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zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
30 Jan 12 11:39
I recently "upgraded" to AutoCad 2012 and so far I hate everything about it.  The stuff that hadn't changed in 10 releases that I could do automatically (my last version was 2008) now seems to be impossible.  

For example, at 8:00 am I realized that the object-snap default was not to snap to mid point (which has been the default for a long time, I always have to change it) and I needed to find the Drafting Settings dialog box.  It is now 9:37 and I still haven't found it.  The help sucks (what ever happened to being able to limit help searches to the user manual?) and I can't find the keyhole into the drafting settings screen (I've seen screen prints of it several places but the starting point of the help doesn't get back to how to open the dialog box).

I have a very large scree, but I can't seem to find any way to adjust the icons on the bottom of the screen big enough see them.  Does anyone find this crap to be useful?

I guess I'm going to have to take a basic course 25 years after I started using this stinking program.

mflayler (Mechanical)
30 Jan 12 12:27
Right click on your icons in the Status Bar and toggle off the "Use Icons"  That will get you your words back.  Also for Drafting Settings you can and have always been able to right click on your status symbols in the bar and choose Settings.

Also they have an update course available for transitioning 2008 users.  In fact there is a book just for the changes over that timeframe.  The one for 2008 to 2012 covers most of the interface changes your are running into.

Here are some other tips.  If you haven't already converted back to Classic mode you can at least get your file pulldowns back by use the MENUBAR system toggle.  I personally really like the Ribbons, but I also miss my pulldowns.  I also add the Layer pulldown to my Quick Access Toolbar for times when I am away from the Home Tab.
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
30 Jan 12 13:04
Which one is the "status bar"?  Got it.  That helps a TON.  Any way to make the words bigger?

I'm using CADWORXX P&ID and I haven't figured out how to put that ribbon ("drop down", I don't even know the language) on the classic ribbon (?)

I've opend the link.  I'll take a look at it after lunch.  GOD I hate feeling like a noobie.

MiketheEngineer (Structural)
30 Jan 12 13:30
Try TurboCad.

I could teach a trained monkey to use it in 1/2 an hour....
mflayler (Mechanical)
30 Jan 12 14:37
And you would get no where near the efficiency or tools of AutoCAD if you were that trained monkey.
francesca (Civil/Environmental)
30 Jan 12 21:54
I used to know the command to get your menus back. Erm. Anyway, it's there if the AutoCAD Classic workspace isn't.  
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
30 Jan 12 23:37
I finally found (in an AutoCad for Dummies book) that if you right click on one of the "snap" icons (or words, thank you mflyler) then you can select Drafting Settings from the drop down.

The recommended course requires ordering the book so I can't start it till after Feb 9.  I'll limp along with the Dummies book till then.

brandonbw (Civil/Environmental)
31 Jan 12 11:05
First I would click the gear icon in the bottom right corner and change that to Autocad Clasic.  That gets rid of the ribbon.

If you know how to use old Autocad, don't forget you can always use the command line.  In your situation typing osnap would have done it.

Also you can right click on the blank space in the bar on the top of the screen, pull down Autocad, then select Object Snap.  That toolbar will come up and select the magnet icon on the very right.

I went to college when CAD was switching to icons, so it's really nice to see how some people use icons and others use commands.  Turns out certain things can be done faster using all of the above.  I cannot stand the current ribbon interface though.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil and Structural Engineering

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
31 Jan 12 12:09
I "upgraded" because I needed a P&ID program and chose CadWorx.  The P&ID program they sell won't work with a non-ribbon version of AutoCad (they have some sort of contract with AutoDesk that they will only support a limited number of back versions).  When I turn on the Classic menus the P&ID functionality is hidden.

I hate this FIU (not sure what the "F" is supposed to stand for, but I have my own opinion about what it should stand for).  I hate it in Office 2007.  I hate it here.  I don't run Windows 7 because of it (and a couple of other minor things).

I never can remember the environmental commands.  I can remember the 20 or so drawing commands that I've learned over the years, but things like osnap just won't stay in my head.

I bought Autocad 2011 for Dummies (they didn't have 2012 in my only local bookstore) and I'm going through it page by page.  The stuff the author thinks is cool I think is fluff.

MiketheEngineer (Structural)
31 Jan 12 12:49
At least a trained monkey is cheap and Turobcad can read Auto cad files when needed.. AC can only read AC files.

And it is like using an atom bomb to kill a fly.  Most people use maybe 2% of it's power - and it takes them twice as long!!

And at best it is "flaky" from time to time.  We have had to reload it from time to time!!  Not TC!!

As you may have figured - I HATE AC
SnTMan (Mechanical)
31 Jan 12 13:04
zdas04, I recently (reluctantly) upgraded from 2008 to 2011, I am not very happy with it. It actually seems to run slower than 2008 did and frustrates the cr#p out of me while I wait on it. It seems written to impress programmers rather than users.

I frankly don't think ACAD has gained any really useful 2D functionality since at least 2000. I'd go back to it if I could.


zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
31 Jan 12 14:30
In my dummies book, they pointed out that you can get the drop down Menu Bar from previous versions while still using the ribbon-crap.  With the option of using a familiar "Modify" or "Tools" drop down, the rest doesn't feel quite so foreign so I'm made more progress in a couple of hours today than in the week before.  If you haven't seen it, it is the arrow next to the one that picks a theme (last item that says "Show Menu Bar").  It helped a lot.

SnTMan (Mechanical)
31 Jan 12 15:52
Thank God these guys (and I mean all the people who "design" software updates) don't design cars and so forth.  
francesca (Civil/Environmental)
31 Jan 12 20:36
zdas, the ribbons are here to stay, so you'll have to get used to them. In the meantime, MENUBAR = 1 should give you your menus in tandem with the ribbon.
transmissiontowers (Structural)
31 Jan 12 22:50
I started with ACAD LT 98 and am mostly self taught and just use it to sketch out parts I am designing for structures.  We went to ACAD 2006 LT and got 1 copy of ACAD 2006 which I used for a couple of years until we upgraded to 2012.  I took a course on basic ACAD 2012 taught by old drafters that had been typing commands since R10 or earlier.

My intention was to learn 2012 and the ribbon.  What the instructor taught the class of 4 on a weekend was how to type the command to bring up the dialog box.  He had almost no experience with 2012 and his most common comment was "wow, this is really different, lets do it the way I know".  

The array command has become very visual and is much different than before.  If you really want to see something new, try the Array.

My productivity was way down until I used 2012 for a while and I am slowly getting back to where I was.  I got used to the ribbon and given a little time and practice, you can too.

The biggest thing I learned was how to bring up the temporary snap menu (not sure what it is really called).  In 2012 you hold the Control key and right click the mouse and the dialog box appears and you can select one of the snaps.  I really like the midpoint between 2 points.  I used to draw temporary construction lines and then select the mid point of that line, then erase the temp line.

All the commands and functions are still there, you and I just need to find where they went.

I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
1 Feb 12 7:11
Like I said above, once I turned the menu bar on and changed the indeciferable icons on the bottom into text, I was able to make progress.  I'm still having trouble finding the commands I need, but I was eventually able to overcome that problem in PowerPoint so I expect I'll overcome it here.

This morning I'm going to try to figure out how to expand the navigation bar so that I don't have to select a zoom mode every time (I use Window a lot, Extents sometimes, and the rest occasionally, I want to put all of them on the bar instead of grouping them.  Same with the trim/extend button.

mflayler (Mechanical)
1 Feb 12 19:27

Some quick productivity things...

Double click your wheel mouse button, that will do your Zoom Extents for you.

You can turn on toolbars still with the Ribbon interface as well.  Simply go to your View Tab --> Toolbars button and select some of your old favorites.

Consider adding your Layers pulldown to the Quick Access Toolbar.  Steps here.

I hate to linger on the TurboCAD comment, but there is a lot more utilization of AutoCAD than you think!  TurboCAD doesn't even come close for me.  Also, AutoCAD will open non AC drawings, but remember, non AC drawings are emulations of the code.  That speaks poorly to the developers of TurboCAD, not AC.
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
2 Feb 12 11:06

I guess we could argue the pros and cons until the cows come home.  I simply hate AC and all of its BS - IMHO.

