My experience of AutoCAD 2006 aka Rio.

Retired by Autodesk in 2009

Previous AutoCAD version AutoCAD 2005 and newer version AutoCAD 2007.

 

New and/or enhanced functions

New and/or enhanced functions and some bug fixes.

Hatch enhancements

AutoCAD Hatch creation is enhanced to include ability create separate hatches. This is useful if you want to hatch multiple objects and have the hatches separated. The custom hatch tab has been improved. Instead of showing the whole path to the hatch as it did before only the name shows and the path as a tool tip.

AutoCA2006hatch.png (41875 bytes)   AutoCA2006hatchgrad.png (48183 bytes)  

 AutoCA2006hatchgradopt.png (67973 bytes)   AutoCA2006hatchCustom.png (15423 bytes)

Hatch editing has been enhanced to include ability to recreate boundary. You can even choose if you want it associated with the hatch or not as well if you want it as a region or a polyline. (No more need for my hatchb.lsp tool ;-)

You have also much more control of the hatch origin now. You can set it to bottom left or right, top left or right, center or pick a point. It's also possible to easy remove and add islands as well as view the current selection even on existing hatches.

The dialog box has been streamlined and is more intuitive now. Here is how it looked like in 2005 and now in 2006.

 AutoCA2005hatchedit.png (29875 bytes)  

The area of one or multiple hatches can also easily be retrieved using the properties of the hatch object(s). See the cumulative area below.

AutoCA2006hatchProp.png (9342 bytes)

The area can also be retrieved with a field as shown below. Observe also the improved formatting that allows to convert from mm² to m² as well as adding prefix, suffix and more.

AutoCAD2006hatcharea.png (82033 bytes)

Sheet Set Manager

The eTransmit Transmittal Setups dialog box has a new Import button that opens the Import Transmittal Setups dialog box.

New Project Control properties have been added to the Sheet Set Manager. Project number, Project name, Porject phase, Project milestone.

To open a sheet or resource drawing in a read-only mode, right-click the name of the sheet and click Open Read-Only on the shortcut menu. If the sheet or resource drawing is already open, the Open Read-Only shortcut menu item is unavailable.

Missing sheet status icon. You now receive visual notification if sheets in the Sheet Set are not found. The icon for the sheet is replaced with a red exclamation point (!) if the sheet name is unavailable or if a subset is missing all sheets.

SSMPOLLTIME - Controls the time interval between automatic refreshes of the status data in a sheet set.

SSMSHEETSTATUS - Controls how the status data in a sheet set is refreshed.

Sheet and Sheet Set information/properties can be published to DWFs.

Eattext can grab block attribute data from Sheet Sets.

Import multiple layouts or drawings as sheets.

Sheet Set Publish Options dialog has been modified to also include block properties and attributes in published DWF files.

It's possible to select multiple sheets and open them or open them as read only.

Renaming of sheets has been improved.

Now it's possible to rename the file name as well.

The option "Rename Associated Drawing File to Match Sheet Title" changes the drawing file name to match the sheet title.

The option "Prefix Sheet Number to File Name" changes the drawing file name to a new name formed by adding the sheet number to the beginning of the sheet title.

There is a "Previous" button in the rename and renumber dialog box for sheets and views so now you can take either the next sheet or the previous.

On the View List tab you can select if you want to view by "category" or by "sheet".

The Sheet Properties also includes Revision number, Revision date, Purpose and Category.

The Create Sheet Set Wizard has an option to "Create a folder hierarchy based on subsets.

There is a new little button on the Sheet List tab that lets you refresh the sheet status.

When creating subsets there is an option to "Create Folders Relative to Parent Subset Storage Location". This option provides a convenient method for creating a folder hierarchy in parallel with the subset hierarchy.

Sheet Set Manager metadata is published into the DWF XML.

Network licenses

A new thing that is great with AutoCAD 2006 and when using network licenses is that you can borrow the license more than 30 days as it was before. As you can see from the image I can set it to borrow up to 180 days now. This is great when you have people having to work off the network for a longer period.

AutoCAD2006borrow.png (11994 bytes)

Blocks

AutoCAD 2006 now applies unit ratio between block and drawing units with all types of insertions.  Before it only worked with Design Center, Tool Palettes, and i-drop.

Attribute position within the block can be locked. Here is how to control this on existing blocks using AutoLISP.

Join

Combines individual segments of like objects into a single object. The objects do not have to meet or they can overlap. You can also use Join to combine lines and arcs with plines (same as PEDIT). Join works on plines, lines, arc, elliptical arcs and splines.

Copy

Undo is an added option.

