New CAD Features in ARES Commander 2024

Get more control over your CAD experience

When you’re able to tailor your CAD environment and workflows to your needs, you can work more comfortably and efficiently. And when you can share your own arrangements of frequently used tools and data with your coworkers, your whole department can realize those benefits.

ARES Commander 2024 enables you to customize Tool Palettes like never before — and even import them from AutoCAD®. Mac and Linux users can now choose an interface option that Windows users have long enjoyed, thanks to expanded availability of the Ribbon UI. And with the new TopoPoints module, ARES Commander users gain the ability to import/export coordinates from total stations.

Tool Palettes

Import/Export collections of customized tools and data previously created with AutoCAD
to ensure a smooth migration of your users to ARES.

Example Palette

Preconfigured Entities

ARC + MECH

MEP + MAPS

Annotations

Hatch

Openings + Lisp

  Use-Case / Challenge

CAD users that work on sets of drawings which are similar from one project to the next, may require the same specific types of tools and data over and over again. It’s very handy if the user can find all these frequently used essentials in a single place, across the drawing files and across application sessions.

These tools and data could be categorized as follows:

  • Blocks
  • Geometrical Entities (e.g., Line, Arc)
  • Hatches and Gradients
  • Annotation Entities (e.g., Texts, Dimensions, Tables)
  • System Variables
  • LISP Routines
  • Xrefs — Drawings and Images

  Solution

To address this need, we are providing support for tool palettes. These palettes are designed like others in ARES Commander, and have the same generic properties (e.g., docking, auto-hide, etc.) like all other palettes.

Users of ARES Commander 2024 are invited to discover the benefits of tool palettes with the example preconfigured in the software. This tool palette can be used as a start to configure your own palettes, or it can be replaced by another one that you create from scratch.

In addition to the default (predefined) palettes delivered with ARES, users can create their own tool palette to store and organize the tools and data they require. These custom tool palettes can also be shared with other ARES Commander or AutoCAD users in the same *.xtp file format as AutoCAD, making tool reuse faster and more consistent throughout a department or company.

In other words, tool palettes created in AutoCAD can be used in ARES Commander, and vice-versa.

Users who wish to reuse tool palettes from AutoCAD in ARES Commander — or create their own — can now do so, keeping their customized tools and data readily accessible for convenient reuse.

Flatten

The new FLATTEN command is introduced to convert 3D entities into a 2D projection.

It is also useful to solve issues with entities whose elevation is not properly set.

Flatshot

The command MAKEFLATSNAPSHOT already existed in ARES Commander before this version, but now the command features some enhanced options to better represent hidden lines.

Foreground Lines” — to specify the color and the line style for the foreground lines.
Hidden lines” — the hidden lines, which can be displayed by selecting “Show”, can now have their color and line style modified.
Show tangent edges” — this option displays tangent edges in the flat representation.

Ribbon UI for Mac & Linux

The well-known ribbon user interface (UI) in the Windows version of ARES Commander can now be used in the MacOS and Linux versions as well.

Windows

macOS

Linux

This means the benefits of the contextual ribbons — such as making the tools accessible without hidden levels, or easily memorizing commands with icons — can now be enjoyed in all three platforms.

Significant Performance Improvements

New upgrade of the core DWG technology of ARES Commander enables significant improvements on a number of operations in this version

Select

Copy & Paste

Undo

Some operations that are run frequently during a CAD user’s daily work
received significant performance improvements in this release.

For example, Select can be 50% faster than in previous versions, Copy and Paste are 25% faster, and Undo can in some cases be 8x faster. The performance tests done by the Graebert team for the 2024 release include a set of sample drawings from different areas to give wide coverage on the evaluation, and the performance improvements below describe an average time collected running some critical and common operations over these different drawings.

Import and Export topographic points

Surveyors use total stations to collect exact coordinates of specific elements on the field. New ARES Commander functionalities help these users plot topological points on their drawings.

With the new TopoPoints features, users can insert the points manually, with control over the point tag/number, layer, elevation, and X and Y coordinates. The same operation can be automated, importing text files that contain the point data. In addition, the data from points in the drawing can be exported.

FLISP — LISP editor and debugger

Debugging LISP programs can sometimes be challenging. This new LISP Editor is a Visual Studio Code extension that enables you to easily edit and debug your code.

Many users and companies have customizations in LISP. The language doesn’t require many resources or tools to run, and a lot of useful code snippets can be found on the Internet, so LISP is a very common way to automate or customize DWG editor applications.

Debugging LISP programs, however, can sometimes be challenging. With this in mind, the new release of ARES Commander provides a Visual Studio Code extension that allows any LISP developer to edit and debug routines properly — and save time doing so.

