Hello world!

January 28th, 2010 by badroen

Topics covered in this Lesson:
The X-Y Co-ordinate System | Angular Measurement | Entering Points in AutoCAD
AutoCAD Basics | Terminology | The AutoCAD Screen

Welcome to the world of CAD – In this tutorial you will be learning the basics of CAD. The course is designed so that the commands and instructions should work on almost any version of AutoCAD, although this version is designed specifically for AutoCAD 2010. By the end of this level you will have the skills to develop basic 2D drawings and print them out to scale.
Let’s start at the beginning, these things you need to know, or the rest of it won’t make any sense at all. Make sure you have a very good understanding of this lesson before continuing. This lesson is longer than most, but will cover important topics. Learn it, live it.
The X,Y co-ordinate system
Everything that you draw in AutoCAD is exact. It will be more accurate than you will ever need it to be. We’re talking 14 decimal points accurate. All objects drawn on the screen are placed there based on a simple X,Y co-ordinate system. In AutoCAD this is known as the World Co-ordinate System (WCS). You must understand this to know how to put things where you want them. (3-D work has an added axis, the Z-axis, but this is not covered in this lesson.) Below is a diagram showing you how this system works (place your mouse on the diagram for more info).

In order to work effectively with AutoCAD, you have to work with this system. Until you are comfortable and familiar with it, learning AutoCAD will be more of a chore. My experience in teaching is that the better a student is with co-ordinates, the better CAD draftsperson they will become.
Here is how it works:
AutoCAD uses points to determine where an object is located. There is an origin where it begins counting from. This point is (0,0). Every object is located in relation to the origin. If you were to draw a line straight out to the right from the origin, this would be considered the positive X-axis. If you were to draw a line straight up, this would be the positive Y-axis. The picture above shows a point located at (9,6). This means that the point is 9 units over in the X-axis and 6 units up in the Y-axis. When you are working with points, X always comes first. The other point shown is (-10,-4). This means that the point is 10 units in the negative X-axis (left) and 4 units in the negative Y-axis (down).
A line has two points, a start point and an end point. AutoCAD works with the points to display the line on the screen. Move your cursor over the picture above and you will see line drawn from the absolute points of (-10,-4) to (9,6).
Most of the time you will not have an indication of where the origin is. You may need to draw a line from the endpoint of an existing line. To do this you use relative points. These work the same way, but you have to add the @ symbol (shift+2) to tell AutoCAD that this next point is relative from the last point entered.
To review:
ABSOLUTE POINTS are exact points on the drawing drawing space.
RELATIVE POINTS are relative to an OBJECT on the drawing space.
Its a simple system, but mastering it is the key to working with AutoCAD and is explained in more detail further below.
Angular Measurement
AutoCAD measures angles in a particular way also. Look at the diagram below and then place your mouse on it to see how this is done.

When drawing lines at an angle, you have to begin measuring the angle from 0 degrees, which is at the 3 o’clock position. If you drew a line at 90 degrees, it would go straight up. The example above (when you move your mouse over it) shows a line drawn at +300 degrees (270+30), or -60 degrees.
You might not always have an obvious reference point for 0 degrees. Look at the example below and place your mouse on the image to find out the angle in question.

In this example, you are given information about the lines, but not the angle AutoCAD needs to draw the line from the start point. What you are given though, is (a) the knowledge that 0° is at the 3 o’clock position (b) the knowledge that 180° is at the 9 o’clock position and (c) the angle between 180° and the line you want to draw is 150°. With this information, you can figure out what angle you need. Here is a fool-proof way of getting the angle you need:
1.) Start at the 0° position and measure counter-clockwise (+) to 180°.
2.) From 180°, measure clockwise 150° (-)
3.) Consider that you just went +180-150 and use that as an equation: +180-150=30
4.) Now you can draw your line using polar co-ordinates (discussed below)
Entering Points in AutoCAD
You can enter points directly on the command line using three different systems. The one you use will depend on which is more applicable for the situation. The first assignment will get you used to this. The three systems are as follows:
ABSOLUTE CO-ORDINATES – Using this method, you enter the points as they relate to the origin of the WCS. To enter a point just enter in the exact point as X,Y.
RELATIVE CO-ORDINATES – This allows you to enter points in relation to the first point you have entered. After you’ve entered one point, the next would be entered as @X,Y. This means that AutoCAD will draw a line from the first point to another point X units over and Y units up relative to the previous point.
POLAR CO-ORDINATES – You would use this system if you know that you want to draw a line a certain distance at a particular angle. You would enter this as @D<A. In this case, D is the distance and A is the angle. Example: @10 LIne Draw a straight line segment from one point to the next
Circle Circle / C
Home> Circle > Center, Radius Draws a circle based on a center point and radius.
Erase Erase / E
Modify > Erase Erases an object.
Print Print / Plot CTRL+P
Quick Access Toolbar > Print Enables the Print/Plot Configuration Dialog Box
Undo U / CTRL+Z
Quick Access Toolbar> Undo Undoes the last command.

Assignment #1 – Drawing lines to exact points
Duplicate the drawing called Assign #1.

Click HERE to see the finished drawing in JPG format.
Click HERE to download the DWG file.
You will not have to worry about the title block or text, or dimensioning.
Make sure you are comfortable with the co-ordinate system as explained in Lesson 1-1. When you are finished this assignment, check the printed drawing with a scale ruler. All lines should measure up exactly if all went well.
Start AutoCAD and a new drawing by pressing the Application Button (top left corner) and pressing the new button to reveal the flyout. Once you see the flyout, click on Drawing.

You will see a dialog box open that asks you to select a template drawing to use (as shown below):

Select the “acad.dwt” template file and press the Open button to continue to the drawing screen.
Once there, type in Z E this will zoom into to the extents of the drawing area and make it easier to see what you are drawing (NOTE: nothing will appear to happen).
For all lessons on this level, make sure that you do not have Dynamic Input turned on. You can check this on the status bar. Make sure (the DYN button) isn’t depressed. Your status bar buttons (bottom of the screen) should like the image above with 3 icon pressed (in blue).
Start the LINE command (as explained in the table above) and draw a line from 1,2 to 3,2 to 3,4 to 1,4 Press enter after each point. (*Remember to watch the command line as you do this.) For the last line, you can either type in 1,2 or C to close the line back to the first point you entered. You have just drawn a 2″ square using absolute co-ordinates. Your command history (F2 key) should look like this:
Command: L LINE Specify first point: 1,2
Specify next point or [Undo]: 3,2
Specify next point or [Undo]: 3,4
Specify next point or [Close/Undo]: 1,4
Specify next point or [Close/Undo]: 1,2
Specify next point or [Close/Undo]:
If you make a mistake, you can use the undo icon, press U or press CTRL+Z.
You can also use the ERASE command to get rid of lines you don’t want.
Next draw a similar box using relative co-ordinates. Start the LINE command and begin at point 4.5,2. From there draw a line two units to the right by typing @2,0 (this means 2 units in the X direction, 0 units in the Y direction based on the last point you entered). Next type @0,2 then @-2,0 then @0,-2 to finish the box. (Remember to press enter after each point.)
Now erase the last box you just drew. Start the ERASE command and then select the lines you want to erase. Then press . Now redraw the box for more practice!
BREAK TIME : Take a moment to think about what you just did. You first drew lines based on ABSOLUTE points on the screen. Then you drew lines based on points RELATIVE to other points and objects. the difference is critical.
Draw a third box using polar co-ordinate input. Start the LINE command and begin at point 8,2 then enter. Type @1<45 to draw the first line. Next enter @1<135 then @1<225 then @1<315 (or C to close). What you have just done is drawn a line 1 unit long at 45o, then another at 135o and so on. Do the angles you entered make sense to you? If not, review it.
Start the CIRCLE command and add a circle that has a center point at 7,6 with a radius of .75 (Watch the command line for instructions).
To finish the drawing, try putting a 10"x7" border around the page starting at 0,0 using the any of the methods shown above (relative, absolute or polar).
When you have done the assignment, print (or plot) it out. To do this, bring up the plot dialog box using any method explained above (plot will work). Set it up to print as shown below. Follow these steps for a successful plot (see diagram below):
1. Select your printer – laser or inkjet will work fine.
2. Select the paper size – “Letter” ( 8-1/2″ x 11″) is needed in this case.
3. For the “Plot Area”, select “Extents” – that will plot everything you drew.
4. Select the checkbox to “Center the Plot” on your sheet of paper (looks better).
5. If “Fit to Paper” is selected by default, uncheck it and select a scale of 1 inch to 1 paper unit (1:1). This will make your printout ‘life-sized’.
6. Now Preview your drawing. I strongly recommend that you preview EVERY drawing you will ever draw in AutoCAD – a lot can go wrong, so you don’t want to waste paper (especially when you’re using expensive 3’x4′ sheets!).If your preview looks good, cancel out of it by clicking on the large red X icon.
7. If you’re sure that everything’s ok (this is where good habits begin), press the OK button.

Note: You may have to change the paper size in your printer (Use the Windows printer settings to do this.) You may also have to change the rotation or origin of the plot. Check the Landscape radio button in the Drawing Orientation section.
If everything worked out, you should be able to measure your drawing and have it exactly the way you drew it (a couple of 2″ squares, an angled 1″ square and a 1-1/2″ circle).
Save your drawing as you would any other Windows file. CTRL+S will bring up the Save or Save as dialog box.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Rectangle | Multi Line | Extend | Offset | Trim | Introduction to Object Snaps

The previous lesson dealt with drawing commands. This lesson will introduce some common modifying commands. In AutoCAD, you may actually use modifying commands more often than drawing commands. Now that you know the basics, here’s some more commands to add to your collection. Three commands, Trim, Extend and Offset are used standard AutoCAD work.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Rectangle RECTANGLE /
Home > Draw >
Rectangle Draws a rectangle after you enter one corner and then the second.
Trim TRIM / TR
Home > Modify >
Trim Trims objects to a selected cutting edge.
Extend EXTEND / EX
Home > Modify > Extend Extends objects to a selected boundary edge.
Offset OFFSET / O
Home > Modify > Offset Offsets an object (parallel) by a set distance.
Object Snaps

Tools > Object
Snap Settings Brings up the OSNAP dialog box.

Assignment #2 – Modifying Commands
The purpose of this assignment is to use the commands learned in the previous lesson and learn some new ones.
Duplicate the drawing called Assign_2.
Click HERE to download the DWG file.

