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Online Tab in AutoCAD 2012
4:03 pm  .   March 24, 2011  .   daniel

AutoCAD 2012 has just been released with a new Online ribbon tab and toolbar, enabling you to upload and manage DWG files in your online workspace directly from within AutoCAD. Now you can easily synchronize changes you have made to AutoCAD desktop files with those files you store on the AutoCAD WS server. You no longer have to upload files or their references manually after every change in AutoCAD, so that drawings accessed or shared online and on mobile devices are always up to date.

Please note that if you are using AutoCAD 2010 or AutoCAD 2011, you can download a plugin to provide much f the same functionality. Go to www.autocadws.com/downloads to download the plug-in for your AutoCAD software version.

In this tutorial we will review the basic capabilities enabled by the Online tab for AutoCAD 2012.


The Online ribbon contains the following sections:


  • Upload – save changes you make in AutoCAD on your desktop to your online  workspace  automatically.
  • Manage Uploads – manage and view the status of current uploads.
  • Upload Multiple Files –  upload files to your online workspace  from your local drive or network


  • Open Online – open the current drawing in a web browser for online sharing and collaboration.
  • Online Drawings – open your online storage to manage and download your online files.
  • Timeline  - show the revision history for the current drawing.


  • Share Drawing – share the current drawing with other AutoCAD WS users.
  • Get Link - generate a link to the drawing you can share online.
  • Messages – showsrecent activity in your account and provide up to date product news.

The AutoCAD WS Online ribbon

Before you can upload and share files, you need to sign-in to your AutoCAD WS account. Clicking any of the buttons on the Online ribbon and menu when not signed in will show the Login dialog. The dialog window lets you enter your AutoCAD WS or existing Autodesk credentials. If you don’t have an AutoCAD WS or Autodesk account you can click the “Create an account” button to create one.

The AutoCAD WS Login dialog window

The Online Ribbon and Toolbar

The Online ribbon and toolbar contain the following commands:

The Upload command uploads your drawing to your online account. Once a drawing has been uploaded, you  can use the Upload command to control whether changes you make to the drawing in AutoCAD are automatically saved to your AutoCAD WS account.  The Upload command ensures that you (or others sharing the drawing) are always using the latest version of the drawing when accessing it from the AutoCAD WS web or mobile application. The Upload command also uploads any related reference files (xrefs), image  underlays, font, and stylesheet files required to display the full drawing set.

Toggling Auto-upload On and Off using the Upload command

The Upload Multiple Files command lets you browse your local drive or network for files to upload to your AutoCAD WS web storage. You can upload files of any type such as AutoCAD drawings (DWG /DXF), PDF documents or Microsoft® Office® files. Drawings and image files will then be available to you for viewing and editing  or for download from any computer for you and any other users with whom the the files are shared. Other file types will be available for download by users you designate (not viewing and editing).

The Manage Uploads command displays the Manage Uploads dialog window. This window lets you view the status of current uploads and control automatic uploads to files on this computer. You can check on and off automatic uploads for any file in the list. You can stop upload for a specific file, or remove it from the file list altogether, by right-clicking to access the file list context menu. The buttons above the file list window let you stop and resume uploads for all the files in the list.

The Manage Uploads Dialog Window

The Open Online command opens the current drawing in AutoCAD in a web browser for online editing and sharing. If the latest version of the drawing is not available in your online account, the drawing  is automatically uploaded along with any references.


The Online Drawings command opens your AutoCAD WS online account in a browser window. Use the Drawings section to manage your online files and folders and to edit, share, and download files.


The Online Drawings storage

The Timeline command opens the Timeline dialog window, which lets you view past revisions, meetings and online edits to the current drawing in AutoCAD. You can also download any previous version of the drawing from the Timeline to view and edit in AutoCAD. To learn more about using the drawing timeline see the Timeline tutorial.

The Share Drawing command lets you share the current drawing in AutoCAD with anyone for viewing, editing and download using the AutoCAD WS web and mobile applications.  The Share Drawing dialog window lets you enter the email addresses your collaborators along with an optional message.  You can also click Choose from my contacts to select from a list of previous recipients. By checking or unchecking the Edit and Download permission check-boxes, you can control whether your collaborators can edit (or just view) the drawing online, and whether they can save a local copy of the drawing to their computer. Once you click Share, the drawing will be added to your collaborator’s AutoCAD WS account, and they will receive an email notification. If they are not AutoCAD WS users, they can open an account directly from the email message. To learn more about Sharing in AutoCAD WS see the Sharing tutorial.

The AutoCAD WS Share dialog window

Get Link generates a link to the drawing that you can post online on a web site,  Sharepoint portal, or blog post. Clicking the generated link opens the drawing in a new AutoCAD WS browser window. You can control whether users who open the link can edit (or just view) the drawing online, and whether they can save a local copy of the drawing to their computer, using the Edit and Download permission check-boxes.

The AutoCAD WS Get Link dialog window

The Messages command open your AutoCAD WS Messages section where you can view recent activity by you or other users with whom you have shared files, such as new file uploads, meeting transcripts, and also read up-to-date product news and announcements.