Complete Advanced AutoCAD 2D tutorials for FREE

Lesson 1 – Basic Tools Review

The default mode for selecting objects (e.g. in edit commands) is to use your pickbox to select objects one at a time. use the pickbox when you must select only a few objects. if you must select more than a few objects you should be using amore effective selection tool than this. You can change the pickbox size on the Selection tab of the Options dialogue box use a smaller size when drawings are crowded. increase the size if you Read More...

Lesson 2 – Selection Cycling

It is not always possible to place your pickbox over only one object (the one you want to select) when objects are close together. if you left-click with your pickbox over more than one object AutoCAD normally selects the youngest object but this might not be the object that you actually want to select. use the selection cycling feature for more control over which object you select with the pickbox if objects are close together. For example, suppose you wanted Read More...

Lesson 3 – Creating & Using Groups

Selection sets are normally temporary but it is possible to Group objects together into a more permanent selection set. Groups can be unnamed but it is practical to assign new groups a name to remind you what each group represents. if a group has a name you can enter G at the “Select objects” prompt to specify the name of the group you wish to select. you can practically think of groups as named selection sets. With <Group On> you can Read More...

Lesson 4 – Quick Select & Properties

You can use Qselect (quick select) to automatically find objects that match specific criteria. when you use this tool you normally select objects first and thenselect an edit command to use (e.g. Move) or you can select the objects using this tool, invoke the desired edit command and then use the Previous selection set. Filter criteria are Applied to the Entire drawing by default but the default automatically changes to Current selection if you invoke Qselect when objects are already Read More...

Lesson 5 – Express Tools

AutoCAD Express Tools is a collection of productivity tools to help you work more efficiently in AutoCAD. these tools can be used for layer management, dimensioning, object selection, object modification and other useful tasks. one way to invoke these tools is from the Express pulldown menu and it appears before the Window menu by default. If you install AutoCAD using the Full option then a sample collection of Free Express Tools is automatically installed. even if you did not install Read More...

Lesson 6 – Xref Overview

Using an eXternal reference file (Xref) in the current drawing is similar to using Insert to insert a drawing file into the current file except when you Open a host (a drawing that references external files) the current version of each referenced file is used whereas, when you Insert a drawing into another drawing, there is no link back to the inserted (external) drawing file. Xrefs are practical in large projects because several differentpeople can work on separate Xref Read More...

Lesson 7 – Layers & Other Dependent Symbols

When you Insert drawing files into the current drawing, layers of the inserted file are copied if they do not already exist in the host file. if there are duplicate layer names in the external & current drawings, the layer definition of the current drawing is used. this is a self defense mechanism designed to protect the integrity of the current drawing file. if your drawings have different layer definitions for identical layer names you may get unexpected results. AutoCAD Read More...

Lesson 8 – Overlay vs Attachment

You could reference component drawing files in a sub-assembly drawing file (first level host) then reference this sub-assembly file in another file (2nd level host) & you could continue to nest references at higher levels. if you reference a drawing that is already referencing other files, those reference files are nested Xrefs in the current drawing. Nested Xrefs are simply ignored in the current drawing (they do not display) if they were attached using the Overlay Reference Type whereas, nested Read More...

Lesson 9 – Managing Xref Paths

You have the option of selecting Retain Path when you attach a new Xref to the current drawing. if Retain Path is checked AutoCAD retains the complete path of the Xref & looks in this location each time it loads the Xref file. if your folder structure (names & locations) will never change you may want to retain all Xref paths. Paths can change for minor administrative reasons and it may be impractical to retain paths if you expect them Read More...

Lesson10 – Binding Xrefs

When you distribute or archive host drawings (that contain Xrefs) you may want to Save a copy of the host & Bind all Xrefs in it. then you can be sure that all reference data associated with that host resides in a single drawing file. bound Xrefs become a standard block insert in the host drawing and the associated external drawings are no longer required. Use Bind Bind Types to retain Xref prefixes of dependent symbols. the “|” character in Read More...

Lesson11 – Editing Xrefs In Place

When you reference an external drawing in a host drawing, the resulting Xref is like a block insert in the host drawing. this means you cannot modify (e.g. Stretch) individual objects of an Xref when the host drawing is the active drawing. in AutoCAD Release 14 you had to Open the xref drawing file if you wanted to make changes to the individual objects in an Xref. Host drawings may contain many different Xref drawing files that are stored in Read More...

