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Key features overview for top Autodesk products

Get an overview of how top Autodesk products empower your design teams. See what’s been added, enhanced, and refined to make the latest version of AutoCAD the most efficient, intuitive AutoCAD yet. Find out how Building Design Suite combines the power of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with tools for design and documentation, visualization, simulation, and project collaboration. See how Product Design Suite improves project management and incorporates industrial design aesthetics into 3D designs in an integrated portfolio of product design and development software.

AutoCAD Overview

Let’s start with AutoCAD.  The following pages offer a brief summary of the new and enhanced functionality added to the latest version of AutoCAD. More detailed information about any of these features is available at the AutoCAD product center.

Installation and configuration

  • A new control in the Graphics Performance dialog box enables you to take advantage of improved graphics for DirectX® 11-capable devices. With hardware acceleration enabled, the appearance of lineweights (for continuous linetypes) and curves (circles, arcs, ellipses, and elliptical arcs) is enhanced. You can display perfect curves in the 2D wireframe visual style and they will be smooth at any magnification.
  • You no longer need 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.
  • The System Variable Monitor (SYSVARMONITOR command) enables you to quickly identify and edit system variables that don’t conform to your standards. It’s prepopulated with a list of AutoCAD system variables that are often inadvertently modified. You can modify this list to conform to your standards.
  • Executable File Settings on the Systems tab of the Options dialog box is renamed Security Options. It has a slider to adjust the security level and you can browse, add, and remove trusted folders for executable files. Additional controls let you choose to include or exclude the Start In or drawing folders when searching for executable files. Similar security controls are in the CAD Manager Control Utility and Deployment wizard. AutoCAD will warn if apps (including Exchange Apps) are loaded from program data or user data. It will not warn if unsigned apps are installed under program files.
  • The SECURITYOPTIONS command and LEGACYCODESEARCH system variable offer command line access to the security options.
  • The digital signature controls that were previously located in the Security Options dialog box are now accessible via the new DIGITALSIGN command.
  • AutoCAD service packs created for AutoCAD 2016 can be installed on any AutoCAD 2016-based vertical product, so you don’t have to wait for your vertical product to integrate the AutoCAD service pack changes. To help you identify which version you have installed, the About box is enhanced to provide information about the version level for both the AutoCAD platform and the AutoCAD verticals.

User interface

  • The Start tab (formally New tab) remains at the far left of the display as you create and open additional drawings.
  • The NEWTABMODE system variable is renamed to STARTMODE. When set to 0 the Start tab is not displayed. You can also control the display of the Start tab within install deployments.
  • Press Ctrl+Home or use the new GOTOSTART command to switch focus from the current drawing to the Start tab.
  • The CLOSEALLOTHER command enables you to close all open drawings except the one in focus using the command line.
  • Learning Tips on the Learn page are updated every 24 hours. You can use the arrows to cycle through previous tips.
  • Layouts now support drag and drop to move or copy layouts to positions that are hidden in the overflow menu. A right-click option on layout tabs allows you to dock them 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. The status bar customization menu includes the Isolate Objects and Lock UI tools. Using the Lock UI tool, you can lock and unlock multiple UI elements at one time.
  • The GALLERYVIEW system variable enables you to control whether Ribbon galleries are displayed.
  • You are automatically signed into Help documentation when you sign into your A360 account from AutoCAD and vice-versa. Signing into Help documentation enables you to Like a Help topic.
  • The UI Finder in the Help window displays an animated arrow pointing to the tool in the status bar and application menu in addition to the quick access toolbar and Ribbon.


