AutoCAD 2018 – Top 5 New Features

AutoCAD 2018 comes out today, continuing Autodesk’s trend of staying ahead of the times.  The product includes a variety of prudent new features and fixes.


  1. Dialogue boxes remember sort order

When opening a file, it is common to sort by date modified in order to find a drawing that has been worked on recently.  Dialogue boxes now default to their most recent sort order, so that if a user sorted the files by date modified the last time they opened a file, AutoCAD will automatically sort the list of files by date modified.


  1. Maintain Off-screen Selection when Windowing

In previous versions of AutoCAD, if you started a selection window in one part of the drawing area, then zoomed or panned to another area, objects no longer on the screen would be lost from the selection.  That is no longer the case with 2018, objects within the selection window will be selected whether on screen or off.


  1. XREF Manager can find and replace paths

Moving files is a common occurrence, whether they are being received from a client, moved from folder to folder, or changes are made to the folder structure.    These situations run the risk of broken references—reference paths that delineate a path to a file that cannot be found.

These references can be repaired by editing the path in the XREF manager.  In older versions it required clicking the ellipsis next to the file path, in the XREF Manager and browsing for the path, or typing it in manually.  This method remains available, but AutoCAD 2018 also adds another method.  By right-clicking the child drawing’s name in the XREF manager, there is now the option to “Select New Path.”  After you fix one path using this method, it will prompt you to apply the same change to other missing references.

This right-click menu also now includes “Find and Replace,” which is designed to be utilized after selecting several drawing names at once.  AutoCAD then gives the user the option to type in a file path to look for, as well as a file path to replace it with.  This allows the user to update several paths at once when a change has been made that affects the file paths of all of those drawings.



PDF’s imported into AutoCAD can recognize and convert TrueType fonts from the PDF to AutoCAD text, but have difficulty converting PDF’s using AutoCAD SHX fonts.  They convert to lines and arcs instead of text.  The PDFSHXTEXT command in 2018 compares such geometry to common alphabet characters in order to translate them to text.

This command can be found in the IMPORT panel of the INSERT tab, as the “Recognize SHX Text” button.  Beneath it is the “Recognition Settings” button, which lets users manage which SHX fonts to use as archetypes to which the geometry will be compared.  Multiple SHX fonts can be chosen and sorted in this window, telling AutoCAD the order in which it should make its comparisons.  All selected geometry will be checked until it meets the recognition criterion threshold or the list of SHX fonts is exhausted.


  1. A new DWG format


While this may not feel like a benefit to some as drawings saved in 2018 format have to be saved down in order to be opened in previous versions, it was done in order to provide performance improvements in the software.  These include save time performance, 3D navigation performance, and 2D display performance.

Other new features include the option to have layers displayed in the quick-access toolbar, the ability to share design views for extended periods of time on A360, improvements to the TXT2MTXT command, and a fixed scaling issue that affected icons on high-resolution monitors.

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