Once again, do not worry about title blocks, text or dimensions, draw only what is in yellow.
Start AutoCAD and begin the the drawing by opening up the template file like you did in Lesson 1-2.
Draw a LINE from 1,2 to 3,2 to 3,4 to 1,4 (*Remember to watch the command line as you do this.) For the last line’s endpoint , you can either type in 1,2 or C to close the line back to the first point you entered. These are absolute co-ordinates. Make sure you understand what the points your just entered represent.
Draw the next square using the RECTANGLE command. A rectangle is created by specifying 2 points to represent the opposite corners. Enter the first point as 4.5,2 and then make the opposite corner 2 inches over and 2 inches up @2,2 using relative co-ordinates. This is much faster and also makes the square one object and not 4 separate lines.
ERASE the rectangle. You will see that all of it is gone with one pick. Redraw it and continue.
For the 3rd square, draw a 1.5 x 1.5 unit square using any of the methods you know. The bottom left corner must be a 8,2.
Draw a line from 2,5 to 2,6.5 Draw another line from 1,6 to 3,6 You should now have two perpendicular lines. What you want to do is trim off the top of the vertical line and create a T.
Start the TRIM command. It will first ask for a cutting edge. Select the horizontal line and press . It will now ask for the object to be trimmed. Select the vertical line anywhere above the horizontal (cutting) line and press to finish the command.
This is what you saw on the command line:
Command: TR TRIM
Current settings: Projection=UCS, Edge=None
Select cutting edges …
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Select object to trim or shift-select to extend or [Fence/Crossing/Project/Edge/eRase/Undo]:
Select object to trim or shift-select to extend or [Project/Edge/Undo]:
Once again, it is important to keep your eye on the command line as it will guide you through most commands.
Draw a LINE from 4,6.5 to 6,6.5 Draw another line from 5,5 to 5,6 What you want to do now is extend the vertical line up to the meet horizontal line. Start the EXTEND command. AutoCAD asks for a boundary edge; select the horizontal line press . It then asks for an object to extend; select somewhere in the top half of the vertical line. Press to end the command. Your command line history should match what is shown below.
Command: EX EXTEND
Current settings: Projection=UCS, Edge=None
Select boundary edges …
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Select object to extend or shift-select to trim or [Fence/Crossing/Project/Edge/Undo]:
Select object to extend or shift-select to trim or [Project/Edge/Undo]:
Draw a CIRCLE with a center point of 7.5,5.5 with a radius of .5 Now you will use to offset command to make another circle 1/4″ larger. Start the OFFSET command (watch the command line) and enter .125 as the offset distance (1/2 of 1/4″). Now select the circle and pick anywhere outside the circle. Press to end the command.
BREAK TIME : You won’t believe me now, but I use the Offset A LOT when I am drafting. As you watch the videos in the next level, you’ll see what I mean. I would be lost without my Offset. You will be too, so learn how to use it and be quick with it. You’ll get more practice.

Object Snaps
Suppose you want to draw a line from the center of the circle to the middle of the vertical line you extended earlier. AutoCAD has a feature that makes this very easy. These are the Object Snaps (or Osnaps “Oh-Snaps”). Type OS . You will see this dialog box appear.


Insertion Point




Apparent Intersection


Extension M2P
Midpoint between 2 points
You may select whichever points you want to ‘snap’ on an object. Here is a list of your options. Followed by the command entry to invoke the needed Osnap.
Endpoint – snaps to either the beginning or the end of an object such as a line – END
Midpoint – snaps to the exact middle of a line or an arc – MID
Center – snaps to the center-point of a circle or arc – CEN
Node – snaps to ‘nodes’ (not covered in this course) – NOD
Quadrant – snaps to any of the four quadrants of a circle – QUA
Intersection – snaps to the point where two object cross – INT
Extension – Snaps to the phantom extension of an arc or line – EXT
Insertion – snaps to the insertion point of an object (such as a block or text) – INS
Perpendicular – will snap so that the result is perpendicular to line selected – PER
Tangent – snaps to create a line tangent to a circle or arc – TAN
Nearest – will find the closest point an object and snap to that point – NEA
Parallel -Snaps parallel to a specified line – PAR
M2P – This isn’t technically an ‘Object Snap’ as you are not snapping to specific point on an object, but it allows you to select 2 points and it will calculate the midpoint between those 2 points. This is a very handy option to have.
Note: Beside each checkbox is a symbol. That symbol will show up on the screen when you have found a valid snap point. (An endpoint will show a small square). If you select the “Options” button, you can change the aperture size and the color of the Osnaps. Depending upon the background you are drawing on, this may be needed.
a. Check off the boxes as shown in the dialog box above (Object Snaps On, Endpoint, Midpoint, Center) and press OK.
b. Begin the LINE command. Move your cursor around the screen and you’ll see that as you get close to an object, it will ‘snap’ to one of the points that you had checked off in the dialog box. Place your cursor on the circle (not the middle of the circle) until you see a small purple circle appear at its center. Left-click to make this the start point of the line. Move the cursor towards the middle of the vertical line until you see a small triangle appear. (Remember this is the symbol for ‘midpoint’). When you see it left-click to accept this as your endpoint. Press to end the line command.
c. Save your drawing.
d. Print your drawing with the same settings as in Assignment #1. Don’t forget to use the preview.
View the video for Assignment 2.
TIP: Before you select the Osnap you want, you can press the TAB key on your keyboard to cycle through the available Osnaps in the area of your cursor.
CAUTION: Although it may seem tempting to turn ‘all’ the Osnaps on when drawing, you can have too much of a good thing. For example, in shorter lines, Midpoint, Nearest and Perpendicular could all be very close to each other, and you could select the wrong point.
When you have finished the assignment, continue practicing with the commands until they are mastered. These are common commands that you will use in everyday drafting
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Review and practice of accurate input

Now it’s time to see if you were paying attention in the first lesson. In this lesson you will complete the drawing that will test your knowledge of drawing accurately using different types of precision input. Clients expect 100% accurate drawings from YOU. It is up to the YOU to ensure that YOU have the ability to draw quickly and accurately. There is a lot of room for error when drafting, as you need to read accurately, transfer the numbers to AutoCAD accurately, and draw accurately. It is the job of this exercise to help you learn to draw accurately – speed will come only through practice.
You can download the DWG file HERE and view the image HERE
Print the file out and try to reproduce it. Start at the bottom left corner (1,1). Use the drawing tools you have learned in the previous lessons. You will have to use a combination of absolute, relative, and polar co-ordinate input.

a. Open AutoCAD and set up the drawing as you have for the previous assignments.
b. Complete the assignment by drawing it accurately using the dimensions provided.
c. If you make an error along the way, remember that you can use your ENDPOINT Osnap to begin where you left off.
d. Save your drawing.
e. Print your drawing using the guidelines given in the previous assignments.
Click HERE to check the command line input for this drawing.
View the video for Assignment 3 .
As mentioned earlier, AutoCAD is accurate. It is up to the user to ensure that they give the proper input to make sure that the drawing is accurate. It can be extremely costly to make mistakes with what seem to be ‘minor’ errors in accuracy.
By this point in the tutorials, you should able to do the above drawing without referencing other materials. If this isn’t the case, you should review the previous lessons. Here are two more practice exercises to work on your input and drawing skills.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Creating Selection Sets | Changing your options

By now you have probably seen a colored rectangle appear on your screen when you left-click and the move the crosshairs around. You’ll learn all about these in this lesson. AutoCAD uses what’s called a selection set to allow you to group objects together and then modify them. For example, if you want to erase several lines, you could press E , pick on the line, press again and repeat until you’re done. Another way would be to press E , and then pick the lines one by one until they are all selected, and press . By selecting a group of objects, you have created a selection set. Whenever you want to modify an object, and are asked by AutoCAD to “select objects” you can create a selection set and then apply the command.
There are also a few other ways to create a selection set. The most common way is to use a window.
There are two very different types of windows you can use.
One is a ‘crossing window’ and the other is a box. If you create the window from right to left, you make a crossing window. This means that any object that crosses the border or is surrounded by the window is added to the selection set. This is shown as a green rectangle with a dotted outline on the screen. If you create the window from left to right, you create a box. Using this method you’ll add only the items that are completely within the box. This is shown as a blue box on the screen. The difference is very important.
To summarize:
There are other ways to select objects and here a few of the more common ways. These can also be used in combination.
REMOVE – by typing R when asked to select objects, AutoCAD will select change to allow you to Remove objects from the selection set. You can also remove individual objects by pressing the Shift Key when selecting (known as a ‘shift-select’)
LAST – by typing L when asked to select objects, AutoCAD will select the last object that you created. This is handy if you create something and want to move or modify it right away.
PREVIOUS – by typing P when asked to select objects, AutoCAD will select the previous selection set. This is used if you select a few objects, modify them and then want to modify them again.
FENCE – by typing F when asked to select objects, AutoCAD allows you to draw a series of lines (called a fence) to select objects. This is convenient if you want to select a group of lines to be trimmed to a single cutting edge.
CROSSING POLYGON – typing CP when you are selecting objects give the ability to create a crossing polygon for object selection. This is similar to a crossing box (drawn like a Fence), but you can pick points on the screen to create a polygon. By default, this is a crossing polygon, therefore any objects that cross the polygon will be added to the selection set.
CROSSING WINDOW – typing WP (window polygon) when you are selecting objects give the ability to create a crossing window for object selection. This is similar to a crossing box, but you can pick points on the screen to create a polygon. This is a crossing window, therefore any objects that are completely within the polygon will be added to the selection set. Newer versions of AutoCAD allow you to use your cursor to create a crossing window without typing in the ‘CW’.
CYCLING – When are ready to select objects, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and then press the Space Bar when your mouse is on top of overlapping objects. Repeatedly press the Space Bar until the one object you want to modify is highlighted. Then pick with the mouse. This is a good approach if you have many objects in a small area.
To unselect everything you have selected, you just press the escape key on your keyboard or right-click and choose “Deselect All” from the menu.
TIP: Zoom in when selecting in tight spaces. Make sure you are 100% sure you are selecting the correct object. Imagine the difference of offsetting an interior wall instead of the exterior wall – the resulting object would be off by over 6 inches! Get used to zooming in, then zooming out quickly.
You need to quickly select objects in AutoCAD to be a good operator.
For practice, open one of your previous drawings and try selecting objects using all of the methods described above. Notice that as you move your cursor over an object the object will highlight.
View the video about selecting objects in AutoCAD (Part 1).
View the video about selecting objects in AutoCAD (Part 2).
Changing your selection options
Many people are happy with the default AutoCAD settings. Sometimes you might want to change your settings for things like your grip or pickbox size. This is totally personal and it’s your call. I’ll show how to change these, but remember where the settings are in case you want to change them back.
Type in OP for Options and look for the Selection tab. You’ll see a dialog box that looks like the one below.

As you can see, you can customize a few things. Think about having a drawing that has a lot of blue lines in it. If you want, you can change your grip color so that they are clearer. Some people like a larger pickbox size, but I prefer a smaller box that is more precise. Another option that is used a lot is “Enable grips within blocks” – you’ll learn about grips and blocks in later lessons.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Move, Copy, Stretch, Mirror

In this assignment you will be adding some more common commands to your collection. All of these commands are ones that you will use on a regular basis.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Move Move / M
Home > Modify > Move Moves an object or objects
Copy Copy / CP
Home > Modify > Copy Copies object(s) once or multiple times
Stretch Stretch / S
Home > Modify > Stretch Stretches an object after you have selected a portion of it
Mirror Mirror / MI
Home > Modify > Mirror Creates a mirror image of an object or selection set
This is a short assignment to show you how these commands are used. You will recreate the drawing called Assignment #4.

