Autodesk today announced the release of AutoCAD 2017 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2017 for Mac. Acknowledging the strong use of Apple’s mobile computers (laptops) in various CAD industries, the AutoCAD Mac development team spent the last year making dramatic enhancements to the software that align with expectations of Apple’s Mac customers. The company is touting this version as the ultimate Mac-native AutoCAD release.
This and host of other updated features—including extensive new PDF-based features—make the 2017 release for the Mac platform a particularly strong one.
What’s New in the 2017 Version of AutoCAD for Mac
Last year Autodesk focused on bringing over many of the tried-and-true favorite functions from the Windows version. This year, the focus has turned back to many Mac-focused enhancements as Autodesk has long known, since the beginnings of the second era of AutoCAD on the Mac, that Mac users who want to use AutoCAD use the most famous CAD program differently.
In AutoCAD 2017 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2017 for Mac the company has developed new features in largely three core areas, including: (1) user-interface and workflow enhancements, (2) PDF integration features, and (3) Mac-centric integrations and UI-UX improvements and new features.
Here are features in summaries:
- Redesigned UI — the user-interface has redesigned tool sets, smarter organization, new sizes for icons and a tabbed interface for Drawings and Modeling functions.
- Collapse Tool Panels — tool panels can be collapsed, moved, reordered and resized in real time.
- Custom Tool Panel Creation — users can create their own tool panels, loading them with the tools they use most.
- File Tabs — Autodesk 2017 for Mac now introduces a tabbed approach to managing multiple files open at once. Right-clicking on the tabs enables closing, saving, open, etc.
- New PDF Import Commands — users can import PDFs and their geometry data into the current file drawing as AutoCAD objects. This option includes the ability to bring in the PDF layers as AutoCAD layers, specify the import as an entire “block” or enable intelligent group of layers based on object layers.
- PDFIMPORT/-PDFIMPORT Command — a command line option for importing PDF geometry into the current drawing. Initial options provide choices to select an attached PDF underlay or to specify a PDF file.
- Import PDF regions — there is an option to specify a rectangular or polygonal bounder around objects in the PDF just to import.
- Multiple AutoCAD Sessions Support — now you can run multiple sessions of AutoCAD. This feature enables a side-by-side workflow when using multiple displays.
- Support for Mac Full-Screen Mode — AutoCAD 2017 for Mac supports Apple’s Full-Screen mode on modern Macs as well as Split View in the latest macOS Sierra release.
AutoCAD 2017 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2017 for Mac are the first versions for the Mac to fully embrace the company’s subscription-only licensing model. In speaking with Autodesk Senior Product Line Manager, Marcus O’Brien, he said, “We don’t sell perpetual licenses anymore, we sell subscriptions.”
O’Brien stated that Autodesk can deliver more value to customers via subscription and cited recent PDF updates to the Windows version as an example.
How macOS Sierra Makes AutoCAD Better
O’Brien on a call noted that Autodesk’s Mac customers using AutoCAD do a lot of work out in the field on Apple’s Mac laptops. Laptops have by their very nature smaller screens than desktop by a wide margin. Yet, macOS Sierra boasts a unique feature in Split Screen view whereby two apps can run side-by-side.
AutoCAD Product Manager, Rajeshree Dembla, described the scenario like this: “Imagine a customer who wants to be able to compare two drawings side-by-side without having to go back and fourth. He can have two AutoCAD sessions running, one on the left and one on the right and then compare the two drawings.”
macOS Sierra’s Split Screen feature makes this possible when coupled with AutoCAD 2017 for Mac’s support of multiple sessions (ie: the ability to run an application more than once simultaneously on the same computer).