What’s New in Toolbox OEM 2016?
The latest release of the Toolbox OEM 2016, software built on the AutoCAD 2016 platform, offers significant improvements and upgrades compared to previous releases. Along with improved performance for drawing speed, rendering, and annotating, this release is packed full of other enhancements that will make your day-to-day usage of the product easier, and faster.
The New Tab drawing file tab has been renamed to Start and remains persistent as you create and open additional drawings. The NEWTABMODE system variable has been renamed to STARTMODE. When set to 0 the Start tab is not displayed.
You can press Ctrl+Home or use the new GOTOSTART command to switch focus from the current drawing to the Start tab. The new CLOSEALLOTHER command offers command line access to close all the open drawings except the one in focus.
Layouts now support drag and drop to move or copy layouts to positions that are hidden in the overflow menu. As you drag the selected layouts to the right or left edge of the layout tabs they automatically scroll, enabling you to drop the layouts into the proper position.
New controls in the right-click menu enable you to dock the layout tabs in line with the status bar or above it.
The Status bar can now automatically wrap onto two rows when there are more icons than can fit into a single row. At any given time, the model tab and at least one layout tab are always displayed.
Isolate Objects and Lock UI have been added to the Status bar customization menu.
The Lock User Interface tool on the Status bar enables you to check and uncheck multiple UI elements at one time instead of having to reopen the flyout each time. Click the icon to enable or disable UI locking.
DIM Command Enhancements
The DIM command is significantly enhanced in Toolbox OEM 2016 and is now accessible from the Annotate ribbon tab. Next to it you’ll find a new dimension layer control. Dimensions created using the DIM command are automatically placed on the specified layer. If an appropriate dimension layer doesn’t currently exist in the drawing, you can quickly create one and apply it to the DIM command using the new DIMLAYER system variable.
Options within the DIM command are now displayed at the command line and in the right-click menu, eliminating the need for you to remember which options are available and how to enter them.
However, even the need to specify Dimension options is significantly reduced in Toolbox OEM 2016. Now the DIM command automatically creates appropriate dimensions based on the type of objects you select. A preview as you pass the cursor over those objects enables you to see the resulting dimension before you actually create it. For example if you launch the DIM command and hover the cursor over a linear object, a preview of the appropriate horizontal, vertical, or aligned dimension is displayed. After selecting the object you can either place the dimension or hover the cursor over another non-parallel linear object to display and place an angular dimension.
If you hover the cursor over a circle or an arc object, a preview of a diametric or radial dimension is displayed and the command prompt offers relevant options including the ability to switch between Radius and Diameter. Arc objects include the additional option to create an angular dimension.
The DIM command further simplifies creating dimensions by eliminating prompts to modify the dimension text and angle. Instead, the default values are automatically applied. Mtext, Text, and Text Angle options are available from the command line and right-click menus if you choose to change the default values.
If you attempt to create a dimension that overlaps with other similar dimensions, a cursor menu offers options to automatically move, break up, or replace the existing dimension in addition to simply placing the new dimension on top of the existing ones without affecting them.
When using the Baseline or Continue options, you are automatically prompted to select the first extension line origin.
Regardless of which type of dimension you create, the DIM command remains active, enabling you to easily place additional dimensions until you exit the command.
When editing dimension text, a width sizing control is displayed above the text, enabling you to specify the width for text wrapping.
A new Text frame property has been added to Mtext objects, enabling you to create a border around the text.
The Match text formatting button in Toolbox OEM 2016 is “sticky,” so you can apply the properties of the selected text multiple times within an Mtext object. It’s available for all objects that use Mtext including mleaders, tables, and dimensions.
Geometric Center Object Snap
A new Geometric Center object snap has been added. Using the Geometric Center object snap you can snap to the geometric center of polygons and closed polylines. It is accessible by entering GCE at the command line as well as from typical osnap controls, including the Drafting Settings dialog box, Status bar, and contextual menus.
Tooltips distinguish the Geometric Center osnap from the traditional Center osnap.
A new object tracking glyph distinguishes the Center object snap from other object snaps that display the traditional “+” glyph.
Isometric Line Grid
The isometric line grid now updates when you change the isoplane via the Isometric Drafting Status bar control, as well as with the F5 toggle.
When you move or copy a large number of objects together in the 2D Wireframe visual style in Toolbox OEM 2016, move function preview is generated quickly, enabling you to move the selected objects freely without significant lag.
Property preview performance has been improved in Toolbox OEM 2016. For example, when you want to preview color changes for a large selection set, you can move your cursor freely on the properties palette or Ribbon controls to preview the change.
Command preview functionality has been extended in Toolbox OEM 2016 to the BLEND, ERASE, STRETCH, ROTATE, and SCALE commands, helping you predict the results and minimizing the need to undo the operation.
Selection Highlighting Color
With hardware acceleration turned on in Toolbox OEM 2016, the selection effect color can be customized by clicking on the Selection Effect Color drop-down list on the Selection tab of the Options dialog box.
PDF support has been significantly enhanced in Toolbox OEM 2016, offering improved performance, flexibility, and quality. Zooming and panning a drawing with PDF underlays, even large ones, is considerably faster in Toolbox OEM 2016.
Truetype fonts in Mtext and Text with any formatting options, as well as Polygonized text (TTF font plotted as Geometry), SHX text, and Unicode characters, are now searchable in PDF output files. And PDF plotting
performance for drawings that contain a large amount of text, polylines, and fill patterns is improved.
The Export to DWF/PDF Options dialog box has been split into two separate dialog boxes; one for DWF and one for PDF. Both are accessible from the Output Ribbon tab.
PDF Options now include the PDF quality and font handling controls as well as new controls for hyperlinks and bookmarks.
