AutoCAD Mac update brings feature set closer to Windows

Barely more than half of AutoCAD key features can now be found in the Mac version.

Autodesk has updated AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD LT for Mac, bringing the Mac versions of the leading drafting software closer to its Windows counterpart. The new features in AutoCAD Mac 2015 means almost half of the features Autodesk considers important are now included, according to its own comparison list published online.

With AutoCAD 2015, Mac users can now make and edit dynamic blocks. (Graphic: Business Wire)
With AutoCAD 2015, Mac users can now make and edit dynamic blocks. (Graphic: Business Wire)

According to Autodesk, key features added in this release include:

Dynamic Blocks: Mac users gain the ability to create and edit Dynamic Blocks, known as symbols in other CAD software. Dynamic blocks can change shape, size, or configuration as needed, making these pre-drawn items more versatile than static blocks, which were already available in the Mac version.

Layer States: Mac users can now save their layer settings as Layer States, which store information like color, linetype, and information about whether a layer is turned off, frozen, or locked. Prior to the 2015 releases, Mac users were unable to view any of the layer states information their Windows colleagues had embedded within a drawing.

Data Linking: Users who need to link a table to data in a Microsoft Excel file can use the new Data Linking feature, and their table will automatically update as external changes are made. This feature is especially helpful when managing large amounts of information about things like materials or fixtures.

Quick Select: The Quick Select tool allows users to quickly select objects based on query criteria for faster access. The Quick Select tool also includes a “preview” option so users can see what they’re about to select before they commit to the selection.

What’s not there yet? According to Autodesk, 60 of 125 key features in six different areas are not yet available (in User Interaction, Documentation, Design, Connectivity, Licensing, and Customization). The full list—including a few features available in AutoCAD for Mac but not in the Windows version—are listed on the Autodesk website.

What do we think?

For many years, if you wanted to do drafting on the Mac, you had many choices but AutoCAD was not one of them. It is nice that the market leader has seen fit to again support Mac, and is making annual updates. But Autodesk will never be the leader in Mac-based CAD; that battle was waged and lost 15 years ago.