I do 100% of my work in TC and I am 59 years old.  I beat the pants off my younger (20-30 year olds) day in and day out in terms of productivity.  And I have sent them to all kinds of classes, etc.

Granted we are not designing rocket ships here or multi-spatial buildings - but for what we do - it can't be beat.  (but you could do that in TC if need be)
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
2 Feb 12 11:07

A full blown license is only about $1000 vs about $3500 and updates are either very cheap or FREE!!!
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
2 Feb 12 11:50
I only "upgraded" to get CadWorx P&ID.  The level of drafting I do is pretty limited (not many people are going to pay my hourly rate for a job a draftsman could do better).  Most of it could easily be done with a pencil, compass, and a straight edge.  I'm sure that there are any number of products that would do what I need cheeper and easier, but the P&ID funtionality seems to skip from Visio (which I simply cannot make work for me, I've tried a half dozen times) to full-blown AutoCad.

I'm definately not a big AutoCad fan, but until this version it did everything I needed it to do, using a human-interface I'd grown comfortable with.  That isn't true anymore but since I just spent $7k on AutoCad and CadWorx I'm going to make it work.

soiset (Civil/Environmental)
7 Mar 12 20:00
Mike has me interested in looking at Turbocad.  My work is all 2D structural and civil, mostly structural - and no BIM or 3d required.  Back when I learned Autocad, it was version 11, and I found the improvements through 2000 to be easy to learn coming from 11 forward.  Even 2006 wasn't that bad, and I played around with the 3D on that.
But I've been using, or attempting to use, 2010 LT for a good while now, and my productivity has dropped, and my frustration levels have gone through the roof.  I don't know about you ME's, but I draw lines, some arcs, circles, letters, and arrows.  THAT'S IT.  Why the heck should drafting civil or structural be so much more complicated than putting a pencil to paper?  When the product of civil/structural engineering (plans, that is) has changed so very little in 50 years, why the heck do they so desperately need to introduce major changes to the process every couple years?  Why should someone that knows how to draft perfectly well have to take a week or more of expensive classes just to keep drafting, on the off chance that if they really take to the amazing new gizmos, that their productivity will improve enough to make up for the time lost and expense of taking those classes?
I think Autodesk makes these changes with drafting technicians, not engineers, in mind.  It's not nearly so expensive to keep re-educating a technician every few years, and besides, they generally spend at least 25% of their time at work with nothing to do, and they can dick around and learn all the new gee-whiz buttons and interfaces during that time.  That's often a fair assumption on Autocad's part, I guess, because I'd assume the majority of users are just technicians, not engineers.
Anyhoo, that's my rant.  Maybe I'm just getting dumb now that I'm 40.
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
8 Mar 12 15:02
Soiset -

You can buy TurboCad on E-bay way cheap - even new in the box.  Buy  odd versions number - like 11, 13, 15, 17.

For some DUMB reason - it seems that the even numbered ones were never any good -  WHY - I have no clue.  V18 seems pretty good!!!

They are up to V18 - but I still use 11.1 almost everyday.  But it can only read up to Autocad 2004 or so.  V18 can read up to AC 2012 plus about another dozen or so formats and can save them in those formats!!  See if AC can do that!!
MiketheEngineer (Structural)
8 Mar 12 15:06
Soiset -

BTW - I use it for 2D structural work only - although 3d is available.  Perfect use for this program....

NEVER had to reload - it may crash twice a year (esp if you have like 8 other apps running) - versus about twice a day for ACAD and I can hear my engineers screaming about it
chicopee (Mechanical)
9 Mar 12 22:41
The problem with Autodesk ACAD is that they have at least four ways of drawing excluding LISP and this program is or is becoming a dog unless you have more powerful computers. The funny part about these drawing program is that the ACAD technicians would be inept at drawing oblique and auxilliary views, unfolding views and the like.
rollupswx (Mechanical)
10 Mar 12 10:18


...can read up to AC 2012 plus about another dozen or so formats and can save them in those formats!!  See if AC can do that!!

