Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating custom ribbon tabs and panels in AutoCAD, part of AutoCAD Tips, Tricks, & Industry Secrets.
The Ribbon is the primary way that we access our commands. By default, the tools in the Ribbon are organized in a very generic way. such that AutoCAD can be used for a wide range of tasks. The nice thing is, this Ribbon is fully customizable. This means you can set up your own interface from scratch that places all of the tools that you use most within easy reach. In this lesson, we are going to learn how to customize the Ribbon by creating our own tabs and panels. Now let me mention that I have a drawing open on screen. You do not have to open the same drawing.
I am only using this as a background, such that we are not working with a completely empty interface. All right, to start our customization, let's talk about the current workspace. As you can see, I am using the 2D Drafting & Annotation workspace. If I click this fly-out, you can see that there are other workspaces available. Now the workspace is what dictates the Ribbon that we see on screen and I'm someone who doesn't like to modify the stock workspace. So I am going to make my own. To do that, I'll come down and click Save Current As and I'll call my workspace, Jeff's workspace.
You can use your own name if you like and I'll click Save. Essentially, I have just created a copy of the stock 2D workspace. Now, to make changes to the Ribbon, I'm going to come up and select the Manage tab and then I'll select CUI. This brings up the customizable user interface. Right here on the left, I can see a listing of all of the workspaces. Just below on the tree, there's an entry called Ribbon. I am going to click the plus to open this. And beneath Ribbon, there are entries called Tabs and Panels.
That is what a Ribbon is made up from. Let me drag this down. The tabs are what we along the top. Tabs are very similar to drawers in a toolbox and the panels represent collections of tools. You will find the panels on each tab. Let's drag this back up. I am going to click the plus next to Tabs and I can see a listing of all of the tabs that are available in AutoCAD. Certainly more tabs than what we see on the current Ribbon. Let's add a tab to our current workspace.
To do that, I will select my workspace from the list. I will come over to the right and click Customize Workspace. Notice all of my text turns blue when I'm in the editing state. If I click the plus next to Ribbon Tabs, I can see the tabs that are associated with my current Ribbon. Over here on the left there are checks that represent which tabs are in my Ribbon. To add a tab, I will place a check in the box. This adds it to my workspace. I will click Done and then I will click OK.
Notice that my workspace now has a Render tab, and if I select this, I see that the tab is preloaded with all of the standard panels. Using this workflow, I can add or remove any tab from any Ribbon. Now let's try and create our own tab. To do that, I am going to press the Spacebar to reenter the CUI command. I will open up the Ribbon entry. I will open up the Tabs entry and then I'm going to right-click on Tabs and select New Tab. And at the very bottom of the tabs list, I will find my new tab.
I'm going to call this Custom and I will press Enter. Knowing what we know now, let's add this new tab to our current workspace. Once again, I will drag this slider up. I will select my workspace and click Customize. I will then drag this down and find my tab. I will select it and then I'll click OK. I now have another tab in my Ribbon. If I select this custom tab, you can see it's not very exciting.
There aren't any panels associated with this tab. Let's take care of that. Once again, I am going to go back into the CUI command by pressing the Spacebar. Let's open up the Ribbon entry. I am going to open up the Tabs entry and I'll drag this down. And then I will open up Panels and then I will drag this up. Now, if you want add a panel or a collection of tools to a Ribbon tab, all you have to do is drag and drop. For instance, if I wanted to add the Annotate-Dimensions panel to my tab, I will click-hold-and-drag and I will place it on the tab.
Let's add this Text panel. Click-hold-and-drag and place it on the tab. Now, here's where it gets a little weird. If I want a panel that's quite a distance down in this list, say the Mesh-Crease panel, I will click, hold, and drag, and then I have to keep an eye out for my tab. Here it comes, there it is. Let me release on top of the tab. If you'd like to remove a panel from your tab, you can simply right-click on it and select Remove. I'd like to keep mine as it is, so I will come down and click OK.
Let's select the custom tab and you can see the three panels that I added. Let's try and create our own panel. Once again, I'm going to re-enter the CUI command. I will do that by pressing the Spacebar. I will open up the Ribbon entry and I'll open up Tabs, and Panels. To create my own custom panel, I will right- click on the word Panels and select New Panel. And all the way at the bottom of the list, I can find my New Panel. I'm going to call this My Favorites and I will press Enter.
Now to add commands or tools to a panel, we will drag them from this list below. This list represents every available command in AutoCAD. As an example, I'm going to drag the Layer Off command. I will click, hold, and drag. And as I drag this across the border here, watch how my list jumps. That can be a little bit annoying. Let me drag this up. I have go to drag it down a little bit. Like I said, it can be very annoying. I am just going to release and say forget it. Let's drag this backup and I'll show you a different way to drag. I am going to click, hold, and drag it to the left, then up, and then back over.
Now we don't have to worry about the panning. I'm going to drop this on Row 1. And if we look right over here, there's the command. Let's drag another command. I am going to select the Make Object's Layer Current command. I will drag this over, up and across, and I'll drop this on Row 1. I would like to add another command. Let's add eTransmit. That's one of my favorites. To find eTransmit in the list, I could drag up and down alphabetically or I could just start typing eTransmit and notice how AutoCAD will sort the list for me.
I will drag this command over, up, and across. There we go. Let me click to close up Row 1. Maybe I would like to create a second row. To do that, I will right- click on Row 1 and select New Row. And then I will take Row 2, I will click-hold-and-drag this up. I like to be tidy. I'm going to keep Row 1 and 2 together. I will come down and click this X to clear my Command List filter. And let's drag a couple more commands up. I will drag 3 Points over and I will place that on my panel.
3D Adjust Distance and I'll do a 3D Constrained Orbit. There we go. Now that I'm finished, I am going to close up my panel. Now I have to add the panel to my custom tab, so I'm going to click-hold-and-drag this up. And I will place this on my custom tab. When I'm finished, I will click OK. And when I select the custom tab, you can see the three panels that I brought in, the stock panels, as well as My Favorites Panel, the one I created from scratch that contains my favorite tools.
Now if these truly are your favorite commands, don't think that they have to be relegated to a specific tab. If you want these on your screen all the time, you can simply click-hold-and-drag on the panel name and you can drop the panel out here in model space. Now it will be available regardless of the tab that's current on the Ribbon. Now that I am finished making changes to my workspace, I'm going to click this flyout. I will come down and select Save Current As. I will select my workspace from the list and I'll click Save.
And then I'll click Replace to overwrite the original. This means that if I go to the flyout and select 2D Drafting & Annotation, I am back to the stock Ribbon. Click the flyout again and I'll select my custom workspace, and I have got my own customized Ribbon containing my own tabs and panels. As you can see, AutoCAD makes it very easy to make changes to the Ribbon interface. With a little practice, you can set up a custom interface that has all of your favorite tools within easy reach.
- Creating macro enabled tools
- Using Auto Complete
- Disabling tool mode settings on the fly
- Moving and copying entities using Windows shortcuts
- Using the Calculator palette
- Formatting text
- Creating parent/child dimension styles
- Making dimensions easier to read
- Making global edits to attribute data and layer names
- Exchanging one block symbol for another
- Inserting content using drag and drop
- Navigating layer list using the keyboard
- Importing layouts from template files
- Consolidating backup files