Autodesk Inventor 2016 New Features – A First Look

Autodesk has just released Inventor 2016, the 20th release of their digital prototyping flagship product for 3D mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation. The new release includes several new features which provide a more connected experience between you, the data, and the design process.

Enhancements include seamless parametric, direct editing, and freeform design tools. You can associatively connect your Inventor designs to non-native CAD formats. You will also benefit from improved integration between electrical and mechanical designs. In all, Inventor 2016 provides a better connected design experience.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will be rolling out more than 50 video-based lessons covering all of the new features of Inventor 2016, as part of the complete CADLearning for Inventor 2016, which includes nearly 400 individual lessons.

In the meantime, here is a quick peek at some of the new features in Inventor 2016:

User Interface

Autodesk continues to make improvements to the user interface. Inventor (My) Home page, introduced in the last release, includes new tools that make file access and management easier. For example, you can select between basic and advanced templates, easily switch between projects, and add shortcuts to favorite folders, all from the Home page. The Recent Documents list has had the greatest improvement for giving you access to your models and drawings. The history can be based on the active project or all projects. In addition, you have been provided with context menus that give you immediate access to file management. Also, the Recent Documents list has been enhanced with better filtering controls. Frame Generator users will really appreciate the behavior of the new top-level only Recent Documents. Plus, the interface offers several customizable elements.

Inventor 2016 Get Started Tab

Other UI enhancements include improved part and assembly environment ribbons, more resizable dialog boxes, and the sort order within the Parameters dialog box is based numerically instead of alphabetically, just to name a few.


Significant improvements to drawing creation has occurred in the Inventor 2016 release. The new Create Drawing View command combines several steps into one, so that you can quickly create drawing views from your model.

Inventor 2016 Drawing Creation Improvements

Select your template and then use the in-canvas tools to place, scale, and orient the view interactively on the sheet.

The Text Editor dialog has been simplified to reduce its size. Formatting support has been added for bullets and numbering, strike-through text, and enhanced formatting for all caps, title case, and lower case text. You can also preview your text in the graphics window while you edit in the Format Text dialog.

You can quickly access and share your collection of sketch symbols through a new external Sketch Symbols Library, which you can maintain as an Inventor drawing file.


Inventor 2016 allows you to work more efficiently in a multi-CAD environment. The new associative Import tool allows you to link your design with files from CATIA, SolidWorks, NX, Pro-E/Creo, and Alias. The imported geometry in Inventor updates as the model changes.

Inventor 2016 Associative Import Tool

Selective Import allows you to choose how much of the model to import when using models from CATIA, SolidWorks, Pro-E/Creo, NX, Alias, STEP, IGES, or Rhino.
Inventor designs can be associatively linked with AutoCAD 2D DWG files. When the 2D source is changed, the Inventor part/assembly will update.

The new Electromechanical link between Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical provides a smooth data exchange between your 2D and 3D electrical designs. When you create a link between AutoCAD Electrical and an Inventor assembly, the project files become associative. Design data changes made in one product are updated in the other via the Sync tool.
New and more powerful freeform modeling tools have been added to allow you to work with closed shapes or open surfaces. Also, you can convert model faces for freeform editing, and a Freeform Thicken tool allows you to create solids, offset surfaces, and shell walls.
Sheet-metal models now support the multi-body design workflow.


All Inventor Studio lighting styles are now associated with Image Based Lighting (IBL) styles. The IBL styles provide better lighting sources so you can create effects like the one below.

Inventor 2016 Image Based Lighting styles.

3D Printing

The new 3D Print environment in Inventor 2016 provides tools for additive manufacturing or 3D printing. Users can now position and orient their model within the print space of their selected 3D printer.

Inventor 2016 3D Print Environment

Assemblies can be printed using derived workflows. You can even partition your model to print models that would ordinarily be too large for your 3D printer.

This brief overview mentions just some of the highlights. Over the coming weeks, you will see more of the new features in Inventor 2016 so that you, too, can benefit from the more connected experience.

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