Autodesk Inc. has announced AutoCAD 2024, the latest version of its flagship CAD (computer-aided design) software package for AEC, manufacturing, and product design industries. The new AutoCAD 2024 boasts new features to accelerate workflows and collaborate with other teammates to unlock creative potential. AutoCAD is a dominant software package used around the world in a multitude of industries, even while it may compete for attention with other newer software packages from Autodesk in some industries, like Revit for BIM in the AEC industry.
AutoCAD increasingly plays a stronger role in Autodesk Cloud solutions and is driven and advanced by customer requests regardless of what stage they may be at in upscaling to newer technologies and types of workflows. Dania El Hassan, Director of AutoCAD Product Management, told Architosh that “Autodesk is committed to meeting customers where they are at.” It means that some of the technologies—like the collaboration features noted below—are designed to account for users who may still use more analog workflows like paper prints with handwritten markups. This update enables such work products to be kept but better utilized within overall workflows.
New machine learning technology in AutoCAD 2024 both paves the way for unlocking insights that will help teams increase productivity with AutoCAD workflows but also allows teams to develop new automation.
Customers can tailor AutoCAD 2024 to their specific business needs by leveraging customizations via APIs, thousands of third-party apps, and seven specialized toolsets with three-quarters of a million symbols, parts, and detailed components.
“AutoCAD 2024 introduces new machine learning capabilities to push the boundaries of productivity and speed up our customer’s workflows, whether it’s saving them time in their common tasks or bringing up new ways to work and create,” says Dania El Hassan. “With new features like Smart Blocks: Placement and ML-enhanced Replacement, and new updates to Markup Assist, we are proud of the continuous innovate that we’re able to deliver to our customers.”
Key Features and Improvements
Machine learning (ML) is used in the new Smart Blocks: Replacement features. The user can find the blocks they need and replace one or more of them via machine learning-based suggestions. The ML algorithms are looking at both recently used blocks and manually substituted blocks and, through automation, will boost user productivity by eliminating the time spent manually looking for blocks in the drawing and replacing each instance.
Another block-related productivity booster is the new Smart Blocks: Placement feature. While placing blocks in your drawing, AutoCAD 2024 will infer the next position of the next block based on where you have inserted the same ones thus far in your DWG file, reducing the number of clicks and saving you time in the process.
Markup Import and Markup Assist both received updates in this release, having largely been introduced in last year’s version of AutoCAD.
“Markup Import and Markup Assist in AutoCAD 2024 now saves me 10-15 minutes of time when making edits and changes in a drawing,” says AutoCAD customer Brett Graverholt, Drafting Coordinator, Electronic Contracting (ECC).
With the new enhanced Markup Assist, users can now update existing drawing text and automatically fade the markups (on Trace layers) they have addressed. That feature helps users move through the process of working on multiple markups over time in a working session. AutoCAD 2024 also uses ML to detect certain instructions in the markup text, enabling shortcuts to commands like “MOVE,” “COPY,” and “ERASE.”
Architosh will provide more specific details about these features in an upcoming feature report where we spoke with Dania El Hassan directly about these features and where the company sees its AutoCAD development philosophy going.
Markup Import and Markup Assist in AutoCAD 2024 now saves me 10-15 minutes of time when making edits and changes in a drawing.
Finally, in the area of better collaboration, Autodesk has introduced Activity Insights into AutoCAD 2024. This new feature basically allows for users to be aware of other users’ activities with AutoCAD drawing files, so all users stay informed of recent and relevant changes and file access throughout a project lifecycle.
“Before Activity Insights in AutoCAD 2024, we would have had to hunt down and check information such as publishing files and when they were published,” says Michael Shurgalla, Senior Design Technology Specialist, Merrick. “Sometimes that could take 30 minutes to do, and now we can see it right away. For other tasks, it can save us a minute or two here and there. It all really adds up to a good deal of time savings.”
Autodesk has been doing tons of underlying CAD and graphics engine development over the past several years, and this year AutoCAD 2024 continues to be a beneficiary of these performance improvements. The new release boasts up to 9x faster performance when switching between layout tabs compared to AutoCAD 2023. For firms like large engineering, civil, manufacturing, and plant users, who often have massive DWG files open at once, this benefit alone will make AutoCAD 2024 a huge productivity booster.
AutoCAD 2024 for Mac is also sped up with a comprehensive 2x performance boost, as seen when running on native Apple Silicon Macs. Yes, you read that correctly; Autodesk has arrived first to a full Apple Silicon-native DWG CAD platform with the new AutoCAD 2024 for Mac and LT versions. (Architosh has a separate report on the Mac version).
AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD Web
A new feature in AutoCAD LT 2024 this year is full AutoLISP support. El Hassan told us that the decision to add AutoLISP to the LT version is to help organizations using both products to better streamline workflows across custom automation. Smart Blocks: Placement functionality is also included in the LT version.
AutoCAD Web can create essential CAD designs online and view, edit, and markup those drawings in the field from a web browser or mobile app. It too also supports AutoLISP bringing more automation to the full spectrum of AutoCAD solutions. Architosh has recently run several AutoCAD Web features here and here.
Availability and Mac Versions
A subscription to AutoCAD 2024 and AutoCAD LT 2024 includes access to AutoCAD Web (itself available under its own subscription) and AutoCAD Mobile, enabling a cohort of collaborators to communicate effectively with other project stakeholders on the go.
AutoCAD subscribers gain exclusive web and mobile features, like using AutoLISP to customize and automate a sequence of commands on the Web and enable local file access to your DWG files saved on a local drive or LAN. They can also switch the location of the command ribbon on the Web to emulate its position on the desktop, batch plot PDFs, view or edit MTEXT objects, and directly open links on mobile.
The 2024 version AutoCAD updates include new AutoCAD 2024 for Mac and AutoCAD LT for Mac, both of which are now fully native to Apple’s M-series chips (Apple Silicon) in addition to running on Intel-Macs.
To learn more, visit this Autodesk blog post on the new AutoCAD 2024.