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Autodesk updates product line

Company says changes are designed to help customers move new ideas from drawing board into production more quickly.

Autodesk, a maker of drafting and design software, has released new versions of all its applications, the company said Tuesday.

The San Rafael, Calif.-based company said the updates, including new iterations of more than 25 applications, was undertaken in the name of allowing customers to increase the speed with which they move ideas from the drawing board into production.

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Among the updated offerings are products that use three-dimensional modeling, computer-aided design (CAD), animation, visualization, data management and design collaboration. The company's products typically are used by design professionals such as architects and engineers.

One of the newly updated products is Autodesk Inventor 10, the company's flagship 3D design software. Autodesk said it has added new features to the package that will help prevent over-engineering and help save time and money.

The company said it has made similar improvements to several other products, including its Autodesk Civil 3D 2006, Autodesk Map 3D 2006, Autodesk Revit Building 8 and AutoCAD 2006.

Also having undergone a major face lift are the company's collaboration tools, which are used by design professionals to communicate and share works in progress. The company said its Autodesk Buzzsaw service, which enables people to monitor progress on joint design efforts, was improved to let people more easily share ideas with a group and keep better track of project life cycle and budgetary issues.

The software maker also said it has updated its Autodesk DWF Composer and DWF Viewer products, which are used by designers to share and revise digital documents.

Last December, Autodesk entered an intellectual-property-sharing agreement with Microsoft, under which the two companies agreed to swap patents in order to spur innovation. The companies said at the time that they planned to share patents in a variety of areas, including data management, collaboration, digital effects, project management, computer-aided design and so-called location-based services.