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    By Dennis Collin

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    It’s that time of year again when AutoCAD and its LT little brother, have a new version. Earlier this week the 2021 version was released. The file format is unchanged from the 2018 release which is good news for existing users. This version has several new features that make the drawing process and issuing of drawings easier.

    Over the coming weeks I will go into these features in more detail but here are the main features at a glance.

    Enhanced Trim and Extend Option - automated boundary detection and entity behaviour. Trimming and extending elements seems much more intuitive and the modification outcome seems more reliable.

    Enhanced Revision Cloud - This has become a new object type with the arc size setting considering your current zoom scale. This means a cloud will always look correct when showing and plotting mark-ups.

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    New Breakatpoint command - It has always been there, but the command has been totally rewritten and now works far more reliably, snapping elements into two or more parts.

    Enhanced Quick measure function - Now includes area options. Unfortunately, still no unit awareness, but still a useful addition to our standard AutoCAD toolsets.

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    New feature - view drawing history. If you save drawing files to a OneDrive, Dropbox or Box account, additional versions of these drawing files are created as you work, creating a version history. The previous versions will be listed in the new Drawing History palette so you can compare them with the current version of your drawing.

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    Enhanced Block Palettes - The Blocks palette has been enhanced to provide more convenient access to blocks anytime and anywhere. Use your Autodesk account with a supported cloud storage provider (Box, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive) to get quick and anytime access to your recent blocks and block library drawings.

    New XREF Compare command. Adding to the existing drawing compare feature, you can now compare the changes made to a drawing file attached as an external reference (xref) file to the current drawing. Any changes to the referenced drawing or a compared drawing are highlighted using revision clouds.

    Also, there has been some enhancements to zoom and viewport performance for both 2D and 3D screen regen operations. In addition, there are other enhancements for touch screen devices, Lisp handling and other under-the-hood enhancements.

    The AutoCAD environment looks the same, which is good for existing users who want to keep up with technology, but not lose time with learning new buttons and interfaces. It is certainly worth checking it out and is available to download and install from your Autodesk account now.

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