A replacement for the fag packet

If jotting it down still seems quicker than tackling the CAD station, this could be the product you need.

Inexperienced or occasional CAD users may become frustrated with the sophisticated heavy weight CAD systems operated by dedicated users. It can be tough to get started and for simple drawings far too time consuming. This is where AutoSketch from Autodesk comes into its own.

Release 5 includes an application Wizard, Microsoft Office compliance, intelligent drag and drop symbols, Internet capabilities, and precision drawing and editing tools so users can become productive immediately.

AutoSketch is configures to provide specific drawing tools for certain types of drawing – this makes it easy to get started. For example if you are designing a mechanical part you select the wizard that sets drawing scale based on the size of the object, divides drawing space, sets dimensioning parameters an provides quick access to desired libraries.

Flow diagrams have special shape libraries and templates. Similarly to lay out an office space there is a toolbox of doors, windows and furniture.

Using the Symbols Explorer you can preview symbols by library and reorganise them into the groups that you want. Draw Picture lets users enhance drawings with photos and scanned images.

Grids and isometric drawing tools allow you to select rectangular, circular and isometric grids and align rectangular polygons and elipses to grids. Autopoint indicators give users cues for coordinate input and Automatic Snap positions the cursor to snap to a pre-determined point.

To get your work into the outside world, Autosketch 5 offers Microsoft Office compliance which lets you integrate or annotate your drawing with word or Excel, and DWF file support which lets you publish on the web in 2D vector format.

AutoSketch 5 is compatible with AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT Autosketch Release 5 costs £99.

Autodesk. Tel: 01483 303322

OPINION

AutoSketch was very easy to use but nevertheless I was very surprised at the amount of functionality available. I particularly liked the fact that the background grid could be changed and the Autopoint indicators were a neat device. As for using it in my job it hasn’t got anything like the functionality for complex pipeline diagrams but it would make a useful desk top tool and could be useful for preparing reports. The only thing I found irritating was having to refer to a paper manual. It would be better if this were on screen (When the product is released in the UK this facility will be available – Ed).

It is very tempting to use AutoSketch for personal DIY projects or to rearrange your office which might affect a company’s efficiency!

Glen Hadlow, Senior Project Engineer, Subsea Pipeline Construction