AutoCAD 2021 Helps Users Travel into the Past — of Their Drawings

25 Mar, 2020 By: Cadalyst Staff

The latest release of Autodesk’s venerable 2D/3D CAD software application includes a Drawing History feature, which enables users to see how their drawings have changed over time, and compare past versions with the present.

Like car models, software versions often hit the market well before the year indicated in their names. In keeping with that forward-looking tradition, AutoCAD 2021 is now available, Autodesk announced yesterday.

According to Autodesk, highlights of this release include:

  • A new Drawing History feature (pictured below) enables users to see how their drawings have evolved, and compare past versions with the present. “We’re using the drawing compare technology to make it easier to understand not only the delta between the two drawings, but the changes to one drawing over time,” explained Brad Holden, AutoCAD product manager, in a version release announcement video from Autodesk.

    Image source throughout: Autodesk
  • The existing DWG Compare feature can now be used for external references (xrefs) attached to a drawing (below). Users can compare two versions of an xref, and make changes, without leaving their current drawing.

  • Improvements to graphics performance enable users to pan, zoom, and orbit more smoothly and quickly in real time, according to Autodesk. The changes are credited to automatic regeneration operations and support from multi-core processors.
  • An enhanced Blocks palette (below) enables users to sync block content to cloud storage, then find, preview, and insert blocks from AutoCAD on the desktop or in the web app.

  • New integration with Google Drive means DWG files stored there can be opened directly in the AutoCAD web app, edited, and saved back to Google Drive.
  • Autodesk is heavily promoting the use of AutoCAD across multiple devices, and a new Save to Web and Mobile feature supports DWG files and their associated xrefs.

More information about new features is available from Autodesk's website or in the What’s New guide within the Help section in AutoCAD.

Pricing, Availability, and the Extended Access Program for Cloud Collaboration Products

AutoCAD 2021 is available for download now, and 30-day free trials are also available. Offered by subscription only, AutoCAD is priced at $210 per month, $1,690 per year, or $4,565 for three years.

The AutoCAD subscription includes access to seven industry-specific toolsets for disciplines such as architecture, mechanical design, and electrical design. It also includes access to AutoCAD web and AutoCAD mobile apps: “You can access AutoCAD on virtually any device … so you can edit your drawings in real time, in the field and on the go,” said Michael Folkers, product line manager, in the version release announcement video.

Users who need the AutoCAD web and mobile apps but do not have a subscription to AutoCAD normally purchase à la carte access, but the apps are free for everyone to use for the time being. In response to the increase in remote work during the current pandemic, Autodesk has announced a temporary Extended Access Program for several of its collaboration products, including the AutoCAD web and mobile apps, through May 31, 2020. 

On April 3, 2020, Autodesk will launch new features and enhancements for AutoCAD 2021 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2021 for Mac, including:

  • Xref Compare
  • Purge improvements
  • a floating command line
  • AutoCAD 2021 for Mac will be available in Simplified Chinese for the first time.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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!