Lesson12 – Clipping Xrefs

Xclip lets you clip (crop) an Xref using a specified boundary. only Xref geometry inside the boundary is displayed. the same feature can also be used on standard block inserts. optional top and bottom clipping planes (parallel to the 2D boundary region) define a 3D clipping volume in space. You can trace an irregular boundary, pick corner points for a rectangular window or use an existing polyline of any shape. Using clipped Xrefs with demand loading can also improve system performance Read More...

Lesson13 – Raster Image Overview

A raster image file (also called a bitmap or texture file) is a file thatBits per pixelcontains an ordered arrangement of pixels (picture elements). each tiny pixel is assigned a specific color so that when you display these pixels (e.g. on your screen) you can see an image. raster images are quite different than vector objects (such as ARCs & LINEs) in AutoCAD. some of the parameters that characterize raster images are briefly summarized below. The range of possible values Read More...

Lesson14 – Aligning Images To Drawings

When you combine raster and vector data in a single drawing you must set the image insertion parameters appropriately. it may be difficult to know the required parameters before you actually insert the image into the current drawing but you can insert an image with default parameters & then use Move, Scale & Rotate commands to align images to vectors. An effective way to align images with drawings is to use the Reference option of Scale & Rotate. you must Read More...

Lesson15 – Transparency & Display Order

While display order is normally not an issue for most AutoCAD objects, it can be very important when you work with images. for example, the background in a raster image could block out parts of a vector drawing if the image is above the vector objects. Younger objects normally display & Plot on top of older objects but you can use the Draworder command to change this display order. the four self-explanatory options are described for the pulldown menu illustration Read More...

Lesson16 – Adjusting Images In AutoCAD

One way to adjust image quality in AutoCAD is to change the Imagequality setting for all images in the current drawing. Use a draft quality to make images display quickly and use a high quality for optimum display quality. Command: IMAGEQUALITY ↵ Enter image quality setting [High/Draft] <High>: D ↵ Command: AutoCAD will always Plot using a high quality regardless of the current setting for Imagequality. so if you are not concerned about the quality of images on screen you can improve performance by Read More...

Lesson17- Managing Image Paths

Image objects are like Xrefs because they will not display in a drawing unless AutoCAD can load the associated external files. however, unlike Xref drawing files, an Image file can never be permanently bound inside a host drawing file. if AutoCAD does not find an image file, the image object(s) in the drawing is replaced by the image file name as a text label. You have the option of selecting Retain Path when you attach a new Image file to Read More...

Lesson18 – Clipping Images

You can use Imageclip to clip Images in the same way you can use other utilities to clip Xrefs & Viewports (in layouts) except you cannot use an existing LWPOLYLINE object to define new clipping boundaries for images. The default option of Imageclip is New which lets you define a new Rectangular or Polygonal clipping boundary. use the ON or OFF options to toggle clipping on or off for a selected image. use the Delete option to delete an existing Read More...

Lesson19- Using Snap & Grid In Isometric Sketches

You can turn On the GRID in the status bar to see an array of dots on your screen at a fixed spacing in the X and Y directions. use the GRID as a visual frame of reference (these dots in your GRID will not appear when you Plot). the GRID is displayed ONLY in the drawing Limits area. you may not see the GRID when you are zoomed out if the space between each dot is too small Read More...

Lesson20 – Using Object Snaps Osnaps Effectively

When you use object snap overrides to supply points that relate to existing objects, they are in effect only for your next point. you can type abbreviations of desired osnap overrides at the keyboard (the abbreviations are shown by each button below). you can also press & hold <shift> and then right-click in the drawing area to select an osnap override from a shortcut menu. or you can use an osnap button from the Object Snap toolbar & from Read More...

Lesson21 – Polar Tracking & Direct Distance Entry

Polar Tracking is new in AutoCAD 2000 and it can be used as an alternative to how Ortho was used in earlier AutoCAD Releases. Polar Tracking is On if the POLAR status bar button is pushed in(you can toggle this setting while a command is running). if Polar Tracking is On you can imply Ortho constraints using your crosshairs when AutoCAD prompts for a second point. hold your crosshairs approximately in an orthogonal direction and you will see a Tooltip Read More...

Lesson22 – Tracking With Alignment Points

The Object Snap Tracking tool is an alternative to using point filters in earlier AutoCAD versions. you can use Object Snap Tracking to pick a point that is generated using one or more alignment points. In the simple example below, the desired point “C” could begenerated from the X value of point “A” and the Y value of point “B” Object Snap Tracking can also incorporate the power of PolarTracking (that you used in the last exercise) so this tool Read More...