Fillet and Chamfer

Undo is an added option. "Shift-select to apply corner." To temporary set the fillet radius or chamfer distances to 0 to square off corners select the first object, then hold down the Shift key while selecting the second object. AutoCAD automatically squares off the corner without changing the radius or distances. Multiple is a new option.

Offset

Three new functions has been added to the Offset command. You can select the layer the offset object is going to. You can choose to erase the object being offset. Multiple and undo are new options.

Rectang

Area and rotation are new options. The area is taking into account if chamfers or fillets are used.

Rotate and Scale

Copy has been added as an option. Both commands also remember the last value used. When using the Reference option the base point separately from the angle or scale factor.

Stretch

You can select multiple selection sets, and they all will stretch. You can also select individual objects, and they will move with the selection set. The STRETCH and MOVE commands now have a displacement option that sets a relative distance and direction. The last-entered displacement value is retained.

Trim and Extend

Crossing is a new option to use when selecting objects to be trimmed or extended. Fence and Select all are now visible as options even though they worked before as well. There is an option to use Erase within the command as well as Undo. The commands works on mlines now. You can also switch between Trim and Extend commands by pressing the SHIFT key.

Dimensions

AutoCAD 2006 flip dimension arrows. You can change the direction of each of the arrowheads on a dimension. The command Flip Arrow is available if you select a dimension and right-click on it.

DIMARC - You can measure and display the length of an arc using an arc length dimension. You can set the arc length symbol position in Dimension Style Manager.

DIMJOGGED - If the center of an arc or circle is located outside the drawing boundaries, you can measure and display its radius using a jogged dimension. The jogged radius dimension is represented by a zigzag line pointing towards the arc.

You can specify a fixed length for extension lines in the Dimension Style dialog box.

You can specify different linetypes for dimension and extension lines using the Dimension Style dialog box and the Properties palette.

In Place Editor / MTEXT

The In Place Editor for MTEXT and TEXT is now really WYSIWYG.

Mtext now supports formatting using bullets, numbering or alphabetic lists. Sub-item lists can also be created and automatically updated.

It can be transparent or not by selecting Opaque Background.

Workspaces

You can create and save streamlined workspaces that contain only those toolbars, tool palettes, and menus that you use most frequently for specific tasks. You can then quickly switch between workspaces as you move to different tasks.

Customize User Interface

The new Customize User Interface dialog box helps you manage customized user interface elements. Use this dialog box to transfer all of the data in MNU or MNS file to an XML-based CUI file.
The XML-based CUI file replaces the menu files used in releases prior to AutoCAD 2006.

Temporary Override Keys

You can temporarily turn on or turn off drawing aids such as object snaps and tracking by holding down a key or combination of keys.

For example, if you have set running object snaps but you want to turn them off for one point, you can hold down F3. When you release this override key, running object snaps are restored.

Extract Data from Block Attributes

Extracting attribute information is an easy way to produce a schedule or bill of materials directly from your drawing data. A new wizard makes this process easier.
For example, a drawing might contain blocks representing office equipment. Based on the block attributes, you can generate a report that estimates the cost of the equipment.

If the condition changes the table can then be updated.

Dynamic Blocks

Dynamic blocks are defined with custom properties that allow you to adjust a block in place without redefining it or inserting another block. For a block to be dynamic it must contain at least one parameter and one action that is associated with the parameter.

Visibility states, Lockup tables and more.

Dynamic Input

You can enter coordinate values in a tooltip instead of the command line using Dynamic Input.
Tooltip information displayed near the cursor is dynamically updated as the cursor moves. When a command is active, the tooltips accept values.
You can toggle Dynamic Input on or off by clicking DYN on the status bar.

Dynamic Prompt

You can enter commands and respond to prompts in a tooltip instead of on the command line. If the prompt has options, press the Down Arrow key to view the options, and click to select one.

Pointer Input

When Pointer Input is on, the cursor displays coordinate values as you move it in the drawing area.
To enter coordinates, type the value and press TAB to switch the focus to the next tooltip, then type the next coordinate value. When you specify the point, the first coordinate is an absolute coordinate. The format for the second or next points are relative polar coordinates. If you want to enter an absolute value, precede it with a pound sign (#).

Dimension Input

When Dimension Input is on, coordinate entry fields are tied to dimensions on the geometry being created or edited. The values in the tooltips change as you move the cursor.
When you hover over a grip to edit an object, the tooltips display the original dimensions. As you move the grip, length and angle values are updated dynamically.

