March 21, 2015

ACA 2016: Quick Notes

Here are some quick thoughts on the upcoming 2016 release of AutoCAD Architecture, while you wait for more in-depth articles on new features.

No change in file format!

Same interface color scheme choices as 2015 (truly dark Dark and Light).

The Drawing Window Status bar has now been completely removed from ACA and AMEP, and the tools that had been there in 2015 - Display Configuration control, Cut Plane control and System Tray - have been moved to the Application Status Bar, which is now referred to as the Status Bar. The "Cut Plane" text in the Cut Plane control has been replaced with an icon, and the control will only be displayed when Model Space is active. The STATUSBAR system variable now only supports values of 0 (Status Bar off) and 1 (Status Bar on). The Status Bar will now also wrap onto a second row if more tools are turned on that will fit on a single row.

The "New Tab" has been renamed to "Start". The content on both the Create and Learn pages of the Start tab is similar to the 2015 New Tab. (In 2016, I have a Notifications area that is not present in 2015 - I am not certain if that is new, or that I just do not have any current notifications in 2015.)

The Start tab remains available even after you start a new drawing or open and existing one, unlike the New Tab in 2015. It does not have a close button ("X") at the right end of the tab, like drawing tabs (and the 2015 New Tab) do. For those who would prefer to do without the Start tab, the former NEWTABMODE system variable from 2015 has been renamed to STARTMODE. Set it to 0 to close the Start tab and disable it on future launches. Set it to 1 to re-enable the Start tab. Note that when changing the value from 0 to 1, you will have to close and restart the program to get a Start tab; one will not immediately appear in the interface after changing the value to 1. There is no equivalent of the old NEWTABMODE setting of 2, which allowed the "+" button to the right of the tabs to open a new file based on the default template, rather than creating another New Tab (NEWTABMODE = 1 behavior). Since the Start tab is now either always on or always off, the "+" button always opens a new file based on the default template (or opens a dialog asking you to select a template file if no default template is specified). When creating a deployment, you have the option to enable or disable the display of the Start tab.

New CLOSEALLOTHER command allows you to close all but the current drawing tab from the command line. As in 2015, you can also right click on any drawing tab and choose the Close All Other Drawings to close all drawing tabs other than the one on which you right clicked (which does not have to be the current drawing tab).

Coordination models created in Navisworks (NWD or NWC files) can now be attached to a drawing using the means use to attach other reference files (DWGs, DGNs, PDFs, image files, etc.), as well as the new CMATTACH command (-CMATTACH for the command line version). If the current drawing file is included in the coordination model, you have the option to turn off the current drawing's geometry in the coordination model. You can also apply color fading and opacity fading to the coordination model, to improve your ability to distinguish between the coordination model and the current drawing geometry. This feature requires a 64-bit system, with hardware acceleration turned on.

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