Click HERE to see the file in GIF format.
Click HERE to download the DWG file.
Start up AutoCAD and set up your drawing as you have in the previous assignments.
Turn on your Endpoint Osnap.
This time draw the border first. Draw a 10″ wide by 7″ high rectangular border using any method. The bottom left corner must be at 0,0
Draw a 2″ wide by 3″ high rectangle using the
RECTANGLE command. The bottom left corner must be at 0,0
Notice that the small rectangle and the border are overlapping each other at the bottom left of your drawing. What you want to do is move the small rectangle over 1″ and up 1″ so that it is away from the border.
To do this, start the MOVE command by typing in either M or MOVE . Select all the lines of the rectangle using one of the selection methods described earlier. Press . Now AutoCAD asks for a “base point or displacement”. What it is needing is a reference point. Click on the bottom left corner of the rectangle. AutoCAD now asks for a ‘second point of displacement’. What it needs to know now is how far you want to move it. This is a great time to use relative co-ordinates. In this case, you want to move it 1″ over and 1″ up. So type @1,1 to achieve this. The rectangle will automatically move to its new location.
Now you want to copy this rectangle 3″ over to the right. The copy command is very similar to the move command. (The only difference is that the copy command leaves an original behind.)
Start the COPY command. You will be asked to select objects. Select the rectangle you just moved. AutoCAD now needs the “base point or displacement” just like in the move command. Once again, select the bottom left corner of the rectangle. Once you’ve done this, you need to tell AutoCAD what the second point of displacement is. Since you want to move the rectangle over 3″ to the right, type in @3,0 The rectangle has now been copied 3″ over.
BREAK TIME : Copy and move are 2 commands that you use a lot with AutoCAD. Both commands work the same way in terms of the steps you take. Learn to use these commands well – you’ll need them. Honestly. Being quick with these commands makes you a much better drafter.
But the rectangle is not as tall as the one in the sample drawing, the sample drawing’s rectangle is 1″ taller. To modify this, you’ll use the stretch command.
Start the STRETCH command by typing S . AutoCAD now makes you select objects by using a crossing window or crossing polygon. You’re going to use a crossing window. Remember from the Lesson 1-5 that you make a crossing window by creating it from the right to left. Left-click just a bit above and to the right of the top right hand corner of the new rectangle (P1). Move your crosshairs down and to the left until your (dotted) crossing window covers the top half of the rectangle completely and then left click again (P2). You’ll see that the objects are highlighted now. Press to accept this. Next you’re asked for that now familiar base point. Pick on the top left corner of the rectangle. Now give AutoCAD the second point of displacement. In this case, you want to stretch the rectangle 1″ up, so type @0,1 to do this. The rectangle is now 1″ taller.

The goal when selecting objects to stretch is to draw the window over the vertices or points that you want to stretch. If you miss a corner, you will change the shape of the rectangle. So always be aware of which points need to be stretched. In this example, it was pretty obvious, in more complex drawings – it won’t be.
Next you want to draw the polygon on the right side. To do this, you will draw the three lines on the left side first and then mirror those lines over to the right side. Draw the 3 lines any way you like (hint: use absolute co-ordinates).
Once they are drawn, begin the MIRROR command. Select the three lines (press ) Now you are asked for the first point of the mirror line. With your endpoint Osnap turned on, pick the end of the line at 8,2. Now you are asked for the second point. Select the point on the line at 8,5. Once you’ve done this, AutoCAD wants to know if you want to delete the old objects. In this case you don’t, so accept the default by pressing . The mirror line will be half-way between the object the you are mirroring and where you want it to be. Figuring out where the mirror line is the toughest part of this command.

The assignment is now complete. Review what you have done and practice on these commands. Save and print your assignment. Copy and Move are very common commands. For example, you might create a ceiling light, then have to move it into place, and then copy it to other rooms. Fortunately, these commands work very similar, and once you master one, you have mastered both.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Rotate, Fillet, Chamfer, Array

Now it’s time to learn a few more commands. Like all of the commands learnt so far, these too will be ones that you will use regularly.
Here are the commands that you will be learning in this lesson.
Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result
Rotate Rotate / RO
Home > Modify > Rotate Rotates objects to a certain angle
Fillet Fillet / F
Home > Modify > Fillet Creates a round corner between two lines
Chamfer Chamfer / CHA
Home > Modify > Chamfer Creates an angled corner between two lines
Array Array / AR
Home > Modify > Array Creates a repeating pattern of the selected objects
Once again you will recreate a drawing. This one is called Assignment #5.

Click here to see the GIF format file.
Click here for the DWG file.

Follow the steps shown carefully. As these commands require a little more input, make sure that you keep an eye on the command line. You will be asked to provide information throughout the commands.
Start up AutoCAD and load the acad.dwt template like you have for the other lessons.
Start by drawing a horizontal 10″ X 7″ border with the bottom left corner at 0,0
Draw a rectangle 1″ wide by 3″ tall with the bottom left corner at .75,.75
You are now going to rotate this rectangle 90° clockwise.
Start the ROTATE command. AutoCAD asks you to select objects. Select all parts of the rectangle and press . Now you must indicate a ‘base point’. Think of this as a pivot point around which the rectangle will rotate. In this example, you want to select the bottom right corner (remember to use your Osnap). Once you’ve selected the base point, the command line shows rotation angle or [Reference]: This means that ‘Rotation angle’ is the default, so type in the angle you want to rotate the object. Think about how AutoCAD measures angles. Looking at your rectangle and the one on the assignment sheet, you’ll see that you want to rotate the rectangle clockwise or: -90 degrees. Enter that number and press .

Command: RO
Current positive angle in UCS: ANGDIR=counterclockwise ANGBASE=0
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Specify base point:
Specify rotation angle or [Reference]:-90
The rectangle is now been rotated -90 degrees from its original position. Picking different base points will give you different results. Undo the last command. Try a few different combinations of base points and angles to see what results you get. When you are done practicing, get the rectangle back to the position that it needs to be in.
Make a COPY of the rectangle 2″ above the first one (remember your relative co-ordinates).
Now you’re going to modify the second rectangle so that it has rounded corners. Start the FILLET command. Look at the command line. It will look something like this:
Command: F FILLET
Current settings: Mode = TRIM, Radius = 0.0000
Select first object or [Undo/Polyline/Radius/Trim/Multiple]:
AutoCAD first shows you what the current fillet radius is (0.0000). This will be the last value that was used. Once it’s changed, it will keep the new value in memory. The next line shows you what options you have in this command. Remember that the Capitol of each option selects that particular option. What you want to do is change the fillet radius to 3/8″ (or .375). To do this you have to type R . When you type this AutoCAD will give the chance to enter a new fillet radius. At this point enter .375 and press .
The fillet radius is now .375 (which is what you want). The default option is Select first object. Select the left side of the top rectangle (yes, the whole rectangle will highlight if you drew it as a rectangle). AutoCAD now asks you to select second object. Select the top line and AutoCAD will make a smooth round corner with a radius of .375. AutoCAD automatically ends the command at this point.
Restart the FILLET command and do this to the remaining corners so that you have an object similar to the example.
BREAK TIME : The Fillet command is commonly used with a Zero radius. This can sometimes be much quicker than trimming two lines that meet at endpoints. To practice this, fillet this lines you made with round corners using a Zero radius.
Copy the first rectangle to a point 4-1/2″ above. Now you will use the chamfer command to give this rectangle sharp, angled corners.
Start the CHAMFER command.
This is very similar to the fillet command. You have several options available. Want you want is an even 45 degree angle 3/8″ in from the corner. Like the fillet command, you first have to tell AutoCAD what distance you want. To do this, type D to select the Distance option. The command line now looks like this:
Specify first chamfer distance : .375 as your first distance.) The command line now asks for the second distance. AutoCAD will automatically change the default of the second distance to match the distance you entered for the first.
Specify second chamfer distance : (Press to accept this)
You will then be asked to Select first line. The chamfer command works just like the fillet command. Select the line on the left of the top rectangle. (Don’t worry if the entire rectangle highlights.) When prompted to Select second line: select the top line. You will now have a perfect sharp corner at a 45 degree angle 3/8″ in from the corner. Do this to the rest of the corners.
Look at the command line. It should look like this:
(TRIM mode) Current chamfer Dist1 = 0.0000, Dist2 = 0.0000
Select first line or [Polyline/Distance/Angle/Trim/Method]: D
Specify first chamfer distance : .375
Select first line or [Undo/Polyline/Distance/Angle/Trim/mEthod/Multiple]:
Now look at the assignment sheet and notice the group of six rectangles on the bottom right. You could draw each one individually, but AutoCAD has a command that will allow you to draw one, and it will make the others.
Create a rectangle that is 1/2″ square with the bottom left corner at 6,1.5 (absolute points).
Start the ARRAY command. Look at the dialog box shown below:

When confronting a new dialog box, I recommend that you look for what is needed from the TOP DOWN to the bottom. This is a great example.
1. Choose the radio button for “Rectangular Array”. This will array the object in a row/column arrangement.
2. Next select the object you want to array, by picking on the button in the top right corner. (Press enter when done)
3. Enter the number of rows (going across the page) and column (running up and down the page).
4. Enter the Row offset. This is this from the bottom left of the original rectangle, to the bottom left of where the first copy will go.
5. Enter the Column offset
6. Pick the Preview button to see the array before committing.

Pick or press Esc to return to dialog or :
If the array is correct (check the sample drawing), press right click. If you need to change anything, press the ESC button, make your changes in the dialog box and preview again.
Now you are going to use the ARRAY (polar) command to create the shape in the top right corner of the assignment.
Start by making a CIRCLE with a center point of 7.5,5.5 and a diameter of 1.5 Next make a LINE from the center of the circle going 1″ to the right (remember your relative input and Osnaps).
Start the ARRAY command. When asked to select objects, pick the line you just drew.

Examine the dialog box above. Remember to start from the TOP. In this case, you have to select your objects and select a Center Point for the array. (Select the center of the circle.)
NOTE: Sometimes the Array command can be quicker than the offset command. Think of creating lines for a ceiling grid. You ‘could’ offset 30 lines one at a time, or you ‘should’ use the array command to create all 30 lines at once.
Save and print your drawing.
View the video for this assignment .
So far in seven lessons, you have learned many of the common commands in AutoCAD. It may not seem like a lot, but the idea is to become fluent in them. It should be second nature to run these commands, as these are the ones you will be using most often. With practice, you won’t need the command line to help you along. Think of the first time you drove a car with a manual transmission. After time, it got smoother, didn’t it. I can’t stress enough how important practice is during these early lessons.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Layer, Text, Dimensioning, Scale

Now that you’ve learned a lot of the drawing and modifying commands, it’s time to go to the next level. This lesson will introduce you to text, dimensioning and the concept of layers. Without dimensions you can not communicate what size your objects are. Is it a real house or a doll house? Text is used to convey information that is needed other than size – materials, manufacturing process, part numbers, etc.
What you will do is take one of your previous assignments, save it to a new name and then add text and dimensions to it. These are the commands you’ll be learning.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Layer Layer / LA
Home > Layers Starts the Layer and Linetype property dialog box
Text Text
Home > Annotate > Single Line Text Creates a single line of text
Dimension Dim Many Home > Annotate > Dimension > (pick one) Dimensions previously drawn objects
Scale Scale / SC
Home > Modify > Scale Proportionately resizes (or scales) objects
Begin by opening up Assignment #5 from your CAD folder.
Using the SAVE AS option, immediately save it under the name Assign6.dwg
Click HERE for the GIF version of the file.
Click HERE for the DWG version.
The first thing you want to do is create three layers. Layers are used to organize drawings. Imagine a large project for a high-rise tower. The designers would create layers for the electrical, plumbing, landscape and more. It is necessary to control the drawing and turn some layers off and view only the ones you want. This is one reason why layers are needed. When you go on to use AutoCAD professionally, every drawing you deal with will have layers.
You will be creating a layer for the dimensions, one for the objects (lines that were drawn) and another for the text. Start the LAYER command (LA). This will bring up the Layer Properties Manager Palette (shown below). We’ll cover the things that are used in this lesson.

