As a structural engineer, I often have numerous .dwg files open at the same time. While I try to keep this to a minimum – nobody enjoys recovering a dozen files after AutoCAD crashes – there are times when, between architectural, civil, and mechanical reference files (not to mention shop drawings), I may have as many as six .dwgs going at once.
Now, there is, of course, the TASKBAR system variable (for those not “in the know,” setting this variable to “1” will create a new taskbar icon for every open .dwg) – but I got sick of that back in 2002, when I changed browsers to get my internet fix in tab form.
So: why doesn’t AutoCAD do tabs? Well, it does – with the help of a free add-on.
For those of you on older platforms (pre-2013), installation is a snap. Grab the package from Between the Lines at http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/2009/04/autocad-free-bonus-tool-drawing-tabs-mditabs.html, drop the appropriate version (32-bit or 64-bit) in with your other scripts, and use APPLOAD to add it to your startup suite. Tabbed drawing management will be available the next time you open AutoCAD.
For those who have jumped to 2013, installation is even easier. Swing by the Autodesk Exchange Apps store and hit the friendly button marked “free” (you will need an Autodesk ID, but getting one only requires an email address that you will check at least once). Download the installer, and run it – tabbed drawing management will be available the next time you open AutoCAD.