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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac Released

October 14th, 2014 by Jeff Rowe

Coming about six months after its major Windows releases, Autodesk, Inc. announced today the releases of AutoCAD 2015 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac.

Although Autodesk estimates that only 1-3% of all Macs run CAD software, this is still a significant milestone for AutoCAD for the Mac platform, now in its fifth release. Significant because in the five years since the first release of AutoCAD for Mac, the Mac platform base and presence has expanded from about 15 million to today’s approximately 80+ million. A nice increase in potential market.

AutoCAD 2015 For Mac Overview

According to Autodesk, the new releases of the software make it easier for users to create drawings and designs on the platform of their choice without sacrificing important functionality that is key to everyday design workflows. Users can also share their work with colleagues that are using Windows versions of the software for uninterrupted collaboration – and this is a huge essential for success in a shared Windows/Mac design environment.

“The new releases of AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD LT for Mac are among the most significant updates in the products’ five-year history,” said Amy Bunszel, vice president of AutoCAD products at Autodesk. “This release has some rich new features but at its core, it is about eliminating dead ends that prevent people from being as effective as they can be when working together on design projects.”

We spoke with Micah Dickerson, Senior Product Manager for AutoCAD for Mac on the new releases, and he said one of the primary goals of the 2015 releases for Mac was to improve the user experience on many different levels (also discussed in the enhancements below). He said the main release points for improving the user experience were:

  • The general ability to work together better (collaborate) in a hybrid Mac/Windows AutoCAD design environment.
  • The ability to create cross-platform drawings.
  • The ability to minimize workflow deadends.

Key new enhancements include:

  • Dynamic Blocks. Mac users gain the ability to create and edit Dynamic Blocks—a capability previously limited to Windows users. This feature enables them to insert one block that can change shape, size, or configuration instead of inserting several static blocks.
  • Layer States. Mac users can also 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. This enhancement allows users to embed Excel spreadsheets in drawings with cross-platform links that are no longer broken.
  • Quick Select. The Quick Select tool allows users to quickly select objects based on query criteria, enabling users to easily select exactly what they need in their drawing. The Quick Select tool also includes a “preview” option so that users can see what they’re about to select before they commit to the selection. Because there is so much selection criteria, this enhancement eases the Windows–>Mac transition.

I asked Dickerson how close to the Windows version the Mac version of AutoCAD was. He said from a functionality standpoint, they are virtually identical with regard to icons, and menu functions, such as a a new, true model/paper space toggle for Mac. The UI, however, is much more Mac-centric, with things such as floating palettes, etc. He said that while most of the code is developed cross-platform, there are a few specialized developers that address the Mac OS and UI.

When asked about the percentages of AutoCAD for Mac users in specific design markets, Dickerson estimated that about 2/3 were AEC and 1/3 were MCAD. Not too surprising.

Autodesk has really embraced the Apple and  Mac markets, and it will be interesting to see if those markets embrace Autodesk in kind.

Additional details about the software, including pricing and availability, are available here. Also be sure and check out the three purchase models that are available for AutoCAD/AutoCAD LT 2015 for Mac.

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