My experience of AutoCAD 2011 (aka Hammer).

AutoCAD 2011 ('twenty eleven') was released on Thursday, 25 March 2010.
This is the 25th version of AutoCAD.

Previous AutoCAD version AutoCAD 2010 and newer version AutoCAD 2012.

New and/or enhanced functions

New and/or enhanced functions and some bug fixes.

No New file format "AutoCAD 2010 Drawing" is used. The version number is 18.1.

The big news in AutoCAD 2011 are

  • Surface Modeling - NURBS surfaces
  • Point Cloud Files - up to 2 billion points (2,000,000,000)
  • Materials Browser
  • Parametric Drawing - Infer Constraints
  • Object Transparency
  • Polylines - multi-functional grips

User Interface

A dark gray background in modelspace is now default.

The traditional dot grid has been replaced with horizontal and vertical gridlines.

Quick Access toolbar displays the name of the current workspace. As default Quick Access toolbar now includes both the Save and the Save As tools.

New Navigation bar that replaces the navigation tools that were previously accessible on the Status bar. Integrated support for 3D Connexion devices. Model space variant to the left and paper space variant to the right. You can select where it is docked and if it should be linked to the ViewCube.

ViewCube has been enhanced to support the 2D wireframe visual style.

SteeringWheel Settings dialog box updated.

The UCS icon has been updated to display a different color for each axis: X for red, Y for green, and Z for blue. In addition, the appearance of 3D gizmos has been updated for clarity and consistency.

Ribbon cycle options.

The Insert tab includes a Point Cloud panel and Content panel with access to Design Center and Autodesk Seek web service. Autodesk Seek has been removed from the Output tab.
The View tab has been updated to include the Visual Styles panel. The Windows panel includes new User Interface and Toolbar controls that enable you to toggle the display of various user interface elements, including Autodesk ViewCube and ShowMotion navigation widgets, the Navigation bar, and the Text window. The Status bar controls, which have been removed from the Windows panel, are now only on the Status bar.

Customize User Interface dialog box now supports Fold panels.

Visible news

Five new predefined visual styles including: Shaded, Shaded with Edges, Shades
of Gray, Sketchy, and X?Ray.

Object Visibility enable you to control object visibility independent from layer
visibility. The Object Visibility tools are accessible from the right?click menu when objects are selected as well as when no objects are selected. When you use the Isolate Objects tool, only the selected objects remain visible in the drawing. All other objects are hidden. The OBJECTISOLATIONMODE system variable controls whether isolated/hidden objects persist between drawing sessions. Default setting is temporary for current drawing session with value 0. To persist use value 1. A lightbulb icon on the status bar indicates whether object isolation is active in the drawing.

Select Similar tool enables you to select an object and automatically include all other objects of the same type and with the same properties, in a new selection set. You can access it from the right?click menu when objects are selected.

Add Selected tool enables you to quickly create a new object in your drawing based on the properties of an existing object. For example, if you use the Add Selected tool and select a polyline, AutoCAD automatically launches the PLINE command with basic object properties including color, layer, linetype, linetype scale, plotstyle, lineweight, transparency, and material preset to match the selected object.

A Settings option (accessible when you enter SELECTSIMILAR at the command line) enables you to specify which properties to filter. If only the Layer property is enabled when you select a circle, for example, AutoCAD automatically selects all circles on the same layer as the one you selected. If both the Layer and Linetype properties are enabled, however, AutoCAD selects only the circles on the same layer and with the same linetype as the selected one.

The Select Similar tool also enables you to select more than one object and create the matching selection set accordingly. For example, if the Layer filter is enabled and you select two circles, each on different layers, AutoCAD selects all the circles on both layers. If, instead, you select a circle and a line, AutoCAD selects all the circles on the same layer as the selected circle and all the lines on the same layer as the selected line. In addition to general object properties, you can filter selections based on objectspecific properties, including object style and reference name. Object Style properties apply to text and mtext, leaders and mleaders, dimensions and tolerances, and tables and multilines. Reference names apply to blocks and externally referenced files, including xrefs and images as well as PDF, DWG™, or DGN files.

In addition to the new Select Similar tool, a new option has been added to the PICKADD system variable. When PICKADD is set to a value of 2 (as it is now by default), objects that you select using the SELECT command remain selected in a “pick first” state even after you end the SELECT command.

