


Dimensions have received some additional new tools in AutoCAD 2010, which greatly improve their flexibility when displaying text. Once a dimension has been placed there are new settings that can be changed with the properties command. Text can now be rotated independently from the dimension line or flipped to read from left to right or right to left. Text can also now be located underneath the dimension line.

There is also a sub-units setting which can be included in the dimension style definition. As a part of the Zero suppression pane on the Primary units tab, you can define a smaller unit if the primary unit setting is not met. For example, if the primary unit is feet, it will display inches if the measurement is under a foot, or display centimeters if the dimension is under a meter.

Multileaders now have improved functionality when they are edited. Text in multileaders now functions more like an mtext entity, new leader grips allow you to resize the text the same way you would resize mtext. You can add formatting, justification, bullets and numbering, etc., just like mtext object. You also have the ability to add columns to the leader text. Another new feature is the ability to add a vertical attachment to the leader line. This will allow you to attach to the top or bottom of the leader text. You can specify if the attachment has an overline or underline is has a simple attachment with no landing.


Spline edit
Editing Splines has also been given a few new features. Now when you select a spline, or type SPLINEDIT at the command line, and it will give you two new options. You can either use the new Reverse option or you can convert it to a polyline. When converting to a polyline it will prompt you to specify a number for the precision. The acceptable number range is between 1 and 99, the larger the number the more precise the conversion. The default value is 10. The PLINECONVERTMODE system variable determines the method used to create the polylines. A setting of 1 will create the polyline with arcs and a setting of 0 will create the polyline using line segments.

Viewport Rotate
In previous versions, when a viewport is rotated the view inside the viewport would not rotate or change it’s orientation with the viewport. In AutoCAD 2010, the VPROTATEASSOC variable allows the view to rotate with the viewport. When VPROTATEASSOC is set to the default setting of 1, the view will rotate to maintain its orientation relevant to the viewport. When it’s set to 0, the view will not rotate even though the viewport itself does.


Hopefully this course has helped explain some of the new features available in AutoCAD 2010. There’s still more new features that we haven’t covered, so take your time and look around the program. The new features are also covered in the help menu under the “New features workshop”. Remember that this material is only a portion of the class, support is always available online in the private course forum. I encourage you to visit the course forum and ask any questions that you may have about this segment or simply join in the discussion. The ATP Mantra is: the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Thanks again for attending this course!


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