Join Shaun Bryant for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the STARTUP variable, part of AutoCAD: Tips & Tricks.
- [Instructor] Welcome to another AutoCAD tip and trick. Now what we're going to be looking at today is the startup variable in AutoCAD. Now, when you first start up AutoCAD, this is the screen you get. And you'll notice at the bottom of the screen there, you've got the Create option or you've also got the Learn option. By default, it starts in the Create option, expecting you to create a new drawing. Now when you create a new drawing in AutoCAD, it normally refers you to the default AutoCAD template folder, which is set in your AutoCAD options.
So you can do this in two ways. I can go here, and I can just go to my template, it's on the little down arrow there, and I can select a template from the list. Now those templates are somewhat undescriptive in their naming philosophy. so, acadiso.dwt, what does that mean? Well, if I hover over it, you can see there, it tells me it's a normal international metric drawing template using color dependent plot style. It even tells me the location of the template if I need to find it. Now that's great, but I don't really want to have to hover over things all the time.
So if I want to go to just start a whole new drawing, I can go up to the quick access toolbar and click on New. Now as soon as I do that, it takes me to that template folder where those templates are located and you can see there that it's automatically said, oh do you want the acadiso template file? Now when you're in a Windows dialog box like this, it doesn't tell you what that template file does. Now you can see that we've got lots of different ones in there with name plot styles. We've also got 3D ones as well, you'll notice.
And there's nothing in the preview either because they're blank. Now the trick here is wouldn't it be nice to have a little dialog box that just kind of controls things a little bit and helps with your workflow? So that's what we're going to look at. We're going to look at the startup variable and switching on the startup dialog box. So, what I'm going to do now is just click on acadiso, like that. And what I'm going to do is just click on Open. Now you can start a new file in a couple of ways. That's one way, by clicking on New in the quick access toolbar.
If I just Cancel that, I could also go here to the application menu, clicking on the big red A, and I can go New there as well and it'll bring up the same dialog box, that list of templates. So I'm just going to select acadiso.dwt, like so, and I'm going to click on Open, and that basically opens up a blank metric drawing for me. Because I'm in the UK, I'm working in metric and I would normally set up a new drawing from scratch using metric settings. Now, make sure that your dynamic input down at the bottom of the screen is on here, like so.
There's your dynamic input there. If it isn't on, jump over here to the little three lines and just check in the list here, dynamic input is ticked. If it's not down there in the status bar, you need to switch it on there, then click on the three lines to lose the menu and you'll see dynamic input is there. Click once, and I switch it off. Click once again, switches it on. Now, with the dynamic input on, I'm going to type the word startup on the keyboard. So there's startup. You can see it's a variable because it's got the little cog next to it.
Just press Enter and you can see there that it's got a new value for startup. Now at the moment, it's set to three. Now the reason it is set to three is because it's bringing up that start screen that we had at the beginning where we had the create option, where I could go click on that list of templates I showed you a moment ago. What happens if we change it to one, like so, and then press Enter? Nothing, absolutely nada, because all you've done is change the setting in AutoCAD.
You haven't actually done anything with it yet. But now, if I go up to New on the quick access toolbar here, I can also do it from the application menu, doesn't matter which one and I'm not too worried about the blank drawing I've got open either. So I'll click on just new like that. I can hover there, new drawing, thank you very much and here's my startup dialog box. Now, the reason this is appearing is because you've told AutoCAD that you want the startup dialog box by changing that startup variable to one instead of three. So now, I've got some really nice options.
I can go and select any drawing I may have had open. Now I haven't had any drawing open, but I could. If I had had drawings open in my AutoCAD session previously, I could click on that and it would give me a list of previous drawings. I've got the Start from Scratch option, which allows me to just go Imperial feet and inches or metric in a blank drawing that's surprise, surprise, click on Use a Template, and there's all my templates. But the nice thing is, I can click on any of these templates and it gives me a nice description. Can you see that? How nice is that? I've got all of those where I can just select a template, Acad3d, is a normal English, feet and inches, drawing template, uses color dependent plot styles in bracket, but it's also set to run in 3D in AutoCAD.
So that's how this lovely startup variable works. So I can now go and have a much, much more informed decision of what template I want to use. So my acadiso is a normal international metric drawing template and it tells me at the bottom of the dialog box that it uses the color dependent plot styles. Better still, I have a Browse button. I can go and browser for a template that might not be in the AutoCAD default templates folder as well. Now here's another nice trick as well. I can go up here and use my wizard.
Now my wizard is a really nice tool. If I go to say Advanced Setup and click on OK, it takes me through a number of steps so that I can set everything up in a blank drawing, so I can setup my units, which may be decimal, like so. And if I'm okay with the precision there, I click on Next. I can then setup how I measure angles. Click on Next. How my angle is measure, so direction, obviously east is zero, counter clockwise. Click on Next. I can then specify the angle direction if I want to.
I don't have to have it counter clockwise, and then I can also specify my limits inside model space by setting a width and a length and then when I click on Finish, my drawing is all setup. There it is there, Drawing4, the tab. And I've set that up with all of those settings. If I want to start another new drawing, again, I just click on New, like so. And it takes me back to the startup dialog box where I can go and pick something like imperial or metric, template, etc. So that little startup dialog box is actually rather useful.
It's actually been around quite some time. As far as I'm aware, it's been around since about AutoCAD release 14, but it's just one of those little variables that you might not know about. And if you want a little bit more control with your workflow when you're starting a new drawing, this is the way to do it. Now the quick way to switch it off again, if I just click on Cancel, is I come into any drawing I've got open because it's an AutoCAD variable, it's not drawing specific. So I just type startup again, like so, press Enter. Set the value back to three that it was.
That's the default value in AutoCAD 2018 that I'm using. You can see it at the top of the screen there. Press Enter, and now if I click on New again, you'll see it goes back to the list of templates in the folder in the Select Template dialog box.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.