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Let's take a second and talk about how we access our tools in AutoCAD and how those tools are organized on our screen. This area at the top of the screen is called the Ribbon, and the Ribbon contains the majority of our tools. Now the Ribbon is divided up into these tabs and we can jump from one tab to the other by clicking on the tab name. This gives us access to the tools on each tab. Think of the Ribbon as being a large tool-chest, and each tab represents a drawer in the chest. The tab we'll be using most often in this title is the Home tab.
So I am going to click to return to Home. Now each tab is divided up into these panels, and a panel represents a small collection of tools. For instance, the Draw panel contains the tools we would use to create geometry, and the Modify panel contains tools we would use to make changes to our geometry. In some cases, the panel name will contain a fly-out. If you click the fly-out, it will maximize the panel on screen, giving you access to even more tools. If you move your cursor off the panel, it will collapse back to its normal state.
If you'd like the panel to stay in the expanded state, you can click this Pushpin. As long as the Pushpin is in, that panel will remain maximized on screen. I am going to click to remove the Pushpin and I'll let the panel collapse. Let's jump to the Annotate tab. Notice that some of these panels contain a small downward facing arrow. This icon represents that there is a dialog box associated with the tools on this panel. For instance, if I click the icon on the Text panel, AutoCAD brings up a dialog box that I can use to create a Text Style.
Now, we'll talk about Text Styles a little later when we get into the chapter on Annotation. So for right now, I am going to click the X to close the dialog box. Once again, I am going to return to the Home tab. Let's look at some of the other places in the interface where we can find tools. I am going to move up and click the big red letter A. This opens up the Application menu and the Application menu is where I can find tools related to file maintenance. For instance, I can use this menu to create a new drawing or open a drawing. I can use this menu to save my drawings, print them, send them to others, and I can access Drawing Utilities.
All of the tools in this menu are associated with the drawing file itself. Just for a second, take a look at the icons that are associated with these commands. Notice that several of these same icons are at the top of our screen. This is called our Quick Access Toolbar and this toolbar does just that. It gives us quick access to the tools that we use most. I am going to move my cursor back into Model space, and then I'll hit the Escape key a couple of times to close the Application menu. In addition to the Quick Access toolbar there is another toolbar on our screen. It's over here on the right side and it's called the Navigation Bar.
The Navigation Bar contains tools we can use to navigate around in our drawing. Tools like Pan and Zoom are located on this toolbar. Now, we'll be talking more about specific tools and their functions as we progress through this title. One thing is certain, as you become more acquainted with the Ribbon and the additional tools, you'll discover that they are very well organized. making it easy to find the right tool for the job.
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