Easily select overlapping objects using the new selection cycling functionality. You can enable selection cycling from a control on the Status bar (right click to access the Selection Cycling options). When you try to select an object that overlaps other objects, AutoCAD displays a list of all the overlapping objects. As you pass the cursor over an object in the list, the relevant object in the drawing highlights, click on any object in the list and it gets selected. You can also click on the same location multiple times and the objects with be selected one at a time. To filter the type of subobjects displayed (vertices, edges, or faces) use the SUBOBJSELECTIONMODE system variable. You can also set this option with the SELECTIONCYCLING system variable.

The Action Recorder enables you to delete or insert user messages for View Change operations. The macro list displays the most recently used macros above the separation bar and all available macros below it.

Parametric Constraints

The 2D parametric functionality has been enhanced, and includes predefined command macros to access options within in the GEOMCONSTRAINT and DIMCONSTRAINT commands.
For example, instead of launching the GEOMCONSTRAINT command and then selecting the Perpendicular option, you can launch the GCPERPENDICULAR command directly. Repeating the last command automatically repeats the last command as well as the specific option.
Object highlighting when you roll over an icon on a constraint bar or when you select a parameter in the Parameters manager supports the Visual Effects settings you specify on the Selection tab of the Options dialog box (dashed and thickened by default). Additional improvements to geometric and dimensional constraint functionality enable you to create and edit parametrically constrained geometry faster than ever before.

Geometric Constraints

AutoCAD 2011 significantly simplifies the process of adding geometric constraints to 2D AutoCAD geometry. AutoCAD can infer geometric constraints as you create and modify geometry. A new Infer Constraint button on the status bar enables you to toggle inferred constraints on and off similar to toggling object snaps on and off. This toggle is also available on the Geometric tab of the Constraint Settings dialog box.

Using inferred constraints automatically applies coincident constraints for Endpoint, Midpoint, Center, Node, and Insertion objects snaps. For example, if you draw a circle by snapping its center to the midpoint of a line, AutoCAD automatically applies a coincident constraint between the center of the circle and the midpoint of the line. If you move the circle, the line goes with it. The same powerful functionality applies to editing commands. If, for example, you copy the insertion of a block to the endpoint of a line, AutoCAD automatically applies a coincident constraint between those two points. When you move the line, the block maintains its position at the endpoint of the line.

In addition to creating point?to?point coincident constraints with the previously mentioned object snaps, you can use the Nearest object snap to apply a coincident constraint between a point and an object. For example, if you draw the center of a circle on a line using the Nearest object snap, the center of the circle has the flexibility of moving anywhere along the line including the virtual extension of the line.

The Perpendicular and Tangent object snaps automatically apply perpendicular or tangent constraints between the object being created or edited and the object being snapped to. They also apply a point?topoint or point?to?object coincident constraint if appropriate. Using the Parallel object snap automatically applies a parallel constraint but no coincident constraints are applied since, by definition, the two objects never intersect. When you draw horizontal or vertical lines and polyline segments, inferred horizontal and vertical constraints automatically apply to those segments.

Inferred constraints enhance the behavior of rectangles, fillets, and chamfers by automatically applying appropriate geometric constraints. For example, if you draw a rectangle (using the RECTANG command), AutoCAD automatically applies a pair of parallel constraints and a perpendicular constraint to the closed polyline. When you modify the size and shape of the rectangle, you can rest assured that it will remain a rectangle with parallel sides and perpendicular corners. Creating a fillet automatically applies coincident and tangent constraints between the newly created arc and the existing pair of lines helping maintain the fillet even when the arc or lines are modified. Similarly, creating a chamfer applies coincident constraints between the newly created line and the existing pair of lines.

Even after you’ve applied constraints, you can temporarily relax them by pressing the CTRL key while editing constrained objects.
Improved support of geometric constraints for ellipses and text. You can now apply Parallel, Perpendicular, Collinear, Horizontal, and Vertical constraints between the major or minor axes of an ellipse and other objects.

Similarly, you can apply Parallel, Perpendicular, Collinear, Horizontal, and Vertical constraints to the rotation angle of text objects. In addition, text and mtext objects behave consistently and predictably, with the identified insertion point of the object being the constrainable point. 

One problem found is that to select the text it is needed to click a bit below the text.

