I want to start by saying I really like to work with Inventor. I truly believe that it is one of the best CAD programs out there (I used to sell Pro/Engineer, so I know a little of the other systems). So thank you for that!
Off course it can always be better. The amount of clicks needs to come down. I can do this manually by writing VBA code (works, great option!). But in many cases Inventor itself could help me out a lot. I truly believe that most Inventor users do more or less the same job every day. Maybe completely different designs, but they will use the same work flows & commands over and over again.
So why do they need to click that much in the commands? Having a lot of options is great, but in 80% of the cases I use the same settings for a given command. It would be a shame to cut down in functionality, cause in 20% of the cases I maybe need it. It is also impossible to define which is the best basic setting for all usersbecause it is different for every user. But what if we, the users, could could do it ourself?
I see 2 options:
1) Inventor remembers my last settings
In this case all my last clicks would be set again in every menu. So if my last extrusion was symmetrical. My next extrusion is by default also symmetrical. Last pattern is round, next also round. Last detail view is a nicely shaded view with leader and a circular fence, the next one is the same. Placed a filit in a drawing R = 5mm, the next one is also R=5mm. ...
You see the picture, this would automatic adapt commands to my liking. Often you use the same command multiple times. This can only work if it is all set automatic. For instance in a pattern you have a drop down box with last used dimensions, you need to click 2 times to get the last dimension. Thus making it useless, you can retype it as fast. This would work if the last value was already typed in for you! Also don't forget all the clicks(all the menu-fields, not just the dimension-fields) you need to make for adjusting commands. For instance with the detailed view command, I always want a smooth cut-out with a leader. This is 3 clicks I constantly need to redo.
2) Users can adjust the default value's of Inventor
The above has the disadvantage that if you use commands in a different method constantly it would still be a lot of clicking. So why not let the user adopt his commands to his liking. Just go to 'customize' and have a tab with 'menu's'. You should be able to open any menu of any environment, set the default settings you like & then save it.
The user will not be forced in a new way of working. He can just adapt it to his liking if he wants to. In the same way the marking menu's work. At first you learn to use them, and then you start to adjust them and suddenly you are working a whole lot faster.
Conclusion - combine the 2!
Every user would gain a lot of time if the above was possible. Option 2 should be accessibly using the 'customize' menu. Option 1 should be an option within the customize command of every menu. A small check-box next to all the menu-fields called 'set last value as default". If you mark it, the menu-field will work as described in option 1. If you leave it blanc the value within the menu-field will be set to default that you type in.
I truly believe the above is rather easy to program and can give any type of user a better user experience. The users will be able to say to Inventor how it needs to work. Not the reverse as it is for now.
- let the user customize all the commands from Tools>customize
- For any kind of menu-field (all field!! check boxes, dimensions, names, ...) the user can set it as:
a) a custom default value
b) automatic-mode: puts in the last used value for that field