Smart feature

There are many ways in which you can count objects, or blocks, in AutoCAD.

Select Similar

The first method is to use the Select Similar command. There are multiple ways to access this command, but the easiest is to simply select a block in the drawing that you want to count, right-click, and choose Select Similar from the context menu.
You can then use the Properties palette to count the blocks that have been selected.

Note: Only objects of the same type (lines, circles, polylines, etc.) are considered similar. You can change other shared properties with the SELECTSIMILAR command, using the se (Settings) option. If you want to select different types of objects that share properties like color or line type, use Quick Select.

Quick Select

Use Quick Select to count specified objects in your drawing.

  1. Right-click in the drawing area, and choose Quick Select.
  2. In the Object Type list, select the type of object you want to count.
  3. Optionally, filter objects by setting a property, operator, and value for the type of objects you want to count.
  4. Click OK.

The number of objects displays at the Command prompt.

Count (What’s new in AutoCAD 2020)

Quickly and accurately count the instances of objects in a drawing. You can insert a table with the count data into the current drawing.

The Count feature offers visual count results and more control over the count criteria. Specify a single block or object in the model space to count its instances. You can also use the Count palette to display and manage the counted blocks in the current drawing.

When you’re in an active count, the Count toolbar displays at the top of the drawing area. The Count toolbar includes the number of objects and issues, along with other controls to manage the counted objects.

Commands for Counting Objects

These commands and system variables are used to count objects in the drawing.


  • COUNT (Command)
  • COUNTCLOSE (Command)
  • COUNTFIELD (Command)
  • COUNTLIST (Command)
  • COUNTNAVNEXT (Command)
  • COUNTNAVPREV (Command)
  • COUNTTABLE (Command)

System Variables

  • COUNTCHECK (System Variable)
  • COUNTCOLOR (System Variable)
  • COUNTERRORCOLOR (System Variable)
  • COUNTERRORNUM (System Variable)
  • COUNTNUMBER (System Variable)
  • COUNTPALETTESTATE (System Variable)
  • COUNTSERVICE (System Variable)

See also:

How to Count the Circle in DWGSee CAD?

How to use block statistics table in DWGSee CAD? (Count Blocks)

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In this article, we’ll explore the exciting new features that will empower your designs, streamline your workflow, and redefine your CAD experience. Let’s dive into the future of design with AutoCAD 2024.

2024.1 Update Highlights

Autodesk Assistant

The AI-guided assistant is now available in AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT.

Note: The Autodesk Assistant is available in a limited suite of products and languages.

The Autodesk Assistant offers AI-guided self-service and options to find tailored support from within the product. Depending on the type of account you have, you can find solutions to product questions, engage in a chat with one of our product support agents, request a callback, or create a support case.

In the upper-right corner of the application window, on the InfoCenter, click Autodesk Assistant.

Markup Import and Markup Assist

Markup Assist now can detect and identify markups in flattened PDFs.

The Markup Assist icon on the Trace toolbar indicates when Markup Assist is in the process of detecting markups.


Trace provides a safe space to provide feedback to a drawing without altering the existing drawing.

When a drawing does not contain any traces, the Traces palette has been updated to make it easier to create a new trace or import markup.

COPYFROMTRACE, which allows you to copy objects from a trace into the drawing, now provides command line feedback about scale factor when copying objects from a trace layout to a viewport.

Activity Insights

Activity Insights, new in AutoCAD 2024, provides an understanding of the past actions that you or others have performed with regard to your drawings.

Some of the drawing event labels have been updated for clarity.

Additional enhancements

File Open: Improved file open performance when opening a drawing that contains large numbers of annotation scales. Large numbers of annotation scales can occur when there are lots of drawing references that might pull in additional annotation scales.

Pan and Zoom: General performance improvements when using pan and zoom commands.

2024 Highlights

Activity Insights

Activity Insights provides an understanding of the past actions that you or others have performed with regard to your drawings.