Trinity Collaboration Features for ARES Commander,
ARES Kudo and ARES Touch

One of the key competitive advantages of the ARES CAD software is its Trinity concept, which builds synergies between ARES Commander (the desktop version for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers), ARES Kudo (the Cloud version), and ARES Touch (the Mobile version for Android and iOS).

The Trinity features enable modern collaboration workflows that significantly improve collaboration between the users working at the office and their remotely located colleagues or customers. They also bring the agility of cloud-based collaboration workflows inside ARES Commander, without requiring users to change their work environment or compromise on features.

Because the Trinity features rely on our cloud service, ARES Kudo, users must stay on subscription to use these features.
This is the case whether you have an Annual Plan, a 3-Year Plan, or a Perpetual or Flex / Network license.

What does ARES Trinity make possible?

  Embrace modern collaboration tools without disruption

With ARES Commander, CAD users can instantly switch over and keep working in an AutoCAD-workalike environment, with no time wasted on extensive training and no compromises in 2D/3D CAD features. After a smooth and seamless transition, users immediately start seeing the benefits of the Trinity collaboration features.

Synchronize files across all users and all types of devices

The native integration with all your favorite cloud storage services, directly inside each of the ARES CAD software applications, ensures continuity of work across all your devices. You can start working at the office, then continue your project anywhere else: at your client’s office, at home, or on the go. Your CAD license and your DWG files follow you on any device, anywhere. Most importantly, the drawings are also synchronized among all users. Users working remotely, in home offices, or in the field get live updates of the drawings whenever another user saves a modification.

Enable secure remote access to your drawings

Each user is authenticated with a login and password. Company administrators can decide which cloud storage providers are authorized within their organization. Each user is granted access for viewing or editing based on the permissions defined in the cloud storage. You can see at any time who has access to each file, and grant or revoke rights as needed.

The version history shows who modified the drawing, and when. You can also compare successive versions to highlight the changes with colors. If required, you can revert the changes, and even promote an older version to make it the current version.

Reduce time to market with agile collaboration tools

While working in ARES Commander, ARES Kudo, or ARES Touch, users can discuss the project with comments and markups that can be linked to selections of entities. Such discussion threads appear in a palette and enable collaboration in context, without modifying the project. They ensure an agile collaboration environment, even when users are working remotely or in the field. By extension, these features enable a better workflow between the users creating the drawings, and the users in the field relying on such drawings to execute their work.

Some of these collaboration features include:

  • Comments with the option to zoom to the selection to respond or answer, before eventually marking it as resolved
  • Picture Markup to insert one or multiple images stored on your device, or to take a photo on the spot (e.g. with your smartphone)
  • Voice Markup to comment by recording your voice
  • Stamps to insert ready-made texts such as “To be reviewed” or “Validated” — or create your own
  • Email notifications provide timely updates about your project so you can react promptly

Easily collect feedback and validation with free online viewing and commenting

Invite all your colleagues, customers, and other collaborators to view and comment on your drawings — for free! Thanks to view-only links, which always reflect the current state of your project, your collaborators will have immediate access, without purchasing or installing any software.

With the view-only links that you create, your contacts can not only view the drawing online, but can also use the Trinity collaboration features to add comments or markups, enabling the design team to see their feedback in real time.

Company administrators can configure or restrict how their users can use view-only links:

  • Enable / disable the option to create view-only links
  • Enable / disable the option to let viewers save a PDF version
  • Restrict the duration of view-only links to ensure they automatically expire

For greater security, ARES users can also choose a specific expiry date and/or define a password for each view-only link.

The Largest Choice of Integrations to Connect to Your CAD Data

While working in ARES Commander, ARES Kudo, or ARES Touch, users can discuss the project with comments and markups that can be linked to selections of entities. Such discussion threads appear in a palette and enable collaboration in context, without modifying the project. They ensure an agile collaboration environment, even when users are working remotely or in the field. By extension, these features enable a better workflow between the users creating the drawings, and the users in the field relying on such drawings to execute their work.

The ARES Trinity is closely integrated with the APIs of all major cloud-based storage services, including such popular options as:

  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • Dropbox

As well as specialized services like:

  • Microsoft OneDrive for Business
  • Microsoft SharePoint

And industry-specific solutions to create and modify DWG files stored on the servers of:

  • Onshape
  • Trimble Connect

Last but not least, ARES offers integration with private servers and private clouds:

  • With the WebDAV protocol, you can connect to a private server
  • Alternatively, the integrations with Nextcloud and AWS enable any organization to create its own private cloud

No matter the implementation, it is very important to us that customer admins have full control over which storage solutions are allowed or restricted within their company. Our role is to support our customers by providing different options based on the operational and security requirements of each partner.

Trinity Block Library

Create block libraries that will follow you on all your computers or mobile devices in ARES Commander, ARES Kudo, and ARES Touch.

