Inventor 2018

“Inventor 2018 is built for the continually evolving needs of the modern design and engineering professional.”

Evolution of the Aardvark

Evolution of the Aardvark by T. Michael Keesey

Autodesk continues the trend started with Inventor 2017, which is improving and enhancing existing functionality.

I will admit to initially being a bit disappointed when I read the “what’s new” and the limited new features. It’s kind of like getting socks Christmas morning, but then discovering they are sweat wicking, liquid cooled, infrared heated, and Bluetooth enabled so that they can adjust the temperature based on the weather forecast…. disappointment turns quickly into excitement!

After using this version for a while, I have really come to love many of the enhancements and tweaks. The browser enhancements alone are worth the update as is the new 3D annotation workflow.

Inventor 2018 = 2017 + R2 + R3 + R4

For those moving to 2018 from a version older than 2017, start by reviewing our posts detailing the new features in Inventor 2017 as well as the mid-year subscription R2 and R3 releases.

Autodesk Inventor 2017 What’s New Summary

Autodesk Inventor 2017 R2

How Inventor 2017 Rocks with R3!

The List of Inventor 2018

Here’s a quick rundown of the new and improved areas within Inventor 2018.


General Enhancements

  • Productivity and Performance Enhancements
  • Browser Enhancements
  • Measure Enhancements
  • Sorting Enhancements
  • General Enhancements


  • Model-Based Definition
  • Sheet Metal Updates
  • Extrude Enhancements
  • Hole Enhancements
  • Chamfer Enhancements


  • Assembly Open Enhancements
  • Shrinkwrap and BIM Content Enhancements


  • Drawing Open Enhancements
  • Drawing support for Mesh Objects
  • Text Annotation Enhancement
  • Export to PDF Drawing Enhancement


  • AnyCAD and Translator Enhancements
  • DWG Underlay Enhancements


  • AnyCAD for Inventor
  • Presentation Enhancements

Inventor 2018 Performance Improvements

Inventor 2018 improves the performance across the board. This includes Zooming in & out using the minimum frame rate. It is a minor enhancement but has a big payoff in the terms of performance.

Assembly performance got some loving in the form of reduced open times – specifically with a nested file structure – and faster selection and highlighting (express and full mode).

For easier access to Express mode (assemblies), it is now selectable directly within the Open dialog. The Open Assembly dialog is rearranged for easier access to features and information.



For drawings, enjoy these performance improvements:

  • Faster drawing view hidden line computation
  • Quicker Move, Pan, and Rotate Views
  • Faster drawing view creation, preview, edit view, and change view rep
  • Improvements to 2D graphic rendering for sketches, drawing views, and DWG Underlays
  • Faster component selection in drawings
  • Faster raster view rendering
  • With deferred drawings, Defer Updates is now available within the right-click context menu
  • Added View Preview (glasses) to the View dialog (bounding box vs. full preview)

Inventor 2018 introduces a view update delay so that as you edit the view scale the view doesn’t start to update with each number entered.

If Inventor cannot generate the full drawing preview within 3-seconds a progress bar now displays. By clicking Cancel, the preview option is disabled and a bounding box preview is shown instead.

The Open Drawing dialog now provides a drop-down for easier access to Defer Update. Similar to the Assembly Open dialog, this dialog is rearranged for easier and more consistant access to the tools and information.

Inventor 2018 Drawing Open Dialog

Mini-toolbars no longer show by default for Extrude, Revolve, Fillet, Shell, Face Draft, Chamfer, and Joint. To re-enable (if you use them), use the Mini-toolbar option within the User Interface panel on the View tab of the ribbon.

Inventor 2018 Mini Toolbars


CATIA R6 – V5-6R2016 is now available for import.

Inventor 2017 R4 introduces the ability to place newer versions of Inventor part and assembly files. This means, for example, that you can reference Inventor 2018 files within Inventor 2017 via AnyCAD. This also means you will be able to reference Inventor 2019 data within Inventor 2018.

DWG Underlays are now placeable directly into an assembly, without going into a part file first. The right-click menu on the DWG Underlay within the assembly browser now matches the features to the menu within a part. This includes Delete, Translate, Redefine, Visibility, and Layer Visibility.

Right-clicking on a DWG Underlay within the browser (part or assembly) now includes an Open in AutoCAD option to open the Underlay directly within AutoCAD.

DWG Underlay sketch geometry now automatically projects, similar to how model edges and other features do when creating a sketch.

Joints now align correctly to the Underlay geometry, which didn’t always occur within Inventor 2017.


The Simplify tab has been retired and merged into the Simplification panel on the Assembly tab.

Inventor 2018 Simplification Panel

The Shrinkwrap tools are enhanced with more control, an improved user interface, and an improved workflow. The workflow is identical whether starting with Shrinkwrap from the Simplification panel or by creating a new shrinkwrapped Level of Detail.

Inventor 2018 Shrinkwrap Dialog Tabs

The Shrinkwrap dialog now contains three tabs:

  • Components for document type information like the representations and the tools for removing components. This includes the toggle to switch to viewing the included or excluded components.
  • Use Features tab to remove or preserve features
  • The Create tab contains the file related information, the style, and other settings

Other Goodies

Presentations (IPN) now support surfaces. This includes window selection, applies tweaks to surface bodies, and using surfaces to orient the tweak triad.

Drawings views now support Mesh objects.

Inventor 2018 Mesh Drawing Views

You can now add a border to text using the Text Border option.

Inventor 2018 Text Border

Based on an Ideastation submission, PDF Drawing export settings are now persistent across sessions. This includes the sheet range and the new option Display Published File in Viewer.

Inventor 2018 PDF Options

Part Modeling Updates and Model Based Definition

The enhancements to part modeling are covered in detail in these posts:

Inventor 2018 Part Modeling Enhancements

Model Based Definition Now within Inventor (Coming Soon!)

In Review

Whew! As you can see, even though Inventor is lacking new features, the list of enhancements, updates, and tweaks within Inventor 2018 is quite extensive. The highlights for me is easily the browser enhancements, Model-Based Definition, the updates to the Part Modeling tools, and the performance improvements. I’m sure many will love the changes to DWG Underlays and the ability to place them straight into an assembly.

All I can say is its time to dive in and get going!


Feature Image by Miguel Salgado from Unsplash