Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the ribbon, part of AutoCAD 2009 New Features.
Probably the biggest change to the AutoCAD interface is the introduction of the ribbon. The ribbon essentially takes the power and organization of your toolbars and places all of it on a collapsible panel. Now, since we are going to be talking about the interface in this session, we won't actually be doing any work. I wanted to avoid having a completely blank screen, so I have opened a drawing. This drawing happens to be located in the Chapter 1 folder, located inside our Exercise Files directory, and we can see the drawing name right up here, the number three drawing. Now, ribbon is located at the top of the interface, and this is the guy that we are going to use from now on to launch the majority of our AutoCAD commands.
Now, our ribbon is divided up into tabs and panels. If I place my cursor right up here, I can see all of my tab names. If I would like to move from one tab to the other, I can click on the tab name. Now, a tab is a container that holds panels. Now, the tab and panel concept is very similar to a mechanic's tool chest. The tabs represent the drawers and the panels represent collections of tools. Now, if this were a mechanic's tool chest, we may see inside the drawer a drill bit set, or we may see a ratchet set, or we may see a set of metrical wrenches.
Since this is AutoCAD, and I happen to be looking at the Annotate tab or the Annotate drawer, I'm seeing a set of Text tools, a set of Dimension tools, a set of Multileader tools. Now, in some cases, in your panel, you may have more tools than what will fit within the space. If that happens, we'll have a flyout. Let me click this flyout. This will maximize the panel and give me access to the rest of the tools. If I select the tool, then move away from the panel, it will collapse. Now, if I click this flyout one more time, I want you to notice this pushpin.
If I click the pushpin, that panel will always remain in an open state. Let me click the pushpin again to remove it, and it will collapse. Now, there is a lot of flexibility in the panels and in the tabs. Let me show you what I mean. I can rearrange these if I wish. If I click and hold on this panel or this collection of tools, I can drag him left or right, I can place him wherever I want within the tab. In fact, if I click and hold on the panel name, I can drag him out into model space. So I can use him down here if I wish.
Same thing goes for our tabs. We can click and hold the tab names and we can rearrange these in whatever order we like. Just drag and release. Now, if I would like to restore my panel back to the ribbon, I will place my cursor over the panel, and AutoCAD will expand the panel so I can see the handle that I can use to move it, or if I come over to the other side, I can see an icon that will allow me to send this panel back to the ribbon. Let me click this and he will go right back where he was. Now, panels and ribbons can also be turned off. If I place my cursor on top of a panel and right-click, notice I have got two settings in the pop-up menu, one for tabs and one for panels. If I hover over my tabs area, I can see all of my tabs and the checkboxes represent that they are turned on. If I click a check, I can turn the tab off. We can see the Home tab is now gone, let me bring him back. Let me come down to panels. I can also take and turn them off or on as well. Now, you will find that some commands in AutoCAD have been incorporated into the ribbon. For instance, I'm going to launch the MTEXT command. Since we are on the Annotate tab, I'm going to come over and click the MTEXT icon. I'm going to click two corners to represent my column, and when I do, watch the ribbon.
Notice I now have a new tab for Multiline Text, and in the ribbon now I can see a panel for each one of my tools that are associated with Multiline Text. You will find that the Table command, the Refedit command, as well as the Block Editing commands, all access their own ribbon features. I'm going to set the Home tab Current, because that's the one that we are going to use most often. The Home tab contains our Draw tools, as well as our Modify tools and our Layer Control. Now, remember I said that the ribbon is a collapsible panel. That's what this icon does right up here. If I click this icon one time, AutoCAD will minimize the ribbon down to the panel names, and when its in this state, if I want to access the tools, I will just place my cursor over the panel name, it will open up, I can select the tool, and when I move away it will collapse.
If I come up and click this Minimize button one more time, AutoCAD will collapse the ribbon down to just the tab names. Now if I want to access my tools, I will come up and click on a tab name, AutoCAD will maximize that tab on the screen, I can choose the tool that I want to use, and when I move away, it will collapse. So the more comfortable you get with your ribbon, the less space you can have it take up on screen. If I click the Minimize button one more time, my ribbon will restore to its fully open state. Of all the new AutoCAD 2009 features, the ribbon interface has the biggest learning curve. Once you become familiar with it however, you will have access to a great deal of tools, while using the smallest amount of space.
- Using the new Quick Access toolbar, quick properties, quick view layouts, and quick view drawings
- Understanding the Status bar and the Layer Properties palette
- Recording, editing, and sharing action recorder macros
- Finding and replacing text
- Checking spelling automatically
- Creating presentations with ShowMotion
- Navigating drawings using the ViewCube and SteeringWheels
- Setting a geographic location