AutoCAD 2016 Favorite Features

With the release of AutoCAD 2017 out, which I am sure will have some pretty sweet new options and enhancements, I thought I’d reflect on my AutoCAD 2016 favorite features.
Like all users, it is not likely that every new feature or enhancement that comes out will be used.  One of the best strengths of AutoCAD is that it offers a variety of ways to be productive and is flexible enough to be used in any industry.  Like the rest of you, although there are so many new features, I have a few favorites.  Below are the top three features I have enjoyed the most – note that these all work in the LT version.


The XREF properties override variable will help many that deal with external references from providers that practice “Bad CAD” and change entity colors rather than use the color Bylayer option.  With this feature, less work is required on the end user to clean up the external files for their own use.  It can also quickly point out when objects have their color set to by “Entity” instead of the proper “Bylayer”.   How?  Look at the following two examples with the XREFOVERRIDE variable set ON (1) and OFF (0).
Image of a screen capture example when the XREFOVERRIDE is set to zero (0)


When the variable is set to OFF (0), the entities manually set to a color show up that color, and no matter what you do in your Layer  dialogue, you are stuck with that color.  You will have to go in to the actual XREF drawing and change the items to color by layer.

Image of a screen capture example when the XREFOVERRIDE is set to one (1)


When the variable is set to ON (1), the entities manually set to a color will show up as if they were properly set to color “Bylayer” and you will not have to go in to the actual XREF drawing and change the items to color by layer.  This is nice, because with this setting turned on, you can control the colors in your drawing through the layer dialogue and do not have to touch the XREF.  This goes for line types and layer visibility as well.


NOTE: Be sure to have your VISRETAIN variable set to “1” also.

Although the cleanup of external references can be done pretty quickly with a script, the ability to quickly attach a drawing and override the color to “Bylayer” without having to modify the base xreference is very nice.

REVCLOUD Enhancements:

There are a few items in the revision cloud area that have been enhanced and although I have created some scripts to enhance our revision handling process, the new enhancements are a nice addition.
REVCLOUD “Modify”:

Type or choose REVCLOUD command and then select “Modify” (M) option to add sections and remove (cleanup) sections of an existing revision cloud.  Note: Where you pick on the existing revision cloud is where the modification starts.  When you are all done, it is one cloud!

New System Variables:


 Defaults to a specific cloud creation methodology:
     0     = Freehand
     1     = Rectangular
     2     = Closed Polyline


 Controls the number of grips displayed on a revision cloud:
ON     = Endpoint and center grips for each segment (very clean, even on a freehand cloud)
Image of a screen capture example when REVCLOUDGRIPS is set to ON


OFF    = Grips for every arc endpoint and diameter (very messy)
Image of a screen capture example when REVCLOUDGRIPS is set to OFF



How many times have you opened a drawing and while your working, find out that variables have been changed or are set differently than you require or prefer?  The SYSVARMONITOR now gives you the opportunity to know it right away. This is by far my favorite addition to 2016, it’s just a simple GUI tool that anyone can setup with their favorite variables and the must haves for company standards.  As I deal a lot with other people’s drawings, I use this daily.  Once I turned my coworkers on to this, it made everyone’s daily work much better.
System Variable Monitor - AutoCAD 2016 Favorite Features

System Variable Monitor

You could create a Script or even a LISP to monitor and set these settings (which I have done in the past), but for those that want a simple solution – BAM! this is it.

What about you?!

 What are your favorites? In the comments below, let us know what you have benefited from the most in 2016.  If you have made the move to 2017 already, are there some new things you are happy to see?


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