The hyperlinks control enables you to include hyperlinks from the drawing in the PDF file. For example, these may include links to sheets, named views, external websites, and files. It also supports links from different types of objects such as text, images, blocks, geometry, attributes, and fields. The bookmarks control exports sheets and named views as bookmarks so that you can easily navigate between them when viewing the PDF file.
When using the Plot tool to create PDF files, you can now choose from four predefined PDF presets, offering a quick way to apply different PDF output options that meet various needs. If you select any PDF pc3 from the Printer/plotter drop-down list, a PDF Options button is displayed, providing convenient access to the PDF Options dialog box.
Similar PDF presets and options controls are available when creating PDF files using the Export to PDF and Batch Plot tools.
The Sheet Set Manager has also been updated to support these PDF enhancements.
Regardless of which of these methods you use to create PDF files from Toolbox OEM, viewing them in a PDF viewer offers additional advantages, including enhanced support for Unicode characters.
Layout names are automatically displayed as page labels in the PDF file, making it easy to identify sheets when viewing the PDF.
Text that was created as SHX in the drawing can be highlighted, copied, and even searched in the Comment List.
Plot Dialog Box
The default display for the Plot dialog box in Toolbox OEM 2016 is expanded, giving you immediate access to all the plot controls. You can collapse or expand the dialog box using the control in the lower-right corner.
Section objects, created using the Section Plane tool, provide more flexibility in Toolbox OEM 2016. The Section Plane tool creates a section object that acts as a cutting plane through 3D objects, including solids, surfaces, meshes, regions, and now point clouds.
The section object’s type can be set to represent a simple cutting plane, a bounded area, or volumetric area. In Toolbox OEM 2016, a new Slice type has been added to the section object.
The Slice type generates a thin cut through the model that always contains parallel front and back section planes. The Slice type has a slice thickness property and cannot contain jogs. When switching to a slice type, any jogs in the section object are removed.
Some grips have been offset or repositioned to make them easier to select and now operate more consistently regardless of the view or whether polar tracking is toggled on or off. For example, the flip grip is now displayed on the side of the plane opposite the visible model instead of on the same side as the visible portion of the model.
The contextual panel for the section object has been changed to a contextual tab and has more controls. It has tools for toggling Live Sectioning on and off, changing the section type, adding jogs, and rotating the object in 90-degree increments. The tab also has edit boxes with spinner controls for adjusting the offset of the section plane and the thickness of the slice. This is useful for changing these values when grips are not accessible from different views. There are also tools for generating section blocks for solids and for extracting section lines from point clouds.
A new rendering engine in Toolbox OEM 2016 replaces the previous rendering engine. This physically based path tracing renderer provides a simpler way to render in Toolbox that can produce better results. The new render UI has significantly fewer settings compared with the previous render UI. Many of the previous settings were removed as they are no longer valid with the new rendering engine.
The Render Ribbon panel on the Visualize Ribbon tab is updated to support the new rendering engine. It includes a size drop-down list where you can quickly select from standard predefined render sizes or choose More Output Settings to access the new Render to Output Settings dialog box.
In the Render to Size Output Settings dialog box, you can specify the image size and resolution. And you can choose to automatically save the rendered image to a file, including BMP, TGA, TIF, JPEG, and PNG formats.
The Render Presets list on the Visualize Ribbon tab includes additional options, enabling you to control the render quality by setting either the number of levels to render or how much time to render. Tooltips assist you in making an appropriate choice.
The new Render Presets Manager is much simpler than the previous Render Presets Manager. You can create, modify, and delete custom render presets. Specify render preset name and description as well as
the duration and accuracy. You can render directly from the Render Presets Manager, choosing to render in the Render
indow, the current viewport, or a specified region in the current viewport. When rendering in the render window, a drop-down list enables you to specify the render size in addition to selecting one of the preset render quality options.
A new Render Environment and Exposure palette offers powerful new image-based lighting (IBL) environments. You can access it from the Render panel of the Visualize Ribbon tab.
When the Environment control is turned on, you can select from predefined IBL environments.
The IBL environments automatically apply lighting effects. Some of them include 360-degree background images that emulate a realistic environment as you orbit around the model. The viewport must be in a perspective view and you must render to see the IBL environment.
A control in the Render Environment and Exposure palette enables you to use a custom background image. Custom images are static and do not emulate a realistic 3D environment as you rotate.
Additional controls in the Render Environment and Exposure palette enable you to adjust the Exposure and White Balance.
The Exposure slides between Bright and Dark.
The White Balance slides between Cool and Warm.
The new render window displays the current render process and enables you to save a snapshot, zoom in and out while rendering, and print the rendered image. Render history is displayed in the expanded section of the render window.
The appearance of lineweights (for continuous linetypes) and curves (circles, arcs, ellipses, and elliptical arcs) has been enhanced in Toolbox OEM 2016. To see these improvements, your graphics hardware must be DirectX® 11-capable and you must have hardware acceleration turned on. A new control in the Graphics Performance dialog box enables you to take advantage of improved graphics for capable devices. You can access Graphic Performance from the Status bar icon.
When enabled, you can display perfect curves in the 2D wireframe visual style and they will be smooth at any zoom level.
Two new variables offer additional control over the display when high-quality geometry is enabled. Turn LINEFADING on to automatically fade geometry as you zoom into dense drawings. The
LINEFADINGLEVEL variable enables you to control the amount of fading between 1 and 3.
You are no longer required to perform a manual regen when zooming or panning as far as possible. The REGENAUTO system variable automatically performs the regens as needed.
A new CURSORBADGE system variable enables you to control the display of cursor badges. When it is set to 2, cursor badges are displayed. When it is set to 1, they are not.