  • Create rectangular and polygonal revision clouds in addition to the freehand and object options. Edit the size and shape of revision clouds with grips or draw additional segments using the Modify option.
  • Use the Dimension tool to create multiple types of dimensions from a single command based on the type of objects you select. Choose to move, break, replace, or ignore existing dimensions when attempting to place a similar dimension on top of them.
  • Automatically place dimensions on a specified Dimension layer regardless of the current layer using the DIMLAYER system variable.
  • Wrap dimension text across multiple lines.
  • Add a text frame around Mtext objects.
  • Match text within the Mtext editor multiple times without having to reselect the source text.
  • Use the Geometric Center object snap to snap to the geometric center of polygons and closed polylines.
  • The isometric line grid updates when you change the isoplane via the Isometric Drafting Status bar control, as well as with the F5 toggle
  • Move or copy large selection sets while working in the 2D Wireframe visual style without lag as the objects are dragged.
  • Property preview performance is improved so you can move your cursor freely on the properties palette or Ribbon controls to preview changes even with large selection sets.
  • Command preview functionality for BLEND, ERASE, STRETCH, ROTATE, and SCALE commands enables you to see the results before committing to the operation.
  • Specify the color that is used for selection highlighting.
  • Use the XREFOVERRIDE system variable to override the display of xref objects with properties that were not set to “ByLayer” in the host drawing.
  • Xref layers are not displayed in the Properties palette and are displayed with grey text in the Ribbon layers list to distinguish them from layers in host drawings
  • PDF output from AutoCAD drawings offers four preset choices which you can modify in PDF Options. PDF Options also offers new controls to include hyperlinks and bookmarks. Plotting performance for drawings that contain a large amount of text, polylines, and fill patterns is improved as well.
  • Zooming and panning a drawing with PDF underlays, even large ones, is considerably faster.
  • PDF viewing is improved with the ability to search 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. Text that was created as SHX in the AutoCAD drawing can be highlighted, copied, and even searched in the Comment List. And layout names are automatically displayed as page labels in the PDF file.
  • The default display for the Plot dialog box in AutoCAD 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.


  • Selecting a Section Plane displays the Section Plane ribbon tab with relevant controls including ones to rotate it at 90-degree increments or display a thin slice through the model.
  • The Point Cloud ribbon tab is updated with tools to support section planes, transparency, and crop states. You can also extract data from point clouds and dynamically align the UCS to a point cloud face. New 3D point cloud object snaps offer additional ways for creating geometry from point cloud data.
  • The Render ribbon panel on the Visualize ribbon tab is updated to support the new rendering engine. It includes access to the new Render Presets and Render Environment and Exposure palette which includes image-based lighting (IBL) environments.
  • Attach Navisworks files to your AutoCAD drawings in the same way you attach other externally referenced files. Select an attached Navisworks file to access relevant tools from the contextual Coordination Model ribbon tab.
  • Attach single or merged models from BIM 360 TM Glue® software to your AutoCAD drawings. Select an attached BIM 360 Glue model to access relevant tools from the contextual Coordination Model ribbon tab.

Building Design Suite Overview

Design and construct better buildings with intelligent 3D building design software tools. Building Design Suite gives you the power of Building Information Modeling (BIM), with tools for design and documentation, visualization, simulation, and project collaboration, so you can compete for new work—whether your project requires BIM or CAD.

Building design & documentation


Use the Site Designer Extension for Revit to shape the terrain for building sites within the Revit environment and convey building site planning concepts to engineers. Site Designer runs inside Revit software and uses native families, components, and toposurfaces, so site designs become part of the overall model. Use it to model alternatives for mass grading, building pads, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and retaining walls—all within Revit.

Comprehensive CAD software (STANDARD, PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Maximize your productivity with a complete set of CAD tools created for the building and construction industries. Work with powerful, related design and documentation programs that are based on AutoCAD software, such as AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP.

Powerful BIM software (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Take advantage of Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools to create intelligent 3D building designs from concept through final construction. Built for BIM, Revit software helps building design and construction professionals build and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings. The software includes features for architectural design; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing; structural engineering; and construction.