Lesson23 – Tracking With Parallel & Extension OSNAPs

The Parallel osnap  is powerful when combined with the other tools described earlier in this document. you can acquire Alignment points using the Parallel osnap to constrain the tracking vector parallel to the segment of interest. the Parallel osnap can avoid having to define a temporary UCS or create temporary construction objects (e.g. avoid Offset). The Extension osnap (new in AutoCAD 2000) lets you Track along the extension of existing objects (even non-linear objects like ARCs). this can avoid having Read More...

Lesson24A- Dimension Styles Overview.

Dimension variables are special system variables stored in each drawing to control the way dimensions appear. a dimension style is a collection of dimension variable settings that you save with a unique name in a drawing. you can completely change the way dimensions appear by changing the variable settings saved in a dimension style. for example, the illustrations below compare AutoCAD dimension styles in drawings created for two different industries. There are more than 60 dimension variables but you will Read More...

Lesson24B- Key Settings For New Dimension Styles

The changes you make in custom dimension styles will depend on the type of drawings that you want to create. some settings may be dictated by accepted drafting standards. other settings may be dictated in office standards established by the company that you work for. each drawing unit (i.e. mm vs inches) has unique requirements. There are so many different settings to consider that an attempt to review all of them could be counter-productive. this section addresses some of the Read More...

Lesson25B – Overriding Dimension Styles

Why? You will probably want to create dimensions that deviate only slightly from an existing dimension style. it can be inefficient to define a completely new style for only a few similar dimensions in a drawing (e.g. to add tolerances). you can override the dimension style for a few dimension variable settings on selected dimension objects. How? There are at least four different ways to override a dimension style. define <style overrides> before creating new dimensions. define <style overrides> before updating existing Read More...

Lesson25C – Learning More About Dimension Style Settings

You can set up sub styles (family styles prior to AutoCAD 2000) so certain dimension types use slight variations of the current style. For example, you might want radial dimensions to be displayed with no center mark and to use fractions as the unit format but have diameter dimensions display with a center mark and use decimals as the unit format. you can use sub styles to achieve these results automatically (no need to change the current style or manually Read More...

Lesson26 – Sub Styles For Specific Dimension Types

You can set up sub styles (family styles prior to AutoCAD 2000) so certain dimension types use slight variations of the current style. For example, you might want radial dimensions to be displayed with no center mark and to use fractions as the unit format but have diameter dimensions display with a center mark and use decimals as the unit format. you can use sub styles to achieve these results automatically (no need to change the current style or Read More...

Lesson27 – Overview working effectively with layouts

You will use layouts in this module to prepare for three different plots of a simple architectural plan. Each layout will be organized on separate tabs that you can easily select at the bottom of the screen. these layouts will be saved with basic plot settings and plot devices selected on each page. Later in this module you will create two layouts from a 3D model of the sundial illustrated below (no 3D knowledge/skills required). you will adjust layer settings & Read More...

Lesson28A – Creating New Layouts From Scratch

You can create a new layout from scratch by right-clicking on theModel or a Layout tab and picking New layout from a shortcut. Creating a New layout does NOT make it the current layout and new layouts are not setup initially so when you select a new layout the Page Setup will be invoked automatically. the same thing happens if you select one of the existing layouts (Layout1 or Layout2) when you start a new drawing from scratch. Select one of Read More...

Lesson28B – Creating & Using Layouts In Templates

You should customize your template drawing files to include the most common page setups as layouts. you can have a different layout for each sheet size you use. then the desired sheet is readily available when you start New drawings From a Template. You do not need these layouts in ALL of your template drawings. you can create a few template drawing files specifically forlayouts and set up each layout as desired. To use a layout from your template you can Read More...

Lesson29 – Creating Rectangular Viewports

You can use Vports to create a variety of viewport configurations in paper space or model space. this is particularly useful to set up top, front, right andIsometric viewports for mechanical 3D applications. each viewport can also have a different UCS which makes it easier to create parts in 3D. the utility is also useful to set up several viewports at the same time for 2D applications. You will probably create single viewports most of the time. the Viewports toolbar Read More...

Lesson30 – Setting & Locking Viewport Scale

The standard approach is to Plot layouts at a scale of 1:1. you have already set up your A Size – Portrait layout to use a Plot scale of 1:1 (see step 6 on page 10). you must set viewport display magnification (scale) relative to paper space so viewports Plot at the required drawing scale. Zoom Scale One way to precisely set a viewport display magnification is to use the Scale option of the Zoom command. make the desired viewport the Read More...

