Autodesk began shipping many of their 2009 products starting Monday. Among those released is their flagship product, AutoCAD 2009. If you just can’t wait until your subscription shipment makes its way to your doorstep, a fully-functioning 30 day trial can be downloaded from the Autodesk website. As I have said in some previous posts, the big new feature in AutoCAD 2009 is more-or-less the user interface (UI) as a whole.
Just about every red blooded AutoCAD user I have ever met has first asked “How do I use XYZ Feature?” After they learn how to use XYZ feature, their next question is “How do I customize it?” Last month I gave a quick how to with my “Introduction to the AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon”. This month, we’ll take a look at customizing the new AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon. At first glance, the Ribbon may seem like a brand new cryptic monstrosity at the heart of new release. Good news is the “all new” Ribbon isn’t really all that new afterall.
In essence, our “all new” Ribbon is nothing more than the Dashboard from AutoCAD 2008 with an additional category. In AutoCAD 2008 we had Dashboard Panels which contained Dashboard Tools. In AutoCAD 2009 those items have been renamed to Ribbon Panels, and Ribbon Tools respectively. One shortcoming of the Dashboard in AutoCAD 2008 was the fact we only had 1 Dashboard. Short of creating a workspace, I couldn’t have a Dashboard for general drafting, another for annotating, etc. AutoCAD 2009 introduces another element to the Dashboard, uh – Ribbon, called Ribbon Tabs. In much the same way Ribbon Panels contain Ribbon Tools, Ribbon Tabs contain Ribbon Panels.