MCAD Tech News (#265)

13 May, 2009

First Look: Autodesk Inventor 2010

New Shrinkwrap feature and improved plastics and sheet-metal design tools are tied up in a nice ribbon.

By Bill Fane

It’s no secret at all that I am not a big fan of ribbon menus, even on a good day. The ribbon menu in Microsoft Office 2007 is terrible, the AutoCAD 2010 ribbon is not as good as the one in AutoCAD 2009, but Inventor 2010 is -- great! What can I say, today is not a good day; it's a really good day.

The Inventor 2010 ribbon defaults to showing those commands, and only those commands, that are appropriate to your current task. It usually is organized in a logical left-to-right sequence according to a typical workflow. When you are creating a new part or feature, for example, the draw commands are on the left, followed by the constraints, the modify functions, and so on.

I find many ribbon implementations to be inefficient in that they often require more mouse clicks than the traditional menus that they replace. On the other hand, the Inventor 2010 ribbon is usually more efficient and involves fewer mouse clicks. When you are working on a sketch, for example, all geometric and dimensional constraint options are always visible. You don't need to invoke a drop list to change to a different constraint option.

Here's another nice touch: If you want to switch to a different open file, you don't need to go to the usual Windows menu item drop-down list to select it, because each open file has its own tab at the bottom edge of the graphics screen.

The menu bar doesn't exist anymore because now all commands are located on the ribbon. You can choose to change the ribbon display format from the default of icons plus text through a variety of styles ending up with tab labels only. You can dock the ribbon at either side of the screen or you can float it like a super toolbar. And you can customize it.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

CoCreate Lunch and Learn Webinar Series

Through May 21, 2009
Join PTC in May for one, two, or all three live Lunch and Learn webinars about explicit modeling. Read more »

AVEVA Open House

May 27, 2009
Houston, Texas
Join industry peers at an open house hosted by AVEVA, a developer of engineering software for the plant and marine industries. Enjoy an evening of food, drinks, entertainment, and networking opportunities. Read more »

Webinar: Linking Financial Decision Making to Supply Chain Performance

May 28, 2009
7 a.m. PT
At this webinar from SCM World, attendees will learn to balance financial needs with operational imperatives and develop an optimized inventory management strategy.
Read more

Autodesk Imagine Tour

Through June 4, 2009
Various Cities
At these events hosted by Autodesk, attendees will learn how to visualize, simulate, and analyze the real-world performance of ideas, as well as optimize designs. Read more »

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


What’s New at

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Low-Cost Training Resources (CAD Manager's Toolbox)
Contrary to what you might think, you really can maintain a training program during hard times. Read more

AutoCAD 2010 Makes Everyday Drawing Easier (Circles and Lines AutoCAD Tutorial)
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