Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Should I upgrade to AutoCAD 2009?

That is the million dollar question now isn’t it? Not only for AutoCAD 2009, but every time a new release comes out, especially when they are yearly. The times a new release came out after two years of waiting it was easier to jump into it (for some reason).

It is my professional opinion that no release has ever been a “must upgrade.” I don’t feel that there is an absolute reason to upgrade every release; even if you or your company is on the subscription plan.

I do feel, however, that it is in the best interest of a company to upgrade every other release. My suggestion to everyone that asks this question is to get on the subscription plan and upgrade at least every other year. Go ahead, make the argument, why pay for something and not use it? Because it is cheaper to buy a release and pay for the subscription every year than it is to buy the release every other year. Plus, if you upgrade every other year then you are essentially keeping up with AutoCAD. You will never be more than one release behind, which in my opinion is acceptable.

To answer the question at hand, I honestly can’t say (in my opinion) that upgrading from AutoCAD 2008 to AutoCAD 2009 is a must. But I can say that if you are running AutoCAD 2007 or later, then it is a good idea. There are enough features between two releases that justify an upgrade.

Another idea is to look at the DWG file types as a release, and the others as an update or patch. The latest are the 2004 and 2007 types. The 2004 type is covered in releases 2004, 2005, and 2006. The 2007 types are 2007, 2008, and 2009. I assume that release 2010 will be a new DWG type. Instead of upgrading every release or every other release, perhaps every third release is an option. Up grade at the last release of every type, that way you have all of the options available for that DWG type. This would be a good reason to upgrade to 2009 and then essentially wait until 2012 to upgrade again. You will start to get a little behind, but I feel that it is still acceptable. And, if you are on subscription, it is still cheaper to buy it every year than to pay the full price every three years. Beyond three releases it isn’t cheaper.

This might not answer the question at hand, but I feel that it is really a much deeper and more involved question than simply upgrading to AutoCAD 2009 or not. Until Autodesk provides a release with a feature, or feature set, that will absolutely enable you to make more money, then there will never be a reason to upgrade to a single release. You and your company have to look at “the big picture.” The bottom line is that you need AutoCAD to either produce design drawings (as a service) or to produce drawings that enable you to create something to sell. Can you do that with your current software? Will the new release improve production efficiency more than it will cost? That last question is the killer.

Consider all of these concepts and come up with a plan that suits the needs of your company and its budget. Then you will be able to answer the question, do I upgrade or not?


  1. “[There is a] much deeper and more involved question than simply upgrading to AutoCAD 2009 or not. Until Autodesk provides a release with a feature, or feature set, that will absolutely enable you to make more money, then there will never be a reason to upgrade to a single release”

    I was tasked by our company to evaluate ACAD 2009. We are currently using 2002, and this is the really big question for us. In terms of getting product out the door, there is absolutely no reason to upgrade other than that we are being pulled along by the greater community of larger companies that can afford bi-annual upgrades. The only feature I have seen that would reduce our costs (and mind you, this is a span of seven releases on an annual cycle) is the improved mtext editor. (no more messing with spec. sheets from third parties in dtext, dtext w/space bar indents, mtext with hard returns and space bar indents etc.)

    I have long agreed with your philosophy of “every other release”, but that was when we were dealing with a two year release cycle. Now, a marketing driven imperative permeates the software industry, which screams “SELL, SELL, SELL, by pushing annual releases where most improvements are equivalent to changing the fins every year on the Cadillac.

    In the late sixties, Datsun and Toyota arrived on our shores and proceeded to wipe the floor with Detroit products, by focusing on engineering improvements and ergonomics, instead of planned obsolescence. One of several reasons the Japanese were able to keep costs so low was that their auto-body stamping dies (rather expensive little puppies) had a five year life cycle, as opposed to a less than one year cycle for some American models.

    There is now another dragon on the horizon; AutoDesk, Microsoft, Adobe and others should take heed.

  2. I can't say that I disagree with you Igor (are you really a cat?) The company I work for just switched from AutoCAD 2004 to AutoCAD 2008. The problem (not the only problem, but hey) with that is that most of our users draw in AutoCAD like they were still using release 10 or 12!! A few months ago at a weekly CAD meeting, we demonstrated Mtext, many users thought it was something new to 2008!
    My point is that our company didn't really have to upgrade since at least release 14. We worked hard to find the resources to be able to upgrade to 2008, but why? Most of us won't use the "new stuff".
    So I agree that most companies really don't have to upgrade at all, ever, unless forced to by some requirement outside of their company.

