Autodesk has released a new version of AutoCAD WS and has implemented several changes to their mobile CAD product. First off, AutoCAD WS has a new name. From henceforth it shall be called “AUTOCAD 360”!! That makes sense. It goes along with the rest of Autodesk’s cloud based 360 branding. The WS, according to Autodesk, never actually stood for anything anyway. (I always suspected it either stood for Web Service or that the URL was available so they went with it.) The other big change is that there are now three versions of AutoCAD 360; free, Pro, and Pro Plus. The free version will essentially look and feel like what we have been using these past few years. The Pro and Pro Plus versions will require a monthly subscription but provide more storage space, more tools and better support.
There are several new tools and features in this latest version of AutoCAD
One of the newest features is the Smart Pen. This new tool aids in creating basic geometry. It allows users to sketch a shape, one that is not exact, and then automatically form it so it is a square, or circle, etc. It makes for easier object creation or for quick sketching. You can always take your time and create exact figures. There are other minor tweaks and improvements in the already existing tool sets. The biggest change will be in the Pro versions.
The Free version is free of course; the Pro version will cost $4.99 per month (U.S. Dollars) or $49.99 per year. The Pro Plus version will be $99.99 (U.S. Dollars) per year.
The Pro plan allows you to create drawings. This has probably been the number one request for AutoCAD 360 since it was first available. You also get larger file support. The Pro version allows for files up 30 MB and the Pro Plus allows for files that are up to 40 MB. AutoCAD 360 Pro also allows for editing files directly from third party file storage services like Dropbox, Box, Egnyte, Buzzsaw and custom WebDAV connections. The free version will open files stored in these services but to edit and save them the files will have to be stored in your Autodesk 360 account. The Pro version also provides for viewing point coordinates. Pro has the ability to use and draw Arc and Arrow drawing tools. There are also more tools in the Pro version. They are: Extend Vertex, Offset, and Mirror. Advanced Layer Management tools are available (add, rename, isolate, invert, lock.) There is a Properties Viewer (you can view object properties like layer, length, and area.) The Pro version also allows users to view, edit and add block attribute data. Now you can (with the Pro version) easily drag and drop blocks (insert blocks) from the drawing’s block collection. The block has to be in the file already, but the new block manager tool helps to insert them into the drawing. There are more measuring tools (measure lines, radius, and angles) There are also more dimension tools that can help document drawings more easily. Pro Users receive Priority-Support from Autodesk when things go badly. Pro Users also get more storage space in their Autodesk 360 accounts; up to 25 GB with a Pro plan and up to 100 GB with a Pro Plus plan.
The Web App (the browser based version of AutoCAD 360) has gone through a redesign. The tools are all there, the UI is different. It is meant to help stream line use and make things easier. Change is hard so if you have been using AutoCAD WS in the browser then you will need a few minutes to get used to AutoCAD 360. This new version of AutoCAD 360 is based on HTML 5. The old Flash Based version is gone. That means that it should work on a tablet’s browser now providing even more flexibility to users when out in the filed or when away from the computer. Right now the web app (browser version) is still in beta but you can access it and use it just as before.
Since the name has changed that means the website addressed has also changed. Going to autocadws.com will get you where you need to go, but the official address is now autocad360.com. The new mobile apps are available now on iOS and Android app stores.
Autodesk has stated that the intent of AutoCAD 360 has always been to provide a mobile tool that provides remote access to your data. AutoCAD 360 also is intended to provide a tool for collaborating with others. This new release and the release of the Pro versions will help to close the gaps between mobile, web and desktop.
Will you go Pro?