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Chapter 1: Getting Started

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Chapter 1: Getting Started. After completing this Chapter, you will be able to do the following:. Start AutoCAD Identify the various parts on the screen Use various methods of command and data input Obtain help about the AutoCAD commands and features Begin a new drawing

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After completing this Chapter, you will be able to do the following:

  • Start AutoCAD
  • Identify the various parts on the screen
  • Use various methods of command and data input
  • Obtain help about the AutoCAD commands and features
  • Begin a new drawing
  • Open an existing drawing
  • Set up the drawing environment
  • Working with multiple drawings
  • Saving AutoCAD Drawing
  • Exiting AutoCAD

The status bar displays the cursor’s coordinate values along with several buttons for turning on and off drawing tools and displays several tools for scaling annotations. Different tools are displayed for model space and paper space.


Input Methods

  • Following are the different ways input an AutoCAD command:
    • Keyboard
    • Ribbons
    • Navigation Bar
    • Quick Access toolbar
    • Toolbars
    • Tool palettes window
    • Menu Bars
    • Application Menu
    • Dialog Boxes
    • Cursor Menu
    • Shortcut Menu
    • Digitizing Tablet and Side Screen Menu


To invoke a command from the keyboard, enter the command name at the On-screen prompt or in the Command window and then press ENTER or SPACEBAR.

After you enter a command, you may see a series of options displayed at the command line. Each command has its own series of options. The options that appear when a particular command is used in one situation may differ from the options or sequence of prompts when invoked in another situation.

To select one of the available option, click the option. If you prefer to use the keyboard, specify the option by entering the capitalized, colored letter. You can enter uppercase or lowercase letters.


To repeat a command you have just used, press ENTER, SPACEBAR, or right-click your pointing device. A shortcut menu will appear on the screen from which you can choose the Repeat <last command> option. You can also repeat a command by using the up-arrow and down-arrow keys to display the commands previously entered from the keyboard.


Focusing on the Design – Dynamic Input

Dynamic input allows you to “keep your eyes on the road” when working by providing a prompt and input interface where you work, on the screen, at the cursor.

Previous versions of AutoCAD emphasized the need to keep a constant vigil on the Command line in the Command window. This meant having to look back and forth between the Command window and the point where you were working. Now, with the on-screen (near the cursor) interface, almost everything you need to know about what is going on with the program and your current work is right there, where you are working.

On-Screen Input, Prompts, and Graphic Feedback


Locking in Values during input

Responding to a prompt that is asking for a point or vector normally requires you to enter two values; an X coordinate value and a Y coordinate value when using rectangular coordinate input or a distance and an angle when using polar coordinate input.

If you wish to type in the first value, lock it in, and then use the cursor to specify the second value, you can press TAB after typing the value and AutoCAD displays a lock icon alongside the value. You can then move the cursor to specify the second required point.



Ribbon – palette that groups related task-based buttons and controls for easy access.

Draw Panel - expanded


Draw panel moved from ribbon to graphics screen

Icons onside bar of undocked panel


Navigation Bar

The navigation bar provides access to navigation tools which may be unified or product-specific.


Quick Access toolbar

Quick Access Toolbar has icons for file handling commands New, Open, Save, Plot, Undo and Redo and a flyout menu to include additional tools.



The toolbars contain tools, represented by icons, from which you can invoke commands. Choose a toolbar button to invoke a command, and then select options from a dialog box or respond to the prompts on the command line.

Toolbar with a flyout menu.


AutoCAD 2013 comes with 38 regular toolbars and 3 “ET” (Express) toolbars. To open any of the closed regular toolbars, place the cursor anywhere on any docked or floating toolbar (including the Quick Access toolbar) that is already open and press the right button on your pointing device. A shortcut menu appears, listing all the available toolbars with a check beside each open toolbar. Select the closed (unchecked) toolbar you wish to open. You can also close an open toolbar by selecting it, thereby removing the check mark next to its name.


Tool Palettes window

Tool palettes are tabbed areas within the Tool Palettes window that provide an efficient method for organizing, sharing, and placing blocks and hatches. Tool palettes can also contain custom tools provided by third-party developers. Blocks and hatch patterns are managed with tool palettes. You can also create a tool on a tool palette that executes a single AutoCAD command or a string of commands.

The Tool Palettes feature allows blocks and hatch patterns of similar usage and type to be grouped in their own tool palette.


Menu bars

AutoCAD has series of menus in the menu bar from which you can select any of the available commands.

You can display the menu bar by right-clicking the Quick Access toolbar and selecting the Show Menu Bar from the shortcut menu.


