AutoCAD’s success has been attributed to its famous open architecture — the flexibility that the end user has to customize the program using source code files in plain text (ASCII) format — and programming languages (such as AutoLISP and Visual Basic for Applications).
As a result, AutoCAD is the most flexible drafting program available, applicable to all fields. AutoCAD’s support for languages other than English, including those using other alphabets, is unparalleled, making AutoCAD without serious competition abroad.
As a result, AutoCAD is used in all disciplines and in more than 150 countries. Through a high level of technical innovation and expertise, Autodesk has created a program with unequaled features and capabilities, including 3D surface and solid modeling and visualization, access to external databases, intelligent dimensioning, importing and exporting of other file formats, Internet support, and much more.
The major disciplines that use AutoCAD are:
- Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Facilities Management
However, AutoCAD has many other lesser-known uses, such as pattern making in the garment industry, sign making, and so on. In this book, I try to provide examples from many fields. The world of AutoCAD is very broad, and you can learn from seeing the many approaches that AutoCAD makes possible.
Comparing AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT
AutoCAD LT’s advantages are its lower cost and its compatibility with AutoCAD. The programming code that is used to create AutoCAD LT is a subset of the code used in AutoCAD. Here are the major differences between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT:
- AutoCAD includes features that enable CAD managers to hold drawings to certain standards, such as for layer names and text styles. AutoCAD LT doesn’t contain these features.
- AutoCAD LT is not as customizable as AutoCAD, which is both programmable and fully customizable.
- AutoCAD LT includes minimal options for 3D; AutoCAD includes a full-featured 3D capability.
- AutoCAD LT has fewer presentation features than AutoCAD, which includes gradient fills, true color display, and 3D rendering.
- AutoCAD LT is deployable on a network but does not have AutoCAD’s network license management feature that includes reporting and flexible licensing.
- AutoCAD LT does not offer database connectivity; AutoCAD does.
- AutoCAD LT does not include AutoCAD’s quick-dimensioning feature, which allows you to quickly insert a number of dimensions, one after the other.
- AutoCAD LT does not come with Express Tools, a set of additional routines that ship with AutoCAD.
- AutoCAD LT does not include sheet sets and fields, two features that were introduced in AutoCAD 2005.
- The Dynamic Blocks feature, new in AutoCAD 2006, does not exist in AutoCAD LT. However, if you open in AutoCAD LT a drawing that was created in AutoCAD and that drawing contains dynamic blocks, you can view, move, and delete those blocks; however, you can’t create or edit them.
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT have a few other minor differences, as well. Some of these differences are only in the user interface, so that you can accomplish the same task but the procedure is slightly different.