CAD Manager's Newsletter (#236)

25 Mar, 2010 By: Robert Green

AutoCAD 2011 for the CAD Manager

Autodesk is launching the latest version of its flagship product today. Here's a rundown of the new features that will help you help your users.

CAD Manager's Newsletter is arriving a day later than scheduled so I can bring you the news about today's launch of AutoCAD 2011. You'll be seeing a lot about the new AutoCAD release from Autodesk in the coming days and weeks. In this newsletter, I'll review the updates that will have the greatest impact on CAD managers. You'll find my general overview of new product features in "AutoCAD 2011: A Look at What's New," and my Cadalyst Labs Review of the new version appears in the Spring 2010 edition of Cadalyst magazine, which goes on sale later today.

I usually try to keep the CAD Manager's Newsletter product-neutral, but since so many CAD managers either use or support AutoCAD-based products, I'll make an exception in this case. Read on for my take on the new tools that facilitate user training and system configuration. Here goes.

Interface Modifications

AutoCAD 2011's user interface is quite similar to the last couple of releases (2009 and up) in that the out-of-the-box configuration utilizes a ribbon along the top menu bar, as opposed to the toolbar/dashboard approach utilized in AutoCAD 2008 and prior. Alert your users (or be ready for questions) about a few differences I'll call your attention to now.

Workspace pull-down menu. Located in the upper-left corner, this is a handy way to switch between 3D, ribbon, and classic-style interfaces — and it's much more prominent than prior releases.

Ribbon pull-down menu. Unobtrusively located just to the right of the other pull-down menus. this control allows the user to customize how detailed the ribbons will appear and, therefore, how much space they'll consume. My advice is to bring this to your users' attention and ask them to try some different settings to see if they can get used to the ribbon. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: ReadyBoost for Windows 7

You can never have too much memory when working with CAD applications. This Windows feature increases your memory resources while keeping costs in check.

I know that many CAD managers aren't using Microsoft Windows 7 yet, but with more machines shipping with the new operating system every day, I wanted to pass along a tip about a very cool Windows component called ReadyBoost.

It's a simple fact that any information in a computer is either contained in RAM (memory chips) or stored on a hard drive (a mechanical disk). It's another simple fact that RAM is fast and hard drives are slow, and the more often the hard drive is accessed, the slower your computer becomes. The problem with CAD applications is that they require so much RAM that hard drive access is frequent, and computer performance suffers as a result. Read more »


Do you have a helpful tip or item for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

:: Resources

Autodesk Publishes BIM Implementation Resource
Autodesk has released a free, web-accessible guide for building industry professionals. The Autodesk BIM Deployment Plan: A Practical Framework for Implementing BIM includes support materials and a framework based on real-world applications of BIM (building information modeling). Tools include templates to help manage multi-discipline communications within a BIM project, as well as suggestions for the roles and responsibilities of each party in a BIM process-based project, best business process examples, and suggested software to support an effective BIM environment.

:: Events

San Francisco Revit User Group: Shared Coordinates
April 14, 2010
San Francisco, California
Teresa Martin, AEC application specialist at Ideate, will walk attendees through the steps of utilizing shared coordinates within a Revit building project. Read more »

Collaboration and Interoperability Congress
May 3–5, 2010
Estes Park, Colorado
Now in its sixth year, the CIC is a conference addressing collaboration and interoperability in CAD, manufacturing, and business communications. Read more »

ODA World Conference
May 4–5, 2010
Orlando, Florida
The Open Design Alliance (ODA) conference will address the latest developments and advancements in the CAD industry, conceptual and practical implementations of ODA technology, and how to blend ODA components and third-party components to create a foundation for innovative solutions. Read more »


For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Choose the Best Monitor for CAD
CAD 101: Arm yourself with these solid fundamentals as you set out to find the consumer- or professional-grade LCD display that's right for you. Read more »

Autodesk Subscription, Part 6
Q&A Series: How many users can have access to Subscription Center? How do I set this up? Read more »

Arrival of the Desktop Supercomputer
Nehalem workstations offer a strategic advantage we haven't seen in years, and now — yes, now — is the time to ramp up. Read more »

Please Pass the Parametrics
AutoCAD users can finally enjoy the benefits provided by geometric constraints: easier drawing and editing. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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