Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AutoCAD’s Help Update for AutoCAD 2013 Reviewed

The online Help for AutoCAD 2013 has had several problems and missing pieces. The good news is that now the Help is much better but with room for more improvements.

To see the new Help press F1 within AutoCAD to see the updated Help welcome page or visit the online Help directly in your browser.

At this point the update is for the English language.

The update include new content, search enhancements, additional reference links for Command and System Variables, Glossary, FAQs.

Filter on All Content, User, Developer or Administrator.

Search filters making it easy to filter on Commands, System Variables, AutoLISP, ActiveX, DXF and .NET.

Related References at the bottom of many pages are helpful.

Welcome to the new The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD—your guide to the basic 42 commands you need to create 2D drawings using modern AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD

“This guide is a great place to get started if you just completed your initial training, or to refresh your memory if you only use AutoCAD occasionally. As you can see from the illustration, the 42 commands are grouped together according to types of activity. In addition, these groups are arranged sequentially to follow a typical workflow.”

I had expected the image to be clickable to navigate to the islands or command. Under the subject (island) Viewing I would expect links to more related references.

AutoCAD Services & Support page needs to be updated for 2013.

I still miss a table of contents, the User’s Guide and Customization Guide with their topics making it easy to navigate the help. No easy access (if any) to news about the 2013 version.

Imagine that you want to learn about AutoLISP. Make a search for AutoLISP and the “not” function is the top result. Not that relevant at all.

FAQs link on the start page is just a link to a search for “faq” and at the top FAQ for Autodesk 360 shows up. Not that relevant and probably not what most users look for.

A search for the command alias SSM returns “No results found for ssm”.

There is still work needed to complete the help. For example is Commands for Working with Arrays missing the -ARRAY command line command. -ARRAYCLOSE cannot be found in the search. Commands like ACPTOOLTIPS and AUTODESKCONNECTIONPOINT cannot be found either. ONLINETOMOBILE, OPENFROMCLOUD, SAVETOCLOUD, VIEWSKETCH, MTPROP, ARRAYCREATION AUTOLOAD, AUTOLOADPATH, ARRAYCREATION, DGNIMPORTUNITCONVERSION, DISPLAYVIEWCUBEIN2D, LISPENABLED, NOPREVIEWGRIP, NOPREVIEWHIGHLIGHT, ONLINEAUTOSAVEPATH, ONLINEFOLDER, ONLINESETTINGSSYNC, ONLINESYNCPROVIDER, ONLINEUSERNAME, PALETTEICONSTATE, PREVIEWDELAY, PROPPREVTIMEOUT, VIEWDETAILCREATION, VIEWDETAILEDITOR, VIEWSECTIONCREATION, VIEWSECTIONEDITOR  are not documented.

Search for HELP and the Help system will fail to work. You need to refresh the page. UPDATE 2012-09-19: This has now been fixed, thanks for the help Dieter.

A tip if you want the URL to a specific help topic is to right click on the Add to Favorites icons and copy the link address.

Search tip: This should really be documented in the help. To search for a phrase add quotes around it. To search only for any of several keywords use the operator OR between. For example Sheet AND Plot. When you search, a minus or dash means that you want to exclude the term. So searching for -ARRAY will not show up the -ARRAY command at all. But when minus is used on one word and you have to other words you will not get the expected result. Try to search for Sheet Stamp and it will show 14 results. Search for Sheet Stamp –Plot and there is suddenly 243 results. The first will work like Sheet AND Stamp while the second will work like Sheet OR Stamp but NOT Plot.

See also the related help/documentation news: Visual LISP and ActiveX/VBA Comparison and AutoCAD ActiveX API History.


Some of the latest blog posts

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner