AutoCAD is one of the most used engineering programs across the world, and it's likely that you have come in contact with the program sometime in your career.
[Image Source: CADD Microsystems via Vimeo]
This week, we polled our Q&A Community to discover which programs everyday engineers were using the most. Other than Microsoft Excel, which we already have an extensive shortcuts list about, AutoCAD was next in line. For all the AutoCAD users out there, from new to expert, here are the top 50 AutoCAD tricks, commands, and shortcuts from across the web!
Allows you to move objects in a drawing from layout to model space by choosing a viewport to push the text or objects into. This works in both directions.
BURST allows you to explode a block/object without losing any of its attributes.
Copies linework or objects from a nested object into your current drawing. Especially useful for bringing XREF linework into current drawings.
OOPS does exactly what you think it does, it fixes your mistake (as long as it's a delete) no matter how far back it was. Instead of using CTRL-Z, OOPS undoes your last erase command without affecting any work you have done since then.
Setting this value to 1 allows dialog boxes to open in AutoCAD, setting it to 0 means everything is done in the command line.
Allows you to set which application to load in conjunction with opening AutoCAD.
Work with Images
Instead of scaling and rotating images each time, simply insert the image into a blank drawing and set its position, scale, and rotation. After your image is how you want it, save the drawing. This lets you insert that image as a drawing, instead of the image, and all settings are kept the same. Especially useful for images like company logos, etc.
R / REDRAW
Refreshes the drawing in the viewport.
Creates a dimension that starts from a baseline of earlier dimensions that is linear, angular or coordinate.
Displays point coordinates throughout your worksheet.
You can adjust your default scale factor by setting the Auxiliary scale factor to Plot Scale or Dimscale.
Deletes any duplicate or overlapping items. Perfect for the AutoCAD perfectionists out there.
Quick dimension creation after object selection.
Recovers a damaged file.
Default NO PLOT Layer
Creates a layer called DEFPOINTS. Anything on this layer will show up in model and paper space, but won't plot. Perfect for adding notes.
Orients text to a specified angle or most readable angle. Also works on Block Attributes.
Quickly creates a surface between two predefined curves.
Importing Block Definitions
After the INSERT command and selecting the file, press the ESC key at your first prompt. Definitions will be kept in your drawing to reference later.
For all those engineers out there that can't spell, use this to spell check all your text. (Uses your computer language settings)
Trims a block's visible area using a boundary line. Use the command first, then set or draw the boundary.
A quicker "undo" than CTRL Z.
Stop REGEN After PAN
For drawings not created by you, AutoCAD can sometimes autoregen after you pan around. To keep this from happening, use the VIEWRES command and type YES to fast zooms, then set your zoom percent to 200.
Imports and exports materials to a library.
Allows you to set boundaries on top of lines and objects that "wipes out" everything behind it. Like a reverse hatch. It's a good idea to put all your wipeouts on one layer so you can turn them on and off as you wish.
One Key Shortcuts
Want to know all of the one key AutoCAD shortcuts? Autodesk put together this quick guide that assembles them all into one sheet. You can check it out here on the Autodesk website, or below.
[Image Source: Autodesk]
Change Your MText to Lower Case or Upper Case
Instead of retyping MText if you forgot to capitalize it, right click and select CHANGE CASE. Or use CTRL + SHIFT + U or CTRL + SHIFT + L, for upper case and lower case respectively.
Aligns dimensions to objects that are staggered where DIMALIGNED falls short.
Creates a 3D box and defines height, depth, and width.
Chooses a layer color for future objects/lines/blocks.
Creates a dimension aligned with an axis or a line.
Let's you modify the lighting effects on 3D models.
Edits multiple parallel lines at once.
Allows you to set up your paper in paperspace. Useful for changing your designed plot paper size. This is one of my most used AutoCAD tricks.
Creates freehand drawing lines.
Displays all of the statistics of your current DWG file like creation date, last update, and edit times.
Exports a file compatible with 3D Studio [.3ds].
Similar to print preview in other programs, allows you to see how your paperspace drawing will plot went sent to a plotter.
Creates a 3D mesh vertex by vertex.
SAVEALL & CLOSEALL
The best 2 commands an engineer can hit at the end of his or her workday.
Toggles you to the old style menu bar.
Ctrl + R
Changes viewports in paperspace.
Does not signal Batman. Changes the order and properties of block definitions.
Adjust the smoothness of curves on a solid.
Attaches leader line to MTEXT.
Quickly changes XREF settings back to normal by setting the value at 0. Will fix "faded" XREFs in your drawing.
Let's you "crop" an image in your DWG.
If you miss the old style of XREFs, this is for you.
Sets properties of selected or all objects to BY LAYER.
Let's you filter your selection to certain objects by object type or other criteria.
BO / BOUNDARY
If you want to split an object in half, simply draw a line through it and use the BOUNDARY command in each half to create correctly sized polylines and erase the original objects.
If you enjoyed these tricks and shortcuts or you want to share your favorite commands we missed, please comment below, or give the post a share to help out other AutoCAD users across the globe.
Written by Trevor English