View and edit point cloud data (STANDARD, PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Clean, organize, and visualize laser-scanned point cloud data with editing and selection tools in ReCap reality capture software and services. Use intelligent 3D data from scans of as-built conditions in Revit software (Premium and Ultimate editions) for more precise and faster renovation and retrofit workflows. Compare as-built scan data with design data in Navisworks software (Premium and Ultimate editions) for construction verification.

Incorporate scanned 2D data (STANDARD, PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Use powerful raster editing and raster-to-vector conversion tools with software based on AutoCAD. AutoCAD Raster Design software helps you edit, enhance, and maintain scanned drawings and plans in a familiar AutoCAD environment. Make the most of raster images, maps, aerial photos, satellite imagery, and digital elevation models.

Building project collaboration

BIM coordination with AutoCAD 2016 (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

With new BIM Coordination Model features in AutoCAD you can now open Navisworks models within design products, pushing project coordination upstream. Designers can now model in context using the integrated Navisworks model as an underlay to assist with clash avoidance.

Detect clashes in aggregated models (ULTIMATE)

More easily find and resolve design conflicts virtually, before construction begins, with Navisworks Manage software. This software helps you control outcomes with advanced coordination, 5D analysis, and simulation tools. Navisworks features enable coordination, construction simulation, and whole-project analysis for integrated project review.

Identify costly conflicts (PREMIUM)

Gain greater insight virtually, before projects are built, with Navisworks Simulate software for design simulation and project review. The software helps you review and communicate project details through 5D analysis and simulation. Navisworks features enable coordination, construction simulation, and whole-project analysis for integrated project review.

Improve BIM collaboration (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Streamline your workflow, and work more effectively with other building design and construction disciplines, using Revit building design software. Revit includes features for architectural design, MEP engineering, structural engineering, and construction.

Create fabrication drawings faster (ULTIMATE)

Design building components for fabrication with Inventor 3D CAD software. Inventor provides tools that help architects, engineers, and construction professionals collaborate with the manufacturers and fabricators that produce building components. Use Inventor to understand and capture design intent for today’s demanding buildings and structures.

A360 Collaboration for Revit cloud service* (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE; CLOUD SERVICE SUBSCRIPTION)

Connect building and construction project teams with centralized access to BIM project data in the cloud. Use the Communicator chat tool within models to stay connected in real time. With Revit software and A360 integration, Collaboration for Revit helps the entire project team work on shared BIM models.

*Available only for users in North America.

IFC certification and linking (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Revit building design software is certified by BuildingSMART International for Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) version 2×3 Coordination View import and export. You can import IFC files into any design program that complies with the standard, supporting greater interoperability throughout the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Learn more about how Autodesk supports BIM interoperability.

Building simulation


Determine energy use levels and building lifecycle costs using Energy Analysis for Revit software. This simulation service helps you create energy analytical models to suit different design stage needs, workflows, and precision preferences. Create a model directly from architectural building elements and room/space elements, or create it manually using conceptual massing.

Powerful quantification tools (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Perform material quantifications from multidisciplinary design models for a smoother design-to-cost workflow using Navisworks. Use the quantification features in Navisworks Manage and Navisworks Simulate software to bring quantities from integrated 2D and 3D multiformat datasets into a project.

Structural design simulation (ULTIMATE)

Perform advanced building simulation and analysis more quickly on large, complex structures with Robot Structural Analysis Professional software. It provides a smoother workflow for structural engineers, helping them simulate and analyze a variety of structures.

Structural Analysis for Revit (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE; WITH SUBSCRIPTION)

Use Structural Analysis for Revit to perform cloud-based building structural analysis as a part of the BIM process.


Perform LEED lighting analysis within Revit. Quickly expose electric and solar lighting results directly on a Revit model with Lighting Analysis for Revit, a cloud service that uses A360 Rendering.

Building visualization

3D visualization tools (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Create compelling building visualizations with 3ds Max 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing software. It gives architects, engineers, and visualization specialists sophisticated 3D building visualization tools that extend the Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow. Easy-to-use rendering and 3D animation tools help you market your ideas more successfully to win more business.