Activity Insights tracks events whenever a drawing file is opened and being worked on in AutoCAD. It can also track some events outside AutoCAD such as a drawing rename or copy in Windows Explorer. When a drawing is opened, past events performed in the drawing are read from the Activity Insights database and displayed chronologically in the Activity Insights palette. At the same time, events are being written to the database as you work in the drawing, which keeps the contents of the palette current.

Note: Events are logged even when the Activity Insights palette is closed. All events are displayed the next time the palette opens.

Changes are written to the Activity Insights Event Location specified in the Files tab of the Options dialog box. The default location for the Activity Insights Event Location is C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Autodesk\ActivityInsights\Common. Change this to a shared location so that any drawing activity is logged in one location regardless of who works on it.

With this information, AutoCAD can surface meaningful insights about your workflow and practices.

New Commands

ACTIVITYINSIGHTSCLOSE – Closes the Activity Insights palette.

ACTIVITYINSIGHTSOPEN – Opens the Activity Insights palette.

New System Variables

ACTIVITYINSIGHTSPATH – Specifies the path where Activity Insights event log files are written (or copied to).

ACTIVITYINSIGHTSSTATE – Indicates whether the Activity Insights palette is open or closed.

ACTIVITYINSIGHTSVIEWEDLOGGING – Turns on\off the logging of “Viewed” events.

Smart Blocks: Placement

The new smart block functionality can offer placement suggestions based on where you’ve placed that block before in the drawing.

The block placement engine learns how the existing block instances are placed in your drawing to infer the next placement of the same block. As you insert a block, the engine gives placement suggestions close to a similar geometry where you’ve placed that block before.

For example, if you’ve already placed a chair block close to the corner of a wall, when inserting another instance of that same chair block, AutoCAD automatically positions the chair as you move it close to a similar corner. As you move the block, the walls are highlighted, and the position, rotation, and scale of the chair block are adjusted to match the other block instance. You can click to accept the suggestion, press Ctrl to switch to other suggestions, or move the cursor away to ignore the current suggestion. To temporarily turn off suggestions when placing a block, hold Shift+W or Shift+[ while inserting or moving your block.

New System Variables

AUTOPLACEMENT – Controls whether placement suggestions are displayed as you insert a block.

PLACEMENTSWITCH- Indicates whether placement suggestions are displayed by default as you insert a block.

Smart Blocks: Replacement

Replace specified block references by selecting from a palette of suggested similar blocks.

When you select block references to replace, the product suggests similar blocks for you to select from.

When the block references are replaced, the scale, rotation, and attribute values are maintained from the original block.

New Commands

BREPLACE – Replaces specified block references with a block you select from a list of suggested blocks.

-BREPLACE – At the Command prompt, replaces specified block references with a block you select from a list of suggested blocks.

BLOCKSDATAOPTION – Displays the data collection consent dialog box.

New System Variables

BLOCKSDATACOLLECTION – Controls whether the content data used during block replacement is sent to the data collection service.

Markup Assist

This release includes improvements to Markup Assist that make it easier to bring markups into your drawing.

Note: To use Markup Assist, make sure TRACEBACK is on and Markup Assist is on. You can toggle between Trace Front and Trace Back in the Trace Settings toolbar. While TRACEBACK is on, you can toggle Markup Assist on or off.

Update Existing Text

After clicking a text markup, you’ll see Update Existing Text as a new option in the Markup Assist dialog box alongside Insert as Mtext and Insert as Mleader, which were available in the last release. Use Update Existing Text to replace or amend existing text in the drawing with text from an imported markup.

To update existing text:

  1. Click the highlighted border of a text markup. The Markup Assist dialog box opens.
  2. Select Update Existing Text.
  3. Select existing text in the drawing that you want to replace.
  4. Choose one of the following:
    • Append. Adds the text that was selected from the markup to the end of the text field and keeps the existing text.
    • Replace. Adds the text that was selected from the markup and removes the existing text.
    • Select a strikethrough. Select a strikethrough markup (text that has been crossed out with a markup), and the text that was selected from the markup will replace the drawing text and fade the strikethrough markup.

