AutoCAD 2018 in two minutes

AutoCAD 2018

Today, Autodesk announces the new AutoCAD 2018 version. Once again, CAD Panacea is giving you a quick rundown of the new features in this new version.


  • The DWG file format is NEW for 2018. It had remained the same from AutoCAD 2013 through AutoCAD 2017, so I guess we can’t complain since the historical timeline for a new DWG version was every 3 years for a long time. As in previous versions, you can still save drawings down versions as old as R14 DWG and R12 DXF.

Supported File Formats 300w" sizes="(max-width: 357px) 100vw, 357px" />

  • AutoCAD 2018 for Windows is supported on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1, and on 64-bit versions of Windows 10. No word on the availability of AutoCAD 2018 for Mac. Mac versions have traditionally been released a few months later than the PC version.

User Interface

  • The File Navigation dialog boxes now remember the sort order that you last chose.
  • The Layer Control drop-down is now part of the QAT. It is turned off by default, but easily enabled.

AutoCAD 2018 QAT with Layer Control 300w" sizes="(max-width: 419px) 100vw, 419px" />

  • The Status Bar icon for the System Variable Monitor only appears when there is an issue, and you can now simply right-click on it, and choose “Reset System Variables” to quickly do so.

AutoCAD 2018 System Variable Monitor Changes 300w" sizes="(max-width: 521px) 100vw, 521px" />

  • The Drafting Settings dialog box is now resizeable.
  • This sounds like a very minor thing, but I’ve seen a lot of people want to change it. You can now change the rubber band line color from the default Orange.

AutoCAD 2018 Rubber Band Line 300w" sizes="(max-width: 562px) 100vw, 562px" />

  • In previous versions, if you panned while in the middle of a selection, previously selected objects that were panned off the screen would be excluded from the selection. You can eliminate this issue now in AutoCAD 2018.
  • You can now snap to objects at a precise location, even if the location is at a gap in the linetype.

AutoCAD 2018 snap to gap

Object Creation and Modification

  • In AutoCAD 2017, we were given the ability to import PDF files. However, when SHX based text is exported to PDF, it is translated to basic geometry such as lines. This means when you convert the PDF back to CAD, the text is no longer Text. In AutoCAD 2018, a new command (PDFSHXTEXT) can translate that geometry back to actual editable Text.

PDF SHX CONVERT 300w" sizes="(max-width: 446px) 100vw, 446px" />

  • The old Express Tool TXT2MTXT was used to convert Text to Mtext. It has been updated primarily so that you can select existing Mtext, and several other smaller enhancements were added also. This new tool is now part of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, and can be found on the Import panel of the Insert tab in the Ribbon. For AutoCAD only: if you are on the Express Tools tab of the ribbon, you will still see the original button that called the old command TXT2MTXT, but it will execute this new improved command.

Xref Enhancements

  • A new system variable REFPATHTYPE, controls the default path type (No Path, Relative, or Full).
  • You can now assign a relative path to Xrefs that are attached before you save/name the parent drawing.
  • You can now open unloaded xrefs from the External References palette. (See No. 1 on image)
  • If you rename an Unloaded xref, it does not cause the Xref to be reloaded.
  • If you rename an Xref from the CLASSICXREF dialog, or via the RENAME command, it will update automatically in the External References palette.
  • In the External References palette, when you right-click on a reference that is Not Found, you will see two new options: Select New Path, and Find and Replace. These allow you to more easily point AutoCAD to the real location of the reference files. (See No. 2 on image)

AutoCAD 2018 Xref Enhancements 248w" sizes="(max-width: 279px) 100vw, 279px" />


  • Support for high resolution monitors (4k) continues to improve. More UI objects have been adjusted to work in this environment.
  • There is a new command REGEN3, which rebuilds all 3D graphics in the displayed views.
  • In the GRAPHICSCONFIG command, you can now turn off Smooth Line Display, while leaving High Quality Geometry enabled.
  • Autosaves now perform an incremental save as opposed to a full save.
  • 3D navigation performance has been improved.


  • iDrop, an older technology from many versions ago was dropped to avoid any security risk.
  • Bing maps updated to version 8.0

*** Some of the features listed above were fully or partially implemented in the AutoCAD 2017.1 mid-year update. As time goes on, we believe Autodesk will start to add more new features in this way until a point down the road where the big annual releases are a thing of the past. As the desktop subscription model takes over, it makes less sense to have these big annual releases that force the traditional, lengthy, uninstall, migrate, & install process.

More information on AutoCAD 2018 can be found on Shaan Hurley’s Between the Lines blog.

You can download a free trial version of AutoCAD 2018 today