Looking at the Dialog Box, you will see a lot of information.
From left to right, this is what the columns are for (not everything is used in this level).
Status This column has a green check to indicate the current layer (all new objects will be drawn on that layer). Double click here to make the layer current.
Name Give the layer a good, descriptive name (but not too long)
On Turns the visibility of that layer on (visible) or off (invisible)
Freeze Similar to ‘On’, but can be used in Viewports (later tutorial)
Lock Retain visibility, but disable modifying objects on the locked layer.
Color Used to select the color for objects drawn on each layer
Linetype Used to select the linetype for objects drawn on each layer
Lineweight Used to select the lineweight for objects drawn on each layer
Plot Style Plot styles are used to define how objects are plotted – this can be different from the properties described above.
Plot Set the layer to either plot (on) or not (off)
New VP Freeze When on, it will freeze the selected layer in new viewports when they (viewports) are created
Description Use this to give a description to your layer system – very important when working with other users.
Now you have the dialog box on your screen, click the ‘New’ button . This will create a new layer and give you an opportunity to name it. Name this layer TEXT. Click on the small box towards the right and select yellow for the color. Create another layer and call this one DIMS (for dimensions), and make its color red. Finally, create a third layer and call it OBJECT and make its color green. You have just created three new layers in your drawing. Highlight the TEXT layer and then press the ‘Make Current’ button . This makes the TEXT layer current and anything you draw will be placed on that layer. Your Dialog box should look like the one above. If it does, press OK to close the dialog box.
Now that you have your layers, select all your objects and then look for the layer tool panel. There is a droplist there with all of your layer names. With your objects selected, change the layer to OBJECT. If all went well, your lines and circles will now be green and on the object layer.

A later tutorial will discuss text in more detail, but for now see what is invoved in adding text. TEXT is your current drawing layer now, so what you will be doing is creating some text now. Type in TEXT on the command line. Look at the command line.
Command: TEXT
The first thing AutoCAD wants is a starting point for the text. Type: 0,0 to place it at the bottom left corner of your drawing. Notice that there are other options you could make, but ignore them for now.
Height :
Next, AutoCAD wants to know how tall you want your letters to be. For this assignment, you want them to be 1/4″ tall. Type in .25 at the Height prompt.
Rotation angle :
One more thing before you start typing in text, tell AutoCAD if you want to have your text rotated. Not this time, so press to accept the default of 0 degrees.
Finally you can type in what you want to put on the drawing. At the prompt, type your NAME and ASSIGNMENT #6 then press .
You will see that AutoCAD has placed your name in the bottom left corner at 1/4″ high and in yellow on the ‘Text’ layer.
You don’t really want your name jammed into the corner like that so move it up and over 1/8″ (Remember your MOVE command and relative points : @.125,.125)
Now it’s time to start dimensioning your drawing. Bring up the Layer dialog box and make DIM your current layer.
This is one time when I recommend to use the icons. Dimensioning is A LOT easier this way. If you don’t see your dimensioning toolbar on the screen, right click on one of your toolbar icons and check the Dimension checkbox. You’ll see the toolbar appear. Close the Toolbars dialog box.
There are several different types of dimensions, here are the ones you’ll be using in this lesson (Each of the dimensioning icons gives you a quick clue as to which type of dimension it will create.) The image below shows you the standard dimensioning icons. This list below shows you which dimension types are available on the Dimension tool panel.

Here are the ones you’ll be using in this lesson.
Linear dimensions are used for dimensioning either horizontal or vertical distances.
Aligned dimensions will measure the actual length of an angled line.
Radius dimensions will give you the radius of either arcs or circles.
Diameter dimensions are used on circles.
Angular dimensions will measure the angle between two lines that you pick.
Baseline dimensions are a special type that will automatically stack dimensions along one plane as you pick points.
Once you have your objects drawn, you need to go to the menu at the top of the screen and click on Annotate. This will show the Dimension tool panel as well as the text panel and others.

The type of dimension you pick will depend entirely upon what information you want to convey to the person reading the drawing. Look at the sample drawing and pick out the different types of dimensions and where they are used.
We’ll start with the most common (and easiest): Linear Dimensions. You’ll use this type to add dimensions to the rectangle in the bottom left of your drawing. Pick on the icon and then look at the command line.
Command: _dimlinear
Specify first extension line origin or :
It asks for either the origin of the first dimension line (a starting point) or you can press to select a particular line. Turn your OSNAPS on to endpoint only. Pick the top left corner of the rectangle. AutoCAD then asks for the second extension line origin. Pick the top right corner. You’ll then see the dimension appear and AutoCAD asks for the Dimension line location. Pick somewhere just above the line where you think it fits well.
AutoCAD then shows you the length that it found to be the length of the line you just dimensioned. The following lines show what you should have seen on your command line:

Specify second extension line origin:
Specify dimension line location or
Dimension text = 3.000
Now dimension the line on the left side using the same method.
Now you want to dimension the radius of the fillet on the object above the first box. Pick the icon for radius dimension. AutoCAD asks you to select an arc or circle. Pick the arc on the top left corner. Again AutoCAD then wants you to pick the dimension line location. Pick anywhere outside the arc where the dimension fits well.
Looking at the top left object on the sample sheet, notice that there are a few ways to dimension the corners. Start on the bottom left. Pick the Linear Dimension icon. Instead of picking the two endpoints, press and AutoCAD will ask you to select the object you want to dimension. Pick on the angled line in the bottom left corner. As you move your cursor around, you’ll see that you could place it either to the left or below the line. Choose one or the other and place your dimension. Repeat these steps to add the other dimension.
At the top left, you want to add an Aligned dimension. Pick the icon for this. As with the linear dimensions, you can either pick the endpoints or press to choose and object. When you’re asked to place the dimension, you’ll see that you can only move parallel to the line that you picked. Place the dimension line somewhere outside the object.
Now you’re going to dimension the angle on the bottom right corner of the top box. Pick the Angular dimension icon. Pick the bottom line and then the angled line in the bottom right corner. Place the dimension so that it looks like the one in the sample.
Now its time to dimension the circle. Pick the icon for the Diameter dimension. AutoCAD then wants you to select the arc or circle. Pick anywhere on the circle. Then you have to place the dimension line somewhere. Pick a good spot for it.
Dimension the 1″ line in the circle as shown using a linear dimension.
Dimension the top left box of the array as shown using Linear dimensions.
Dimension the space (0.75) between the two rows by picking the endpoints of the lines.
Dimension the space (0.75) between the columns as shown.
Now for the tricky part. You want to add baseline dimensions to the column distance dimension you just created. Pick the icon for the baseline dimensions. Look at the command line:
You may be asked to select the base dimension. If so, pick on the 0.75 dimension for the column. Then you’re asked to Specify a second extension line origin. Pick where P1 shows you on the sample drawing. AutoCAD then will get you to keep repeating this process until you press to end the command. Pick near P2 to continue, then press . This is what your command line should have looked like:
Command: _dimbaseline
Select base dimension:
Specify a second extension line origin or (Undo/):
Dimension text = 1.50
Specify a second extension line origin or (Undo/):
<Dimension text = 2.00
Specify a second extension line origin or (Undo/):
Your drawing should now look similar to the sample drawing. Check to see if you missed any dimensions.
Now you have dimensioned the drawing, save it and print it.
Next you want to copy everything over 12″ to the right. Start the COPY command, and when asked to select objects, type ALL . Then copy it all 12″ to the right.
What you want to do next is scale the copy of everything to double its existing size. Start the SCALE command. When asked to select objects, draw a window around the new set of objects and press . When asked for a base point, pick the bottom left corner of the border. Enter 2 for the scale factor. Your command line should look like this:
Command: SC
Select objects: Other corner: 38 found
Select objects:
Base point:
/Reference: 2
Perform a Zoom Extents (type Z E ) at the command line. Now that everything is twice as large, Zoom in on your dimensions and you’ll see that they have automatically adjusted to the new sizes! This is called associative dimensioning.
There are many different parameters you can change to get just the right look for your dimensions and text (use the DDIM command). This is will not be covered in this course.
For practice, you can try dimensioning some of your other assignments.
Even if your drawing is 100% accurate, it is still only as good as the dimensions. Some common mistakes when dimensioning are:
• Not using your Osnaps. If you don’t get the exact endpoint of a line, then your dimension is wrong.
• Snapping to the wrong point. In detailed drawings, this can be easy to do if you aren’t paying attention.
• Incomplete dimensions. If you miss one or two dimensions, you can delay the project while these numbers are located, new drawings made, delivered, etc..
• Confusing dimensions. Make sure that your dimensions don’t overlap, or aren’t too close, or otherwise unclear.
View the video for Assignment 6 .
For dimensioning practice, dimension the extra lessons from the previous lessons. Also put objects and dimensions on separate layers.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Direct Distance Entry | Polar Tracking | Object Snap Tracking | Dynamic Input

Direct Distance Entry
As mentioned earlier in the lessons, there are many ways to do things in AutoCAD. To enter distances, you have been shown Absolute, Relative and Polar Co-ordinates. I’ve spent the previous 8 lessons showing you foolproof ways to enter data (the hard way). Now you will be shown four more ways to tell AutoCAD where the locate the point you are drawing to (the easy way).
Direct Distance Entry (or DDE) is a way of bypassing the usual ways of entering in co-ordinates and just entering the distance.
The method is quite easy.
Make sure that you have set Ortho (locking your input to vertical and horizontal) by pressing the F8 button and checking to see that the “Ortho” button is depressed (blue) on the status bar like this:
Your F8 key will toggle Ortho on and off.
Lets say you want to draw a line from one point directly to the right 10 units.
Start the Line command and click on the screen anywhere, then more your cursor to the right of that point. If Ortho is turned on, the line should only point directly to the right and not at an angle. Now type in 10 . Press again to exit the command. You now have line that is 10 units long.

That is a very easy way to draw line segments. If Ortho is not set, your drawing will get messed up very quickly and will not be easy to fix. I have seen too many students take this easy route and destroy their projects, fail the class and become homeless. So don’t do this.
Polar Tracking
Now wouldn’t it be cool to draw angled lines (like the short ones in the above image)? Well you can, but first you have to make change in your settings.
Type in DSETTINGS and you get the Drafting Settings dialog box, go to the “Polar Tracking” tab. :

Then make sure that Polar Tracking is On (press your F10 key to toggle it on and off) and then select the increment angle. I recommend using polar settings with 45° increments unless you specifically need something else.
In the example above, I made 4 lines 1 unit long using Direct Distance Entry (DDE). See if you can duplicate this on the left end of the 10 unit line you just drew. The process is the same as you did for the DDE of the previous line. Make sure your increment angle is 30° and draw a line 1 unit long using DDE..

You can not have Ortho and Polar Tracking on at the same time. As you start to draw more, you will see that these two features are great time savers. There will be times, though, when you have to use absolute and relative co-ordinate entry (especially in 3D).
Refer back to the assignment in Lesson 1-2 and draw using the methods shown in this lesson.
Now I’m going to repeat this one last time:
Make sure you have either Ortho or Polar tracking on and don’t forget how to manually enter points!
View the video for a sample of DDE.
Object Snap Tracking
Now you’ve just seen how you can find distances from points and measure accurately, but what if you want to find specific points based on previously drawn objects? You can use Osnaps, but they don’t always find the point you need.
Consider that you want to draw a circle in the middle of a rectangle like the example below:

In the olden days, you would have drawn a line from opposite corners of the rectangle to find the middle, then snapped to the midpoint of that line for the circle’s center point, drawn the circle and then erased the reference line.
Now you can use object snap tracking. This is a way of finding reference points and drawing from them. To do this exercise, make sure that your Midpoint Osnap is on.
Draw a RECTANGLE from 0,0 to 4,3
Make sure that the Object Snap Tracking and Osnap button are depressed.
Start the CIRCLE command.
Move your cursor over the midpoint of the bottom line of the rectangle. You should see a light dotted line project vertically through your cursor. Now more your cursor to the midpoint of the right vertical line of the rectangle. As you move your cursor towards the center of the rectangle, you should see the 2 dotted lines cross. It should look like this:

Once you see both lines, you can pick and the center point will be exact center of the rectangle. Give your circle a radius of 1″.
This is a very simple example, but as you start drawing more complex shapes, this will be a handy to tool to master, and a great time saver. Object tracking will work with any Osnap that is invoked. But always check to make sure that you are picking the point you want.
View the video to see object tracking in action.
Dynamic Input
Now it’s time to put all these concepts together and combine them with on-screen help that’s called ‘Dynamic Input’. In older versions of AutoCAD, users relied solely on the command for information. Later versions of AutoCAD added Dynamic Input to put a user’s keystrokes in the drawing area near their cursor.
Turn on Dynamic Input by clicking on the status bar (toggle with F12):
Now when you draw, you will see all kinds of information on the screen.