3D presentation software (STANDARD, PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Transform your AutoCAD and Revit software designs into 3D images, movies, and interactive presentations using Showcase 3D visualization software. It helps you communicate your design ideas effectively and facilitate decision making. Create immersive 3D presentations and explore design options in real time with team members and customers. Help them make decisions on the fly, whether they’re in the same room or across the world.


Produce photorealistic visualizations— without tying up your desktop or using special rendering hardware—with Cloud Rendering in A360.

Design validation with Navisworks Manage (ULTIMATE)

Use advanced project review tools to help validate designs, resolve conflicts, and improve coordination with other disciplines—before construction begins. Navisworks Manage software helps you improve control over project outcomes by integrating 3D models and multi-format data. Use the software’s powerful analysis features to better coordinate disciplines, resolve conflicts, and plan projects virtually.

Product Design Suite Overview

The Digital Prototyping capabilities of Product Design Suite can help you make great products, reduce development costs, and get to market faster.

Engineering design productivity

Design, test, and fabricate in a single tool (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE; WITH SUBSCRIPTION)

Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD/CAM tool for product development that combines industrial and mechanical design, collaboration, and machining in a single package. The tools in Fusion 360 enable fast and easy exploration of design ideas with an integrated concept-to-production toolset.

Integrated electrical and mechanical design (ULTIMATE)

Integrate electrical designs with cable and harness control systems using Inventor for routed systems, combined with AutoCAD Electrical software. Incorporating cable and harness runs into your 3D digital prototype enables you to calculate accurate path lengths, avoid small-radius bends, and ensure that electrical components fit into the mechanical assembly before manufacturing.

Sheet metal design (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Simplify the design of complex mechanical sheet metal parts. Inventor 3D CAD software combines manufacturing information—such as punch tool parameters and custom bend tables—with an accurate 3D model of sheet metal folding. Manufacturing engineers can also use the flat-pattern editing environment to tweak flat patterns to minimize manufacturing costs.

Free-form modeling shape creation (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Create organic shapes and incorporate free-form and parametric workflows into a single model. These tools provide an alternate modeling approach to explore and create free-form models using direct manipulation. Start with a free-form shape that best represents the desired geometry (box, sphere, cylinder, torus, or quadball). Then adjust the shape using the free-form edit tools.

Customizable Inventor Home dashboard (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Customize the new Inventor Home to easily access common tasks. Inventor Home functions like a personal dashboard and offers basic or full template display. An expanded list of recently used files includes rich information in the tooltip, and you can pin a working file to locate it more easily. Use tabs to switch to specific file areas, and quickly access Team Web, Help, and Tutorials.

3D mechanical design (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Define your product’s physical characteristics with an integrated set of design engineering tools. This toolset supports sheet metal, plastic parts, cable and harness, structural steel framework, fabricated weldments, and electromechanical design.

3D assembly design (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Inventor 3D CAD software provides the tools to create, control, define digital prototypes, and manage data for large complex assembly designs. Work on only the components required to complete a particular part of the design. Validate interference and mass properties for quality products the first time. Inventor combines design accelerators with assembly tools, so you can be sure that every part and component in an assembly design fits correctly.

Plastic part design (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Get maximum flexibility by combining native Inventor geometry with exterior surface models designed with Alias industrial design software. The relationship between Alias and Inventor can reduce time to market. Engineers can start detailed designs earlier, and mechanical engineers can more easily incorporate changes from the industrial design team.

Rules-based design/automation (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Fully integrated Inventor iLogic technology can dramatically simplify rules-based design, so that any Inventor user—with little or no programming experience—can capture and embed product engineering and knowledge directly into virtual models. The iCopy feature automates the process of copying components, so you can easily customize commonly used assemblies.

