The new AutoCAD is here, the new AutoCAD is here! Yes, it is that time of year already, the time of the year Autodesk rolls out its new versions. As per norm, AutoCAD is first.

It’s not always easy switching to a new version. It’s like you are the maestro of a big ensemble and you’ve got the band producing the best music you’ve ever heard. Now however, you’ve been ambushed with new members, new instruments, a new venue, and new music and you’ve got a week to pull it all together. But don’t worry, this new release of AutoCAD is chock full of new features but nothing that is going to hold you back from conducting the best drawings of your life.

Conductor - Frederik MagleConductor – Frederik Magle

What’s New?

The new features and improvements fall into five categories

  1. User Interface (this post)
  2. Documentation
  3. Design
  4. BIM
  5. Installation and Configuration (this post)

Let’s start with the two things you’ll notice first… installation and the user interface!

The User Interface Experience

AutoCAD 2015 introduced an updated user experience. It was darker, sleeker, and to me almost sexy. No big changes to the UI this year, just some honest-to-goodness, UI tweaks that will improve the AutoCAD experience.

Updated File Tabs

The New Tab introduced with 2015 has been renamed to Start and now remains “persistent”, meaning it will always be there as the first tab. Creating new drawings or opening existing drawings will be easily accomplished from this tab, and like a good friend will always be there when you need it.

AutoCAD 2016 Start TabIf you prefer to not see this within AutoCAD use the renamed STARTMODE system variable (set to 0) so that it is not displayed. The new command GOTOSTART (or keyboard Ctrl + Home) quickly takes you to this tab, activating it in the process

Drag-and-Drop Layouts

One of the few Excel-like behaviours that AutoCAD Layouts have been missing has been finally implemented… you can now drag-and-drop layout tabs to move them!.

Wrapping Status Bar

The status bar will now automatically wrap onto two rows when it runs out of space for the icons. The model tab and at least one layout tab will always be visible in the first row.

AutoCAD 2016 Wrapping CommandlineShow me the Galleryview

Use the new GALLERYVIEW system variable to enable (1) or disable (0) galleries are used to insert blocks or various styles. With GALLERYVIEW set to 0 it reverts back to pre-2015 functionallity that no drop-down appears. The only option is to click the button to launch the dialog. [NOTE: I really like the idea of the gallery but find the icons much too large making it hard to sift thru all the blocks. If only there was a way to control the icon size]

AutoCAD 2016 Galleryview Off

AutoCAD 2016 Galleryview OnJust be Yourself

Signing into either the help or into A360 automatically logs you into the other as well

Find Waldo (the new UI Finder)

Clicking on Find link in a help window causes an animated arrow to point at the location of the tool in the user interface. This is phenomenal, especially for new users. Can’t wait to see this in the other Autodesk products.

AutoCAD 2016 UI FinderWhat about the rest?

(aka the other UI Enhancements)

  • The new CLOSEALLOTHER command closes all open drawings except for the drawing that is active [NOTE: I LOVE IT!]
  • The Tip of the Day on the Learn page now updates every 24-hours, but use the arrow to cycle through the recent tips.
  • Isolate objects & Lock UI are now available from the status bar customization menu

AutoCAD 2016 Lock UI and Isolate

Installation & Configuration

Improved Graphics

If you are using DirectX 11 capable hardware and have hardware acceleration enabled curves will be shown perfect in 2D Wireframe as they will be smooth at any zoom level. Gone are the days of Regen when you have zoomed & panned as far as possible as REGENAUTO takes care of performing the regens for you. Within the Graphics Performance dialog enable “High quality geometry (for capable devices)” to take advantage of this new feature.

System Variable Monitor

AutoCAD has hundreds of system variables, many that are managed through dialogs, but still plenty that are managed from the commandline. One of the 2016 highlights, at least for CAD Managers, is the new System Variable Monitor. With this new feature you define a system variable standard. When the settings change from the standard you are notified. Using the dialog you can adjust the variable settings individually or use the Reset All option to reset all settings back to default.

AutoCAD 2016 System Variable Changed Balloon

The System Variable Monitor comes preconfigured with a list of variables that are often inadvertently modified.

AutoCAD 2016 System Variable Monitor Dialog


The Executable File Settings section on the Systems tab of AutoCAD’s has been renamed to Security Options to better reflect what can be accomplished.

  • a new slider Ito adjust the security level
  • browse to add or remove trusted folders for executable files.
  • controls to include or exclude the Start In or drawing folders when searching for executable files.

 AutoCAD will warn if apps, including Exchange Apps, are loaded from program data or user data.

AutoCAD 2016 Security OptionsSingle Service Pack

An under the radar type enhancement that is great for us using “vertical” versions of AutoCAD…. we don’t have to wait for vertical specific versions of AutoCAD updates! Service packs created for AutoCAD will be applicable to vertical versions too.

What Else?

  • During deployment, you can disable the Start tab
  • CURSORBADGE manages the display of the cursorbadge introduced in 2015. What a polarizing feature… people loved it (like me) or hated it… but now you have the option to use it (2) or not (1)