In this example, I have drawn a line starting at the midpoint of the bottom line going up 20.5 units (which I manually entered) at 135°. Once I enter the distance, I can press the Tab key to switch over to the Degrees and enter a value there. I could also have typed @20.5 Properties Displays the properties of the object in the Properties Palette
Match Properties MATCHPROP /
Home > Clipboard > Match Properties Copies the properties from one object to another
The method is quite easy and also the most complete way of viewing properties.
Draw a line from (any point) to (any point) and press . This is only time I will not tell you to use specific co-ordinates. :)
Now select the object by clicking on it and pick the properties icon. Once you do this, you should see the properties palette appear showing everything that makes that line what it is.

What you see here is the complete palette. Before you look at the properties, take a moment to examine the palette itself. These are new to later versions of AutoCAD. Since it takes up a large amount of the screen, you have the option to either close it completely (‘X’ at the top) or collapse or hide the palette (below the X) for future reference. You can also dock a palette to the side of the screen. Try the buttons out and then continue reading.
Now look at the properties as displayed in the palette. At the top are the ‘General’ properties – these are common to all AutoCAD objects (they all have them). You will see that one endpoint of the line is shown as the “Start X” and “Start Y” points (X,Y point). If you want to change the location of the X co-ordinate for the Start point, pick in the text area, type a number and press (ENTER). You also have the option of picking new X co-ordinate with the small icon shown above.
Have good look at the palette. Erase the first line, draw another line and then display the new line’s properties. You should see different numbers.
Now erase the line and draw a circle. Display the properties and you will see different fields. You will see that the the Start X point has been changed to “Center X”. The properties displayed are specific to the object you have selected.
Now draw a line next to the circle. Select both by clicking on one, and then the other. Now display the properties by selecting the icon. You will now see a much short list of properties. This short list will include properties that are common to both objects, such as layer, color, etc.
Now try something different. Erase everything and close the Properties palette. Draw a circle and then select it. Right click on the screen and choose the Properties option at the bottom of the list as shown below:

You’ll see the same palette appear – in the same space where you closed it. You also have the choice of selecting Quick Properties the same way. If you do, this is the smaller palette that you will see (handy on smaller monitors).

By now you see how you can view and edit properties of objects you have drawn. Those the methods will work on any object. But what about other objects? Could there be easier ways to edit their properties? You bet!
Enter a line of text like you did in the Lesson 1-8. View the properties like you did in the previous examples. Note again, the various fields that in this case are unique to Text. Now try “Double-Clicking” on the text.

Now you can change the text and press (then to end the command). This is a much easier method to change the text’s content, but none of the other properties. You could also have changed the text in the Properties palette, but this method is much quicker.
Changing Layers
Many times you will draw an object and find that is on the wrong layer. To change an object’s layer, you can open the Properties palette (as shown above) or use this easy tip.
Create a new LAYER (as you did in Lesson 1-8) and call it LINES. Do not make it the current layer. Draw a line on the 0 layer.
Now select the object and then move your cursor up to the layer droplist. You’ll see a list of all of your layers – pick on the LINES layer – then press ESC.

Now when you check the properties of the line, you’ll see that it is on the LINES layer. This is one method you will be using a lot, so learn it and master it.
Match Properties
One of the easiest ways to set properties is to use the MATCH PROPERTIES command. This is used by starting the command (MA) and then selecting the source object (the one that has the desired properties) and then selecting the target object(s). Use can also select the source object first, then the icon and then the target object. The icon for this command is in the clipboard tool panel. And no, I don’t know why it’s not in the Properties panel.

You now have the skills to change to properties of any object you draw. There are many ways of doing it, but you’ll see that some methods are easier. So remember, once something is drawn, you can modify it as shown in the previous lessons in this level, or modify the properties. In only rare instances, is it easier to erase and redraw the object. As you learn more commands in the next lessons, try these methods to see what can be changed – and how.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Zoom | Pan
So far the tutorials have dealt with drawing and modifying objects. This lesson will be a primer on how to move around in your drawing. With simple drawings like the assignments in Level 1, you didn’t have much need for moving around or zooming in your drawing. The more complex your drawing is, the more you will need to master the power of zooming and panning. Mastering these techniques will enable you to be more productive in your drawings and life will be better.
One single command will give you the versatility to move around your drawing. This is the ZOOM command. Another useful command is PAN. These are both quicker than using the scroll bars on the side of the drawing area, unless you have a very short distance to move your drawing (and can make your scroll bars obsolete and thereby create more drawing space)..
Start the Zoom command by typing Z . When you do this, you will see the following options on the command line:
Command: Z ZOOM
Specify corner of window, enter a scale factor (nX or nXP), or
[All/Center/Dynamic/Extents/Previous/Scale/Window/Object] :
Remember that to invoke any option, just type the capital letter of your choice. (eg: type: E for “zoom extents”. The default is “Realtime” which you invoke by pressing . One by one, here are the options available to you. These icons are available on the View ribbon under the Navigate Tool Panel
Zoom Extents
This option will display all the graphics that are contained in the drawing (referred to as the drawing extents) with the largest image possible.
Zoom Window
This option (also a ‘hidden’ default) prompts the user to pick two corners of a box on the existing view in order to enlarge that area to fill the display.
Zoom Previous
This option restores the displayed view prior to the current one. For the purpose of this option, up to 10 views are saved so that the last ten views can be recalled. This option includes every time you use the scroll bar, which is one reason to avoid the scroll bars for panning a lot in your drawing.
Zoom Realtime provides interactive zooming capability. Pressing (after entering zoom) on the command line automatically places you in Realtime mode. Hold the left mouse button down at the midpoint of the drawing and move the cursor vertically to the top (positive direction) of the window to zoom in up to 100% (2x magnification). Hold the left mouse button down at the midpoint of the drawing and move the cursor vertically to the bottom (negative direction) of the window to zoom out to100% (.5x magnification). You cannot zoom out beyond the extents of the current view.
When you release the pick button, zooming stops. You can release the pick button, move the cursor to another location in the drawing, and then press the pick button again and continue zooming from that location. To exit Realtime Zoom mode, press or (ESC).
Zoom All
This option causes AutoCAD to display the whole drawing as far as its drawing limits or drawing extents (whichever is the greater of the two).
Zoom Dynamic
This is a very useful ZOOM option once it is understood. It permits very quick movement around the drawing. Once selected, this option redraws the graphics area of the screen and displays two rectangles. The larger box shows the extents of the current drawing. The smaller box shows the current view with an “X” in the middle. This moves with the mouse. This view box should be positioned so that its lower left corner is at the lower left corner of the view required. By pressing the left button on the mouse, the “X” is replaced by an “> ” pointing to the right side of the view box. This allows you to change the magnification. As the mouse is moved, the view box shrinks and expands so that the size of the required view can be set. The left mouse button toggles between PAN “X” and ZOOM “> ” mode so that fine adjustments can be achieved. When the view required has been selected, press or right click to cause AutoCAD to display it.
Zoom Scale
This is a ‘hidden’ default option. You do not have to type “S” to choose this option. It simply requires the entry of a number that represents a magnification factor. Note that the factor is applied to the entire drawing (as defined by the drawing’s limits). Numbers less than 1 will reduce the displayed size of the drawing, while numbers greater than 1 will enlarge it. If “X” is inserted after the number (eg. 0.8x) then the factor is applied to the current view. If “XP” is inserted after the scale factor, then the view is scaled relative to paper space. This is useful for zooming a view within a paper space viewport to a specific scale, for example, “1/48XP” will produce a view of model space at a scale of ¼” = 1′ relative to paper space.
Zoom Center
This option requires two things: a point that is to be the center of the new display and a value to be its new height in drawing units. The existing height is the default for the new height to allow for panning across the drawing. If the new height value is followed by “X” (eg. 2x), then it is taken as a magnification factor relative to the current height. If followed by “XP”, then it is taken as a scale factor relative to paper space and can be used for scaling the contents of paper space viewports.
Aerial View command: DSVIEWER None Aerial View is a zooming tool that displays a view of the drawing in a separate window so that you can quickly move to that area. If you keep the Aerial View window open as you work, you can zoom and pan without choosing a menu option or entering a command. You can change the view by creating a new view box in the Aerial View window. To zoom in to the drawing, make the view box smaller by left clicking a rectangle. To zoom out of the drawing, make the view box larger. As you zoom in or out of the drawing, a real-time view of the current zoom location is displayed in the graphics area. The screenshot shows how the view box looks. Right click in the box and you can move the box to where you want to zoom to.
This option asks you to select an object or objects, then press and the screen will zoom to those objects only. This is great for when you want to work on object.
Zoom In
Clicking this icon will zoom in to the drawing by about 50%. This option is only available as an icon and cannot be invoked by the command line.
Zoom Out
Similar to ‘Zoom In’ – this icon will zoom out of your drawing and allow you to see about 50% more of your drawing space.
Mouse Scroll No Icon If you have a scrolling wheel on your mouse, you can use it to zoom in and out of your drawing. Scroll towards you to zoom out and away from you to zoom in. You have the option to change the amount of zoom per wheel click with the Zoomfactor system variable. Keep in mind that you will zoom in and out using your mouse location as a ‘center point’.
Panning allows you to quickly move around the drawing area at the same magnification you currently have set. Type in PAN (or P) and a hand will appear on the screen. Left click and hold to move around your drawing.
As you can see there are quite a few options. To begin with I would strongly recommend getting really good at these 3:
Use the Zoom > Extents whenever you want to see all objects.
Use the Zoom > Window option to ‘close-in’ on one area.
Use the Zoom > Previous option to return to where you were.
I generally use them in conjunction with each other. I’ll do a zoom extents to see what state the drawing is at, then perform a Zoom Window to get to the area I need to work in, then do a Zoom Extents when I am done in that area. In between, I may need to use a combination of Zoom Window and Zoom Previous.
Additionally, using your mouse wheel to zoom can be very fast for moving in and out of an area – practice this technique as well.
The zoom command can also be invoked transparently. This means that you can start it up in the middle of a command. For example, if you are in the trim command and want to see a bit more of your drawing, just type ‘Z (note the apostrophe) at the command line and you can then zoom using any of the available options. Press to get back to your command.
Also, right clicking while in the zoom command gives you options. Try this and see which choices are available with this.
View the video for this lesson.
Exercise: Open one of your previous drawings, or one of the samples that came with your installation of AutoCAD and practice these techniques. You need to be good at this.
Review of Level 1: Everything in this Level will be used in your day to day CAD work. These are the basics that you will draw upon as you advance your skills. You have learned the how the co-ordinate system works and how to enter points so that AutoCAD knows where you want your objects to be. You were shown the most common drawing and modifying commands. You learned techniques for snapping to objects, other ways to input information and how to move around a drawing. For a new user, I cannot stress enough how mastering this level will make you a good drafter. It all comes down to accurate and fast input.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Starting and Organizing a Project

