March 27, 2014

ACA 2015 - New Look

In the 2014 and prior releases, there were two different themes offered, a Light theme and a Dark theme. The difference between the two was minimal, as seen in the image below.

In 2015, the Dark theme is truly dark, with a dark background to the Ribbon and various palettes. The goal was to provide a lower contrast screen, when used with a traditional dark drawing background, reducing eye strain.
If you prefer, a Light theme is still available.

When you first start AutoCAD®Architecture, you will be presented with the "New Tab," starting on the "Create" page, with options for starting a new file from a template, opening a project or re-opening a recently open document.
You can click on "Learn" to go to the "Learn" page, where you can access videos and other educational resources.
You can control the behavior of the New Tab with a new system variable, NEWTABMODE, which is stored in the Registry.
  • 0 - Closes any open New Tabs and turns off the display of the New Tab on subsequent clicks on the "+" at the right side of the drawing tabs, as well as on future launches of the program.
  • 1 - Displays the New Tab on launch as well as every time you click on the "+" at the right side of the drawing tabs to open a new tab (drawing).
  • 2 - Displays the New Tab when the program is first opened, but for the balance of that session, clicking on the "+" will start a new drawing.
When the New Tab is disabled under values 0 or 2, the default template specified for QNEW (Options dialog > Files tab > Template Settings node > Default Template File Name for QNEW) will be used to create a new drawing. If no template is specified for QNEW, then the Select Template dialog is displayed, so that you can select a template for the new drawing. The initial value for NEWTABMODE is 1; if you typically use one template file for new drawings, you may want to consider setting that template as the default template for QNEW and changing the value of NEWTABMODE to 2 or 0.

There was also an effort to "clean up" the interface, particularly the Application Status bar. All of the items are now right-justified on the bar. A few things have moved, a few are gone, and a lot are now initially off, as you can see in the image below.
The Annotation Visibility, AutoScale and Annotation Scale tools have moved from the Drawing Window Status Bar to the Application Status Bar. The Layout/Model (only shown if model/layout tabs were turned off), Quick View Layouts, Quick View Drawings, Display Locking and Drawing Status Bar tools have been removed. Isometric Drafting, Selection Filtering, Gizmo and Units tools have been added. You can control which tools are present by selecting the tool at the far right (three horizontal lines icon), to display a list of the available tools. Select one without a check mark to add the tool; select one with a check mark to remove it.
The function of the Layout/Model, Quick View Layouts and Quick View Drawings can be replaced by displaying the File Tabs (hover over one to get the equivalent of Quick View Layouts) and the Model/Layout Tabs. If you choose to turn off one or both, the QVLAYOUT and QVDRAWING commands are still available.

If you choose to display the model and layout tabs (Options dialog, Display tab, Layout elements area, Display Layout and Model tabs toggle), in 2015 these will appear below the Drawing Window Status Bar, rather than above it. You also have two options: they can be set to appear above the Application Status Bar (good if you typically have a lot of layout tabs in one drawing file)
or in line with the Application Status Bar (good for gaining a sliver of screen space, especially if you usually only have one or two layout tabs.
A "+" tool has been added at the right side of the model/layout tabs to make it easy to add a new layout; you can also right click on the tabs to access a context menu of layout related items, including the docking location.

New to AutoCAD Architecture users, but familiar to those who have seen the "vanilla" AutoCAD interface in recent releases, is the ability to add the Workspace selection drop-down tool to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). This is turned off in the initial setup for both AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture, but can be turned on in the QAT and off in the Application Status Bar, if you prefer.

A new feature of the Ribbon is the addition of Galleries. These replace certain drop-down lists for AutoCAD blocks and style-based objects, and include a graphic image for each item, instead of just the name. In the AutoCAD Architecture interface, these are available for inserting blocks (Insert tab, Block panel, Insert tool), text (Home tab, Annotation panel, Text Style tool), dimensions (Home tab, Annotation panel, Dimension Style tool), multi-leaders (Home tab, Annotation panel, Mleader Style tool) and tables (Home tab, Annotation panel, Table Style tool). Dimension and Text galleries are also available on the Annotate tab. In the AutoCAD interface, table cell styles also have a Gallery.
Select More Options at the bottom of the Insert gallery to open the Insert dialog. Select Manage xxxx at the bottom for the style-based galleries to open the associated style dialog.

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