Lesson30b – Managing Layout Tabs

You can quickly generate many layouts in the same drawing so you must learn how to Delete layouts Copy layouts Move layouts Rename layouts Delete Right-click on the desired layout and select Delete to delete the selected layout(s) from the active drawing. you are asked to verify that you really want to permanently delete the selected layout(s). Use your <Shift> and <Ctrl> keys to select more than one layout tab to Delete (or perform other operations) at the same time. you can Read More...

Lesson31 – Freezing Layers In Specific Viewports

You can Freeze layers in some viewports while leaving them Thawed at the same time in other viewports. first make the desired viewport the active viewport (the MODELbutton will be in the status bar) then use the Layer command. select the desired layers to Freeze in the current viewport (ONLY) and check the Freeze in active viewport box. if you check Freeze in new viewports the selected layer(s) will be automatically frozen in any viewports you create after that Read More...

Lesson32 – Using DesignCenter To Import Layouts

You have already seen how you can import a layout from a template drawing file with little effort. you can also use DesignCenter to search for layouts in any (closed or open) drawing to drag & drop into the active drawing. in the next exercise you will use DesignCenter to import a layout (that you created) into a different drawing. then you will modify the imported layout to generate a 3D Modellayout for this sundial model. you will see how Read More...

Lesson33 – Creating Non-Rectangular Viewports

You can draw non-rectangular viewports directly with straight edge segments using the Vports Polygonal option. You can also draw a 2D closed shape on the PAPER above a viewport and use this object to clip the viewport. for example, you could draw a CIRCLE on the PAPER above a VIEWPORT and Copy the CIRCLE & VIEWPORT to the side. then you could clip the copied VIEWPORT using the copied CIRCLE to create a new detail view (DETAIL B shown Read More...

Lesson34 – Working Effectively With Attributes – overview

Overview When you define a new Block you can select graphical objects like LINEs, ARCs, CIRCLEs & TEXT to use in the block definition so when you Insert the block you get an instance (copy) of the definition which is like an imprint of the original objects. Attribute definitions (ATTRIBUTEs) are special objects that are like formatted database fields in which you can store (ASCII) text data. you can select ATTRIBUTEs along with other (graphical) objects when you define new Block Read More...

Lesson35 – Incorporating Attributes In Block Definitions

You create new block definitions using the Block command. begin by typing a Name for the new block definition that will be unique in the active drawing. pick Select objects and use selection tools to select the graphical objects & ATTRIBUTE DEFINITIONs. pick the Pick point button and use osnaps to select an appropriate base point relative to the selected objects. the block definition is stored in the current drawing file but you can use DesignCenter to insert it Read More...

Lesson36 – Changing Attributes In Block Inserts

You can change values for the attributes of Single block inserts when you use the Attedit command in the dialogue box mode. you use the same dialogue box to edit existing values that you use when you Insert a new block insert. When you use Attedit in the command line mode you can change more than just the attribute values for existing block inserts. you can change the Value, Position, Height, Angle, Style, Layer and Color of attributes in existing Read More...

Lesson37 – Controlling Attribute Visibility

Specify the normal visibility for attributes when you define them. if you do not want an attribute to be displayed in block inserts you should check Invisible as the Mode. You can override the visibility of all attributes in block inserts (but not the Invisibility mode of individual attributes) using Attdisp. if you select Normal the only attributes displayed in all block inserts are those defined with the Invisible mode unchecked. if you select On you see all attributes in Read More...

Lesson38 – Extracting Attribute Data.

Attribute values can be extracted from drawings, which is another reason why you should consider using blocks with attributes. use the Attext command to extract attribute values to either a comma delimited file (CDF) or space delimited file (SDF). You must create a template file (in ASCII format) to control which attributes are extracted and how they are formatted in the output file. a record (line in the output file) is made for each selected object and each line in Read More...

Lesson39 – Using Attributes In Title Blocks

Title blocks normally require two types of text data. text that is always the same in every drawing (use TEXT) (e.g. labels such as “Modified On”) text that is specific to the current drawing (use ATTRIBUTEs) (e.g. text beside labels such as “November 18, 1999”) Create your title block as a drawing file and use ATTRIBUTE DEFINITIONs for the text that must change in each drawing. then Insert the title block drawing into the current drawing and assign Values to Read More...

