CAD Manager's Newsletter (#190)

26 Feb, 2008 By: Robert Green

Autodesk Unveils 2009 Lineup, Part 1

CAD managers will appreciate AutoCAD's customizable ribbon interface, action recorder, and other new features.

Well, spring is around the corner, and what would spring be without a massive new product launch from Autodesk? Earlier this month, at Autodesk World Press Days, I spoke with various Autodesk product gurus to get a feel for the new features we can expect to see. In this issue I will share a few of my impressions from a CAD manager's viewpoint. Here goes.

The Ribbon
If you've worked with Microsoft Office 2007, you've seen the new Ribbon interface, which replaces traditional menus and toolbars with groups of related functions organized under tabs.Following suit, AutoCAD 2009 sports a ribbon in the top left corner that can contain any number of interface elements.

AutoCAD's ribbon will be customizable like any other interface element. CAD managers will be able to set up ribbons as they like using the CUI (custom user interface) editor. Ribbons are divided into tabs (which are like super toolbars) and rows (which allow you to stack up ribbons with any number of tabs). If you've used the CUI editor before, you'll find ribbons to be a lot like dashboards. Read more>>

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox:
Creating Tool Palettes in AutoCAD

I was recently working with a client to develop some tool palettes for the client's block libraries when I shared a few tips to reduce the amount of time required for this task. In this CAD Manager's Toolbox, I will pass along some of the client's favorites. These tips work for all AutoCAD-based products.

Step 1: Get Organized
Before setting up new tool palettes for block libraries, clean house. Delete all your old blocks, update the ones you want to use, if required, and put everything in an organized directory folder structure. By the way, I highly recommend getting everything on a network drive so you can keep one library of blocks and palettes in a master location. Read more>>

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be included in the CAD Manager’s Toolbox? Send it to me at If I use your idea, you will receive a cool Cadalyst souvenir.

:: Resources

Leadership Training Webinars
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) will sponsor a new educational Webinar series focusing on leadership training and business growth. The first in the series, "Communication 2.0: Choice, Clarity and Civility," is scheduled for April 29. Registrants will receive two complimentary white papers: "E-mail: Using it Carefully, Concisely, and With Heart," by Flo Schell, and "Communication Faults: 100 Communication Mistakes People Make," by Thomas Leonard.

:: Events

Webcast: Staying Billable for CAD Users
March 3, 2008
1:30 p.m. ET
In this Webcast, sponsored by Synergis, Robert Green will show participants how to learn more to improve their CAD skills while remaining as billable as possible. Green will explore some ideas to help achieve these sometimes competing goals. Read more

Model-Based Definition for the Masses CPDA Roundtable
March 4-13, 2008
Various U.S. cities
Right Hemisphere will sponsor a six-city roundtable series on how Fortune 100 best practitioners are leveraging their investments in Model-Based Definition (MBD) to drive improved efficiency, innovation, and bottom line results for their businesses. Read more

Using the Functionality of AutoCAD MEP
March 11, 2008
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
At this Synergis lecture-style event, Autodesk trainer Jim Law will show why users should make the move from AutoCAD to AutoCAD MEP. Using "intelligent" objects, users assemble systems in their drawings exactly as they would be installed during construction. Read more

Webcast: Staying Billable for CAD Managers
March 17, 2008
1:30 p.m. ET
CAD managers always have too many things going on, many of which are not project-billable, yet CAD managers are still called upon to be billable. What to do? In this Webcast, sponsored by Synergis, Robert Green will present some ideas to help break the logjam. Read more

Ninth RTT Conference
April 10-11, 2008
Vienna, Austria
Designers, virtual reality specialists, marketing experts, developers, and design engineers from the automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, and furniture industries will gather for the 9th RTT Conference, hosted by Realtime Technology (RTT). The networking and media event offers presentations by speakers from a variety of industries, as well as discussions and workshops. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on