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
10 Mar 12 16:21
I think your assumption is incorrect.  Engineering Technicians (I hate the concept of "just a technician") are no more adaptable than engineers, in fact most of them hate change even more than we do.  The changes are not to satisfy technicians.  The changes are to satisfy PROGRAMMERS.  The business model is that a new release every year is required to keep cash flow positive.  Programmers stopped being able to find useful changes about V11, and most of the changes since have been useless to anyone doing drafting at all.  In order to turn out the new release every year the programmers look at other products (like Office 10 and Windows 7) and just assume that everyone has gone to those stupid programs and want AutoCAD to look the same.  Then they talk to other programmers (who have also gone to the new stuff) and get confirmation.  

Autodesk is absolutely out of touch with their base and their bottom line shows it.

Even numbered programs sucking is a common occurrence.  The development cycle is about 2 years.  Historically, intermediate releases were mostly bug fixes.  So V8 might be a new version with a lot of gee whiz features and a ton of bugs.  V9 would be an accumulation of bug fixes to make the gee whiz work.  Then V10 would be buggy again.  I've seen it with MathCAD, AutoCad, Acrobat, PhotoShop, and back when Microsoft tried to come out with a new Office Suite every year they did it too.  I'm not sure why the buggy version tends to generally be the even numbered versions, but it keeps happening that way.

I started this thread in late January.  Six weeks later, I've gotten to the point that I don't open the Help screen before I open my drawing.  There is no way that all of the combined "upgrades" that they've made since 2009 would ever be worth the time that I've wasted hunting for the stuff that used to be at my fingertips.

francesca (Civil/Environmental)
10 Mar 12 20:30
zdas04, I agree about the business model being a new release every year... however, if you go near the AUGI forums and their wish list, you can see that the customers do indeed demand new features every year. Maybe if you're stuck in 2D CAD world you don't need anything new, but around the 2010 release, AutoCAD got the 3D modeling engine of 3ds Max. If you do anything in the 3D world, need to do some light rendering, and need to deal with a point cloud (in other words, if you are doing 21st century engineering), then you do indeed find the new releases useful and deficient in some functionality!  
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
11 Mar 12 14:43
If you compare the new feature list between 2010 and 2011, you'll see that they added a bunch of new stuff in 2010, and that the stuff they added in 2011 feels like the stuff that wasn't quite finished for the 2010 deadline and there is a lot less of it.  2012 again had a bunch of new stuff.  Most of it feels more "pretty" than "useful".  I was quite happy in AutoCAD 2006, not so much since.

As to "21st century engineering", for my discipline that seems to get done in Pro-E and Solidworks.  AutoDesk is just standing in the traffic dazed by the lights.  I had to purchase an add on (CadWorx) to even be able to lay piping out in AutoCad.  The render and light source stuff is pretty, but it is a whole lot more about interior design types than 21st century mechanisms.  

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
12 Mar 12 12:10
Based on advice above, I purchased "AutoCAD 2010 Update for AutoCAD 2008 Users" training course from Ascent a few weeks ago.  I haven't had time to open it till this morning.  I just worked through the entire course and there is not a single change mentioned in the course that represents an improvement to the way I do my job.  Not one.  

Every user of a program as complex as AutoCAD picks a subset of the universe of commands that work for them.  In 2008 and earlier, I could put the things that I needed and used on the side of the screen and click them as needed.  Now if I want a command that I use ALL the time (like "break") I have to know that it is on the "Modify" ribbon, but in the extended version so I have to hit a drop down under modify to get to it.  I use that command far more than I use "stretch", but "stretch" is on the main list--some programmer thought that "stretch" was more important than "break".  Maybe in the grand scheme it is, but in my workflow if I want to stretch something I drag a grip.  I break construction lines many times an hour.

From my point of view, I feel even stronger about my statement that annual enhancements of this program are more about programmers talking to programmers than actual end-user needs.

jmcoope3 (Mechanical)
12 Mar 12 12:40
Being a recent graduate in industry I feel your pain, most of us fresh-outs have never seen AutoCAD (they're too busy teaching us Pro-E and Solid Works).