The Trinity Block Library also makes it easy to use one consistent block library for all the users of your organization. The blocks are stored in the cloud, so any update to the library is instantly available to all your users!

Blocks are one of the most useful features in CAD, saving users time and increasing drawing accuracy. Many users work on a similar set of drawings over time, so they need to use the same set of blocks over and over again. And some users can take advantage of using different environments — desktop, web, or mobile — but keeping their set of drawings in sync and updated for different environments can be a real challenge.

In some companies, certain sets of blocks are shared by many users. And these blocks need to be customized from time to time to meet customer requirements, or for other reasons. The same updated blocks should be available to all users — so maintaining block uniformity at the users’ end is another challenge.

To answer these challenges, we are introducing a cloud-based Block Library palette. The Block Library is integrated into the Trinity concept, which means it’s directly linked with Graebert accounts and cloud storage, allowing users to access the same set of blocks from two different installations of ARES Commander or in different environments, like web and mobile.

Another advantage of the Block Library is providing a customizable way to store, organize, and fetch the blocks. As a flexible tool, it has the power to share the blocks with other users inside an organization, making it a powerful way to improve drawing consistency and accuracy.

IMPORTANT: In addition to ARES Commander, the Trinity Block Library is also available in ARES Kudo and ARES Touch

This makes it easy for the user to access the same collections of blocks on every device, whether at the office or on the go with the cloud and mobile versions. When libraries are shared throughout an organization, they become a standardized and powerful method of collaboration for all the users in the company. For example, using ARES Touch, users in the field can conduct surveys on their smartphones or tablets, inserting the blocks into drawings that are synchronized in real time with the users at the office. It is also very convenient that whenever a block is added, removed, or modified in the Trinity Block Library, all the users instantly gain access to the updates — without the need to install or deploy anything.

Flex Cloud: Share licenses within a company

Now, customers can share Trinity licenses — which include ARES Commander, ARES Touch, and ARES Kudo — among a group of users to reduce the number of licenses needed and lower costs. A Flex Cloud license, which is shared among multiple concurrent users, makes this possible.

Flex Cloud: Flexible floating licensing (Online)

Each user who logs in with any of the three products takes one license from the pool, which then becomes inaccessible to others. When the user stays inactive for more than 60 minutes, the license will be returned to the pool, making it available for the other users.

Unlike the Network license, the Flex Cloud license does not require that users be located in the same office. It no longer matters if users are at the office, in a home office, or even in a different country — they can work anywhere, anytime.

Availability / Licensing

The Flex Cloud license is available through 1-year and 3-year subscriptions, and for a minimum quantity of three floating licenses. Internet access is needed to start working with the license.

Flex Network License

New: Flex Cloud License

Share licenses Only ARES Commander without the Trinity features ARES Commander + ARES Kudo + ARES Touch
Collaboration features The users are anonymous. They can use all the CAD features but cannot use any of the Trinity features Each user is authenticated by a login and password and has access to all the Trinity features in ARES Commander, ARES Kudo and ARES Touch
Installation Install a license server and configure each computer to connect with the server Nothing to install; just invite the users by entering a list of emails in the Admin Space of the Graebert Customer Portal
Possibility to work with local files saved on the computer With ARES Commander With ARES Commander
Possibility to work with files synchronized with cloud storages Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Onshape, Trimble Connect, AWS, WebDav, ARES Kudo Drive …
Possibility to invite free users to view and comment online With View-Only Links
Possibility to work in home office or out of the office All the users need to be connected to the same local network. Possibility to “take away” a license but it will no longer be shared until the user returns to the network. The user can work anywhere as the license will be taken from the Internet. It implies having Internet access to start working with ARES.
Available as Perpetual license Because the product includes cloud-based services that cannot be sold as perpetual by nature
Available as 1-year license
Available as 3-year license Plus: 3 years for the price of 2

Possibility to combine Flex Cloud licenses with other types of ARES licenses

Important: A company can choose to combine single licenses, like Annual Plan or Perpetual, with Flex Cloud licenses. So, it is totally possible to provide some “intensive users” with individual licenses AND purchase additional Flex Cloud licenses for the most occasional users (but with the limit that there is a minimum purchase of 3 seats required for Flex licenses).

Compare two drawings online

Just like in ARES Commander, you can now use ARES Kudo to compare two DWG files and see the differences highlighted in customizable colors

The Drawing Compare command enables users to compare any two drawings to easily identify the differences between them. Now ARES Kudo provides this capability, just like ARES Commander does.

ARES Kudo: Take Over the Editing Session from Another User

Users who need to make changes to a drawing can now easily request to switch to editing mode

At any time, users who have editing permissions for a drawing shared with them may want to make changes to it. If an active editing session is already open for a drawing, all other users with edit permissions are limited to opening the drawing in view-only mode. However, they can make a request to edit the drawing. The user currently editing the drawing receives a notification, and approves or denies this request. As soon as the active editing session closes, users receive a notification, and can switch to editing mode.

