Updated March 21st, 2016: Autodesk has just released the all the AutoCAD 2017! Here’s the full list of new features. If you’re already an AutoCAD subscriber then you’ll be able to upgrade to the 2017 version now for free. If you’re not yet one, there are several purchasing plans available including monthly, annual, and 2 or 3 year plans (certain options are on sale this week for 20% off). And better yet, if you’re a student, then you may qualify for the free educational license. You’ll be able to try out the new version for free for 30 days before you decide to upgrade.
Some of the featured changes in AutoCAD 2017 include:
Updated March 16th, 2016: We are getting pretty close to Autodesk’s upcoming 2017 product release, including all new 2017 versions of AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD Electrical, and AutoCAD Mechanical. As we’ve seen the last few years, you can expect the new versions to be released sometime between the third and fourth week of March. Beta testers, which you can signup for at beta.autodesk.com, get a chance to download and test the betas at the beginning of the year (they all should be available now). More information about AutoCAD betas and the latest news can be found at the Autodesk’s Between the Lines blog.
Here’s a look at the last few AutoCAD releases coming and their respective release dates:
- AutoCAD 2016 – Released on March 23, 2015.
- AutoCAD 2015 – Released on March 27, 2014.
- AutoCAD 2014 – Released on March 26, 2013.
- AutoCAD 2013 – Released on March 27, 2012.
- AutoCAD 2012 – Released on March 22, 2011.
- AutoCAD 2011 – Released on March 25, 2010.
- AutoCAD 2010 – Released on March 24, 2009.
Will the upgrade to AutoCAD 2017 be free?
This depends on the type of Autodesk customer you are. A free upgrade to the 2017 version of AutoCAD is available to all current maintenance and desktop subscription customers. That’s similar to other software subscription plans like Adobe’s Creative Cloud and most antivirus subscriptions like Norton and McAfee. If you currently own a an perpetual license (i.e. you paid once for it upfront and you don’t have a monthly or annual subscription plan) then then you will not qualify for the upgrade. Even if you purchased it a day before the new version was released.
Autodesk is following the subscription model trend that we’ve been seeing the last few years. They rather have you hooked on a lower monthly subscription fee than the one-shot full perpetual license (they even have “auto-bill” turned on by default to make sure you pay up). And just like what Adobe did back in 2013, they have gotten rid of the upgrade discount so if you still want to stay on a perpetual license then you have to pay the full price to get it. On the flip side though, once you buy the full license you can use it and that version for as long as you like. That option is usually cheaper in the long run if you don’t need to get the upgrade every year. This is of course assuming that you’re not upgrading your operating system as we’ve head that in some cases the older versions stop working in newer versions of Windows.
We also want to remind you that regardless of the option you choose, either subscription or perpetual license, you have a full 30-days to request for a refund when you buy directly from the Autodesk Store. Most versions are also available in the downloads center to test out for free but you have to be a new customer that hasn’t yet tested the software before.
What we would like to see improved in AutoCAD.
We’ve gone through some of the top AutoCAD user requests have summed it up below. Here’s what we have:
- Improve 3D drafting in AutoCAD LT – For all of us that do 2D drafting and design, it’s hard to beat the latest release of AutoCAD LT. But when it comes to 3D features however, it lacks. Now we know that you can pay a lot more to get 3D versatility in some of Autodesk’s more premium products but for a lot of small businesses that already find LT to be an expensive option, we would love to see more basic 3D options available.
- Bring back the Classic Workspace view – If you are a long time user of AutoCAD LT, then you’ll be bummed that the Classic Workspace view is no longer available in the 2016 perpetual version (those on the subscription plan still can switch to it). The new workspace interface is so dramatically different that if you’re upgrading from an older version then you’ll have to commit some time into learning it over again to become efficient with the software. While Autodesk cites their decision to remove the view as a “natural evolution towards a modern and more efficient interface”, we would like to see the option return for those that want it.
- Improve digital rights management and support – Autodesk has a really poor licensing management setup and nearly no support available if you get suck activating your new. In the 2016 release we found a number of customers complaining that they could not activate their new licenses using their existing account Autodesk ID’s when trying to install the software using “I already have an Autodesk account” installation option. The only workaround was to remove any trial versions of the software and reinstalling it under a newly created Autodesk ID. We hope that once the 2017 version rolls in that they will improve this setup process.
What would you like to see changed in AutoCAD 2017?
If you have any changes or improvements that you would like to see in the next AutoCAD release from Autodesk, then let us know in the comments below.