They say first impressions count. If you are upgrading from AutoCAD I think it’s important to realise that the technology and capabilities of AutoCAD Architecture (ACA) are different. In fact it’s the only reservation I have with the new naming and why I never liked the “Making AutoCAD better for Architects” tag-line used for Architectural Desktop. My view of how AutoCAD/ACA compare is:
- AutoCAD Architecture isn’t AutoCAD, it isn’t even “better AutoCAD”.
- It’s object based Building Modelling on an AutoCAD platform.
- It does everything AutoCAD does, adds things AutoCAD just can’t do.
- It’s much more than AutoCAD made better.
So how can you communicate that to a new user? When you first launch ACA you are presented with a “Welcome” screen which offers several resources to explore your new software.
Most prominent are the “Essential Tasks Movies”. These short task focused movies introduce ACA features and work-flow (see screen-shot right) including Projects, Space Tools, Display Themes, Schedules, Detailing and more.
The “New Features Workshop” will be familiar to AutoCAD users. It has feature based demos and also allows a filtered view of what’s new. If you are upgrading from older versions of ACA pick your current version to see only what’s changed in the subsequent releases.
An AutoCAD to AutoCAD Architecture Task Comparison shows how ACA differs from “vanilla AutoCAD”.
Hitting “Next” advances to the “Workspaces” screen (Left) where you can select a task based workspace (User interface configuration) before the program starts up. These workspaces can be customised, like AutoCAD, but give the new user task appropriate tools with no set-up hassle.
There is a “Don’t show this again” option but have a good look around before you dismiss the welcome feature with a tick. If you don’t see it at startup you can access it via the Help menu.