Strikethrough Text

Markup Assist recognizes text that has been crossed out, and allows you to erase the text or replace the text with text from a markup.

To replace existing text:

  1. Click a strikethrough markup. The Markup Assist dialog box opens.
  2. Click Replace Existing Text.
  3. Click the text in the drawing to replace.
  4. Click the text in the markup to replace the existing text with.

To erase existing text:

  1. Click a strikethrough markup. The Markup Assist dialog box opens.
  2. Click Erase Existing Text.
  3. Select the text in the drawing to erase.

Markups With Associated PDF Text Comments

Text comments that are added to a PDF using Adobe software will display and can be inserted into the drawing as an Mleader or Mtext, or used to update existing text.

To insert text from a PDF text comment:

  1. Click the markup that contains a PDF text comment.
  2. Insert the text as an Mleader, Mtext, or Update Existing Text.

Fade Markup

Use Fade Markup to control the transparency of individual markups. Fade Markup is useful for hiding any markups that you’ve already inserted, or if there is a markup you want to ignore. Access the FADEMARKUP command from the Trace toolbar, or from the Markup Assist dialog box. Control the transparency of faded markups in Trace Settings on the Trace toolbar, or with the TRACEMARKUPFADECTRL system variable.

To unfade a markup that was previously faded, use one of the following methods:

  • Select the markup and click Unfade Markup from the Markup Assist dialog box.
  • Select FADEMARKUP from the Trace toolbar, enter N at the Command Prompt, and select the markup’s boundary.

Selecting Markups Within a Boundary

When you use any command that prompts to “Select Objects,” you can click the blue highlighted border of a Markup Assist boundary to select all the AutoCAD objects within it. When you click the highlighted border, all objects entirely within the border are added to the selection set.

Note: Set the MARKUPSELECTIONMODE to 0 to turn off, 1 to enable selection using boundary markup assist boxes as criteria, or 2 to enable selection using any markup assist box as criteria.

Instruction Text on a Markup

Markup Assist detects certain instructions in markup text that are linked to commands such as “MOVE,” “COPY,” or “DELETE.” When Markup Assist identifies an instruction, you can click that instruction to start the associated command.

New Commands

FADEMARKUP – Fades individual markups so they are less visible on a trace.

New System Variables

MARKUPSELECTIONMODE – Enables selection using boundary markup assist boxes as criteria.

COMMENTHIGHLIGHT – Controls the display of the indicator badge on PDF text comments.

TRACEMARKUPFADECTL – Controls the transparency of faded markups. The lower the number, the more visible the markup is.

TRACEVPSUPPORT – Controls whether markup assist boxes are actionable within a currently active model space viewport.

Trace updates

The Trace environment continues to improve and now includes the new COPYFROMTRACE command and new settings controls on the toolbar.

New Trace Settings

The new COPYFROMTRACE command lets you copy objects from a trace into the drawing. To copy objects from a trace:

  1. While a trace is open, with TRACEBACK on, start the COPYFROMTRACE command.
  2. Select objects in the trace, and press Enter.The objects remain in the trace and are copied into the drawing in the same location.

There are new settings available in the Settings drop-down menu on the Trace toolbar.

Overlay Effect.Controls opaqueness of the tracing paper overlay. The lower the number, the more transparent the tracing paper is. The Overlay Effect slider modifies the TRACEPAPERCTL system variable.

Geometry in Trace. Controls the amount of fading of the trace geometry in the background. When TRACEFRONT is on, geometry in the drawing is affected. When TRACEBACK is on, geometry in the trace is affected. The Geometry in Trace slider modifies the TRACEFADECTL system variable.

Drawing Background. When a digital markup is active, controls the transparency of the imported markup that is laid over the drawing. The higher the number, the more transparent the overlay. The Drawing Background slider modifies the MARKUPPAPERTRANSPARENCY system variable.