Selection Preview

Selection Preview highlights objects as you roll the cursor over them and indicates what objects would be selected if the selection is performed. You can turn on or turn off Selection Preview or change its appearance on Selection tab of the Options dialog box.
You can also change the highlighting appearance by entering PREVIEWEFFECT on the command line.

Command line

The command line can now be completely hidden and in most cases you can work without showing it. This gives you more valuable room for the drawing area. You can hide and show the command line using CTRL+9. You can also undock the command line and have it To be able to work effectively with it hidden you should activate DYN (Dynamic Input), enabling Pointer Input (DYNMODE) and show the command prompt (DYNPROMPT).

Formulas in Tables

You can insert simple formulas into tables to calculate sums, counts, and averages as well as define simple arithmetic expressions.

QuickCalc

You now can perform a full range of mathematical and trigonometric calculations using QuickCalc.
QuickCalc uses standard math and graphical expressions, including intersection, distance, and angular calculations.

As you perform calculations in Quick Calculator, the values are automatically stored in a history list, providing easy access for subsequent calculations.

In the Units Conversion area of the calculator, you can obtain equivalent values for different units of measurement.

You can use the Variables area to define and store additional constants and functions (point, real, or integer) and use them in expressions. Information about a stored variable, such as value, type, and description, is displayed in the Details box at the bottom of the Variables area

Drawing Recovery Manager

You can retrieve backup files or automatically saved versions of your drawings.
After a program or system failure, the Drawing Recovery Manager opens the next time you start AutoCAD. It displays a list of all drawing files that were open when the failure occurred. You can preview and open each file and choose the one that should be saved.

Undo/Redo Zoom and Pan

You can now undo or redo consecutive zoom and pan operations in a single action.
Click Tools menu > Options > User Preferences tab and select "Combine zoom and pan commands".

Publish to 3D DWF

With 3D DWF Publishing, you can generate Design Web Format (DWF) files of your 3D models.

Subscription Center Access

With Autodesk Subscription, you can get the latest releases of Autodesk software, incremental product enhancements, personalized web support from technical experts, and self-paced e-Learning.
AutoCAD 2006 can detect subscription members and make these services available directly from the product.

Miscellaneous additions

Under Options>Drafting there is a new function. Replace Z value with current elevation on the current UCS. Osnapz is the system variable to control this behaviour.

AutoCAD 2006 displays a padlock icon when you hover above objects on locked layers.

AutoCAD 2006 supports search of text within drawings from Windows Explorer. This is why AcDwgFilterImp16.exe can show up as a process in Task Manager. I tried this also with the newly released Windows Desktop Search and it worked great as you can see.
TEXT, MTEXT, ATTRIBUTES, LAYER NAMES and more can be found.

SCALELISTEDIT lets you control the scale list used in PLOT, PAGESETUP, Viewport toolbar and so on.

FIND now permits the wildcards * and ?. To find these characters add a reverse quote before. `*AB matches *AB. All characters that need a reverse quote before are:
 # (Pound) that Matches any numeric digit
@ (At) that Matches any alphabetic character
. (Period) that Matches any nonalphanumeric character
* (Asterisk) that Matches any string and can be used anywhere in the search string
? (Question mark) that Matches any single character; for example, ?BC matches ABC, 3BC, and so on
~ (Tilde) that Matches anything but the pattern; for example; ~*AB*matches all strings that don't contain AB
[ ] that Matches any one of the characters enclosed; for example, [AB]C matches AC and BC
[~] that Matches any character not enclosed; for example, [~AB]C matches XC but not AC
[-] that Specifies a range for a single character; for example, [A-G]C matches  AC, BC, and so on to GC, but not HC
` (Reverse quote) that Reads the next character literally; for example, `~AB matches ~AB

Set IMAGEFRAME to 2 to display but not plot the frame.

The xref notification bubble lets you reload all xrefs that needs to be reloaded. Side effect is that unloaded xrefs are reloaded. (Solved in SP1)

You can lock the position of toolbars and palettes so they cannot be moved accidentally. A lock icon on the status bar shows the locked status. To unlock a toolbar or palette temporarily, press the CTRL key while you move a toolbar or palette.

DWF has the ability to set a gradient resolution.

1200 DPI for DWF creation is set as default to provide a modest improvement in precision.

AutoCAD 2006 supports object properties when used with detail attributes (not external data or object data). To place object properties in a DWF, you must first have blocks with attributes inserted in your drawing. Publish command support this.

By default, the Digital Signatures icon in Windows Explorer is now installed in a disabled state. 

Bug fixes

24+ bugs that has been fixed that existed in AutoCAD 2005.  If you find more of them fixed please let me know.

See also the Bug Watch on Cadalyst for a list of fixed bugs.