First Look: AutoCAD for Mac 2018
Michael Alba posted on December 08, 2017 | 3352 views
AutoCAD for Mac 2018 includes the ability to flatten 3D scenes into 2D projections. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
AutoCAD for Mac 2018 includes the ability to flatten 3D scenes into 2D projections. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

If you’re in the steady minority of AutoCAD users using a Mac, you may at times have felt envious of your Windows-based peers for the differences in your AutoCAD experiences. With the 2018 release of AutoCAD for Mac, that envy may soon run the other way. AutoCAD for Mac 2018 brings a host of improvements and new features for Mac users, including an enhanced user interface, better macOS support, improved printing settings, Touch Bar support and more.

User Interface Improvements

AutoCAD for Mac 2018 users can import a variety of custom settings from previous versions. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
AutoCAD for Mac 2018 users can import a variety of custom settings from previous versions. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

One of the first features AutoCAD for Mac 2018 users will notice is a tool to migrate their settings from previous AutoCAD for Mac releases. Designed to save users the hassle of reconfiguring their workspace, this tool also grants fine-grained control of exactly which settings to import.

Once all settings have been imported, users will notice several improvements to the way they can manage their palettes. AutoCAD for Mac 2018 now allows users to undock, float and hide palettes, providing more flexibility in how they organize their workspace.

Users can now undock and position palettes wherever they choose. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
Users can now undock and position palettes wherever they choose. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

One of AutoCAD for Mac 2018’s most impressive features for power users is the ability to edit and build custom shortcuts. This process is made easier by live warnings that a custom alias is already in use, so users can be confident that their custom shortcuts don’t interfere with the defaults (unless they want them to).

Defining custom shortcuts in AutoCAD for Mac 2018. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
Defining custom shortcuts in AutoCAD for Mac 2018. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Windows Parity

There are plenty of features of AutoCAD for Mac 2018 that bring it more in line with its Windows counterpart. First off is the improved plot and page setup, which previously limited users in printer options and paper sizes. Now, users can select “none” as an option for the printer, allowing them to select any paper size they choose for easier export to PDF.

The AutoCAD for Mac 2018 plot and page setup window. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
The AutoCAD for Mac 2018 plot and page setup window. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Users will also be happy to learn that the top feature request on the AutoCAD for Mac forums has been added: flattening objects. Now, users can quickly and easily flatten objects and project them into their chosen plane, avoiding the tedious workarounds that were necessary in previous versions that lacked this capability.

AutoCAD for Mac 2018 includes a new Flatten Objects feature. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
AutoCAD for Mac 2018 includes a new Flatten Objects feature. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Another very popular feature with users is the ability to select objects while panning, so they don’t have to zoom way out to see their entire model just to select it. AutoCAD for Mac 2018 also brings support for SHX Text in PDF imports, and sets the default file path to relative, both features designed to save even more user time and hassle.

Made for the Mac

Of course, AutoCAD for Mac 2018 wouldn’t be complete without a few Mac-specific features that can capitalize on the uniqueness of the Mac platform. Chief among these is support for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar, the touchscreen strip that replaces the function keys to enable application-specific shortcuts.

While AutoCAD for Mac users could previously use the Touch Bar only for its standard F keys, the Touch Bar can now be customized to fit each user’s preferences. While the F keys can still be used, there are now icons in the Touch Bar that symbolize the shortcuts they represent, and these icons can be reordered and swapped out as desired.

Customizing the Touch Bar in AutoCAD for Mac 2018. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
Customizing the Touch Bar in AutoCAD for Mac 2018. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Updates to the Mac operating system will now also be addressed much more immediately. Instead of waiting a month or so, AutoCAD for Mac 2018 will support any macOS updates on the day of release, saving users the unwanted choice of using an outdated OS, or upgrading and breaking AutoCAD. But for users who are afraid of change, don’t fret—AutoCAD for Mac will support the current OS and the previous two, giving you at least a few years before the cold hand of progress forces you forward.

For the Windows perspective on AutoCAD 2018, check out “AutoCAD 2018’s Top Features.”

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