Tube and pipe runs (ULTIMATE)

Use Inventor Professional 3D CAD software to streamline the design of complex routed elements. Rules-based routing tools select the correct fittings and help ensure that pipe runs comply with your standards for segment length, round-off increments, and bend radius.

Mold, and tool and die (ULTIMATE)

Inventor Professional software automates key aspects of injection mold design for plastic parts. Quickly create and validate complete mold designs, reducing errors and improving mold performance. With its intuitive mold design workflow, the software guides you through the mold design process in a way that is natural for the experienced user and supportive for the novice.

Sketch constraint control (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Get your sketches in shape more quickly and easily with constraint tools and settings. With Relax Mode, you can modify already constrained geometries. Gain greater control over constraints with improved display, inference, and delete options. A single Constraint Settings command includes settings related to Sketch constraints.

Documentation & data sharing

Native support for DWG files (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

With direct read and write for true RealDWG® file format, you can share critical design data with partners and customers. Product Design Suite includes Inventor, which enables engineers to integrate AutoCAD software drawings and 3D CAD data into a single digital model to create a virtual representation of the final product.

Engineering drafting and documentation tools (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Maximize productivity with automation, management, and editing tools designed for drafting, minimizing repetitive tasks.

Building Information Modeling interoperability (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

The Inventor software included in the suite offers enhanced tools for engineers and fabricators who work with architects, builders, and contractors. Easy-to-use tools simplify geometry and reduce model complexity. Feature recognition capabilities can represent your Inventor designs with native elements recognized by Revit building design software.


Product Design Suite offers enhanced CAD translation tools, including native translators that read and write files from other CAD applications. Inventor software in the suite also includes translators for standard formats, such as IGES and STEP. These translators enable you to accept and supply data in customers’ preferred formats.

In-product data management (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Manage your design data and avoid duplication of effort with integrated data management tools. Save time and money with a streamlined change management system, accurate bills of materials (BOMs), and the ability to share digital models with your team, customers, and suppliers.

Product simulation & design validation

Assembly-level finite element analysis (FEA) (ULTIMATE)

Reduce cost and improve product performance with stress analysis tools that can help predict how product designs will perform under real-world conditions. Increase the accuracy and reliability of your design stress analysis with Inventor Professional 3D CAD software. Use integrated FEA to predict stress and deflection with accurate peak loads by transferring reaction forces from simulation time steps to stress analysis.

Dynamic simulation (ULTIMATE)

Use integrated motion simulation and stress analysis tools—not intuition—to enhance your design decisions and help predict performance. The motion simulation feature uses the assembly constraints in your 3D model to identify relevant rigid bodies, generate correct motion joints, and compute dynamic behavior. This functionality can help you to understand how the design behaves, including the position, velocity, and acceleration of moving parts.

Visualization & conceptual design

Flexible product modeling (ULTIMATE)

Experiment with ideas and pursue innovative solutions to design challenges with flexible modeling tools. Quickly explore and visualize forms using a range of 3D modeling techniques. Edit and sculpt 3D models as you work with fast, repeatable, curve-based tools. Choose the best modeling technique for the task at hand. Generate multiple conceptual design iterations quickly, and make subtle corrections or radical changes easily with flexible design tools.

Explore design concepts in AutoCAD (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Use AutoCAD design and documentation software to create 2D conceptual sketches. Maximize reuse of 2D AutoCAD data and rapidly create detailed part and assembly 3D models in Inventor 3D CAD software.

Cinematic-quality rendering and 3D animation (ULTIMATE)

Use sophisticated 3D product visualization tools in 3ds Max 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing software to demonstrate design intent.

Real-time design visualization (PREMIUM, ULTIMATE)

Design visualization, illustration, and animation tools in Inventor enable you to create realistic representations of your designs. Clear visuals make it easier for stakeholders and customers without expert experience to understand engineering drawings and designs. Quickly create photorealistic CAD renderings and animations that can convey ideas to managers, explain designs to manufacturers, and persuade customers that you have the best solution for their needs.