Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
AutoCAD for Mac 2015 and AutoCAD LT for Mac 2015 represent major releases
October 14th, 2014 by Susan Smith
The presence of the Mac in CAD computing has been growing over the past few years as the use of the Mac moves into the enterprise. In a recent conversation with Micah Dickerson, software project manager for Autodesk, he discussed the release of AutoCAD for Mac 2015 and AutoCAD LT for Mac 2015 being announced today.
“This release is packed full of stuff people have been asking for,” said Dickerson. “It’s the most customer-feedback-driven release we’ve ever done.”
Just five years after the initial release of AutoCAD for Mac, this release addresses those needs of users who would like a lot of features that are available to them in Windows.
What are some of the things people have been asking for? The big four most desired features are as follows:
Dynamic blocks Mac users haven’t had access to Dynamic Blocks to up until now. “They could view them, so if someone had created a drawing in Windows for example, they could see them in their drawing, but they wouldn’t be able to edit them or create their own. So this release allows them to do both,” said Dickerson.
Quick Select is an object query tool. “People who are using Windows love it, and those who move to the Mac have been shocked that they didn’t have it there,” said Dickerson. “So we kind of picked up where Windows left off and we added a couple of cool new features – one being a preview, so you can see what you’re selecting in the background to make sure it’s what you expect it to be. We also add the ability to have a lot more selection criteria, so you can have tons of parameters to get exactly the right set of objects you’re looking for.”
Data Links With Data Links, you can take an Excel spreadsheet and embed the table in your AutoCAD drawing. “We maintain the link between the drawing and the Excel sheet. If you make a change in the Excel sheet, it automatically makes the change in the AutoCAD drawing,” said Dickerson. “It’s been around in the Windows product for awhile and we just this year figured out how to do it on the Mac, because of significant differences in the way that Microsoft products operate on Macs.”
Data Links work bidirectionally so if you make an update to the table in AutoCAD it will make an update to the file in Excel as well.
Layer State Management Prior to this version, if someone had used Layer State in a drawing created on Windows and then passed the file to a Mac user, the Mac user wouldn’t be able to see any of the Layer State information. A number of firms rely on Layer State as part of the review process. “I’ve seen customers get so frustrated and have AutoCAD for Mac running, and parallel on the same machines have AutoCAD for Windows running, so they can just do the Layer State part in Windows and then go back to Mac because they prefer the Mac interface.”
Smaller features include Quick Wins, a button in Paper Space that allows if you have viewport and you’re zoomed all the way in, sometimes the viewport goes to the very edge of the screen and your can’t click out of it, and the only way to get out of it is to shut AutoCAD down and restart it. “So this year we introduced a little toggle button that will allow you to toggle out of Model Space into Paper Space, and back and forth, which is something we have in Windows but hadn’t introduced into Mac,” said Dickerson.
Another one is Nested Object Codes. End copy is the command, which was something not able to be done on the Mac before. “We’ve brought in a lot of things that were brought into the Windows platform last spring,” said Dickerson. “So we’ve figured out better ways to write better cross platform codes, and we were able to take advantage of some of the work that was done on the Windows product last year, so like Command Preview, we did Lasso Selection, Text Align, Cursor Badges, etc.”
Percentage-wise, Dickerson said that while usership of the Mac has grown dramatically, the number of people using CAD on Macs has stayed about the same. Anywhere from 1-3% of Macs are running CAD (at least using AutoCAD), as well as for third parties. As the number of Macs increases the number of CAD users increases.
Demonstrating a significant move toward enterprise usage, IBM inked a deal with Apple to sell Apple devices at the enterprise level and there is a whole “halo” effect with iOS devices that draws people to the Mac. Apple CEO Tim Cook reported 80 million Mac users in June, which is more than four times what it has been for Autodesk in eight years. In 2005 the number was 15 million.
In the 2014 release of AutoCAD for Mac, Autodesk introduced the port for the Apple Retina dispaly. Retina display has been available for the MacBook Pro, and has a pixel density that is so high, your eyes can’t discern individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. The Retina display packs four times the pixels of the standard MacBook Pro display, giving content incredible detail and dramatically improving the viewing experience. Autodesk is ready for that change to running Retina on a large screen.
There is no difference in price for the upgrade for existing users. However, there is an additional way to buy, and that is through Autodesk’s new Desktop Subscription program, first time available on Mac.
“Many Mac users are more price conscious and this allows them to get into the product at a lower price point and help them better manage their cash flow,” said Dickerson.