Introducing AutoCAD 2011 Part 1

The aim of this topic

The aim of this topic is designed to introduce features of the AutoCAD 2011 window and methods of operating AutoCAD 2011.

Opening AutoCAD 2011

The AutoCAD 2011 shortcut on the Windows desktop

Fig. 1.1 The AutoCAD 2011 shortcut on the Windows desktop

AutoCAD 2011 is designed to work in a Windows operating system. In general, to open AutoCAD 2011, double-click on the AutoCAD 2011 shortcut in the Windows desktop (Fig. 1.1). Depending on how details in Profiles/Initial Setup… in the Options dialog (Fig. 1.16), the Welcome dialog (Fig. 1.2) may appear. This dialog allows videos showing methods of working AutoCAD 2011, to be selected from a list of icons.

The Initial Settings dialog


Fig. 1.2 The Initial Settings dialog

When working in education or in industry, computers may be configured to allow other methods of opening AutoCAD, such as a list appearing on the computer in use when the computer is switched on, from which the operator can select the program he/she wishes to use.

When AutoCAD 2011 is opened a window appears, which will depend upon whether a 3D Basics, a 3D Modeling, a Classic AutoCAD or a 2D Drafting & Annotation workspace has been set as QNEW in the Options dialog. In this example the 2D Drafting & Annotation workspace is shown and includes the Ribbon with Tool panels (Fig. 1.3). This 2D Drafting & Annotation workspace shows the following details:

Ribbon: Which includes tabs, each of which when clicked will bring a set of panels containing tool icons. Further tool panels can be seen by clicking the appropriate tab. The panels in the ribbon can be changed to any desired panels as required using the Customer User Interface dialog if desired.

The AutoCAD 2011 2D Drafting and Annotation workspace

Fig. 1.3 The AutoCAD 2011 2D Drafting and Annotation workspace

Menu Browser icon: A left-click on the arrow to the right of the A symbol at the top left-hand corner of the AutoCAD 2011 window causes the Menu Browser menu to appear (Fig. 1.4).

Workspace Switching menu: Appears with a click on the Workspace Switching button in the status bar (Fig. 1.5).

Command palette: Can be dragged from its position at the bottom of the AutoCAD window into the AutoCAD drawing area, when it can be seen to be a palette (Fig. 1.6). As with all palettes, an Auto-hide icon and a right-click menu is included.


Tool panels: Each shows tools appropriate to the panel. Taking the Home/ Draw panel as an example, Fig. 1.7 shows that placing the mouse cursor on one of the tool icons in a panel brings a tooltip on screen showing details of how the tool can be used. Two types of tooltip will be seen. In the majority of future illustrations of tooltips, the smaller version will be shown. Other tools have popup menus appearing with a click. In the example given in Fig. 1.8, a click on the Circle tool icon will show a tooltip. A click on the arrow to the right of the tool icon brings a popup menu showing the construction method options available for the tool.

The Menu Browser

Fig. 1.4 The Menu Browser

The Workspace Switching popup menu

Fig. 1.5 The Workspace Switching popup menu

The command palette when dragged from its position at the bottom of the AutoCAD window

Fig. 1.6 The command palette when dragged from its position at the bottom of the AutoCAD window

The descriptive tooltip appearing with a click on the Line tool icon

Fig. 1.7 The descriptive tooltip appearing with a click on the Line tool icon

The tooltip for the Circle tool and its popup menu

Fig. 1.8 The tooltip for the Circle tool and its popup menu

Quick Access toolbar: The toolbar at the top right of the AutoCAD window holds several icons, one of which is the Open tool icon. A click on the icon opens the Select File dialog (Fig. 1.9). Navigation bar: contains several tools which may be of value.

The open icon in the Quick Access toolbar brings the Select File dialog on screen

Fig. 1.9 The open icon in the Quick Access toolbar brings the Select File dialog on screen

The mouse as a digitiser

The two-button mouse

Fig. 1.10 The two-button mouse

Many operators working in AutoCAD will use a two-button mouse as a digitiser. There are other digitisers which may be used – pucks with tablets, a three-button mouse, etc. Fig. 1.10 shows a mouse which has two buttons and a wheel.

To operate this mouse pressing the Pick button is a left-click. Pressing the Return button is a right-click which usually, but not always, has the same result as pressing the Enter key of the keyboard.

When the Wheel is pressed drawings in the AutoCAD screen can be panned by moving the mouse. Moving the wheel forwards enlarges (zooms in) the drawing on screen. Move the wheel backwards and a drawing reduces in size.

The pick box at the intersection of the cursor hairs moves with the cursor hairs in response to movements of the mouse. The AutoCAD window as shown in Fig. 1.3 shows cursor hairs which stretch across the drawing in both horizontal and vertical directions. Some operators prefer cursor hairs to be shorter. The length of the cursor hairs can be adjusted in the Display sub-menu of the Options dialog.

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