By Dennis Collin
When conducting training I am always keen to point out short-cuts and time saving options using AutoCAD, as it is quite easy to get stuck using software with old habits which aren’t necessarily the most efficient at achieving a task. So, I thought I would provide 10 tips to help improve drafting efficiency with AutoCAD:
- Have a planned AutoCAD template file. A well-defined template provides a solid framework, potentially eliminating issues of scale, plotting, annotation and inconsistencies.
- Use the tool palette interface to access block libraries and other commands. These can be configured with macros to set layer, rotation and scaling options etc.
- Create a start-up suite of some useful time saving Lisp and other applications. The Appload command is a useful tool to help AutoCAD users access these from a consistent shared location.
- Using keyboard shortcuts. This is the fastest method of using any software. Whilst using the ribbon interface is an excellent method for learning, keyboard shortcuts are much faster. Most commands can be accessed by typing in the first, or the first and second letter e.g. M for Move, L for Line, CO for Copy etc. This is made even easier with AutoCAD’s predictive command list that provides a clickable list of possible options.
- Match Properties Command. This command is so useful to make several AutoCAD drawing settings consistent, including Layers, Text, Dimensions, Hatch Patterns etc.
- Pressing ‘ENTER’. This is an excellent way to repeat commands rather than to revisit the Ribbon, or even type in a command shortcut. Bear in mind the SPACEBAR also functions as a return key!
- Accessing Command History. Right clicking on screen will provide a list of previously accessed commands, or alternatively use the cursor arrow buttons to access the list like the old MS-DOS DOSKEY function!
- QuickSelect. A useful selection function to select a range of objects by property e.g. Select all the text on Layer 0 and place it on a text layer.
- GRIPS. Useful graphical editing interface that lets you do a variety of options like stretching lines, copy and rotate and well as edit annotation formatting, dimensions and hatch.
- A second monitor. This setup is useful for any CAD or graphics program. Having an additional screen enables users to refer to emails, PDF documents or even position AutoCAD dialogue boxes onto a separate area thereby keeping the main drawing area uncluttered.
I have also written another post several months back on my personal top 10 AutoCAD commands which might also be of interest to aid AutoCAD productivity.
Many of the topics mentioned are covered on the wide variety of training courses that we provide. For more details on bespoke or scheduled courses please visit https://training.cadline.co.uk/ or call one of our team on 01784 419922.