Faded Markup. When a digital markup is active, Controls the transparency of faded markups. The lower the number, the more visible the markup is. The Faded Markup slider modifies the TRACEMARKUPFADECTL system variable.

Note: Drawing Background and Faded Markup settings are available when traces have used Import Markup to overlay a markup file on the drawing.

New Commands

COPYFROMTRACE – Copies objects from a trace into the drawing.

Autodesk Docs Improvements

The following improvements have been made to Autodesk Docs:

  • Improved support and performance when viewing large files on Autodesk Docs.
  • Improved Desktop Connector resulting in improved performance displaying a drawing in the Start tab and opening a drawing from Autodesk Docs.
  • Improved navigation on the Start tab for drawings stored on Autodesk Docs.

Start Tab Updates

The Start tab continues to be improved in this release including new options to sort and search recent drawings.

Recent Drawings Updates

The recent drawings list uses smaller thumbnails to allow for more drawings to display. You can now sort and search the recent drawings in both the grid and list views.

Sort and Search

  • To sort on the grid view, select an option from the Sort By drop-down list. To reverse the sort order, click the arrow next to the drop-down list
  • To sort on the list view, hover over a column label to display the sort arrow. Click the arrow in the label area of the column that you want to sort by. To reverse the sort, click the arrow again.
  • In either view, type any portion of a file name or path in the search box. The drawing list is filtered in real-time.

Customizing the List View

  • In the list view, you can customize the column headings by clicking settings. Name and Pinned are persistent columns.
  • Drag to change the column order.

Other changes on the Recent tab include the following:

  • The pin icon now appears in the upper left corner when you hover over a drawing’s thumbnail.
  • The open menu icon displays when you hover over a drawing thumbnail. Click to display the options on the menu.

Autodesk Projects Updates

  • The Autodesk Docs tab has been renamed to Autodesk Projects.
  • After selecting Autodesk Projects, a new pane displays showing a hub selector and the project path tree.
  • Above the project’s drawing list, navigation breadcrumbs are shown for the current project path.

File Tab Menu

Use the new file tab menu to switch between drawings, create or open a drawing, save all drawings, close all drawings, and more.

Note: The file tab menu replaces the overflow menu.

Hover over a file name to see thumbnails of its layouts. Hover over a layout to temporarily display that layout and display icons for plotting and publishing.

Layout Tab Menu

Use the new layout tab menu to switch between layouts, create a layout from a template, publish layouts, and more.

Right-click a layout name to see more options.

Note: Use the Ctrl and Shift keys to select multiple layout names from the menu.

Sheet Set Manager for Web Improvements

This release includes several enhancements for publishing and transmitting of drawing packages (eTransmit) in Sheet Set Manager for Web.

Some of the changes include the ability to multi-select sheets for publishing, define how to publish or transmit your selected sheets, more control over the PDF (or eTransmit) file name and location, and an option to overwrite existing files during publish and eTransmit.

Other improvements that have been made to the Sheet Set Manager for Web since the previous release are:

  • Automatic sheet set lock management
  • Control over the location for new sheets
  • Open Sheet Set button added to the palette

Additional enhancements

PDFSHX System Variable: Set PDFSHX to 2 to store text objects that use SHX fonts as hidden text when the drawing is exported to a PDF. This makes the text searchable and selectable in the PDF.

3D Graphics: Below is a list of improvements that have been made to the Shaded (Fast) and Shaded with Edges (Fast) visual styles.

  • Support for Map 3D and Civil 3D
  • Large coordinate system support
  • Selection (Fence, Lasso, Polygon)
  • Paper space support
  • Point cloud support
  • Line weights
  • Dimming of Xrefs and locked layers
  • General stability, visual fidelity, and performance improvements

2D Graphics: Below is a list of improvements that have been made to the 2D graphics system.

  • Pan performance is improved for drawings with raster images or wipeouts
  • Display performance is improved for trace background, Markup Import and Markup Assist, and ViewCube
  • Layout switching performance improvement

Note: Turn on hardware acceleration for better performance and responsiveness in AutoCAD.

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