CAD Manager's Newsletter (#312)

11 Dec, 2013 By: Robert Green

CAD Management Forecast for 2014

The new year will bring new challenges; review these predictions and action items now so you can prepare before it arrives.

I've just returned from Autodesk University (AU), where I taught classes, spoke with industry leaders, and huddled with CAD managers from all over the world. Based on these conversations, as well as data I've been gathering during the latter half of the year, I can offer an informal forecast for how I think CAD managers will fare in the coming year.

I'll present my forecast one prediction at a time, in no particular order, and offer my advice in the form of action items for each. Here goes.

CAD Software Technology Makes Minimal Changes

Before I headed to AU, I had the opinion that CAD software had become relatively stagnant, with only modest improvements in core functionalities over the past year. I was hoping I'd simply missed some key information and that AU would show me what I'd been missing. However, I've returned from the annual user conference believing that CAD software is in a stable, mature state.

The changes I do see are mainly in online product offerings, reality capture, plugins, and visualization technologies. So, for those of us who spend our days using mechanical design software, architectural BIM, basic civil modeling, or 2D CAD tools, next year will look surprisingly similar to this one — the tools aren't changing much. This may mean that we won't have much user training to be concerned with in 2014; it could even be a year where we skip the upgrade unless a particular new feature justifies it.

Action item: Load the new software versions you receive, and go through the release notes to see if there are any new features that are relevant to you or your users, but be prepared to be underwhelmed. If there's nothing in the new software that speeds your work enough to justify the time you'll spend implementing it, then skip the update. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Take Advantage of Autodesk University Online

Many CAD managers have Autodesk software in their environments, even if it's only a few seats of AutoCAD. And if you are one of them, doesn't it pay to get access to all the self-help resources you can? Of course, the answer to this rhetorical question is a resounding "Yes!" Read more »

Do you have a question or tip 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!

:: Resources

Contex Publishes Buyer's Guide for Wide-Format Scanning
The latest buyer's guide for wide-format scanning from Contex provides an overview of standard applications for scanners and the main factors that customers should consider before investing in the technology. The guide classifies scanning usage by productivity, convenience, copy and print, and flexibility. The free buyer's guide is available for download to those who register.

:: Events

ExactFlat: Faster and Simpler Product Development
December 17, 2013
11:30 a.m. ET
This ExactFlat webinar will demonstrate how the company's software is used with Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks for flattening, patterning, and nesting in real time. Read more »

Ideate BIMLink Showcase
December 19, 2013
9:30 a.m. PT
Ideate will present this webinar to demonstrate Ideate BIMLink, an information management tool that works on top of Autodesk Revit. Read more »

SolidWorks World 2014
January 26–29, 2014
San Diego, California
This user event will feature presentations from customers who have been using the new SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual in production environments since June 2013. 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

Break Tables in AutoCAD
AutoCAD 2008 added Table Breaks into AutoCAD, but it seems that very few people are aware of them! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to break your tables into multiple columns and how to control the results. Watch the video »

User Profile: Building Bridges between Platforms
For civil engineering firm IDS to function, data must move smoothly between GIS and CAD — and Amanda Nunley Menard is the person who gets it there. Read more »

First Look Review: HP Designjet T120
Compact 24" printer is just the right size for small offices that are short on space. Read more »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial:
Descriptors and Descriptions in Autodesk Factory Design Suite

Use a little iLogic to identify your assets — it's not as hard as you might think. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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