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AutoCAD User Interface

AutoCAD (User interface)
1. Identify the user interface elements
2. Identify user interface elements and their function(s)
AutoCAD User Interface
Understanding the user interface is key to understanding our software AutoCAD.
Let take the example of driving a car, in most cases one would want to attempt to drive a car before
getting to know all the components involved in this operation. Complications arise when the instructor
advises you to step on the brake or clutch paddle which you do not know. This can cause unnecessary
problems, thus to avoid such issues it is important to know the tools we are working with and their
Getting familiar with the interface allows us to communicate with fellow designers, thus assisting and
receiving assistance is made easy.
Start Page: This is the screen that opens up when you open AutoCAD.
The screen above (the start page) does not allow us to interact with the ribbon, this is because we have
not yet started a drawing file.
The three columns visible in the start page are:
1. Get started
- this allows us to start a new or open an existing drawing file.
2. Recent Documents - displays a list of the recent drawings worked on.
3. Notifications
- allows us to receive information from Autodesk in regards to our software.
When a drawing is opened in AutoCAD this is the screen that appears
Breaking down the user interface.
Application Menu
Quick Access Toolbar
Title Bar
Ribbon: the bar below is called the ribbon.
• In the ribbon we have Tabs. Namely the Home, Insert, Annotate, Parametric, View, Manage,
Output Tab and many more as below.
• Currently the Home Tab is active. All Tabs in the ribbon have sections that are divided vertically
called Panels. The Home Tab has the Draw, Modify, Annotation, Layers, Block and many more
panels as below.
• Inside the panels are Commands, for example, the Draw Panel has the Line, Polyline, Circle, Arc
command and many others. When we draw in AutoCAD we use commands. Panels are a
grouping of commands based on the panel name. For example the Modify Panel has commands
like Move, Copy, Rotate, these all allow us to Modify existing designs/drawings.
File tabs
Model Space
Navigation Bar
Cross Hair
UCS (User Coordinate System)
Command line
Status Bar
Layout Tabs
Quick Toggles
Application Menu
The Application Menu appears when you click on the icon located at the top left corner
of the window. The Application Menu consists of a list of self-explanatory menus. You
can see a list of recently opened documents or a list of currently opened documents by
clicking the Recent Documents and Open Documents buttons, respectively.
Quick Access Toolbar
This is located at the top left corner of the window and helps you to access commands,
quickly. It consists of commonly used commands such as New, Save, Open, Save As, and
so on.
Title Bar
Shows the title of the drawing that is currently open.
File tabs
Files tabs are located below the ribbon. You can switch between different drawing files by
using the file tabs. Also, you can open a new file by using the + button, easily.
Model Space
This is the blank space located below the file tabs. You can draw objects and
create 3D graphics in the model space.
Navigation Bar
The Navigation Bar contains navigation tools such as Steering wheel, Pan, Zoom, Orbit,
and ShowMotion. This tool is mostly used when working on a laptop without a computer mouse.
Command line
By default, it is located at the bottom inside the model space. It is very easy to execute a
command using the command line. You can just type the first letter of a command and it
lists all the commands starting with that letter. This makes you to activate commands very
easily and increases your productivity.
Also, the command line shows the current state of the drawing. It shows various prompts
while working with any command. These prompts are series of steps needed to
successfully execute a command.
For example, when you activate the LINE command, the
command line displays a prompt, “Specify the first point”. You need to click in the
graphics window to specify the first point of the line. After specifying the first point, the
prompt, “Specify next point or [Undo]:” appears. Now, you need to specify the next point
of the line. It is recommended that you should always have a look at the command line to
know the next step while executing a command.
Cross Hair
The Cursor (mouse pointer)
When inside the Model Space the cursor is called the cross hair.
UCS (User Coordinate System)
This allows use to work with the coordinates and dimensions in AutoCAD.
Status Bar
Status Bar is located at the bottom of the AutoCAD window. It contains the Layout Tabs and the Quick
Layout Tabs
These are used to print out our designs from AutoCAD out to PDF or a printer/plotter.
Quick Toggles
These many buttons help you to create a drawing very easily. You can turn ON or OFF these buttons just
by clicking on them. These buttons are not commands but rather they affect the user interface and how
other commands behave. Some buttons are hidden by default. You can display more buttons on
the status bar by clicking the Customization button at the bottom right corner and
selecting the options from the menu.