Thursday, February 14, 2008

AutoCAD 2009 - Screenshot


Well, it's that time of year again. AutoDesk is starting up the fanfare, getting out the press releases because March is around the corner. The good news is that I will have plenty to post about for a while.

The biggest change is the interface. command line users, you won't really care. What I mean is that if yo type i your commands, then the change will affect you less. Those users that take advantage of tool bars, pull down menus, and the dashboard, well, you will see a huge change. Here is a screen shot of AutoCAD 2009, out of the box (except that I changed the background to black, it comes in white.)

As you can see, there are no tool bars and the pull down menus are gone. In there place is the RIBBON. If you have used Microsoft Office 2007 then you will be familiar with the ribbon concept. AutoCAD's ribbon works virtually the same, except that it can be customized. It can be collapsed, docked, undocked, the tabs moved around and more. The dashboard is completely gone. If DASHBOARD is typed in at the command line the ribbon will turn on. It isn't even listed as a topic in help! The poor dashboard was only here for two releases. The ribbon is really the dashboard, but on steroids. Autodesk chose to call it the ribbon to keep a familiarity between different software packages.

How is it used? The ribbon is really a combination of the pull down menus and the tool bars. By the way, tool pallets are still here, thank goodness. In case you were worried, the display screen is still there, it is turned on/off in options. (I haven't used that menu since release 12 in DOS.)

Out of the box, there are six groups of TABS to choose from. These work similarly to the pull down menus of old. Each group has different tabs, which act like tool bars. The ribbon is collapseable, and the tabs have fly outs. Each tab can be pulled out and placed anywhere on the screen (just like toolbars.) They can be put back too. Users can create new tabs or modify any existing tab through the CUI.

To allow for more screen realestate, the ribbon can be minimized. The groups and tabs can be accessed by hovering the cursor over the desired group or tab. It can also be undocked and placed either horizontally or vertically any where on the screen. If two monitors are being used (like me) then the ribbon can be put on either screen.

The ribbon takes some getting used to, especially for those that have customized their menus, or for those that live for toolbars. After a while users seem to get used to the ribbon .

The next post will take a look at the MENU BROWSER, and the big red A.

Happy CADing.


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