Wednesday, July 30, 2008


List of Autodesk system variables

There are two new online resources of AutoCAD system variables (up to version 2009) - on the Hyperpics web and on the CADforum web.

Both lists use a different presentation style, each has a little different number of variables covered so if you really hunt some unusual variable, search both these lists.

As a user of German versions of AutoCAD, I like the list of international AutoCAD command names in the table of the web (next to the variables).


Thursday, July 17, 2008


SP1 for AutoCAD 2009 - is it still a "Service Pack"?

The first Service Pack for AutoCAD 2009 and AutoCAD LT 2009 is now available on

There are no really critical bug fixes in it - at least for me. The most important fix seems to be the potential drawing corruption problem on PURGE.

What is not clear is whether all the hotfixes which were published before this SP1 are already included in it. And the main confusion point is the name of this SP1 - Autodesk calls it "Update 1". Maybe this is a new naming scheme for Service Packs but all other references to this SP1, the file name of the SP1 and user experience is about "Service Packs", not "Updates".

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Next to Ribbon feel like Gibbon

GibbonNow, after a 3 month experience, I can express my feelings about the enhanced user interface in AutoCAD 2009 - the Ribbon. Almost all users I manage have similar experience (although there are some fans of the Ribbon in our office).

Simply I do not like it. It is not hatred but I still have not learned to live with it. I must admit it is much better than the Ribbon in Microsoft Office 2007. It is customizable, it can take up much less space it first of all it can be switched off. But I still cannot find commands that I was able to locate before with closed eyes, I miss the status information (colors, layers...) when I switch to another ribbon panel, the layer selectbox is squeezed too much, many commands need more clicks than before, etc. etc. I feel dumb and ape-ish. In short - with the Ribbon I am slower in using AutoCAD.

The only combination I can live with is the Ribbon with the old menubar (MENUBAR=1) but it makes little sense. Now I have noticed that also Inventor got the Ribbon interface. Well, this may be somewhat helpful for new users but I am sure it will hurt productivity of many existing users. The user interface is nicer, yes, and Autodesk marketing succeeded to "sell" this new feature as the main bait in AutoCAD 2009 - but all the other enhancements which are more useful for us users are somewhat hidden.

Autodesk may have different results of Ribbon usage derived from the CER data and other automatic reports of AutoCAD usage among customers. But there is IMHO a systematic error hidden in such statistics. The starting point is not the same. With the Ribbon as the default user interface, many users just keep the default setting and just do not bother or do not know that they can switch back to the classic menus.

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