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Switching from AutoCAD, how do you like BricsCAD's menus/ribbon/cui?

I know AutoCAD's CUI in and out. I can get my ribbon panel/menus pretty much exactly how I want them. But it's arduous and grueling. And the program is a bit unstable.

For those like me who are picky and like to customize their CAD, how did you find the overall experience transitioning from ACAD to BricsCAD?

Is the CUI easier to work with?

Was it easy to transfer your CUI to other workstations?

Any other thoughts or comments?

Looking forward to any feedback,



  • Its funny because this is the main thing users see upfront. They don't care that the APIs are incredibly the same, and commands and all, but why isn't my toolbar here or there?
    I'd give it a grade of C currently, and I utilize it to a medium complexity level I'd say.
    Its like Bricsys got things functional, but several things are tricky for the average person. Just arranging pulldown menus is an example.
    I've done acad since R14, and customized the whole time, so have seen how adesk evolved things, and how they messed them up with the CUI.
    So its not just bcad, but acad has serious CUI bugs and I can't complain too much about polishing a turd.
    My thought with bcad is have someone that understand menu structure - main, enterprise, and partials, get things going for a new person.
    Then the ribbon and other tweaks can be easy or hard depending what they want.
    I have not focused on the CUI in bcad that much, but it needs work for sure.
    I'd like to know who the lead is at bricsys to work with and form a todo list for their team. We could get things tuned up.
    Robert Green and I used to talk about it a lot when the CUI came out. Adesk did not have their act together on the feature, and was not even clear on how you structure things in a vanilla acad, then in civil3D. The two teams did things opposite in terms of the main menu.
    Lots of history on this, but the CUI in bcad will likely be fine for anyone so long as they have someone to help like us if things come up.

  • Thanks for the detailed response James! I found AutoCAD's CUI to be very un-intuitive, but through perseverance, I was able to achieve the workspace I wanted. I'm liking a lot of what I see with BricsCAD, but to be honest, I haven't had a lot of time to really dig in and see how it compares with AutoCAD's. One one side of the coin I would think that it would be relatively easy to improve on AutoCAD's CUI; the other side of the coin would point to the fact that very few programs allow a typical user to customize the program to such a great extent (without special API/coding skills that is). So maybe I'm asking for too much when I wish for a quicker, more intuitive CUI.

  • I had actually written in Lisp, a workspace saver and switcher before 2006 when CUI came out.
    I still prefer it, though it mainly does toolbars and pulldowns.
    I don't use the ribbon as its a space waster and the wrong way to do daily commands, most of the time.
    I would say anyone trying bcad can get past the CUI issues if they ask a bit.
    Note that I had to redo the bcad default menu for osnaps. Why they differ from acad for mnemonics is beyond me.
    I have to redo that part for every release, not great...

  • I create custom ribbon buttons mainly for other users (example, an engineer or architect who only draft as a secondary task). Most users, even full time users, aren't 'power users' and can't be bothered to learn keyboard shortcuts (let alone many other things haha). I also use AutoCAD LT (at this point I am debating the use of either Acad LT or BricsCAD Classic); since there's no LISP, the ribbon becomes a potential productivity saver, especially if your system can handle the resources (Custom toolbars would achieve the same thing with less system resources; not 100% sure why I haven't taken that route - maybe the Ribbon panel can be organized slightly more efficiently?). I hate tool pallets for various reasons.

    Just for some insight, here is the stuff I have on my ribbon panel: Access to various leaders and text styles using macro that changes the styles, layer, etc... to suite; access to common command chains; access to various commonly used blocks including macros that changes the layer for me, and buttons to change the hatch variables to exactly what I want, all at once. The last one can save a lot of time.

    I was previously heavily into LISP, but found more and more, the type of work I do wasn't allowing me to 'get my money's worth' out of the time spent. And by the sounds of it I was never quite up to your level (never used LISP to manipulate the CUI, although dreamt of doing such). LISP obviously works better than macro, but of course, only Macro is available in Acad LT.

    To summarize: I am generally a typer and can memorize a lot of stuff. Having a shortcut list printed out and pinned somewhere is sufficient for me. I found with other, less involved users need easy, intuitive access to commands if I expect them to follow my standards; the 'typical' user won't be bothered to memorize a bunch of commands, so buttons seem to be the way to go. My philosophy is that if I can make it easier for them to follow the standards as opposed to not following them, it's much more likely they'll do just that.

  • @KeithsCADServices
    So you are happy to let them work at beginners pace, I get it. That in between zone from beginner to production person is tricky.
    I never liked how the ribbon has big buttons, then tabs. I prefer toolbars where I can put three rows of them if needed in same space as one ribbon tab.
    The other thing is I maintain all company menus as .mnu, then load and they compile to cui/cuix.
    I keep images as .png, because you can set the background as transparent.
    I maintain one set of .mnu and images and load them into both acad and bcad.
    It is far easier to edit menus in a text editor than the CUI dialog.
    I can say there is untapped potential in the ribbon for me, as we wrote our own civil3d and the menus are getting a bit long.
    I originally wrote the tools to run on top of land desktop and civil3d, then decided their data storage and sharing were ridiculous, and made our own.
    Best thing we ever did. That could likely use a ribbon, as I agree its nice for new users, and even ones that simply do not use the tools often.
    We make key-ins for all common commands though to save people's tendons.
    I even have a key-in search command that looks through my company key-ins and parses the command and description so you can look for all key-ins related to the word "layer" or anything.
    I need to get a you tube channel going as I've been down a lot of rabbit holes others would likely want to travel.

  • edited May 20

    Can't really speak much to the menu customization topic per se, as all my customization has always been automation, from command macros before AutoCAD had shortcuts to actual routines that automate drawing tasks and editing. So in essence, all my customization was with the intent to avoid using menus entirely! ;)

    What little menu customization I've done has been to consolidate -- make sure all the buttons I use frequently are there and deleting ones I don't use to make space and avoid visual and mental clutter. For that purpose, BCad's mechanism seems to work fine, but I don't use it a lot and never did with AutoCAD hardly at all.

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