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Well, this is where our journey begins. As you can see, I am currently sitting at my Desktop. I am going to launch AutoCAD 2011 by double-clicking on this icon. I'll wait until everything comes up on screen and then we'll continue. Let me mention that I am working with a fresh install of AutoCAD, because of that I am being greeted with this Welcome Screen. Now, the Welcome Screen contains several Getting Started Videos. Each of these icons represents a video that you can watch, that covers a specific AutoCAD topic. Watching these videos will give you a nice general overview of how the program is used.
Just beneath the videos are some additional resources that you can explore that will also help you learn how to use the program. I would strongly encourage you to take some time and review this information. you may find it very helpful. At the bottom of the Welcome Screen is a checkbox that controls whether we'll see this Welcome Screen the next time we launch AutoCAD. I am going to remove the check and then I am going to move up and click the X to close the dialog box. At any point in the future if I would like to review the information on the Welcome Screen, I can bring it back by clicking this small arrow in the upper right corner and I can select Welcome Screen from the menu.
Now, before we get started talking about the interface components, I would like to make sure that your screen looks the same as mine. To do that, I would like you to come up to the upper left corner of the interface and click this flyout, this is our Workspace Menu. I would like you to select the 2D Drafting & Annotation Workspace. This is a default workspace that comes preinstalled with AutoCAD 2011. Now that you have made that selection, your screen should look reasonably identical to mine. The first part of the interface I would like to talk about is this large area in the middle. This is called Model Space and it's our virtual drafting board.
This is where we create all of our geometry. The nice thing about Model Space is that it's infinite in size, that means I can draw anything I want at full scale or one-to-one. Back in the old days, when we drafted with paper and pencil, we used to draw our geometry to a scale, such that it would fit on our sheet of paper. Now that we are using a computer, we don't have any of those concerns. We can draw everything at true size. Now, the type of drafting we will be doing in this title is 2D Drafting. AutoCAD is also capable of working with 3D Geometry, that's what this tool is for.
This tool is called the View Cube, and we use this tool to adjust our view in 3D space. Now, we won't be using this tool in the title, but I would like to show you some of its functions in the event you accidentally click on it, you will be able to restore a default view. As I move my cursor over the View Cube, we can see several hotspots. I am going to click this hotspot in the lower right corner, and notice when I do, AutoCAD adjusts my view in 3D space. I am now viewing my drafting board from a southeast asymmetric view. There are several other hotspots on the Cube, feel free to explore and click these as much as you like.
The view that we started with or the default view is a Top View. To restore Top View, you can click the Top hotspot on the View Cube. Now, take a look at these arrows in the upper right hand corner. Each time I click an arrow, I can rotate my drafting board in 90 degree increments. You can use these arrows if necessary to rotate the drafting board, such that north is pointing up on your screen. Take a look at these tabs at the bottom left. As you can see, Model Space is represented as a tab in the interface. Now, these tabs work very similar to the tabs in Microsoft Excel.
We can jump from one tab to the other by clicking on the tab name. Let's take a look at Layout1. As you can see, this tab looks a lot like a sheet of paper. That's because it is a sheet of paper. All AutoCAD drawings by default come with two generic layouts that we can set up to plot our geometry. Now, we'll talk more about layouts when we get into our chapter on plotting. For right now, I am going to click the Model tab to return to Model Space. Model Space is where all of our designs take shape. It's our virtual drafting board, capable of handling a project of any size.
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