4 Great Time-Saving Features in HighDesign 2016


With the 2016 update, HighDesign includes many new features and improvements. We focused on items that would improve the work of the designer in everyday tasks, from basic drawing to annotations and dimensions, so as to speed up the workflow and ease the rapid production of the final drawings.

Among all the new features, though, there are a few that stand out.

1: Speed

The no. 1 requested feature has always been speed, not because the earlier versions were sluggish, but because if there is one thing that is never enough in a CAD project is speed. Architects and professionals are always on a deadline. So, the faster the tool, the less sleep they skip. We addressed this in three ways:

The underlying architecture in HighDesign 2016 is now 64-bit. OS X has supported 64-bit chips since version 10.6 Snow Leopard, and though the adoption has been gradual, all the machines and the major software products are now 64-bit. A 64-bit processor handles data flow in 8-byte (64 bits) chunks, allowing direct and hence faster computation of double, floating-point numbers, which are the type of numbers most used in a heavily mathematical application like a CAD software.

We optimized the code in some critical parts, like drawing regeneration, hatches, panning and zooming. Some actions are much more frequent than others, and improving those parts produced a visible advantage, especially in larger projects.

There are now more options to customize the environment. Not all machines are the same, not all projects are the same size, and every user has different habits. Giving more options to disable things like live regeneration or pen zooming allows the user to fine-tune the software for his/her project and style.

The result is that HighDesign 2016 is now up to 10x faster than the previous versions, and yes, that includes pre-2015 versions that used the old QuickDraw technology. Incidentally, our tests consistently show that disabling antialiasing does not produce any speed gain.

2: Associative Dimensions.

This feature had been asked for several times, and rightfully so! It is one of those time-saving features that, once used, become essential.

An associative dimension, as the name implies, is associated, or linked, to a source object, so that when that object is modified or moved, the dimension automatically adjusts its location, orientation and value accordingly. Associative dimensions can be linked to objects, like lines or polylines, or parts of objects, like the segment of a wall between two windows.

3: Export with Images with Transparency

In HighDesign 2016, a drawing can be exported as a PNG image with alpha channel. The alpha channel is an additional level of information in a picture that controls the transparency of each pixel, that is, a mask. This means that a drawing exported as image from HighDesign does not have the background, and can be directly inserted on a web page or in a layout software without the need to use other tools to isolate the drawing items from the background. No lasso tool needed!

Cavity walls in HighDesign 2016

4: Compound Walls

This is another much-requested feature. Walls can now be of two types: basic, that is the normal, one-layer wall, and compound. A compound wall, or cavity wall, is made of different internal components, or layers, each with its own function, material, thickness and graphic properties.

HighDesign Pro 2016 provides a dedicated window to create and organize the internal components of a compound wall. Each component has its own function, which in some cases controls the type of fill: for instance, the structural component can have any kind of hatch or pattern, whereas the batt insulation component will only show the standard batt linetype used to represent that kind of insulation.


There are many more new features in HighDesign 2016. Download the free trial to explore them all!

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