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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
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 »

Different Interfaces for Different Folks in TurboCAD 2018

May 18th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Robert Berry IMSI Design, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the newly released TurboCAD 2018 line of products, including Pro Platinum, Expert, Deluxe and Designer versions for Windows® desktop PCs.

“The main difference between our flagship product for $150, Deluxe that contains surface modeling and the Professional and Expert versions is that the latter versions contain the ACIS solid modeler,” said Berry.  “That’s an expensive library and also our Expert version has an AutoCAD command line. That’s one of the things about this new version 2018. We have a different interface depending upon what type of user you are. This ribbon interface is for people who are familiar with ribbon interfaces like for Word. We also do have the ability to customize these things and change layout.”

IMSI is unusual in that it has a lot of interfaces and workspaces. The LT interface is the AutoCAD LT interface, and it can switch from the ribbon to the LT interface, and it will quickly change the layout. IMSI has the command line in the product, so you can draw lines and it has AutoCAD dynamic input in the Expert and Professional version.

Berry has been involved with TurboCAD for two decades, since he created the interface in South Africa. The CAD alias interface is part of the original product “It’s got all the commands in the CAD interface,” he said. “Choose any of the interfaces with your connection tools and drawing tools.  On the right-hand side of the screen, what I really like is it has all the AutoCAD aliases in it. Look at keyboard shortcuts and CTRL BOX is going to run amok. With this technology, we don’t hold our control key down for short cuts, we press and release the control key and then we type in whatever the shortcut is. So, CTRL BOX starts drawing the box.

“If you want to go to the box, so CTRL B2 gets me to the b circle or C3 gets me drawing a 3-point circle. It’s very quick and it has a command line per se. at the bottom of the screen, hit CTRL RECT and then I’m drawing a rectangle. Or if I want to draw a poly line CTRL PL then I’m drawing one. Or I want to draw a single line CTRL SL.

With the single-entry keyboard element, if I want to snap to a circle I can just move to the center of the circle and press C. AutoCAD uses are familiar with typing in CEN for center. So, then I would come in here and press CTRL CEN and it is a single point snap and it will snap only to the center of a circle. Likewise, the V key, in TurboCAD language V is for vertex, but in AutoCAD language its CTRL END and then I can snap to the end of something.”

Every single command in the product has these shortcuts. All commands are come in AutoCAD aliases and they are also TurboCAD commands. They are available in all the TurboCAD variations.

The 2-key keyboard shortcuts that were available in GenericCAD are in TurboCAD now.

If you have a complicated drawing and want to work with an isolated object or hide parts of it, you can use CTRL H for hatch objects, and then end isolation when finished.

The ability to search for different elements, and commands such as the slide command where you can drag elements onto a toolbar are very useful.

Now there is the ability to use PDF as a trace player with improved ability, to set up a time delay, that allows you to choose page of PDF you want to bring in. It becomes a part of the drawing, a group of graphics that you can explode it and break it down into individual entities. It also allows editing and manipulation of PDF files far better than in the past. You can do multiple pages also.

The new Snap mode will allow a mid-point snap option that will allow you to snap between two points. A two-point snap command and will find the middle of it.

With the new 3D elements, you can turn them into 2D elements.

With the drafting palette, you can select 2D images. You can choose the 3D images and insert them into the drawing, so it’s very easy to create a top, left and side view, and selections line up and insert it as 2D elements into the drawing.

Berry said that when he was at AutoCAD, he was concerned about elements crossing in the Pinpoint Hatch feature. In TurboCAD 2018, the pinpoint hatch has been improved. “In some situations, you’ll have a gap, you measure the gap, and you can see gaps of 33-34 inches so you key in CTRL PPH. If I make gap bigger than what it is, now I click in the space and it will still find and do a pinpoint hatch in here and should automatically fill this up.”

Quicktool for surfaces in the past was only for the ACIS solid modeler. “Now, if you have a flat 2D sheet you can thicken it easily, make it into a 3D object, and can measure on 3D values as well,” said Berry.

All the primary features of IMSI TurboCAD 2018 are outlined in the following company materials:

TurboCAD New Features Videos.