  3. If compatibility is an issue, you might want to go every three releases (e.g. 2004, 2007) so you have at least access to the latest file format, if AutoCAD continues following this approach. If you wait for the latest of the three, you are two years unable to read the latest DWG files.
    I personally don't use AutoCAD anymore, but still teach it to our students and to us, there is no reason to upgrade, even with cheap academic pricing. We are currently using release 2007, which offered much improved modeling, but for a large part, the basic concepts of our introductory CAD teaching do not change that much. We might still be using AutoCAD 2000 for that matter, but students can only obtain recent versions from the Autodesk Student Community.

  4. I think you are right Stefan. In order to teach the "basics" of AutoCAD, almost any release will do. to teach 3D modeling, you need at least 2007 or higher. Also, with the current release schedules, if a student takes an AutoCAD class his/her freshman or sophomore year, by the time they get into the work place they could be two three or four releases behind. Assuming that the company is relatively up to speed.

    Keeping on top of the latest cad release is very difficult. I have been using AutoCAD for 15 years, I can't imagine starting from scratch with release 2009!

  5. Good morning,
    I will agree with your comments, but the problem is that the industry is getting more specialize every year, so plain vanilla Audotcad won’t do any more, you have to think in programs like Rivet and Civil3D just to mention some of them. This type of software has change the way we do drafting and designing. I’d been using cad for more than 20 years and understand that you do not have to upgrade every year, but that doesn’t mean that we can not keep learning what is new (for those that still drafting on r10) and taking advantage of it.

  6. You are correct. Vanilla AutoCAD isn't powerful enough for many users. The verticals are very specialized now. When CAD was first introduced, it was called Computer Aided Design Drafting. Some had one D, not two, but we get the point. Now, it is more like CADDD, meaning Computer Aided Design Drafting and Data Management. With the verticals, we are drafting less and managing data more. The company I work for typically updated every second or third release. When I started here we were on 2000i, then we went to 2004. Then we decided to go with Civil3D and got Civil3D 2007. Then the market took a dump and we didn't get to an implementation, and we don't do anything fast here, especially if its new! Civil3D is very different, there is a large learning curve because it takes on a completely different approach. We were using AutoCAD like it was a drafting board, T-square and pencil. The only reason we really had to upgrade to 2007 was to get Civil3D, otherwise we would have been fine. Now we are on subscription, have Civil3D (but not using it yet!!) and are waiting on installing 2009. I say, since we bought it lets install it, BUT we have users that don't know how to use Xref, don't know the difference between Dtext and Mtext, and we fight with users on using that new fangled Paper Space thing they just put in (please not I wrote this with a sarcastic tone, though these are real issues we have here).

    In a few years, firms will not ask if a potential employee has AutoCAD experience, but will ask if they know Civil3D, Revit, etc. We soon may have a generation of drafters that use AutoCAD Verticals, but have never used AutoCAD!! Just like now we have CAD users that don;t know what a lead clutch is, and they think I'm lying to them when I talk about my electric eraser.

  7. Brian Benton

    “The problem . . . is that most of our users draw in AutoCAD like they were still using release 10 or 12!!”

    The principal in our small company is real smart when it comes to dealing win building departments, and our clients in the convenience store industry, and has actually been using ACAD longer than I have. He started on v9, I on v10. He has a simple approach to everything “you can draw everything by drawing two perpendicular lines and offsetting them.

    I feel your pain.

    I used to teach this and would tell my students “Every Thing I Need to Know, I Learned on v 10” (the literary reference was lost on most of them.) By this I meant that there are some basic concepts that do not change. Cartesian coordinate systems, absolute and relative coordinates, logical command structure etc. This does not relieve you from the need to continue learning. When truly productive improvements come out, I jump all over them. I feel that ACAD2k was a quantum leap that Autodesk had not matched since, for two reasons. The dynamic properties pallet and the implementation of the [then] new MS scroll mouse. I have removed all zoom icons from my desktop.

