An Introduction to AutoCAD 2015

It seems that recently Autodesk have changed how they develop AutoCAD, 2015 gives us a new emphasis on usability, productivity and speed.

However you feel about Autodesk’s maintenance subscription strategy, it is finally opening up some changes in Autodesk’s ‘Ux’ (User Experience) development process.

Freed from having to have ‘Big Ticket’ developments in each new release to try and attract customers, Autodesk are looking back over their body of work to optimise AutoCAD’s performance and make it as user friendly as possible.

As a CAD manager, I have to asses each new release of AutoCAD and weigh up the new features against the cost of implementation (Down time, training, bugs). Want to know what I think of AutoCAD 2015? Read on ’till the end ;)

AutoCAD 2015 Splash Screen


Lasso selection: Lasso around objects like a window selection, or use the fence option to select every object you pass through.

Ribbon Galleries: Save time and clicks by visually accessing drawing content directly from the ribbon.

AutoCAD 2015 Ribbon Gallery

Command Preview: Evaluate potential changes before committing. Preview outcomes of frequently-used commands such as offset, fillet and trim. Use the cursor ‘badges’ as a visual que to the command you are in.
AutoCAD 2015 command preview

Tool finder: Use the ‘find’ command in the Help to see an animated arrow pointing directly to the location of the tool you are looking for.

AutoCAD 2015 Help Find

Mtext: Background is no fully transparent. Mtext works closer to a word processor, with auto bullets & numbering, and super/subscript finally sorted out. aUTOcad aUTOMATICALLY SWITCHES TO lowercase WHEN YOU FORGET TO TURN CAPSLOCK OFF! (NO MORE SHOUTING EMAILS!).

AutoCAD 2015 Mtext


Natural number sorting: In Layers list and other places that use Layers e.g. QSELECT.

Modelspace viewports: finally got an upgrade, making it super slick to add, remove or adjust viewports (I may even start using these again!).

3D Orbit: New option to orbit around your current selection.


New Tab page: Quickly open new and existing drawings and sheet sets from an ’empty’ tab.

AutoCAD 2015 New Tab


Add new Layout: Add a new layout using the ‘+’ button. If you have too many layouts to see across the screen, they are rolled up at the end. This should save time scrolling back and forth to find the layout tab you want.

Geographic Location: Incorporate Bing maps into your designs. Capture a map as a static image and freeze its location in your design.

Recap point cloud engine: Supports geographic location and new colour and lighting tools. Enables denser point cloud display. UCS can be aligned to ‘average’ point cloud planes.

AutoCAD 2015 Point cloud display

Autodesk Application Manager: Informs of product updates and extensions, seamlessly downloads and installs updates, can be centrally managed.

AutoCAD 2015 application manager


I’m most impressed with the work that Autodesk have done to speed AutoCAD 2015 up. There is nothing worse than the disruption caused by AutoCAD ‘freezing’ right in the middle of your workflow. In the 2015 release Autodesk have worked hard to utilize your GPU as well as CPU to make AutoCAD generally quicker.


Design feed: Design feed is now saved in the drawing (Instead of on the Autodesk 360 server). This allows you to have a running commentary within your DWG file of who has done what and when. Be careful when Archiving or eTransmitting to consider the new ‘Delete design feed’ option.

Properties Pallete and the status bar: have a smaller form factor, less scrolling up and down to get the option you need.

AutoCAD 2015 Dark UI

Dark Side UI: That right folks – the most talked about change yet! The AutoCAD 2015 User Interface is black. The official word from Autodesk is that it ‘reduces eye strain’, but I think that the AutoCAD for PC development team where just jealous of the cool dudes working on AutoCAD for Mac!

AutoCAD 2015 Black UI

What’s missing?

You can switch from the Dark UI to the 2014 Light UI, but you can no longer switch back the the ‘Classic’ interface. There doesn’t appear to be any reason why you can’t migrate your old user interface to the new version via the CUI editor if you are that way inclined.

The option to create an .EXE file from and Archive or eTransmit set is gone – probably a good thing.


This was most eloquently put by Todd Shackelford of  The Lazy Drafter Blog:

AutoCAD 2015 is one of those releases that you probably won’t even notice is helping you to be more productive. And then, one day, you will have to do some work on 2014… and the differences will become clear!

So what do I think? I’m pleased that Autodesk are working hard to clean up AutoCAD, fix all the old problems and finish off all those features that look cool but just missed the mark. Maybe there isn’t one stunning feature that you can point your finger at and say ‘that alone is worth the money’, but do you know what? I’m OK with that.

As a Drafter who still uses AutoCAD for 20+ hours a week, I’m looking forward to taking that sucka for a spin.

As a CAD manager, I will definitely look forward to helping my team work faster and more intuitively by installing AutoCAD 2015.

(But not until after the first service pack) ;)

Read on:

AutoCAD 2015 Blogger day – In Conclusion

4 Responses to “An Introduction to AutoCAD 2015

  • Mark P
    10 years ago

    A few lipstick and makeup changes like every year. Disappointed in removing the classic interface though. What’s the point of removing it? I’ve used hotkeys and shortcuts for yrs so I don’t need the ribbon. Looking up, down, up, down, up… wastes so much time. I’ll try it out and see if it makes a day-to-day difference. Thanks for the blog.

    • There’s no reason why you couldn’t import the classic interface from the older version of AutoCAD. I guess if enough people are doing it, Autodesk will add it back in ;)

      Let me know what you think of the Ribbon. Like you I don’t use the ribbon much, but I did get used to using it in 2012. I like the feedback from the context sensitive tools like Mtext…

      • Mark P
        10 years ago

        Ok scratch my last comment about the classic removal. It’s still in there. Whew! haha But after watching the “what’s new” videos, I’m actually considering leaving the ribbon on for drilled down/context specific commands. We’ll see. They do a nice job of showing users of all levels the capabilities of the new release. I’m rapidly moving more and more into Revit but I like the upgrades they’ve made to acad.

        • I am a command line man myself. I transferred to the Ribbon UI with release 2010. It was easy, precisely because I don’t use it much ;)

          What I do like are the Ribbon’s context sensitive commands. For example the MTEXT ribbon keep all the commands neatly at the top of the screen instead of in the canvas. They are great for feedback as you work.