The AutoConstrain functionality in AutoCAD 2011 has been updated to include the Equal constraint. When you use AutoConstrain with the Equal option enabled, the Equal constraint is automatically applied to lines and polyline segments of equal length and arcs and/or circles of equal radius.

Constraint bars are enhanced to provide more control and flexibility. You can select multiple objects for showing or hiding constraint bars using standard selection methods, including Window, Crossing, Fence, and Implied Window/Crossing. Quickly display all constraint bars in their original position using the new Reset option. And, a new setting in the Geometric tab of the Constraint Settings dialogs enables you to show constraint bars when objects are selected even if those constraint bars are currently hidden. When the geometry is no longer selected, the temporarily displayed constraint bars are, once again, hidden. When you move a constraint bar and then edit the related geometry, the constraint bar maintains its position relative to the geometry.

The new constraint icons for Fix, Horizontal, and Vertical constraints visually indicate whether they apply to an object or to a point. The symmetric constraint icon is also updated to indicate whether it is identifying a symmetrical point or object, or the symmetric line.

The DIMCONSTRAINT command includes a new Convert option to convert associative dimensions to dimensional constraints rather than it being the default behavior.

When entering dimensional constraint values in?place, you can click on an existing dimensional constraint to insert the constraint name. When dynamic dimensional constraints reference another parameter, the parameter text is prepended with “fx:” to help prevent you from accidentally assigning a constant value to a parameter that references other variables.

New tools on the Dimensional Panel of the Parametric tab provide you with more control over the display of dimensional constraints. Using the Show/Hide tool you can select the specific dimensional constraints you want to show or hide.

The Parameters Manager offers significant improvements. It includes a new Filters pane where you can define parameter groups that display a subset of the parameters. Create new filter groups using the button at the top of the Parameters Manager or by selecting the option from the rightclick menu. With your filter groups created, you can then drag parameters into them. The right?click menu for parameters in the Parameters Manager is updated with additional options including the ability to display the Filter tree and to remove parameters from a group.

A new search box filters the parameters displayed in the grid control based on the parameter name. Column tooltips display the full name of the column as well as a description.

Additional enhancements to the Parameters Manager simplify the terminology for dimensional constraints and user variables created in the drawing editor versus the block editor. The Show column in the Block Editor includes a new option to convert between dimensional constraint parameters or user parameters defined in the drawing editor versus the block editor. In the Block Editor, icons are displayed for action parameters, attributes, and user parameters.


AutoCAD 2011 includes a new transparency property that enables you to apply transparency to objects and layers in the same way you apply colors, linetypes, and lineweights.

You can set transparency by layer, by block, or individually for an object. The default transparency value for layers and objects is 0, and you can set it as high as 90.

The Layer Properties Manager (palette and dialog), the Layer States Manager, the Layer Filter dialog, and the Layer Translator have all been updated to reflect the new transparency property. In the Layer Properties Manager, a new column for Transparency is available in modelspace and layouts, and a column for Viewport (VP) Transparency is available in layouts and floating modelspace viewports.

You can set transparency for individual objects just like color and linetype. Setting a transparency value for an individual object overrides the layer transparency setting for that object. You can access object transparency from a number of places: the Properties palette, Quick Properties, or the ribbon. The new CETRANSPARENCY system variable sets the transparency property for new objects.

The SetByLayer Settings dialog has been updated to include Transparency as one of the available properties.

Transparency has also been added to the Quick Select, Filter, and Match Property Settings dialogs as well as the CHPROP, CHANGE, ?LAYER, VPLAYER, and LIST commands.

A button has been added to the status bar to enable you to temporarily turn off transparency display (TRANSPARENCYDISPLAY system variable), similar to the behavior of the lineweight display button. This does not affect plotting. However, you have the option to turn off transparency when plotting. The Plot and Page Setup dialogs both include a checkbox for transparency (PLOTTRANSPARENCY), similar to the behavior for plot styles. When this option is enabled, AutoCAD rasterizes the entire drawing for plotting, slowing down the plotting process.

Prior to AutoCAD 2011, images had a setting, also called “transparency,” that controlled whether the background of a bitonal image was clear or opaque. This property has been renamed to “background transparency” to distinguish it from the new “transparency” property. You can apply both background and object transparencies to images in AutoCAD 2011.


You can control the orientation of text in linetypes with the alignment code "U". GAS and HOT_WATER_SUPPLY already has this in the new .LIN files.

Windows 7

Jump List support.

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