    My boss, who has been a user since v9, needed to be shown the extend command, and after two years I am finally getting him to use the properties pallet. 2009? GAD!

    The technology is advancing at break neck speed, but it is being driven by marketing concerns that do not take into account that many people are being left behind. Having to relearn software every year, that does not do any thing fundamentally different than it did the year before is frustrating for me, and down right counter-productive for a growing number of users.

  8. I have two comments. We're in process of upgrading 210 CAD staff from AutoCAD 2004 to 2008. I hoped to get 2008 out before 2009 came out, but I'm keeping my eyes on the prize with 2008. Given the time it takes to get a major service pack issued, and numerous hotfixes issues, as was done with 2008, I'd still wait a few months before considering 2009.

    Because we're a multidisciplinary firm, we use lots of add-on and vertical AutoCAD-based products, such as Bentley StormCAD (bought out from Haestad), SewerCAD, WaterCAD, and it typically takes a good number of months before they catch up with stable versions of their own to work with a given version of AutoCAD. It is also much more involved and time-consuming getting all these many products upgraded to a certain AutoCAD platform, thus not possible for us to be so nimble in adopting the latest and greatest software versions, particularly given the impossible yearly Autodesk cycle.

    My second point speaks to a pet peeve that came to mind when attending a recent AutoCAD 2009 Product Launch Event. For all the new gizmos and gadgets and user-interface-enhancements-run-amok in the most recent version of AutoCAD, still no attention is paid to ever fixing little problems in AutoCAD-based products that are still able to bring an AutoCAD DWG to it's knees, thwarting almost any attempt on sharing and working on DWG files. What is this Archilles heel you ask... missing shape files.

    So, AutoCAD 2009 can playback animations with spiffy new tools that automates their creation, and these get stored in the DWG file format. Fine. So, why after more than 20 years, can't an AutoCAD file cache into it's DWG file format, the lousy little 5 Kb shape files that surveyors love to use but never transmit, to remove this increbibly prevalent, irritating, and tremedously disruptive file dependancy. They can do it with animations, and other info that continues to bloat the DWG file format. Please Autodesk, bring me this low-tech but ultra useful feature and time-saver, read in and cache these tiny little files to once and for all remove this ubiquetous file dependancy.

    Supporting 210 CAD staff, including Civil and Landscape Architecture staff, we regularly receive survey CAD base files. Most often, surveys are commissioned by an Owner, then we receive a survey 3rd-hand, and often have no recourse at trying to get them to send the invariably missing shape files surveyors are so fond of using. Most often referenced in linetype definitions, try opening a DWG with thousands of references to a missing shape file, and we frequently see DWGs taking 20 minutes or more to open, even on the fastest computers. We have dumb workarounds if we can't get the source shape files, like supply a "dummy" shape file to match the name for what the DWG is looking for (I know, it doesn't make sense to substitute shape files, apples and oranges). Once a DWG file is satisfied that a shape file that it is looking for exists, it is happy and the DWG flies open in a few seconds instead of many minutes. We can also change the linetype for layers that might be referencing special linetypes that call the shapes. But this is all slow and painful work, to get around the arcane legacy behavior of these tiny little files.

    So, when I see all the eye-candy AutoCAD 2009 features bling, I can't help but think of the little day-to-day inane things that AutoCAD still does (reality check), that could be so easily rectified so that this most nagging of problems would be banished from existance. But, I'm afraid it lives on, like a virus, a tiny speck in the big scheme of things, but ever so powerful and able to make drawings virtually unopenable, a powerful plague able to thwart simple and easy file transmittal and interoperability.



