AutoCAD 2019 Introduces Major Licensing Changes

21 Mar, 2018 By: Robert Green

The latest release of Autodesk’s CAD software rolls the existing suite of separate vertical products, except for Civil 3D, into a single subscription offering: One AutoCAD.

I remember back when a new AutoCAD release felt like Christmas morning. If we elected to pay the upgrade fee — which was completely voluntary — we’d wonder what would be underneath the wrappings, and would eagerly spin up the DVD to see what kind of cool new features we’d encounter. Well, the new AutoCAD 2019 — dubbed One AutoCAD — has been announced, and the reality is that the biggest change to the product isn’t the product itself, but how it is licensed and priced.

Let’s have a look at what the new AutoCAD brings us, and at what cost. Here goes.

AutoCAD 2019 New Features

Here are, in no particular order, the notable new features and tools you can expect in your AutoCAD 2019 subscription package. (You can also see a full overview of AutoCAD 2019 on Autodesk’s site.) 

The Drawing Compare tool. This is like the AutoCAD Architecture compare feature, but with a few additional abilities to cycle through areas that have changed on both drawings and xrefs. It’s not a new feature so much as a port of the existing DWG Compare tool, with a useful revision cloud feature to highlight changes for added visual confirmation of changed areas.

Note the revision cloud–style markers denoting changed areas in the Drawing Compare tool in AutoCAD 2019.

Enhancements to Share Design Views. These are intended for those AutoCAD users who wish to share views of drawings via a web-based interface without actually sending DWG or PDF files. Triggered from AutoCAD, Shared Views are then sent as a link to anyone, and can be viewed and commented on via a web browser without any special application software to install. Any comments stored in the shared view can then be brought back into the AutoCAD application by the original author.

AutoCAD Web and Mobile apps. Rather than an enhancement to AutoCAD for your desktop, these are adjunct tools that facilitate DWG editing on web browsers and mobile devices.

AutoCAD 2019 introduces tools for DWG editing on web browsers and mobile devices. This screenshot depicts manipulating AutoCAD files in the portal.

2D graphics performance updates. Functions usually requiring redraw or regen such as draw order, zooming, panning, layer properties, or displaying raster/PDF overlays are reported to work two times faster.

Updated 4K-compliant icons. A refresh of icon imagery for ribbon and menu elements features autosensing for 4K monitor users.

So the new features in AutoCAD 2019 are actually quite limited, and more collaboration- and web-centric than CAD-centric. While the 2D graphics speed increase will be welcomed by users with large drawings, and the 4K icons welcomed by those with the hardware to support them, the rest of the changes will only be appreciated by those who are collaborating via web/mobile methods.

Bottom line: If you use AutoCAD as a desktop application and don’t utilize any collaborative or web features, you won’t notice much difference in the new version.

One AutoCAD

Since if there are very few upgrades to AutoCAD’s core feature set, you might ask, What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that AutoCAD will no longer be a suite of products (e.g., AutoCAD Architectural, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, etc.) that all have separate pricing and licensing. All the vertical products (except Civil 3D) but will become One AutoCAD, which includes all vertical extensions other than Civil 3D. One subscription to AutoCAD will now allow you to use any of the vertical extension products, as well as older releases of those products (check this link to see which older versions of Autodesk software are available).

Note on Civil 3D: Even though AutoCAD Civil 3D is an AutoCAD-based product, it is excluded from the One AutoCAD package, and will be renamed Autodesk Civil 3D upon its next release.

One AutoCAD includes a variety of vertical extensions, but does not include Civil 3D.

Here is the full list of vertical applications (now called toolsets) included with the One AutoCAD subscription:

  • Architecture (previously known as AutoCAD Architecture)
  • Mechanical (previously known as AutoCAD Mechanical)
  • Electrical (previously known as AutoCAD Electrical)
  • Map 3D (previously known as AutoCAD Map 3D)
  • MEP (previously known as AutoCAD MEP)
  • Raster Design (previously known as AutoCAD Raster Design)
  • Plant 3D (previously known as AutoCAD Plant 3D).

Bottom line: If you already use one of these toolset programs, you’ll now have access to more than you already have. If you’re a plain vanilla AutoCAD user, you’ll now have access to a bunch of toolsets you may or may not have any interest in using in the future.

AutoCAD Subscription Cost Goes Up

Here’s where the plot thickens: Rather than the $1,470 per year subscription price in force on prior versions, One AutoCAD’s subscription price will be $1,575 — a 7% increase. While those subscribing to individual AutoCAD tools will not be automatically migrated to One AutoCAD, Autodesk’s position is clearly that One AutoCAD offers more available software for a modest price increase. But if you don’t need the additional software, you’ll see this as simply an increase in cost.

Another wrinkle in the picture is that those who own perpetual licenses of AutoCAD with a maintenance plan in place will not have access to the new One AutoCAD package. Those users will have to convert to subscription to reap the benefits.

Note: For more answers on which packages and contract types can be upgraded to One AutoCAD, see the AutoCAD FAQ document

Summing Up

As has been the case for the past few years, upgrades to Autodesk’s desktop software products are receiving fewer new design features and more web/mobile collaboration features. The real story continues to be the way in which Autodesk software is packaged, how subscription policies will change, and how much costs are going up.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment


Re: AutoCAD 2019 Introduces Major Licensing Changes
by: MichaelPartenheimer
March 27, 2018 - 3:57pm
While the difference between the subscription cost of AutoCAD and One AutoCAD (or AutoCAD with toolsets) is modest, I'm on a maintenance plan and have been for close to 20 years. For me to move to One AutoCAD, I'm looking at about a 200% increase rather than 7%. That's an impact I can't take lightly.
Re: AutoCAD 2019 Introduces Major Licensing Changes
by: Jim Fisher
April 9, 2018 - 8:00am
I agree with Mike. I was disappointed when I learned that users with a maintenance plan aren't eligible for the additional toolsets. I've been a faithful user on a maintenance plan (which doesn't expire until next year) for quite a while. I'm being penalized for not switching over to the subscription model before my maintenance expires.
More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!