Lesson40 – Finding Drawings With Attributes In DesignCenter

You can use AutoCAD DesignCenter to Find drawings that contain either specific Attribute Tags or specific Attribute Values. Search for the word(s) cannot be blank on the Drawings tab but you can enter * (the wildcard for all file names). specify your attribute criteria on the Advanced tab. pick Find Now to find all drawings that match the current criteria. right-click on a drawing file found by the search to invoke a shortcut & select Open in Window to Read More...

Lesson41 – Creating New SPLINEs

The Spline command creates SPLINE objects based on NURBS NURBS stands for Non Uniform Rational B-Spline and this technology is useful for modeling free form curves in 2D & 3D. specify points that you would like the SPLINE to pass through (or near) and then specify tangent directions at each end. While SPLINEs are useful for sketching free form curves by eye they can also model curves governed by mathematical equations. for simple shapes you can model the entire curve Read More...

Lesson42 – Editing Existing SPLINEs

You can select a SPLINE when no command is running to highlight the SPLINE & display the SPLINE grips. if you selected the topographical SPLINE from the previous exercise the grips would look like the illustration below. a grip would appear at each SPLINE point that you supplied when you used the Spline command. You can Stretch these SPLINE grips using grip editing techniques to change the shape of the selected SPLINE object. click on a grip to make it Read More...

Lesson43 – Creating LWPOLYLINEs & REGIONs

One way to create a LWPOLYLINE is to use the Pline command but this approach can be tedious for complex shapes. Pline (an abbreviation for PolyLINE) is used to create single objects that can be made up of multiple LINE & ARC segments. as an example, the shape below could be made from 9 individual LINEs & one ARC or it could be made from one LWPOLYLINE. Prior to AutoCAD Release 14 the Pline command created POLYLINE objects but now Read More...

Lesson44 – Creating MLINEs

The Mline command creates MLINE objects that can have multiple elements and multiple segments in the same MLINE object. for example, the outer walls of a house plan shown below could be modeled using a single MLINE object. in this example, there are 2 elements (one for each side of the wall) and 8 segments (one for each wall section). When you invoke the Mline command AutoCAD reports the current settings on the command line & you are prompted for Read More...

Lesson45 – Editing MLINEs

You can use Copy, Move, Mirror, Rotate, Scale & Stretch on MLINEs but some edit commands are not supported for MLINEs for example, you cannot use Break, Chamfer, Fillet, Trim &Extend on MLINE objects. to perform these types of operations on MLINEs you must use the Mledit (multiline edit) command. For example, to clean up a Tee intersection where two MLINEs meet you could use the Open Tee option for Mline select the Open Tee icon in the Multiline Edit Read More...

Lesson46 – Creating & Using Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks let you connect to data in other files even if these files were created by other Windows applications. the linked file is opened automatically in an appropriate Windows application when you activate a hyperlink. The process for creating a hyperlink is specific to each Windows application but the general approach is usually the same. select objects that the hyperlink is to be activated by. use a command to specify the linked file name. For example, in MS Word 97 you Read More...

Lesson47 – Creating & Using DWF Files – ePlots

DWF files (ePlots) are special plot files that you can view and printwithout having to use AutoCAD. you can distribute plot information to non AutoCAD users you can also use ePlots to distribute drawing information without giving full access to the original AutoCAD drawing file. You create DWF (ePlot) files by selecting the DWF ePlot.pc3 plotter configuration when you Plot. you can specify the DWF File name at Plot time and you can even publish the file directly to an Read More...

Lesson48 – Object Linking & Embedding – OLE

Object Linking & Embedding (OLE) is the process in which data from a source file is linked to or embedded in a destination file. you use the Windows clipboard to copy this data from a source document & then paste it into the destination document. When you double-click on linked or embedded data you can edit that data using the Windows application that made the source file. if this data is embedded the original source file is no longer required Read More...

Lesson49 – Cut & Paste With Precision

AutoCAD is Multiple Document Interface (MDI) which makes it is easy to re-use objects in other drawings. One approach is to drag & drop object copies from one (open)drawing file into another (open) drawing file. you can Tile drawings in their own individual windows so you can see both drawings of interest at the same time. select source objects when no command is running. press & hold your right mouse button and drag the selected objects to the window of Read More...

Lesson50 – Using AutoCAD DesignCenter Effectively

AutoCAD DesignCenter is a tool to find, access and re-use content that is not already stored in an open drawing. obvious content types include drawings & block definitions but content can have many other forms (including content created by custom applications). Selected content can be dragged into an open drawing without having to open the drawing file where this data is stored. for example, you could preview selected block definitions stored in any closed (or open) drawing file. then you Read More...

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