Top tips for AutoCAD

TOP tips for AutoCAD

User Interface Tips:

  • AutoComplete (Tab to cycle)

After keying in a one or more characters – use the tab key at the command line to cycle through all of the command and system variable combinations

  • Arrow to move up and down command list.

Up and down arrows can take you through previously executed commands. Great for Lispers.

  • Control+9 to toggle command line on/off.
  • Right Click on the command line to retrieve previous commands from the shortcut menu.

  • Move Model space/Layout tabs to the Status bar for more screen real estate. Move to and from the status bar via the right click “Hide Layout/Model tabs” option.
  • Dynamic editing of Layout Tabs

Double Click to rename the tab. Use Control key to copy layout tabs, simply drag to move them.

  • Drag and Drop layout tabs to Sheet Set

After saving your drawing you can easily drag and drop your layout tabs to the active sheet set.

Maximizing Viewports

Double click on a viewport to open and edit the contents as though you were in model space. No need to worry about accidentally modifying the scale factor and yet zoom and pan all you want. Click outside of the red area to quickly get back to your paperspace layout.

  • Taskbar to 1

Display all open files at the taskbar by setting the system variable TASKBAR to 1.

  • Customize the Quick Access Toolbar for maximum productivity! (Layer drop-down, SAVEAS)

  • Search for commands in the Application Menu

Can’t find a command in the Ribbon? The Application Menu will show you where it is!

Tool Palette Tips:

  • Quickly create a Tool Palette of your blocks in Design Center

Tip: Be sure to PURGE the drawing with the blocks first!

  • Drag and Drop blocks to your Tool Palette

Highlight a block and use a right click to drag a block to an open tool palette. Your new tool with also remember the layer, rotation angle, scale, etc.

  • Set up tools to automatically scale to your drawing Set the Auxiliary scale factor to Plot Scale or Dimscale
  • Drag and Drop Hatch patterns to your Tool Palette Highlight a hatch pattern and use a right click to drag the hatch pattern to the tool palette. The pattern, layer, scale factor, and rotation angle are also saved with the hatch pattern.
  • Drag and Drop a Dimension to save all the settings and the layer for speedy additions of new dimensions with the same settings.
  • Easily customize your icon with an existing image file.
  • Bonus tip: Use ADD Selected in AutoCAD 2011 to achieve much of the same results


Layer Tips:

  • Customize your Layer Columns

For maximum productivity be sure to turn off any columns you aren’t using.

  •  Layer States for maximum productivity

AutoCAD gurus use Layers States so they can avoid constantly changing the layer settings.

  • Applying Layer States per Viewport

After setting up your layer states you can apply them to individual viewports


This is a fantastic command to set any object (including those within nested blocks) back to BYLAYER!


Misc. Layer Tips:

  • Layer Translater (LAYTRANS)

Great for mapping layers from one naming convention to another

  • LAYWALK (View layers individually)

Use the LAYWALK command to quickly view individual layers

  • LAYDEL (Delete even the most stubborn layers!)

Use this fantastic Express Tool to delete any layer (except for 0 and defpoints)

  • LAYISO – Isolates layer(s) for easy editing. AutoCAD 2008 and above allows you to fade the other layers so you can see the objects on the other layers but not accidentally modify them.


Allows you to make a copy of an object to another layer. You can even create a new layer if needed!

  • Autodesk Seek

Use the DC Online tab in Design Center to easily get to the content on Autodesk Seek (or just select the Autodesk Seek button in AutoCAD 2010+)

Autodesk Seek


  • JOIN command (Glue)

Use the Join command to glue together polylines, lines, arcs, elliptical arcs and splines. Join two lines together that are collinear, even if there are gaps between them. Join different types of objects together if there are no gaps. Join more than one arc, even with gaps, as long as they lie in the same imaginary circle.

You can even use the JOIN command to turn an arc into a circle.


This Express tool is a great way to delete duplicate objects and clean up your drawing. OVERKILL removes unneeded objects by deleting duplicates and combining line and arc segments that overlap. There are multiple settings to ensure you get just the results you want.

  • CHANGE command to shorten/lengthen

Use the age-old CHANGE command to quickly lengthen/shorten line segments to a specific point (Ortho on)

  • Highlight objects and use a right click to Move and Copy
  • Speedy Array (Control key)

Select objects, select a grip, C for Copy and hold the Control key down to do a quickie array!

  • Shift for more than one hot grip

  • Speedy Trims/Extends

Hit an extra enter to turn the entire drawing into a cutting edge (objects don’t highlight though!).

  • More Trim/Extend:

Shift key to switch between Trim and Extend and Edgemode

  • Fast Corners using Shift in FILLET command

Use the Shift option in the FILLET command to quickly square off corners (no need to set the radius to 0)

  • FILTERS command

Go directly to the undocumented FILTERS command to quickly delete excess layer filters.

System Variables:


Set PEDITACCEPT to 1 to avoid the irritating “Do you want to turn it into a polyline” question.

  • OSNAPZ to replace Z Value with Current Elevation

When snapping to objects with different elevations, you may want the current elevation to be used for the Z value. Set OSNAPZ to 1.

  • PLINEGEN – Sets how linetype patterns generate around the vertices of a 2D polyline.
  • WHIPARC to 1 for smooth arcs and circles (forget dealing with VIEWRES!)

Set to 0 to turn off ghosting with annotative objects


  • Default Template File for QNEW

Use the Files tab to set a default template file for starting new drawings. This will eliminate you needing to select a template file each time (use the NEW command if you want to select a different template file).

  • Right Click Customization

Configure your right mouse button to do BOTH a shortcut menu and an enter in OPTIONS (user preferences tab)

  • Speed up drawings with Annotative Scaling

Turn off “Maintain Visual Fidelity” while you are drawing. Turn it back on right before saving to a lower release number.

Display Order:

  • TEXTTOFRONT command

Bring all of the text to the top of the draworder with the TEXTTOFRONT command.

  • HATCHTOBACK command

Sends all hatch patterns to the bottom of the draworder

Table Tips:

  • AutoFill AutoCAD Tables

Use AutoFill to do automatic numbering in Tables.

  • Tables wrap automatically over multiple columns (as long as Table Breaks are enabled…)

Misc. Tips:

  • Control the Text Sample string with MTJIGSTRING
  • Fade External References (by default – they are faded by 70% in 2011) XDWGFADECTL

  • Use OSNAP Tracking to quickly find the center of a box

(in fact – use Object Snap Tracking to make your life much better period!)

  • BURST to explode blocks with Attributes and maintain their attribute value (not definition)
  • Reverse Search for Xrefs

In Design Center, Use the Search tool to do a reverse search for drawing files that are xref’d into other files.

  • The Magical QDIM command

Use for speedy dimensioning!

Zooming Tips

  • Zoomwheel
  • Zoomfactor

Controls the speed of the mouse wheel (3 to 100) – undo doesn’t work on ZOOMFACTOR


top secret command that controls the transition speed of zooms (or whether or not there is a transition)

  1. Turn your mouse into a Joy Stick with Ctrl+Wheel
  2. Double Click for Zoom Extents

Keys, Keys, Keys

  • Control+R to cycle through all of your viewports
  • Control+A to select all the objects in your drawing
  • Tab to cycle through object snaps
  • Hold down right mouse button to clear grips

Source Lynnallen blog

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