AutoCAD WS Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Navigating the interface


From:

AutoCAD WS Essential Training

with Jeff Bartels

Video: Navigating the interface

The most powerful aspect of AutoCAD WS is the Drawing Editor. It offers a powerful set of drawing and editing tools that are organized in a familiar AutoCAD environment. In this lesson we're going to take a tour of the Drawing Editor interface. Now, the best way to view the Editor is to have an open drawing, so I'm going to double-click to open the samples folder, and I'll select the AEC Building Plan drawing. This is one of the samples that was included with the WS software. I will then click Open to open the drawing in the Editor.

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Watch the Online Video Course AutoCAD WS Essential Training
2h 23m Beginner Nov 19, 2012

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This course covers the basics of AutoCAD WS, focusing on workflows and collaboration that will help you and your team work more efficiently with this cloud-based CAD application. Author Jeff Bartels explains how to use the mobile and browser versions of the app, how to upload files and folders, and how to access and review drawing content. The course also shows how to perform standard markups, edit geometry and annotations, and plot to both PDF and DWF formats. A dedicated collaboration chapter demonstrates how to share drawings and use the Timeline feature to keep track of a drawing's version history.

Topics include:
  • Creating an AutoCAD WS account
  • Organizing files and folders
  • Viewing and editing drawings
  • Taking measurements
  • Redlining desired changes
  • Accessing and sharing drawings remotely
  • Editing annotations
  • Creating and inserting blocks
  • Plotting drawings to PDF or DWF
  • Incorporating aerial underlays
  • Practicing real-time collaboration
Subject:
CAD
Software:
AutoCAD WS
Author:
Jeff Bartels

Navigating the interface

The most powerful aspect of AutoCAD WS is the Drawing Editor. It offers a powerful set of drawing and editing tools that are organized in a familiar AutoCAD environment. In this lesson we're going to take a tour of the Drawing Editor interface. Now, the best way to view the Editor is to have an open drawing, so I'm going to double-click to open the samples folder, and I'll select the AEC Building Plan drawing. This is one of the samples that was included with the WS software. I will then click Open to open the drawing in the Editor.

If you are already familiar with AutoCAD, you'll feel right at home with this interface, because it's designed to have the same look and feel of AutoCAD. At the top of the screen is the Ribbon. This is where all of the tools are stored. The Ribbon is divided up into these tabs. The tabs are designed to be task-based, so in the event you find yourself searching for a tool, ask yourself what general task is that tools associated with. The Home tab contains a general purpose collection of tools.

These are the ones you'll use most often. Here we'll find some file maintenance tools and a limited set of drawing and editing commands. This tab also contains tools for taking measurements and adjusting drawing properties. Here is the familiar Layer Control. I can also adjust the current line weight or line type. I can adjust the current drawing color. And if I click the Manage Layers button, it brings up the AutoCAD WS Layer Properties Manager. Once again, this has a similar look and feel to traditional AutoCAD.

I'm going to click the X to close the Manager. The Draw tab contains the full collection of drawing and editing tools. We'll also find the clipboard functionality here, as well as another access point for drawing properties. The Annotate tab contains tools for creating Text, Dimensions, and Leaders. There are also some tools on this tab for marking up drawings. The Insert tab is where we can Manage Blocks or Attach Images if they've been uploaded to our account.

The View tab is where you'll find the traditional Pan and Zoom functions. This Layout menu is used to switch between Model Space and any Layouts that are in the drawing. There is also an Xref Manager. Let me mention that you cannot attach Xrefs using AutoCAD WS. However, if your drawing already contains Xrefs, you can use this tool to unload or reload them. There are also some tools used for uploading plot related items. If I wanted to align this drawing with some Google Map imagery, I could use this option.

The Share tab is where we'll find tools for sharing the drawing with others. Anyone who is sharing this current drawing will show up on this tab. As a side note, AutoCAD WS makes it easy to share files with others. Note, there is another large Share button right down here. This tool on the end of the tab is used in the event I'd like to share the current drawing using a hyperlink. The Timeline is where I can access the revision history of a drawing. Each time a more current version of this file is uploaded to my account, I'll start seeing history points on this Timeline, allowing me to view prior versions.

Finally, the Output tab is used to Plot the drawing or Save it with a new name. In the upper-right of the interface, we can find the Undo and Redo commands. Down here in the lower right are some additional Pan and Zoom functions. There are also a couple of status bar toggles. This one turns Object Snaps on and Off. In AutoCAD WS, there are four object snaps, endpoint, midpoint, center, and intersection. This toggle turns the Ortho mode on and off. I can use this one to Show or Hide Lineweights.

And this toggle is used to display or hide the Command Line. This menu to the left is just another means to switch between Model Space and Layout tabs. If you are a traditional AutoCAD user, you'll find that the Command Line in AutoCAD WS works the same way. For instance, I'm going to click at the Command Line, and I'll type LINE and press Enter. I will then click to specify my first point, and then I'll click again to finish. In the event you like to use the traditional command aliases, you'll find those work as well.

For example, at the Command Line I'm going to type the letter C and press Enter. This launches the Circle Command. Since my Object Snaps are turned on, I'll put the center point at the midpoint of this line, and I'll pull the radius out to the endpoint. Now, since AutoCAD WS is a limited version of AutoCAD, it isn't going to have a complete set of AutoCAD tools. If you are struggling to find a specific command in the interface, try typing it at the Command Line to see if it's available. For instance, I'm going to type PEDIT at the Command Line and press Enter, and I'm told that PEDIT is not yet supported.

That being said, AutoCAD WS does a great job keeping you informed if you've encountered a limitation of the program. As an example, I'm going to click on screen, and I'll pull to the left to create a crossing selection. I will then click again to select these objects, and I'll press the Delete key to erase them. Works just like it does in traditional AutoCAD. Now I'm going to try and select all of this geometry on the right side of the screen, and I'm reminded that selections are limited to a maximum of 200 objects.

If I wanted to leave this Editor, I can do that by selecting a different area over here on the left. When I return to the Editor, I'll find the drawing right where I left it. To close the drawing and the Editor, I'll click the X on this tab. As you can see, the AutoCAD WS Editor has the same look and feel as a full version of AutoCAD. Once you dive in and start using the tools, you may even forget that you're using a free web-based version of the application.

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