Join Shaun Bryant for an in-depth discussion in this video Introducing the AutoCAD interface, part of Up and Running with AutoCAD LT.
- We've already touched on some of the AutoCAD LT interface tools. For example, over here on the left we've looked at the Application menu on the big red A in the corner. And we've also touched on the quick access toolbar right here. Now you can customize your quick access toolbar by clicking on the little arrow there. And you can see that the ticked ones here are the ones that are displayed on the quick access toolbar. So you'll notice I can add things like Workspace, Match Properties, Batch Plot, and so on. You can also go into the Menu bar and show below the ribbon and you can also configure this and customize it and add your own commands, as well, if you want to.
Now at the moment, all the ones that are ticked are the only ones that are displayed and they're fine for me. But if you want to add other ones, nothing to stop you doing so. Over here on the right hand side of the title bar you've got the info bar. So here you've got your basic help screens. So if I type in line and then click on the little binoculars symbol, that will search for me and that goes online now and looks on the AutoCAD LT Help for me. And you can see there's the line command. I click on the link and you'll see that there's how to use the line command there.
Now be very careful with the help screens, the help screens are online only now so you do need a live Internet connection to actually bascially get those up and running. You can download an offline version though. Let me just close that for you. If you go to Help here, and click on the down arrow, you'll notice here you can download the offline help if you need to, so there is a link to get to it if you need it. It's always useful if you're running a laptop out in the field, or something, to have the offline help loaded. Now just here where it says Sign In, that allows me to sign into the A360 tools that Autodesk provides.
I've mentioned those already, the cloud based tools. And also here you've got Stay Connected which allows you to hook up with the online community so you can look at your Autodesk accounts, specified hardware, you can go onto the web and look up AutoCAD LT videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, if you want to. So there's all the social media type tools there, as well. Now the rest of the interface is your design interface. So let's start right at the top. And we've got the ribbon interface and it's run by way of tabs. So you've got the Home tab, the Insert tab, the Annotate tab, the Parametric tab, and so on.
I'll just click on the Home tab again because that tends to be the tab that you use the most. And also it gives me lots of nice panels and icons to describe the interface to you, as well. So when you're running with the ribbon you'll notice each group of icons has its own panel. So for example here, the Draw panel has its own panel and all the Draw icons within it. And you'll notice that you've got these little triangles again, these are your flyout menus. So on any panel on the ribbon if you click on the triangle, it gives you the flyout commands and you can then click on the little pin and pin it open, like so.
Very, very useful if you want to keep that open because you might want to work with these commands. If you leave it unpinned it just floats back into the ribbon again. So just be careful of that one and also utilize that when you need it. Don't bring them all down at the same time and pin them all open because it does get a little bit messy. So I've pinned open the Modify flyout menu there, for example. So each of these panels have its own type of commands on it and thereby way of icons and again, even more flyout menus. So in the Annotation panel, if I click on the flyout there, I've got Multiline text and Single Line text.
Now the good thing is is if I now select Single Line text that then defaults to that icon there, can you see, so it's now Single Line. And if I go back again and select Multiline it defaults to Multiline again, and it's now prompting me to specify the first corner of the Multiline text there on the crosshair in the center of the screen so I'll just hit Escape to cancel that command. So you can see that the interface is somewhat intuitive. It's very, very useful. So that's the ribbon and the panels. Now I want to show you a really neat trick with panels. If I click and drag on the Draw panel here, on the title bar, I can actually drag that into the drawing area.
And you're thinking, hmm, okay, what does that mean? All it means is it's disappeared from up here on the Home tab. But what it does is it allows me now to have all the Draw tools available to me at any time if I'm in a different tab, like Annotate, for example. Now all that means is I've got all the Draw tools, I can draw something like a line, so if I just click and draw a line, like so, there's my line, I can now annotate that line, so I can dimension it if I want to. So if I hover over that there's a neat tool whiche we'll come to later, but that is dimensioned that line.