This lesson will have you using the tools you learned in the first level. Believe it or not, if you understand the commands taught in the first level, you understand almost all of the common commands used in AutoCAD 2D Drafting – for any version.
i’m not referring to being a Project Manager in this tutorial, but organizing a project in AutoCAD takes a standard approach. Consider drawing a room a ‘project’, or a floor. On your first day of the job given a project and asked to draw it. What you draw will depend upon the ‘Scope of Work’
This example will assume that you’ve been put in a small room and told to draw it.The first thing you want to do is set up your drawing. There are a few basic steps to approaching EVERY drawing you do in CAD.
1. Make sure you have the ability to draw it. See if there is anything in the drawing or area that you would not be able to reproduce. You should also see if you have all the information you need to complete the drawing, or at least get a majority of it done. For example, if there are angled walls, can you find that angle?
2. Are you using a template to start the drawing with? Your Project Manager should provide you with either the standard company template, or a client’s.
3. Once you have this basic information, you can begin. As you can see, there is a bit you have to do before drawing your first line. Get into the good habit of beginning your drawings properly and never with the attitude that you can always “Fix it later!”
AutoCAD also has a large number of templates to get you started. You can find these through the New Drawing dialog box.
Once your drawing is set up, think about how you will actually draw it. You should start with the most basic components first. Remember that it is just like building a structure. Start with the foundation and add more detail as you go. Look at the outer walls and start there. Then add more details such as the door openings, doors, windows, etc. Finish up with the details that are on the scope of work – fire extinguishers, outlets, etc. Be careful with your measurements, because if you make a mistake at the start, it will cause BIG problems later on as you continue through the drawing.
A general rule I use is to draw like I would build it. This basic approach will at least give you a starting point for any project in any discipline.
Just like in Previous Lessons, start AutoCAD and a new drawing by using the menu option File > New. You will see a dialog box open that asks you to select a template drawing to use. In these examples you will use AutoCAD’s default template. This will give you the chance to practice creating and using layers. Have a look at the types of objects in the drawing example and create layers for each.
The first two projects are designed using imperial, architectural units (ie: 3′-6″) as opposed to the decimal measurements you used in the previous level. If your template is not set to Architectural units, you can do this by using the DDUNITS command and set “Length > Type” to Architectural.
Notes on entering Architechural Units:
Entering Architectural units requires a different way of inputting numbers that regualar decimal units. Here are some ways of entering them:
11’10-1/2″ 11’10-1/2 3′ (or) 36″ (or) 36
You don’t ever need to use the inch symbol. Inches can be entered instead of feet (ie 48=4′).
Computer Room Example
This is the drawing that you will be duplicating.
Start a new drawing and create the layers that you need. You should have 4 layers.
Where to start:
Here is the room you will be drawing. Imagine that you just walked in the door at the top right, have a look around…

You’ll see two more doors, and some parts of the wall sticking out – where the columns are. Imagine that you have to measure it, and draw it.
You’re ready to start drawing now. As mentioned above, start with the outside and work your way in. If you are drawing the first project, you can easily draw the walls (using DDE), then offset them by the thickness of the wall. From there, it’s just a matter of inserting the door openings. I usually do that by offsetting lines, then trimming away what I don’t need. For the doors themselves, just draw a rectangle and rotate it (later on you will learn about blocks for this). So with just a few commands, you can draw this room – all the commands you learned in Level 1. Of course, there are many ways to draw the same project.
Click here to see one way to draw doors if you’re not sure what to do for them.
Once you have drawn the basic plan, dimension it (refer to Lesson 1-8). From the “Computer Room” plan you will be adding computers and other accessories to the desks later in the course, so save the file when you are done.
View the video about setting up the Computer Room drawing (Part 1).
View the video about drawing the Computer Room project (Part 2).
Below are 3 projects to work on. Draw them and think about how you might approach them.
Project # 1 – Computer Room

Project # 2 – Office Space

Project #3 – Cabin

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Blocks | Dynamic Blocks | Write Block | Redefining Blocks | Exploding Blocks

In this lesson you will be introduced to blocks. By definition, a block is a collection of objects (lines, arcs, circles, text, etc.) that form a more complex entity that normally represents an object in the real world, e.g. a door, a chair, a window, a computer.
There are many advantages to using blocks, here the major ones:
• Blocks are a single entity. This means that you can modify (move, copy, rotate) a block by selecting only one object in it.
• You can build up a library of blocks consisting of the parts that you require many times in your workday. These blocks can be stored in a separate folder and even on a network so that all drafters have access to them. Think of plumbing parts, valves, elbows, etc.
• Using blocks can help keep your file size down. AutoCAD stores block definitions in its database. When you insert a block, AutoCAD only stores the name of the block, its location (insertion point), scale and rotation. This can be very noticeable in large drawing.
• If you need to change something, you can redefine a block. For example, you draw a chair and turn it into a block. Later, you’re told that the size of the chair has changed. Since you used a block you can redefine the block and all of your chairs are updated automatically. If you had drawn (or copied) 100 chairs in your drawing, you would have to manually change each one.
• Blocks can also contain non-graphical information. These are text objects called attributes. For example, you have made blocks of different chairs. You can add information to the block such manufacturer, cost, weight, etc. This information stays with the block, but can also be extracted to a database or spreadsheet. This would be useful for things such as a bill of materials. Attributes can also be visible or invisible in your drawing. Another good use of attributes could be a title block.
• You can even easily add internet hyperlinks to blocks so you can connect a block to a page on a supplier’s online catalog.
There are two types of blocks you can create: blocks that are internal to your current drawing, and those that are external, or saved as a separate file. To create the different types, different commands are used. Many companies use a template that will include a number of blocks for use in the project.
Here are the commands that you will need for using blocks in this lesson:
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Block Bmake / B
Home > Block > Create Creates a block from separate entities (internal to current drawing)
Write Block Wblock / W None None Creates a block and writes it to a file (external)
Insert Insert / I
Home > Block > Insert Inserts a block (internal or external)
Explode Explode / X
Home > Modify > Explode Explodes a block or other compound object into its component parts
For this assignment, you will be using any one of the floor plans you drew earlier in Lesson 2-1.
Open the drawing.
Zoom in to one section of the room close to a desk (Draw a rectangle to represent a desk if you don’t have any in your drawing.).
Create a new layer called COMPUTERS and make the color #73 (remember LA invokes the Layer Properties Manager).
Make the Zero Layer current.
NOTE: Zero Layer has special properties. When creating blocks, if the objects in the block are drawn on Zero layer, they will assume the properties of the current layer when they are inserted. Example: If you draw the computer below on Zero layer, and insert it on the ‘COMPUTERS’ layer, it will assume the color, linetype and lineweight of the Computers layer. If you drew and created it on the ‘DOOR’ layer, and inserted it in the Computers layer, it would retain the properties of the Door layer. For this reason, blocks are drawn on the Zero layer – you need them to assume the layer’s properties, whether it is in your template, or a client’s.
Draw the computer as shown below. You do not have do dimension it.

Start the BLOCK command by either typing B or using the pull down menu or the icon. You will see a dialog box that looks like the one shown. Enter information the same way though. Remember to approach all new dialog boxes from the top and work your way down.

1 : The first thing that you want to do is give your block a name. Type COMPUTER in the edit box beside Block Name. Some names may need to be more descriptive, such as part number, or size.
2 : Now you need to select an insertion/base point. Pick the Pick Point button and then pick the midpoint of the bottom line. Make sure that the retain button is selected (this will keep your objects on the screen as individual objects. (You will see in a moment that selecting the Pick Point with blocks is very important when you later insert them into the drawing – always pick a point that will allow you to place the block easily.) If you don’t select a base point, your block will default to 0,0,0 and you will insert all your blocks at the same location – the origin.
3 : Next you want to select the objects for your block. Pick the Select Objects button and then select all the parts of your computer and press . Be careful not to select any other objects, or you just get to do it over again.
4 : Now select the drawing units you used to create the original objects in.
5 : This is optional, but you can add a description here. This is good if you are creating specific parts, like maybe a motor and want to add some quick specifications. It’s also great if co-workers know what the block is used for (more information = better).
6 : Pick the OK Button and the dialog box closes. It will look like nothing happened, but the drawing file now has a “Block Definition” for a Computer in it. Congratulations, you have created your first block.
If the default radio button “Convert to block” was checked, move your mouse over the objects and you will see that they all highlight – signifying that it is now one object.

Now that you have created a block, it’s time to insert it. Change to the Computer Layer. Start the Insert command by typing I . You will see this dialog box on the screen:

By default, all the options you need are pre-selected. Since you only have one block in your drawing, its name is displayed.
Make sure that the Insertion Point – Specify On-screen box is checked, and the Explode button is not checked. The Scale – Specify On-screen should not be checked. Then press the OK button. Pick anywhere on your screen and you will see the block appear. Notice how the block that you drew on the white Zero Layer is now Red and on the Computer layer.
Now insert a computer on every desk in your drawing. You can also copy the block instead of re-inserting each time, but make sure you know how to insert.
Extra Practice: Find something in the room where you are and measure it (approximate is fine) and make a block out it.
BREAK TIME : Take a moment to think about what you just did. You drew a bunch of lines and turned them into a digital computer. It’s an easy process, but the power of blocks is immense. In any line of CAD work, you’ll need to be fluent in blocks.
View the video about creating blocks.
In AutoCAD 2006, Dynamic Blocks were introduced. These are parametric blocks which can be easily modified by the user. In this exercise, you will create and insert a simple Dynamic Block. The goal is to create a Chair block that can be easily rotated to orientate it to a desk.
Draw the Chair below on the Zero layer.

Start the same Block command you used last time, only this time make sure that the “Open in Block Editor” checkbox is checked. This time when you select OK, you will be magically taken to the Block Editor (see below).

Now that you in the block editor, you can edit the objects in your block, or in this exercise add dynamic interaction to your block. As mentioned earlier, our goal is to create a block that we can easily rotate. First you will need to add a parameter to the block, followed by an action.
Click on the “Rotation Parameter” icon in the palette. Then check the command line for prompts (as usual). Use the entries below:
Command: _BParameter Rotation
Specify base point or [Name/Label/Chain/Description/Palette/Value set]:
Specify radius of parameter: 9
Specify default rotation angle or [Base angle] :
What you have done is selected the location of the parameter, then set the radius of the parameter (in this case, where you will have a ‘grip’ to rotate it, and finally the default setting for the parameter – 0° means the block will look like you drew it when inserted.
After defining the parameter, you then need to apply an action to the parameter. Select the tab on the palette that says “Actions”. You will need to select the “Rotate Action” (makes sense). You will be asked to select the parameter that you want to apply the action to (select the parameter you just drew). Finally, select the location of the Action )- once again select the center of the seat, and then the objects that you want the action to act on (in this case, all of them). Your block should now look like this:

Now that the Block is complete, you can select the “Close Block Editor” at the top of the drawing screen. You will be returned to the regular drawing screen, and your block will be created. Click on it, and you should see all the objects highlight, and the grip for the block’s Pick Point. You will also see a grip for the block’s dynamic rotation parameter.

Now that your Dynamic Block is in your drawing, pick on the rotation parameter, and move it around. You’ll see that you can rotate the chair without using the rotate command. Features like this can be a real time saver. Think of other blocks that could benefit from parametric abilities : windows, doors, ceiling lights – the list is endless. Also, when you work on a new drawing from someone else, be aware the Dynamic Blocks could be present.
View the video about creating dynamic blocks.
This time you will be creating an external block using the wblock command. This difference here is that the block will become a separate, external drawing file for use in other CAD drawings.
In the dialog box below, you will see that you have almost all the same options. Instead of giving the block a name like you did before, you give it a filename in a specific folder.

