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    By Martin Phelps

    AutoCAD 2014 users will have noticed there now is an additional bar across the top of the screen, displayed by default just below the ribbon menu. This is the “FILES TAB” and provides a fast and visual method of switching between open drawings, but it has some additional functions as described below.

    When the “FILE TABS” is turned on, a “TAB” for each open drawing is displayed at the top of the drawing display, the drawing “TABS” are displayed in the order the drawings have been opened Dragging and dropping the drawing tabs will change the order along the “FILES TAB”. If the list of displayed files exceeds the length of the tab, an overflow menu at the right of the tab provides access to these additional files. Selecting the double down arrow icon will give access to all files.

    The files tab can be turned on and off by either using the “FILE TABS” control icon in the “VIEW “tab of the ribbon menu.

    Or by unchecking the “DISPLAY FILE TABS” box in the “DISPLAY” tab of the “OPTIONS” dialogue box.

    Right mouse click on the “FILES“ tab will be displayed a menu giving the following options “NEW”, this will open the template dialogue box allowing template selection for the new file, “OPEN” will open the “SELECT FILE” dialogue box to select  an existing drawing, “SAVE ALL” files and “CLOSE ALL” files.

    Right mouse click on the “DRAWING TAB” with in the “FILES TAB” and a different menu is shown with the additional options to “SAVE AS”, “CLOSE ALL EXCEPT THIS TAB”, “COPY FULL FILE PATH”, and “OPEN FILE LOCATION”.

    Two additional icons may also be seen on the drawing file tabs showing the status of the file, a padlock icon indicating the file has been opened as read only, and an asterisk indicates the file has changed since the last save.

    When the cursor passes over the drawing tab, the file path is displayed temporally and preview images of both model and all layouts, the active view is highlighted by a pale blue box, and the plot and publish tools are also accessible , just like “QUICK VIEW” at the bottom right of the screen.


    When I first saw this addition I didn’t really see any point in it, and like many users my first thoughts where to turn it off, but now I see it as a valid production tool.