Usability & Interface

  • New and Improved Interface Options– In addition to the new Ribbon option, the popular CADCourse interface has been updated.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts– Similar to the functionality found in other CAD products, users now have the ability to set up keyboard short cuts that consist of either two or more keystrokes to quickly invoke any TurboCAD command. These keystrokes are sequential and do not need to be a keyboard combination.
  • Isolate and Hide Objects– This terrific new feature allows users to take a complex drawing and to quickly reduce its complexity by allowing them to select certain entities and to isolate them independent of layers or groups. Users also have the choice of hiding objects so that you can focus only on the entities that are important during the editing procedure.
  • Search Option for Locating UI Features– This new feature allows users to quickly search for particular commands within the Customize dialog, allowing the user to quickly identify either the command itself or its keyboard shortcut. With this, users can easily customize their interface to suit their own needs by dragging the icon onto a familiar toolbar or by creating a new customized keyboard shortcut commands

2D Drafting and Editing

  • PDF Underlay Improvement– A new tool “PDF underlay to Objects” has been implemented. It gives the ability to convert an Underlay into an editable object.
  • Snap Between Two Points– New text editor interface with new formatting features and new options including numbered lists, bulleted lists, and multi-column support.
  • Thick Profile Tool– Scale a set of objects to a specific size by using two reference points.
  • Flatten Tool– Use the Flatten tool for 3D polylines and 3D splines to make them flat on the work plane.

3D Drawing, Modeling, and Editing

  • New Quick Pull for Surfaces– No longer is this handy tool limited to ACIS, solid models, it can pull or push a closed 2D area of a 3D object (TC Surface).
  • Sheet Thicken Capability– Used in Shelling, this tool allows you to turn 2D entities, either closed or open, into flat 2D sheets and then to give them a 3D thickness by using the thicken feature of Shell tool. Further, it is possible to thicken the sheet in two directions by adjusting settings on the inspector.
  • Improved Coordinate Measurements– In prior versions of TurboCAD, the Measure Coordinates of the Point tool could only measure the X and Y values Now, the Measure Coordinates tool behaves more like a 3D tool in that will show the 3D coordinate of the World coordinate system independent of the active user coordinate system.


  • Add Roof by Walls Improvement– Previously, this tool could create only one roof object. Now, multiple objects may be created.
  • Expanded Support for IFC Object Types– Over 40 different object types are now supported for IFC Import to or Export from TurboCAD.
  • BIM Tool Enhancements– Edit property sets imported from IFC files, and define any TurboCAD entity as the corresponding desired IFC entity and establish the appropriate property set export to IFC.
  • Relative Angle fields for Wall and Polyline update– While drawing walls or polylines, you can now choose to enter an Angle (which is absolute in relation to the world coordinates) or a Relative Angle which is the angle from the immediately previous segment (arc or line).

Photorealistic Rendering and Visualization

  • Improved LightWorks Rendering– LightWorks is once again the default photorealistic rendering engine used in TurboCAD. Improvements have been made to Render Styles, the Render and GI Controllers, Environments, and several other facets to rendering controls.
  • New Redsdk 4.3 Engine Migration– Improved and interactive Color Adjustments, Filters and Sketch Rendering. Note: Redsdk is now offered as an optional plug-in TurboCAD.

File Support / Interoperability

  • AutoCAD 2018 compatibility Improved AutoCAD (DXF, DWG, and DWF) File Compatibility– Implementation of the latest Teigha engine.
  • Import 2D PDF Page as a Vector Page– 2D Vector PDF files can now be directly imported into TurboCAD as a vector page. The file can be imported as either a TurboCAD Object or Group of Graphics.
  • New 3MF file Export– for manufacturing.
  • 3DS, STEP, Rhino and U3D improvements– For Import and Export.

Availability and Pricing

TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2017 is now available for $1,499.99 USD for a full, permanent license, $499.99/year for an annual subscription, TurboCAD Expert for $499.99, TurboCAD Deluxe for $149.99, and TurboCAD Designer for $49.99.

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