ARES Touch: View and convert PDF to DWG on mobile

Open and navigate PDFs, modify them as DWGs, and save as PDF or DWG

ARES Touch users were previously able to open and work with DWG files, but had to leave the app to view PDFs. The new PDF Import feature makes the workflow far more convenient: users can simply tap on any PDF inside the file browser to open it inside ARES Touch. All pages of the PDF are navigable, and the familiar zoom and pan functions allow for close inspection of details.

And users can do much more than viewing! They also have the option to convert a PDF (or just a page) into a DWG file, after which it can be modified, then saved as a DWG or exported as a PDF once more.

BIM to CAD Features in ARES Commander 2024

Smarter DWG Drawings for BIM Projects

Creating all the floor plans, sections, and elevations required for any kind of building project takes a considerable amount of time. Ensuring that all patterns and standards are correctly assigned to the created drawings can make this task substantially longer. So to shorten this process and prevent the mistakes introduced by manual operations, the ARES Commander BIM features have been enhanced to generate the drawings based on IFC or Revit model information.

The new tools for BIM drawings automation will generate consistent documentation for the project, but are editable in the same way if needed, with all the drawing tools from ARES Commander.

  Fixing the broken workflow

The BIM features in ARES Commander aim at fixing the broken workflow between CAD and BIM software. Besides the traditional CAD features, ARES Commander is differentiated by including BIM-centric features which enable CAD users to create smarter DWG drawings, using automation and leveraging the intelligence contained in the BIM objects.

With ARES Commander, DWG drawings are not static snapshots of the BIM project. As every AECO professional knows, project changes are inevitable, so there is an enduring link between the original BIM project and the DWG files created from its data.

Thanks to this associative connection, when the user receives a new version of a BIM file, they can update the drawings to reflect the changes made to the BIM project without having to redo all the drawings again. All CAD geometry that the user has added remains in the drawing, and features such as labels are automatically updated along with the BIM geometry.

  More Automation, Less Effort

To make the production of BIM drawings as efficient as possible, ARES Commander automates many of the tasks that waste users’ time when performed manually.

These time-savers mean that users can:

  • Automatically add callouts to reference other drawings.
  • Select any BIM entity to get aligned dimensions, which automatically account for features such as doors and windows that interrupt the span of a wall, for example.
  • Create annotations by extracting the properties of any BIM entity: labels for doors, windows, rooms, spaces.
  • Use the BIM Material Mapper to automate the style of BIM entities in DWG drawings; for example, a specific hatch for all the walls of the same type.

In version 2024, ARES Commander is pushing this concept further by automating the production of BIM drawings that were previously manually generated by users.

In previous versions of ARES Commander, we introduced the unique ability to import BIM projects (IFC or Revit) and extract 2D drawings — such as floorplans, elevations, or sections — that can be enriched and saved in DWG.

The new feature automates this process, generating a set of drawings with a script that can be customized by the user.

#1 — BIM Auto Drawings

Automatically generate a set of drawings from a BIM model

In version 2024, we keep of course the option to create any new drawing manually, but the BIMAUTODRAWINGS feature enables the user to automatically generate a set of drawings following a preconfigured script (which can be customized by the user).

By default, the BIMAUTODRAWINGS command will for example create a floorplan for each level, some sections, and an elevation for each cardinal point of the building. But the user will also have the ability to customize this script.

#2 — Labels automation

Automatically insert labels that extract information from the BIM objects

After generating these drawings (#1), the user may employ the BIMAUTOLABELS feature to automatically insert labels that extract information from the BIM objects (such as labels for the doors). These labels are smart enough to not only extract the information, but also auto-update if the original BIM project is modified and reloaded in ARES Commander.

#3 — Dimensions automation

Automatically create smart dimensions

The BIMAUTODIMENSIONS feature will further enable users to create smart dimensions like aligned dimensions for the walls, and the information will also be updated if the BIM model is modified and reloaded in ARES Commander.

#4 — Sheets automation

Automatically generated drawing overviews

The BIMAUTOSHEETS feature will automatically create one sheet and insert each drawing on it at a chosen scale.

BIMAUTOALL: Automate all these actions in one step

Combined BIM Automation (4 steps)
The BIMAUTOALL command combines all these features in one, successively launching all these steps for you.

It is important to stress that after running each of these automations, the user retains the option to further customize what was automatically generated. The script only automates what the user may have done with the BIM features of ARES Commander manually, but obviously it saves a lot of time.

The ability to further customize the script is also a major game changer, as each user or organization may configure its own automation.

Discover more features from previous releases

El sitio web también está disponible en español Cambiar ahora