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A Few of My Favorite Things in AutoCAD 2016

22 May, 2015 By: Lynn Allen

Circles and Lines Tutorial: Learn about the hidden gems in the newest AutoCAD release.


Geometric Object Snap

Another AUGI wishlist item — the ability to snap to the geometric center of an object such as a polygon or closed polyline — has been added to AutoCAD 2016. Enter GCE at the Command line, or set it using the other standard osnap methods. GCE has a new glyph to distinguish it from the center of a circle or an arc. That makes for fewer construction lines in our lives, and we don't have to work so hard to remember our math!

Use the new Geometric Center osnap to grab the true center of polygons and closed plines.
Use the new Geometric Center osnap to grab the true center of polygons and closed plines.


Xref Layer Overrides

If you've ever tried to change the color of an xref layer that wasn't set to Bylayer, you know it just doesn't work! The new Xrefoverride variable, when set to 1, allows you to control the display of layers regardless of their setting in the host drawing. (Psst! Don't let the CAD managers know — I'm not sure how they'll feel about this new superpower!)

New System Variable Monitor

If you've ever run a (badly written) AutoLISP routine only to find that your system variables are reset to undesirable settings, you'll love the new System Variable Monitor. The Sysvarmonitor command lets you indicate the system variables you care about and the settings you prefer. If the settings are changed for any reason, AutoCAD alerts you and makes it easy for you to reset them back to your preferred settings. To set up your Sysvarmonitor, simply click on Edit List and add/remove the system variables you value. AutoCAD 2016 prepopulates the list with a variety of settings users seem to have trouble with (based on what the Autodesk product support team runs into the most), along with their desired settings.

Use the new System Variable Monitor to keep track of your important system variable settings.
Use the new System Variable Monitor to keep track of your important system variable settings.


Miscellaneous Enhancements

The new Closeallother command lets you close all drawings except for the current one from the Command line (or you can right-click on a file tab to find the same tool). If you weren't a fan of the galleries added in AutoCAD 2015, especially when it came to inserting blocks from the ribbon, you can turn them off with Galleryview. And, if you feel the same way about cursor badges, turn them off by setting the Cursorbadge variable to 1 (which is, of course, counterintuitive to everything we know about AutoCAD). If that isn't confusing enough, turn them back on by setting Cursorbadge to 2! If you don't know what a cursor badge is, then they aren't bothering you, so don't worry! (For those of you who are curious, they are the tiny glyphs that appear in the upper-right quadrant of the crosshairs.)

If you wondered what happened to the Isolate Objects tool on the status bar in AutoCAD 2015, you'll be happy to know that it's returned in the latest release along with the ability to lock down various parts of the user interface.

More command previews were added into AutoCAD 2016 for Blend, Erase, Scale, Stretch, and Rotate. The command results will be more obvious before you press that final button, hopefully minimizing the number of times you'll need the Undo command.

These new features in AutoCAD may be small, but they're mighty. Together they add up to a lot of time saved, so give them a try! Until next time — happy AutoCAD-ing!

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