AutoCAD 2018 -- New Features
Before we get started on the list of features, you need to know: The drawing file format has been changed for 2018. You will not be able to open 2018 files with older versions of AutoCAD, but you will be able to save back. Save back functionality will vary by flavor of AutoCAD. AutoCAD 2018 to AutoCAD Old will be easy. Civil 3D 2018 to Civil 3D Old will require a workflow.
Dialog box upgrades
1. Navigation boxes for commands like Open, Save, and Attach now remember your sorting preference from before.
2. Other dialogs, such as Drafting Settings can now be resized.
3. The True Color tab in the Select Color dialog allows input of RGB colors as comma-separated values. I am at a loss to understand what is new in this feature, as you have been able to input comma separated numbers in this dialog since I can remember.
User Interface Enhancements
4. The Quick Access Toolbar menu now includes a Layer Control option. It is turned off by default, but is easily activated. I don't know if this feature will also be activated in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018, but I hope so.
5. System Variable Monitor has an icon on the Status Bar and it lights up when any of your monitored variables have changed. Useful.
6. Rubberband line color can be set. In 2017, they are an orange color, but in 2018 you can make the rubberband line any color you want, even invisible.
7. Off-screen selection. I think you're gonna like this feature. It allows you start a selection process, like crossing or window, and be allowed to zoom and pan to off-screen objects while AutoCAD waits for you to finish the selection. Objects that have been pushed off-screen during your zooming and panning still get selected. This is a very nice feature.
8. Ability to select objects within gaps in their linetypes. Instead of having to be careful and pick on visible segments, you can be just a little more careless, but still get your object. This will help avoid errors. People sometimes think they selected their object.
9. Import SHX fonts as text when importing PDF files.Previously, any SHX font-based text written to a PDF from AutoCAD, when imported back into AutoCAD, would come in as geometry, not as text. Now it can come in as text.
10. PDF Import dialog boxes display thumbnail previews of PDF files.
11. Combine multiple text objects into a single Mtext. This is the TXT2MTXT command, a graduate from Express Tools. This command has been around for a long time, but has now been moved to the Insert ribbon tab. Not just that, TXT2MTXT has been given a facelift, with several new settings, options and fixes to make it work more efficiently.
12. External references are now supported by AutoCAD to reduce the problems created by broken reference paths. You know, like when you save your host drawing to different path?
- Relative Path is now the default path type when you attach or overlay an xref. Hallelujah!
- A new REFPATHTYPE system variable allows you to set default path type to your choice. Previously, you had to use a registry hack to set a default other than Full Path.
- You can now assign a Relative path within a host drawing that has not yet been saved. The problem it fixes wasn't that big of a pain, but it shows that our friends at Autodesk do care about making the software work correctly.
- If the current drawing includes relative references and you save it to a different location, you get a dialog, see above, that saves you from making a costly mistake. Notice the button allowing you to automatically update the relative reference paths. This is my personal "top new feature" for AutoCAD 2018.
- The Xref dialog has a couple of new options that help you Select New Path and Find and Replace will help you repair broken reference links. These are nice upgrades.
- Orphaned references now display correctly within the xref window's tree view, even if the link is broken.
- Unloaded Xrefs can be opened.
- If you rename a reference file using a different dialog, like ClassicXref or Rename, the reference name is updated in the External References dialog without having to reload.
13. Share Design View is a preexisting tool that makes it easy to publish your design files to the cloud and share them with others. The consumer of your design views doesn't need Autodesk software and doesn't need to login to view your files. The tool has been enhanced to support AutoCAD 2018 dwg format.
- Drawing file format has changed, allowing better speed in opening and saving drawing files, especially for those of you who use many viewports in a drawing or who have drawings that are heavy with annotative objects.
- High resolution monitor support. Full support for those awesome 4k monitors.
- REGEN3 is for 3D modeling users. By rebuilding the geometry in all viewports, this command will remove discontinuities in the display of 3D solids.
- You can now turn off Smooth line display but continue to use the High quality geometry option.
- 3D navigation performance has been enhanced significantly. In fact, Autodesk states, "...the performance for manipulating 3D models is approaching that of 2D drawings." How's that for welcome news?
- Online Maps use the new Bing Maps v8.0, providing better performance. Sweet.
Your AutoCAD subscription includes the AutoCAD Mobile app, allowing you to run AutoCAD on your tablet or phone. You won't have to carry plans to your jobsites!
My congratulations to Autodesk for continuing to make practical modifications alongside stunning modernization.