Application Menu

Application menu (accessible by clicking the red “A” at the left of the title bar) provides easy access for creating, opening, saving, printing, and publishing AutoCAD files, sending the current drawing as an email attachment, and producing electronic transmittal sets. In addition, you can perform drawing maintenance, such as audit and purge, and close drawings.


Dialog Boxes

Dialog boxes display the lists and descriptions of options, long rectangles for receiving your input data, and, in general, are the more convenient and user-friendly method of communicating with the AutoCAD.

AutoCAD dialog boxes have features that are similar to Windows file management dialog boxes.


Cursor Menu

The AutoCAD cursor menu appears at the location of the cursor

when you press the middle button on a three-or-more-button mouse. On a two-button mouse you can invoke this feature by pressing SHIFT and right-clicking. On a two-button mouse, the right button usually causes the shortcut menu to appear. The cursor menu

(different from the shortcut menu) includes the handy Object Snap mode options along with the X,Y,Z filters.


Shortcut Menu

The AutoCAD shortcut menu appears at the location of the cursor when you press the right button (right-click) on the pointing device. The contents of the shortcut menu depend on the situation at hand.

Shortcut menu when no command is in effect


Shortcut menu when the CIRCLE command is in effect

Shortcut menu while the cursor is in the Command window


Digitizing Tablet and Side Screen Menu

The Digitizing Tablet combines the screen cursor control of a mouse with its own printed menu areas for selecting items.

The side screen menu provides another, traditional way to enter AutoCAD commands. By default, the side screen menu is turned off. To display the side screen menu, choose Display screen menu from the Display tab of the Options dialog box. AutoCAD displays the side screen menu


Getting Help

Help is available through Autodesk Exchange, through a traditional Windows-type help interface, by using the InfoCenter on the menu bar or title bar, by pressing F1from within a command, or by clicking the question mark button in many dialog boxes.


Autodesk Exchange provides a web-based source of information directly within the product. The Home tab provides a wide variety of content, including announcements, expert tips, videos, and links to blogs. When enabled for online access, the Home tab also includes access to the Knowledge Base, Communication Center, and Subscription Center. The Apps tab offers popular accessories, libraries, and plug-ins for purchase and the Help tab opens the AutoCAD Help system.


Begin a New Drawing

To create a new drawing, invoke the NEW command from the Quick Access toolbar.


Displays the Select Template dialog box and select appropriate template to create a new drawing.

A drawing template file is a drawing file with selected parameters already preset to meet certain requirements, so that you do not have to go through the process of setting them up each time you wish to begin drawing with those parameters.


Open an Existing Drawing

The OPEN command allows you to open an existing drawing.

AutoCAD displays the Select File dialog box. The Select File dialog box is similar to the standard file selection dialog box, except that it includes options for selecting an initial view and for setting Open Read-Only, Partial Open, and Partial Open Read-Only modes.


Setting Up The Drawing Environment

The UNITS and LIMITS command are two of the important drawing environment that allows to change the linear and angular units and drawing area respectively.


Setting Drawing Units

The UNITS command lets you change the linear and angular units by means of the Drawing Units dialog box. In addition, you can set the display format measurement and precision of drawing units.


Change Drawing’s Area

The LIMITS command allows to change the defined area of the drawing. The area that is set governs the portion of the drawing indicated by the visible grid and also determines how much of the drawing is displayed by the ZOOM ALL command. The limits are expressed as a pair of 2D points in the World Coordinate System, a lower left and an upper right limit.

Whenever you change the limits, you will not see any change on the screen unless you use the ALL option of the ZOOM command. The ALL option of the ZOOM command lets you see entire newly set limits on the screen.


Working with Multiple Drawings

AutoCAD allows to work on more than one drawing in a single AutoCAD session. The Quick View Drawings button displays all currently open drawings in a row of quick view drawing images.


Saving AutoCAD Drawing

AutoCAD provides different methods by which you can save drawings. It is very important to save drawing periodically.

SAVE command saves an unnamed drawing by prompting for a file name. If the drawing is already named, again it prompts for a file name.

SAVEAS command saves an unnamed drawing by prompting for a file name or by allowing to rename the current named drawing.If the current drawing is already named, then AutoCAD saves the drawing to the current drawing name, prompts for a new file name, and sets the current drawing to the new specified file name. The SAVEAS command also allows you to save in various formats, including: Release 12, 13, 14, and 2000 formats, and drawing template.


Exit AutoCAD Program

EXIT or QUIT commands exits AutoCAD. Both the EXIT and QUIT commands exit the current drawing if there have been no changes since the drawing was last saved. If the drawing has been modified, AutoCAD displays the Drawing Modification dialog box prompting to save or discard the changes before exiting.

CLOSE command closes the active drawing and still remain in AutoCAD.

CLOSEALL command closes all the open drawings and still remain in AutoCAD.