AutoDesk (110) autocad (109) AutoCAD 2009 (40) augi (40) efficient (38) news (37) drafting (33) training (33) articles (30) CADaBlog (29) AutoCAD WS (23) Update (23) quick tip (22) video (21) mobile (19) review (19) cad (16) 3D Mouse (15) 3Dconnexion (15) Impression (15) Android (14) AutoCAD 2013 (14) cadalyst (14) me (14) AutoCAD 2010 (13) text (13) off topic (12) survey (12) Apps (11) hotfix (11) tips (11) 3D (10) AU (10) AutoCAD 2011 (10) service pack (10) workstation (10) Autodesk Labs (9) CAD Manager (9) annotation (9) blocks (9) cloud (9) fun (9) inventor (9) HP (8) Review-Product (8) autocad lt (8) videos (8) AutoCAD 2014 (7) Autodesk 360 (7) CUI (7) Windows 8 (7) iOS (7) new (7) IMSI Design (6) cad standards (6) files (6) google (6) infinite skills (6) printers (6) reference (6) ribbon (6) support (6) updates (6) workaround (6) RSS (5) TurboViewer (5) Upgrade (5) data (5) email (5) fields (5) guest post (5) keyboard (5) layers (5) paper space (5) pi (5) pi day (5) quotes (5) rant (5) selection (5) standards (5) styles (5) subscription (5) tech (5) 2D (4) AutoCAD Exchange (4) AutoCAD for Mac (4) Mac (4) Mastering AutoCAD (4) SketchBook (4) TurboCAD (4) UI (4) action recorder (4) dimension (4) driver (4) fills (4) large format printing (4) leaders (4) math (4) mobile workstation (4) salary (4) sheet sets (4) Amazon (3) Apple (3) AutoCAD 2012 (3) AutoCAD 2015 (3) AutoCAD 360 (3) AutoCAD Fundamentals (3) Civil 3D (3) DVD (3) DWF (3) Fusion (3) GIS (3) Kindle Fire (3) Lenovo (3) Microsoft (3) Review-Software (3) Wiley (3) Windows Phone 8 (3) Windows RT (3) annimation (3) announcements (3) autodesk plm (3) book (3) command alias (3) contest (3) filters (3) find (3) hardware (3) history (3) iPad (3) license (3) license software (3) lisp (3) menu browser (3) properties (3) purge (3) quick view (3) saas (3) tables (3) toolbars (3) weekend rant (3) what not to CAD (3) what not to do (3) #CADaBlogDVD2013 (2) 3D Modeling (2) 3ds Max (2) AutoCAD LT 2013 (2) AutoCAD LT for Mac (2) AutoCAD MAC (2) Autodesk. (2) BIM (2) CAD Services (2) CADSpeed (2) DWG (2) DXF (2) Designjet (2) Error (2) FAIL (2) Facecast (2) Freestyle (2) Fusion for Mac (2) George Omura (2) Mac OS (2) Mountain Lion (2) Novedge (2) Recomend (2) Review-Book (2) Revit LT (2) SpaceMouse Pro (2) Sybex (2) Tablet (2) Thinkstation (2) TurboReview (2) TurboViewer X (2) What Not To Do In AutoCAD (2) What's New (2) Windows (2) array (2) as-builts (2) beta (2) blog (2) circles (2) civil (2) civil design (2) collaboration (2) color (2) command line (2) commands (2) computer (2) copy (2) design (2) design review (2) dim style (2) download (2) eBook (2) eTransmit (2) file naming (2) free (2) geek stuff (2) grid (2) hotnews (2) interview (2) jobs (2) knowledge base (2) limits (2) look back (2) mouse (2) pallets (2) pgp (2) plotting (2) posts (2) press release (2) pricing (2) purchase (2) redlines (2) reference files (2) rental plans (2) shortcuts (2) sketchup (2) status bar (2) technology preview (2) tool pallet (2) tooltips (2) tv (2) units (2) video editing (2) viewer (2) webinar (2) 123D (1) 123D Catch (1) 123D Create (1) 123D Make (1) 2014 (1) 2015 (1) 3d Printing (1) ACAD/Medre.A (1) ADR (1) AEC (1) AUGI World (1) Account (1) Adobe (1) Apps Tab (1) AutoCAD 2016 (1) AutoCAD Error (1) AutoCAD LT 2012 (1) AutoCAD LT 2014 (1) AutoCAD LT 2015 (1) AutoCAD Mechanical (1) AutoCAD Revit Suite (1) Autodesk Account (1) Autodesk BIM 360 (1) Autodesk Instant (1) Autodesk PLM 360 (1) Autodesk ReCap (1) Award (1) CADDork (1) CADO (1) CTB (1) CadMouse (1) Camtasia (1) Communication Center (1) Corel (1) DWFx (1) Dassault Systemes (1) Death Star (1) Dell (1) Design Feed (1) Design Suites (1) DesignCAD (1) DoubleCAD (1) Duratec (1) E32 (1) ESET (1) ESRI (1) EliteBook (1) Epson (1) Evernote (1) Exchange Apps (1) FTP (1) ForceEffect (1) Free Form (1) Fusion 360 (1) GIS Day (1) GeoViewer (1) Geographic Information Systems (1) Geographic Location (1) Google Chromebook Pixel (1) Google Earth (1) Google Earth Pro (1) HP Designjet T2300 eMFP (1) HP EliteBook (1) HP EliteBook 8570w (1) HP Z1 (1) Help (1) Homestyler (1) IT (1) Infocenter (1) Inforbix (1) InfraWorks (1) InfraWorks 360 Pro (1) Infrastructure Modeler (1) Instant (1) Inventor 2013 (1) Inventor 2013 SP1 (1) Inventor LT (1) JPEG 2000 (1) Kickstarter (1) Kindle (1) Language packs (1) Lawsuit (1) Lenovo Thinkstation E32 (1) LizardTech (1) MS Exchange (1) Map 3D (1) Maya (1) MrSID (1) OS (1) OS X (1) Office Suite (1) Orange Juice Studios (1) P-Series (1) PLM (1) Photoshop (1) Pixel (1) Pixlr (1) Pixlr Express (1) Pixlr-o-matic (1) Plant (1) PogoPlug (1) Point Cloud (1) Previous (1) Project Artoo (1) Project Geppetto (1) Project Snap (1) R&D (1) Red Dot Award (1) Review-Service (1) Revit (1) Revit LT 2013 (1) Rhino (1) SDK (1) SMS (1) Secureload (1) Socialcam (1) Softimage (1) Solid Edge (1) SolidWorks (1) SpaceMouse Wireless (1) SpaceNavigator (1) Star Wars (1) SureColor (1) T-Series (1) TechSmith (1) The Future (1) Thinkstation E32 (1) Touch Screen (1) Trimble (1) TurboSite (1) TurboSite Reader (1) TurboViewer Pro (1) Unreconciled Layers (1) VBA (1) VOIP (1) Vault (1) Vault 2012 (1) Vela Systems (1) Visualization (1) WebOS (1) Welcome Screen (1) Windows Vista (1) Windows XP (1) Z1 (1) acad.doc (1) acad.lsp (1) acaddoc.lsp (1) acquisition (1) advice (1) aerial (1) all-in-one (1) angles (1) archive (1) arcs (1) author (1) autocad 2012. autocad lt 2012 (1) autocad. autocad for mac (1) autodesk logo (1) background (1) break (1) burrito (1) business (1) celebrate (1) check (1) checklist (1) chrome (1) chrome os (1) chromebook (1) climate (1) coming soon (1) communicate (1) constraints (1) construction (1) copier (1) crowd funding (1) customize (1) deadlines (1) design process (1) designer (1) desktop subscription (1) different language (1) draftsight (1) eMFP (1) ePrint (1) employee (1) employer (1) engineer (1) environment (1) event (1) feeds (1) file sharing (1) filepath (1) fix it (1) folders (1) font (1) government fail (1) groups (1) guide (1) hatching (1) imagery (1) initial setup (1) input (1) install (1) intel (1) internet (1) investment (1) isometrics (1) labels (1) layer manager (1) linetype (1) livestream (1) logo (1) macro (1) malware (1) message (1) mice (1) model space (1) modeling (1) multi leaders (1) navigation (1) newsletter (1) notifications (1) offset (1) opinion (1) options (1) overrides status bar (1) parametrics (1) patches (1) pay-as-you-go (1) perpetual license (1) podcast (1) poll (1) polyline (1) prank (1) printer failure (1) printers color (1) project draw (1) project files (1) project workflow (1) questions (1) recommend (1) release (1) remove (1) rent (1) repair (1) resume (1) reverse line direction (1) right click (1) save (1) scale (1) scanner (1) screen capture (1) sea turtles (1) send files (1) settings (1) snap (1) software (1) solutions (1) sony (1) student (1) subscription center (1) sustainability (1) system variables (1) tabs (1) tech snob (1) transparency (1) trial (1) undo (1) uninstall (1) viewports (1) virus (1) webcast (1) wiki (1) workplace (1)