Updates to AutoCAD in 2020

Although not all of our Clients utilise AutoCAD with their Archibus systems, it is still a very useful tool that works well with it and helps you to define your space data easier and with greater accuracy. Not to mention, of course, that with the AutoCAD plans published into Web Central you gain a HTML5 format interactive plan you can use in either Space Management or in such views as the BOMS console to correctly identify problematic rooms.

Because it is such a useful tool, I intend in this blog to go over changes to the software that is happening for version 2020 of the software.

Before I go over the changes though, I want to mention that AutoCAD like a few other pieces of major software is now entirely licensed and managed primarily on a cloud basis, and on a limited basis, as an on-premise solution. This means that you have to gain the software through an internet connection, and unless the license is a full business license, you can’t borrow the license and run the software without an internet connection.

Anyway, now that I have gone over the depressing new business models of AutoDesk, I will get into the meat of the blog itself, changes made to AutoCAD 2020.


Number 1, the Quick Measure Tool

For years there has been a measurement tool available in AutoCAD, which while incredibly useful, wasn’t quite capable of contextual based measurement. So when you wanted to measure a polyline or an angle, you would need to select the type of measurement you required and then look to measure the object.

Obviously, because it failed on a contextual basis, this meant that with multiple points of measurement you would need to go back and select a new measurement type. The new quick measure tool though is contextual. This means that you just need to select the tool, hover the crosshairs of the mouse over the object you’re looking to measure, and it will display the measurements of the objects you’re measuring.




Number 2, Improved DWG Compare

As AutoCAD became a piece of software that is more inherently collaborative, especially with the switch to cloud basis, then the concept of data/drawing integrity is very much something that needed to be worked on. This led to the introduction of a tool in AutoCAD 2019 called DWG compare. This tool meant that if 2 people worked on the same source DWG in the file system, then saved it as 2 separate new files, then the tool could pick up the 2 DWGS and compare how they differ, specifically highlighting the changes made.

This meant that the changes could be confirmed, and made sure to be incorporated into the master DWG file for the building.

In the original tool, the users needed to browse to the 2 separate drawings created by the users, and would then create a third file with the comparisons highlighted in this new DWG file.

This is still possible within version 2020, but the command to do it is no longer the DWG Compare method, in this case, the newer version of the tool will bring in the changes between the 2 drawings into the one you have open, and will also open a new toolbar that allows you to make the edits to the master drawing you require and can move forward with collaborative work easier.


Number 3, Improved Cloud Workflow

In version 2019 of AutoCAD, cloud saves were brought in as an option for AutoCAD, and to that end version 2020 is improving the capability of that cloud save option in several ways:


  • In the save and open dialogue box, the “Places” list (the greyish bar on the left of the dialogue box) can now support cloud services. After browsing to a commonly-used folder, simply drag that folder to the “Places” list for easy access for the next open/save.
  • When saving to the cloud, XREFs are automatically included. This means you won’t lose valuable information embedded into your drawing as an XREF.
  • Extra permissions settings are available if you prefer to disable cloud-storage capabilities for security reasons.


Number 5, The User Interface

This is a simple improvement, but it’s one that is always appreciated. The options around the User Interface have been increased, especially for the colours of the backgrounds, so that the media buttons have a greater contrast on the ribbon itself.

As I said it’s a simple part of the updates that are happening within version 2020, but it’s one that helps those who at times find themselves unable to see the distinct differences between the buttons on the ribbon itself.


Thanks for reading this blog, I hope that the updates I’ve listed here are useful for you. If not then I can say that this is largely a snapshot of the improvements made and that there will be others made, some incremental and others fairly major.


If you would like to learn more, please contact us! Call us on 0118 977 8560 or alternatively email us at 

news@mass-plc.comIf there are any other topics you would like us to cover in our blogs please let us know.


Callum Doyle


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