Make sure you put the block in a logical path and give it a good, descriptive name.
When you insert an external block, use the same Insert command that you did above and use the Browse button to navigate to the folder where you stored your block. Insert it like you did before. Put some chairs in front of the desks in your drawings, and rotate them if needed.
NOTE: For some reason, Autodesk won’t allow us to use the write block command to create Dynamic Blocks. Perhaps this will be added in a later version. You can always create a drawing with just the block you want separate and then save the file.
Now you have created three blocks. The process is the same for any other block that you need to create from drawing objects.
If you want more practice, draw more objects and create blocks from their geometry.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Working with real world examples.

This tutorial will give you some drawing practice using real world examples. You will be asked to draw the sample drawing using some techniques you haven’t been shown yet. This lesson requires you to have Adobe’s Acrobat reader for PDF files. Here I’m using an example of someone who has to measure and draw a room.
Example 1 – Loading Dock
When you are doing a survey and measuring rooms, it goes quickly as long as you have nice rectangle walls that the contractors built square, and you don’t have to deal with angles or other problems. This example will deal with drawing a room that has angles. Below is the room you will be drawing, notice that some of the walls are at an angle, and you don’t know those angles.

Here is the drawing with all the dimensions on it (print it out if you can). Imagine that you have just sketched out all the measurements and you need to draw it now. How do you start? The best way to start is to draw what you can – in this case, you can draw the horizontal and vertical lines easily. Next draw the lines for the angles lines, but draw them horizontal and vertical as well (as shown below):

Now you should have all the lines drawn, and the door blocks inserted or drawn in. Make sure that everything is on the right layer.
Finally you will adjust the ‘soon to be angled lines’ using the Align command.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Home > Modify > Align Aligns (and scales) selected objects to specific points.
This command requires that you follow the command line prompts carefully. Start the command and use the input shown below. You are selecting source points (where it starts) and destination points (where it will end up). Choose the endpoints nearest the text.

Command: ALIGN
Select objects:
Specify opposite corner: 28 found
Select objects:
Specify first source point:
Specify first destination point:
Specify second source point:
Specify second destination point:
Specify third source point or :
Scale objects based on alignment points? [Yes/No] : N
If everything went correctly, your lines should have aligned properly. If it didn’t, make sure you had your OSnaps on and selected the points in the right order. Of course in the real world, your lines won’t usually line up ‘exactly’. When that happens, you’ll need to re-check your measurements, and correct the lines. Just so you know, the 3rd source point is used in 3D drawing. Also, if you have drawn your lines to specific lengths, you don’t want to scale them.
But what if you have AutoCAD LT? It doesn’t have the align command. You’re screwed, right? Not really – you can use the Rotate command.
Undo the align command so that your lines are back to horizontal and vertical.
Here’s how you can use the rotate command to to rotate objects at an angle you don’t know. Once again, follow the command line prompts carefully. What you need to do is tell AutoCAD what the existing angle is (Reference angle) and what the new angle is.

Command: ROTATE
Current positive angle in UCS: ANGDIR=counterclockwise ANGBASE=0.0000
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 28 found
Select objects:
Specify base point:
Specify rotation angle or [Copy/Reference] : R
Specify the reference angle : Specify second point:
Specify the new angle or [Points] :
Both commands work well and quickly. Which one you use depend on the situation. If your lines are connected like they were in this example, the Rotate command works fine. If they aren’t then the align command works easier. Personally, I use the Align command each time for consistency.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Adding and Editing Block Attributes | Extracting Attributes

So far in using AutoCAD you have created geometry: lines, circles, etc. You have also added things such as text and dimensions. All of these things could also be done by hand, so what else does CAD have to offer?
As noted at the beginning of Level 1, AutoCAD is also a database of information. Most of that database contains the information for reproducing what you have drawn, but you can also add information that is non-graphical. One of the easiest ways of adding non-graphical information is to use attributes. An attribute is text that can be attached to a block that conveys more information than just the geometry on its own could convey.
Look at the two drawings below for an example:
The first example shows some lines and arcs that could be anything.

The second example shows the same geometry with the attributes visible so that you see what the shapes represent.

The pictures above show a couch. The attributes describe what the model number, color and cost are as well as the manufacturer. From this simple example, you can see that AutoCAD has a useful tool for showing more than just geometry.
This example shows information about furnishings in an office. Once you have drawn the floor plan, you could insert blocks of furniture that have information about the manufacturer, price, weight, and any other information you may need. This information can then be extracted out of AutoCAD and then used in a spreadsheet or other program which could generate a Bill of Materials. Although you won’t normally use the more advanced features of Attributes in your daily work, it’s good to know how they work.
In this lesson you will be creating attributes and attaching them to the computer block that you made previously. Like everything you do in AutoCAD, there are particular steps involved when you work with attributes.
1. First you have to define (or create) the attribute.
2. Next you will create the block with attributes.
3. Finally, when you insert the block you will give it the specific information
Many of the commands that you will be using are tough to remember at first. You may find it easier to use icons (but then the icons look very similar). Pull down menus are another option, so you can see exactly what the command is that you are starting.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Define an attribute ATTDEF / ATT
Home > Block > Define Attribute Creates an attribute definition
Edit attributes DDATTE / ATE
Home > Block > Edit Attributes Edits the contents of an existing attribute
Display Atts. ATTDISP
Home > Block > Retain Display Hides or shows attributes
Extract Attributes EATTEXT
Insert > Linking & Extraction > Extract Data Extracts attributes using the wizard
Open up the floor plans you drew earlier with the Computer blocks in Lesson 2-2.
Insert a computer block and then explode it (type X and then select the block – press .)
Begin the Attribute definition command: ATT(or) ATTDEF (or) DDATTDEF
(AutoCAD has kept the commands from previous versions active in the new versions.)
Look at the dialog box below. Fill in the edit boxes just like the example. Make sure to adjust the text height if necessary.

What you did is give the attribute its definition – a name (tag), a prompt to help the user while they’re inserting it, and a (default) value for the prompt. .
Once everything is entered, select the OK button.
When you are back on the drawing screen, pick a point near the middle of the computer block. When you are done, the dialog box comes back so press OK.
Add the following attributes the same way, except instead of picking a point, check off the Align below previous attribute checkbox.
HDD What capacity is the Hard Drive? X.XXGB
RAM How much RAM is installed? XXXGB
STATION What station is this XXX

Once all the attributes are created you should have something like this:

Next you will create a block that includes your four attributes.

Start up the BLOCK command. Create it as shown in the previous lesson. When you select the Attributes, select them individually from top to bottom. When you are asked for the block name, give it the name COMP-AT.
Insert the block and you will get a dialog box where you can enter the values for the tags. You will be prompted to provide answers to the prompts that you defined in the attributes.

After inserting the block and answering all the prompts, your block should look like this:

Now by looking at the drawing, you can see exactly what type of computer it is and what station (location) it is. This is just one application, but you can see how it can be used in any discipline of drafting. You can either insert more blocks, or copy the one that is in the drawing.
EDITING ATTRIBUTES: Of course, in any project, the data is subject to change. In this example, the company may decide that it cannot afford 24″ monitors. You can easily change the value of attributes within a single block insertion by double-clicking on the block. That will bring up this dialog box:

Remember that this will only edit the one block that you double-clicked on. If you want to change more than one block at a time to SAME values, you can select the blocks, then select your blocks, right-click and choose Properties. Look for the Tag value you want to change and remember you are changing all values to the same one you input now.
View the video about creating Attributes.
DISPLAYING ATTRIBUTES: Sometimes you don’t want to see the attribute values displayed (say for plotting). You can turn them off. This can be done by typing in the command ATTDISP and then OFF. To turn them back on again, type ATTDISP and ON. It can’t get much easier. You can also navigate the ribbon to Home > Block > Attribute Display and choose from these buttons.

EXTRACTING ATTRIBUTES: So now you’re wondering what can you do with all of this information. A CAD drawing can be used to track inventory and export that data to another file (such as Microsoft Excel – a spreadsheet application) for others to use. Maybe the purchasing department wants to know what to order, based on the design you are working on.
Exporting the data became MUCH easier in recent versions of AutoCAD.
Insert 6-12 of the blocks of the computer you made with Attributes and fill out the values .
Start up the EATTEXT command and you will see the Data Extraction wizard dialog box appear. Accept the default setting of “Create a new data extraction” and press Next. You should be prompted to save your “Data extraction files as…”. Select a folder and name the file “attributes_001″. This will take you to step 2 of 8. This is where you tell AutoCAD what drawings you want to extract data from.

You will have the option here to add more drawings (not in this example), but make sure that “Select objects in current drawing” is selected, and then use the icon to select the blocks that you want to include in this extraction. When you are done, press Next.
Now you need to tell AutoCAD what objects in the drawing you want to include in the extraction.

Check the box for “Attributes” and you should see that the only item in the list is your Computer block. Press Next.

So far in each step you have narrowed the criteria for extraction from which drawings, to which blocks, and now you can select which attributes you want to extract. Press Next.

This step allows you to further filter and organize the data you want. You should have 2 extra columns than what is shown above – right click on the extra column and select “Hide Column”. Next, select the column header for “Station” and drag it over to the right (this is to define the order of display which you’ll see soon). Finally sort the Station column by clicking on the column header. Your dialog box should look like the one above now. Press Next.
On the next step, select both boxes, and choose a location to save the file to. Press Next.

Step 7 allows you to format the table that will be created in the drawing. Table are covered in another tutorial. Add a title for your drawing called “Computer Stations”. Select the box for “Use property names as additional column headers”. Press Next.
Read the instructions on the final step. In this example you chose to include a table so you will be prompted to select an insertion point after you click Finish. Press Finish, and your insertion point and you should have a table that looks like this:

Now you have a Excel file on your computer showing the data from the drawing (open it if you have Excel). You also have a table that is still linked to the blocks in your drawing. Edit the attributes in a few of your blocks. Then right-click select a line in the table (not text) and select “Update Table Data Links”. Deselect your table and you will see that it is now updated with the most recent block data.
View the video about extracting Attribute Data.
For more about tables in AutoCAD, please refer to lesson 4-9.
This is just a simple walkthrough of some of the power of AutoCAD. With more complex drawings and attributes, you can work wonders. Think about how easy it would be to build a table of all windows in a house plan if the windows were created as blocks with attributes. Some assembly drawings consist of nothing but standard blocks, this lesson shows how much this simple process of creating attributes would help the workflow. Attributes are powerful – remember to use them.
In everyday work, your exposure to attributes may be minimal. Still you might find yourself inserting blocks and entering some data, and now thanks to this exercise, you know the power of attributes. Get to know how this works and you can really impress your boss!
Extra Practice: Here is an exercise for creating a title block with attributes. This is a handy item to have. It allows you to quickly enter the data for the title block using attributes, rather than create text every time. Link to the exercise. You could then use the information in the Title Blocks to create a file showing information about all the drawings on your computer by extracting the data.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Hatch, Solid

Hatching in AutoCAD is a way of filling in areas of your drawing with a pre-formatted pattern to represent certain materials. It is usually used in sectional views. Starting with AutoCAD release 14, you can use a solid fill to completely fill in areas such as walls in a floor plan.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Boundary Hatch Bhatch / H
Home > Draw > Hatch Covers an area with a predefined pattern
Hatch Edit HatchEdit / HE
Home > Modify > Edit Hatch Edits an existing Hatch
Solid Solid / SO None None Creates a solid filled shape
Draw a rectangle 10″ by 10″ and put a circle with 2″ radius in the middle of it (remember the M2P OSnap?).
Start the Boundary Hatch by typing H . When you start the command, you will see this dialog box appear:

As usual, start at the top of the dialog box and work your way down. We’re going to say that this is a cross section of piece of steel, so choose the predefined Hatch pattern called STEEL.
Now you want to pick the area to be hatched. Pick somewhere inside the rectangle, but outside of the circle and press .
Set the scale of the hatch to 6. This is just a number that works for this object. A larger number will make the hatch bigger (maybe so big you won’t see it) and a smaller number can make the hatch so dense that it looks solid (try different numbers later to see if I’m wrong).
Make this “Associative” – this means that if you adjust the rectangle or circle, the hatch will automatically correct itself to the new boundary.
Finally, hit the Preview button to see if this is what you are after, it should match the image below.