I know i'll get rammed for this, but for a lot of my 2d and 3d details I use Google Sketchup now... the interface is a bit easier to use (like a heavily crippled Solidworks), it imports/exports just about anything (DXF, DWG...), and you can do anything you want in its Layout Program (Paperspace on steroids). I used to get a lot of shit for it around the office, but it saves a licence of 3d cad and I've rarely had anyone notice the difference on a submittal.  
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
12 Mar 12 14:39
Doesn't sound as dumb as Visio, and I know a lot of engineers that use that.

francesca (Civil/Environmental)
12 Mar 12 20:38
There is an IFC2SKP extension... SketchUp is a bonafide engineering tool!
rollupswx (Mechanical)
13 Mar 12 9:58


As to "21st century engineering", for my discipline that seems to get done in Pro-E and Solidworks.

If you are comparing AutoCAD (this is an AutoCAD forum) to Creo (Pro/E is gone) or SolidWorks you are not informed about 21st century solutions.

Autodesk Inventor is the Autodesk product equivalent to Creo or SolidWorks.

Why are you using AutoCAD if your discipline is mechanical?
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
13 Mar 12 18:56
Mostly because I started using it on mini-computers too long ago to be beleived.  The reason I stayed with it is CadWorx piping layout tools.  I'm a mechanical guy, but I mostly don't design mechinsims.  I do a lot of piping and P&ID stuff that CadWorx does really well.

transmissiontowers (Structural)
13 Mar 12 19:07
One of the ME guys I used to work with did pipe stress analysis for steam power plants but I can't remember the package but it might have been Caesar.  We were an ACAD shop but it was all in 2D drawing for piping and all the controls that are required to run a 600 MW unit.

I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
13 Mar 12 19:23
Caesar is a component of CadWorx.  I've done 2D in AutoCAD forever, but since 2008 I've been doing 3D piping layouts instead of iso's (one client made me go back and convert the 3D models that looked like photographs into traditional isometric drawings that looked like crap, CadWorx did it with a couple of clicks).

transmissiontowers (Structural)
13 Mar 12 19:51
It came to me after I posted that it was Coade, IIRC.

I do structural steel for transmission towers (hence my unimaginative handle) and steel columns for substation structures.  Not many things intersect at 90° angles.  I'm self taught on ACAD and started in ACAD-LT with the very first edition.  I do mostly 2D but am trying to learn more 3D.

I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

Helpful Member!  francesca (Civil/Environmental)
13 Mar 12 21:38
"3D" is easy to learn if you're using the right product. Trying to learn 3D in AutoCAD is like trying to eat cornflakes with a backhoe. It's possible, but nobody's going to enjoy it. Proper 3D products do the leg work on drafting & annotation.  
transmissiontowers (Structural)
13 Mar 12 22:41
When we detail towers, it is rarely to scale for the individual pieces which is called knocked down.  When I am trying to see what fits on an old tower, I do everything to scale in 2D.  When it comes time to send details to a fabricator, we often have a 2x2x1/4 angle that is 30 feet long with 2 holes on each end and 3 or 4 holes roughly equally spaced.  If drawn to scale, there is lots of white space and the gage lines for the holes and outstanding leg are on top of each other, so we shrink the white space down and make it look proportional.

What I would like to learn is to draw an angle in 3D and punch holes in it and make it a solid object and do this for several pieces that fit together, then assemble them to make a tower.

But back to the main topic.  We upgraded to Acad 2012 from Acad LT 2006 and got some network versions of 2012.  I was fairly decent at 2D and knew where the buttons were.  2012 had gone to the ribbon and I struggled for quite a while but I am getting better.

I took a beginners and intermediate class on ACAD 2012, and was hoping to learn where all my buttons went in 2012.  The beginner class was a waste but I learned a couple of things, such as Control -Right Mouse to bring up the snap menu.  The intermediate class was a little better and I learned some things about blocks.  The problem was that it was done on the weekends and the instructors were old CAD hands that used typed commands to do ACAD that they had been doing for 20 years.  I really wanted to get the ribbon down, but I got a couple of books that have step by step instructions on 2012.

It just takes practice and since I don't have to produce sheet after sheet of drawings, I can learn at my own pace.

I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

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