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How to Master Your Autodesk AutoCAD Basics

Autodesk is the proud name that delivers software for the architecture, engineering, construction, media, manufacturing, entertainment, and other industries. Needless to say, its AutoCAD products have been widely used by professionals from around the world to draft, design, and model building and other structures. While it develops a huge range of products for design and modelling, its AutoCAD products still remain as its signature product line. At first glance, it seems difficult to learn AutoCAD because you do not know where to begin. Thankfully, there is a guide that can help you to master your Autodesk AutoCAD basics so that you can design anything you like with relative ease.

Basic AutoCAD Controls You Should Know

Drawing

Once you have launched the Autodesk AutoCAD, you can click the Start Drawing button to begin a new drawing. In the AutoCAD, you will find a standard tabbed ribbon across the top of the drawing area. You can access nearly all of the commands presented from the Home tab. Furthermore, the Quick Access toolbar includes familiar commands such as New, Open, Save, Print, Undo, and others. If the Home tab is not the current tab, you can go ahead and click it.

Command Window

The Command window is regarded as the core of the AutoCAD. It isusuallydocked at the bottom of the application window. Since it displays prompts, options, and messages, you can enter commands directly in the Command window instead of using the ribbons, toolbars, and menus. Knowing this will save you a lot of time and energy when you are doing your work with the AutoCAD. In addition, manyexperiecedAutoCAD users have favored this method.

As you start to type a command, it will be completed automatically. When there are several possibilities available, you can select your choice by clicking it or using the arrow keys and press the Spacebar or Enter.

Navigating with Your Mouse

Most people prefer to use a mouse as their pointing device. Despite this, other devices have equivalent controls. In a standard mouse configuration, the left click is for selecting objects orspecifiyinglocations while the right click is for giving you a list of shortcut menus. As for the mouse wheel, it allows you to pan and zoom. Depending on where you locate your cursor, different menus will display relevant commands and options.

Make New Drawings

If there are certain industry or company standards you must follow, you will be glad to find that you can easilyspecifysettings for text, dimensions,linetypes, and other features. As an example, you can decide which dimension style to use in your drawing. All these settings can be saved in a drawing template file. First, you can click New to choose from several drawing template files. For imperial drawings that assume your units are inches, useacad.dwtoracadlt.dwt. If your drawing uses metric units, it will beacadiso.dwtoracadltiso.dwtinstead. Most companies utilize drawing template files which conform to company standards. At times, the companies will use different drawing template files that depend on the project or the client.

How to Create Your Own Drawing Template File

As a general rule, you can always save any drawing (.dwg) file as a drawing template (.dwt) file. Furthermore, you can open any existing drawing template file, modify it, and save it again with a different filename if needed. For those that prefer to work independently, you can develop your drawing template files to suit your working preferences. Besides, you can even add settings for additional features as you become more familiar with them. If you want to modifyan existing drawing template file, click Open, specify the Drawing Template (*.dwt) in the Select File dialog box, and choose the template file. When your company has already established a set of drawing template files, it is highly recommended that you check with your CAD manager before going to modify any of them.

Units

When you start a drawing, the first thing you need to do is to decide what length of one unit represents. This unit can be an inch, a foot, a centimeter, a kilometer or other unit of length you prefer. Once you have decided, you canutilizethe Units command to control several unit display settings which include either format (type) or precision.

If you wantto do your work in feet and inches, use the Unitscommand to set the unit type to Architectural, and then when you create objects, specify their lengths in inches. For metric units, you can leave the unit type set to Decimal. Changing the unit format and precision does not affect the internal precision of your drawing. It affects only how lengths, angles, and coordinates are displayed in the user interface. When you need to change the Units settings, please make sure that you can save the drawing as a drawing templatefile. Otherwise, you need to change the Unit settings for each new drawing.

Other Helpful Tips You Should Know

  • Press F1 to open Help with information about the command in progress.
  • You can press Enter or the Spacebar to repeat the previous command.
  • If you want to see various options, you can select an object and right-click, or right-click a user interface element.
  • The Esc key is important when you want to cancel a command in progress. If you feel stuck, you can press Esc as well.
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