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AutoCAD Essentials with Jeff Bartels is a multi-part series that takes a more modular approach to this massive program, used for everything from 2D and 3D CAD design, drafting, and modeling to architectural drawing and engineering projects. This first installment includes a lengthy tour of the interface, from understanding the concept of model space to customizing the AutoCAD preferences and working with dockable palettes. The second half of the course show how to manage your drawings, including getting the most from the mouse and many shortcuts, creating time-saving templates, and plotting from either model space or in a layout.
Everyone understands the concept of a workbench. A good workbench will have all of your tools arranged so that they're within easy reach. AutoCAD allows us to do the same thing with our interface. In this lesson we're going to talk about the concept of a workspace. A workspace is a saved configuration of tools onscreen. This means we can arrange our AutoCAD tools however we like and then save their location as a workspace. Now, workspaces can be found up here in the Quick Access Toolbar, and mine cannot be seen just yet.
That's because I'm recording at a smaller resolution than normal. What I'm going to do is click this arrow to collapse the search box, and we can see the workspace flyout right here. Now, AutoCAD comes with several workspaces pre-installed. I'm going to open the menu. By default, we're using Drafting & Annotation. This is what you would use for your typical 2D work. I'm going to select 3D Basics. And notice that my interface is now populated with basic 3D modeling tools.
Let's open the menu again. This time I'll choose 3D Modeling, and now we can see a full collection of 3D modeling and rendering tools. If I'm feeling nostalgic, I can open the menu and select the AutoCAD Classic workspace and I'll return to a more traditional AutoCAD where we used toolbars. Let's return to the Drafting & Annotation workspace. Now, to create a workspace, we start by organizing our tools where we want them onscreen. For instance, I'm going to click and hold on the Draw panel and I'll pull this guy out into model space and I'll place him right here.
If you're someone who has two monitors, this is a great idea: you can drag these panels over to your second monitor and then we can save them over there. I'm going to drag out one more. I like to adjust my properties frequently, so I'll drag this panel out, and I'll place it right here. Let me add one more thing. I'm going to jump over to the View tab, and I'm going to turn on the Properties palette--that guy's also important. Currently he is anchored to the left side of my screen. Let's return to the Home tab.
At this point, I have all the tools on my screen the way I like to see them when I work. To save this as a workspace, I'm going to open the menu, I'll come down and choose Save Current As, and then I'll give my workspace a name. I'm going to call this Jeff's 2D Workspace. Then I'll click Save. Now that this has been saved, I can always go back and select any other configuration of tools, and then I can easily return things by going back to my saved workspace.
Knowing this, you can create a special tool arrangement for general-purpose work. Likewise, you could have additional workspaces for specific tasks, like annotation or plan production. Now maybe I'd like to make a change to a saved workspace. For instance, since I'm working in a single-monitor environment, having these extra panels out onscreen, it's kind of eating up some of my real estate. So I'm going to put these panels back the way they were. To do that, I will place my cursor over a panel. This will expose the two little wings that pop out on the side.
I'm going to click the icon in the upper-right. This returns the panel to the Ribbon, and we'll do the same thing with my Properties panel. And now that I've updated my workspace, I would like to save these changes. To do that I'll open the workspace menu. I'll choose Save Current As, and then I will overwrite my original. Using workspaces, you can always have the right tools onscreen to accomplish your tasks. Having multiple workspaces means you can easily switch between tool sets with a couple clicks of the mouse.
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