Now the good thing is I've been able to draw that line and dimension it all in the same space. If I hadn't dragged out the Draw sticky panel, like so, I would not have been able to draw that line, I would have had to have gone back to the Home tab, drawn it, and then gone back to the Annotate tab to dimension it. Now the really neat trick here is is I can put this sticky panel back in the ribbon even though I'm not in the Home tab on the ribbon. So if I just hover here, can you see, I get this little extra bar and it allows me to toggle the orientation. So if I now look at that it toggles the orientation so the flyout is there instead of to the side.
But more importantly, if I hover again and click on this little icon, which allows me to return the panel to the ribbon, if I click there, that returns it to the ribbon. Now you would have thought that it would have dropped it there on the left hand end of the ribbon next to the text panel. No. It even remembers which tab it needs to go back to, so there's the Draw panel back on the ribbon where it should be. So that's a really neat tool with the ribbon. So that's how the ribbon works, and it's basically your main go to area for all of your AutoCAD LT commands. Now another neat way of getting to certain commands is if I go to that Line command again, and come into the drawing area, it's asking me to specify the first point.
So if I draw a line and just come across like that and then what I'll do is I'll right click so I'm still in the Line command, as you can see, look, the dynamic input is prompting me for the distance and the angle, but if I right click the shortcut menu on the right hand mouse button is context sensitive. So it will allow me to undo that last line segment and take me back to the first point I selected. So if I do loads of lines, like this, and then right click, Undo, it takes me back one line segment, right click again, Undo, another line segment.
And I can keep going all the way back to the original point where I started and then I can just hit Escape to cancel the command. So there's some really neat tools within the AutoCad LT interface. Let's have a look at a couple more, just before we finish. I've already mentioned this one before, you've got the lovely tabs now that will show you each drawing that you're working with. And you see the little asterisk there indicates that it's our current drawing. And also some of the tools down at the bottom of the screen are very neat, as well. So you got your tabs here, as well, Model, Layout one, Layout two.
I mentioned previously if I click on the little plus sign there I can add a new layout at any time and we'll cover that later on in the course. I've got the command line, so if I type in line here I can type in my command like so, and press enter. And that now prompts me for the first point of my line. Now you may ask me why I've got the command line and the specify first point floating around on the crosshair in the drawing area like that. Well the one in the drawing area following the crosshair around, you can see, is known as dynamic input, which means I don't actually need the command line.
The command line is there for legacy users who are used to using the command line. And the command line is still needed for programming and things like that. So it tends to remain in both AutoCAD LT and full AutoCAD. Last but not least, down on the right hand side of the bottom you have your status bar which shows you all of your drawing settings. So at the moment we are in model space page there and there's the Model tab. And you see all the different tools here, we've got the grid switched on, you can see it in the background there. And I've got things like Polar Tracking switched on I've got things like Object Snap Tracking switched on.
And Dynamic Input is on, but it's there, but it's not actually on the status bar. So what's that all about, then? Well if I go to this little icon here the little three lines and click you'll see that I can switch on any drafting setting I want to. So you'll notice there's Dynamic Input, I'll switch it on, click down here on the three lines again and Dynamic Input now has its own icon. So the trick there is if you want the icons on the status bar it's just that little three lines, switch on what you want, click on the three lines again. It's a really neat tool and it's only been around recently in versions of AutoCAD and LT.
But it's a nice tool and what's really nice is all the icons now, if they're on, they're that lovely deep blue color, if they're off, they're a nice pale whitey gray kind of color. Now for those traditional AutoCAD users out there the classic interface has gone. So you don't have the toolbars and the icons like you used to. But more importantly, the icons down here are here to stay. There is no little buttons with the words on anymore, like there used to be in older versions, it's all gone. So the old classic interface now has this new super duper ribbon based interface that you can see in front of you now.
- Opening DWG drawing files
- Starting a new drawing
- Saving drawings
- Drawing lines and shapes
- Working with the Snap and Grid features
- Editing objects
- Organizing drawings with layers
- Inserting blocks
- Creating layouts
- Adding text
- Adding and editing dimensions
- Printing your drawings