Note that AutoCAD recognized the circle in the middle and didn’t hatch over it. If the lines appear ‘jagged’, don’t worry – it is a video display issue -the prints will come out clean and straight.
If you want to edit the hatch, the easiest way is to just double-click on it. (If you can’t double-click on it, type in HE ). This will bring up the same dialog box (almost) that you just used to create the hatch. Try different settings in the Hatch Edit dialog box and preview the results.
To see what “Hatch Association” is, pick on the rectangle (be careful not to select the hatch) and you’ll see 4 squares appear on the corners. Click and drag one of the corners and release it. If you hatch is associative, it will update to the new shape.
If you are using a solid hatch, make the hatch WHITE so that it will print out as a solid black, any other color could appear gray (with lines) when printed.
If you have one hatch area drawn and want it to match the hatch of another, use the “Inherit Properties” button on the Hatch Edit dialog box. Try this by creating 2 different hatch styles in different objects.
In recent versions of AutoCAD, you can add a 2 color gradient to an object. Look for the “Gradient” tab at the top of the Hatch dialog boxes. Below is a sample of a really basic 2D ‘rendering’ using this method. Pick on the gradient tab of the hatch dialog box.

You can create custom hatch patterns, or find custom ones available on the internet. Another site offers some free ones as well as extensive collections for sale.
Hatches can be exploded – but be VERY careful if you do this. In fact, don’t explode hatch patterns unless you really need to as you will get 100’s of lines instead of 1 hatch.
There is a setting in the Options dialog box under the drafting tab that allows you to turn on or off the ability to snap to hatch objects. Off is the default.
Here is another command that can sometimes be easier than the hatch. Solid allows you draw an solid filled object like you would a Line. For this example, draw a rectangle of any size. Start the SOLID command. Pick 3 corners of the rectangle and press Enter. You should end up with something like this:

Extra Practice: Complete this drawing and copy the gradient hatches shown in this image.
Extra Practice: Draw this shape and hatch each possible section. It could look something like this when it is done (check that you hatched all areas and the scale is correct.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Formatting Text | Creating Text | Editing Text

Working with Text
Like most things in AutoCAD, there is more than one way to do it. Creating Text is no exception. Below are the common commands for working with text.
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Text Style STYLE / ST
Home > Annotation > Text Style Opens the Text Style Dialog
Single Line Text DTEXT / DT / TEXT
Home > Annotation > Single Line Creates a single line of text
Multiline Text MTEXT / T / MT
Home > Annotation > Multiline Text Creates formatable multiline, paragraph text
Edit Text DDEDIT / ED (or double-click) No Icon None Edits and formats text – edits attributes
Spell Check SPELL
Annotate > Text > Check Spelling Checks for spelling errors in Text, Attributes and Xrefs
Text along an arc ARCTEXT
Express > Text > Arc-Aligned Text Aligns test along a selected arc
Creating text in AutoCAD is easy. You may have already done this in the first level of tutorials, but this lesson will go into more detail and explore more options.
Formatting Text Styles
Most template drawings will have your text styles defined. Generally you won’t change these. Occasionally you may need to create a new text style (definition of the way the text will look). For example, the font that is used is defined by the Text Style.
To format text in AutoCAD, you have to create a new text style for each different font and style of text.
By default in the acad.dwt file, AutoCAD loads the txt.shx font because it is simple to display on the screen. Unfortunately, it is a very basic and ‘ugly’ font. Here is an example of the default TXT font compared to the ‘standard’ ROMANS font. Look at the O’s in particular. The TXT font has no curves.

It is easy to load in a new style for all of your text. Here’s how:
Use your pull-down menus Format > Text, or type ST, and this dialog box appears.

Select the New… Button and type in a name for your new text style.
Click on the Font Name edit box and select “romans.shx” as your new text style. This style will be used for all text and dimensioning in the next assignments. This is a common, clean font that AutoCAD can display quickly on the screen. No other adjustments are needed. Optionally you can set the width factor to a .8 – this allows you to fit text in narrower spaces at an 80% width.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT change the Height in this dialog box unless you really know why you are doing it. If you set a height here, AutoCAD will not be able to scale if for uses such as dimensioning, in other words, it is fixed at the height you set.
Annotative text is a new feature in AutoCAD 2008. Click on the in the dialog to read more about it.
Once you get into more complex drawings, you will need more than one textstyle (if they aren’t in the template). One for notes, one for tables, one for the table header, two or three for the title block – I think you get the picture.
If you need more than one text style, click on the new button, type in a new name and press OK.

Now the Text Style dialog box (as shown above) will have the new name in the Style Name field. Select RomanD.shx for this new style.
Now when you add text to your drawing, you have 2 choices. Watch the command line to know when to change to another style.
Adding Text to a drawing
Of course, there a few ways of entering text in AutoCAD. For simple one line text, use the the TEXT command. There’s a few parameters needed to add text, but if you follow the command line, it’s quite easy.
Command: TEXT
Current text style: “Romans” Text height: 0′-6″ Annotative: No
Specify start point of text or [Justify/Style]:
Specify height : 12
Specify rotation angle of text :
TYPE YOUR TEXT and press
You should now have a line of text in your drawing. Start the command again and when prompted for Justify/Style, type S and enter the name of the second text style you created.
Once you have used the two different styles, it should look something like this:

In later versions of AutoCAD, there is an easy way to change existing text to a new style. First, select the text, then go up to the Text Style Menu (Home > Annotation > Text Style) and select the style you want from the droplist (below) and the text will change automatically.

Professional looking and clear text is essential in any CAD drawing. Practice with different styles until you are comfortable with these concepts.
Multiline Text
Often you will want to enter a block of text, maybe a paragraph explaining a problem. In this case, MTEXT is what you need. Mtext allows you to format your text much like a word processor.
Start the Multiline Text command, and pick a spot in the drawing. Drag the cursor over to create a ‘rectangle’ to represent the area you want your text in, and pick the other corner. As soon as you pick the second point (P2), the full Multiline text editor will appear. Type your text, and press OK when done.

All of a sudden, AutoCAD turns into a word processor.

You now have a huge amount of options for editing your text. You can change the font, size, color – all without having to create a new text style.
If you use a True Type font for your text style, you have more options for formatting (just don’t get carried away). Imagine a large drawing where everyone decides their own way of showing text.

NOTE: AutoCAD uses two types of fonts: true-type and ‘SHX’ vector fonts. True-type fonts are indicated by a small symbol beside the font name. As a rule, you will want to use the SHX fonts, as AutoCAD can draw these faster. Newer releases of AutoCAD handle true-type faster than before, but they can still slow down your display speed. Another concern when using True-type fonts is that if you are exchanging drawing files with other people, they may not have the same fonts installed on their system. This could lead to formatting problems when they open your files.
Editing text
The easiest way to edit the contents of your text (what you wrote) is to double click on it. Depending up your method of entering the text, a different editor will appear (Mtext or single line text).
If you want to change the shape of your Mtext box, just pick on the text, and use grips to drag the fram to the right or to the bottom.

Single line text cannot be changed like this. When deciding when to use single or multiline text, think about how the text will be used, if it might be edited later, it’s generally a safer bet to use Mtext.
Arc-Aligned Text
Recently AutoCAD added a selection of commands called “Express Tools”. These are regular AutoCAD commands, but they aren’t fully supported (meaning don’t cry to Autodesk if they don’t work). They are also sometimes installed separately from the regular AutoCAD installation, so you may not have them on your screen. But they do offer a nice option to some drawing problems. One of these Express Tools is Arc-Aligned Text. Just like the name suggests, you can place text along an arc.
Draw an arc and start the command as shown above. As prompted, select the arc, and this dialog box will appear:

As you can see, there are quite a few options. Use the default settings and you should have text that looks something like this:

You can also erase the arc and the text will remain. This isn’t a command that you will use a lot, but it is comforting to know that it’s there.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Polylines – creating and editing, Revision Clouds

A polyline is an object in AutoCAD that consists of one or more line (or arc) segments. A rectangle is an example of a polyline that you are already familiar with. As you’ve seen, it is one object that can be modified and worked with easier than four separate lines.
Polylines are created using the POLYLINE command, invoked by typing PL at the command line. To draw a simple polyline, draw it as though you are using the line command. The only difference is that it is one object instead of many.
Polylines have some unique qualities that make them very useful:
1. They can have width (constant or varying)
2. They can consist of arcs and lines.
3. They can be edited
4. They can be joined together.
5. They can be exploded into individual segments
Command Keystroke Icon Location Result
Polyline Pline / PL
Home > Draw > Polyline Creates a polyline of arcs and/or lines.
Polyline Edit Pedit / PE
Home > Modify > Polyline Edit Edits polyline objects
Explode Explode / Exp
Home > Modify > Explode Separates objects into individual components.

When you start the command, you will notice that there are several options available:
Command: PL PLINE
Specify start point:
Current line-width is 0.0000
Specify next point or [Arc/Close/Halfwidth/Length/Undo/Width]:

Remember that any time you want to choose an option, you type in the Capitol letter of that option.
One important tool is the Close option. This truly closes a polyline, which is different that just having two ends meeting at the same point – it’s like welding the ends together. A closed polyline is required for extruding into 3-D space and other modifications. If you use the C option while drawing to complete your polyline, it will automatically be closed.
The Spline option allows you to draw a shape of lines using arcs and/or straight lines and then change them into one flowing curve. (Spline is also a separate command on its own.)
Also by changing the width of a polyline, you can get some different looks to your lines.
Look at the examples below and then practice drawing polylines and try some of the options available.

Below is a sample drawing you can reproduce using a polyline (it could represent a slot to be cut out with a CNC router. First, think about how you would draw it using lines, arcs and circles.

Here’s how you draw it using one polyline:
Command: PL PLINE
Specify start point:
Current line-width is 0.0000
Specify next point or [Arc/Halfwidth/Length/Undo/Width]: 5
Specify next point or [Arc/Close/Halfwidth/Length/Undo/Width]: A
Specify endpoint of arc or
[Angle/CEnter/CLose/Direction/Halfwidth/Line/Radius/Second pt/Undo/Width]: 2
Specify endpoint of arc or
[Angle/CEnter/CLose/Direction/Halfwidth/Line/Radius/Second pt/Undo/Width]: L
Specify next point or [Arc/Close/Halfwidth/Length/Undo/Width]: 5
Specify next point or [Arc/Close/Halfwidth/Length/Undo/Width]: A
Specify endpoint of arc or
[Angle/CEnter/CLose/Direction/Halfwidth/Line/Radius/Second pt/Undo/Width]: CL
Remember DDE? Start by entering your first point, then (with Ortho or Polar on) move your cursor to the right and type 5 then A for arc and move your cursor up and type 2 then type L (to go back to straight lines) and more your cursor to the left and type 5 then back to arc (A ) and then type CL to close the polyline. Wow! That was easy!
To edit a polyline, use the PEDIT command or type PE at the command line.
Command: PE PEDIT Select polyline or [Multiple]:
Enter an option [Close/Join/Width/Edit vertex/Fit/Spline/Decurve/Ltype
One of the most common editing tools is the Join (J) option. Use this to combine two or more polylines and their endpoints.
Use the LINE command to draw a line from 0,0 to 5,5. Now use the line command to draw a line from 5,5 to 8,5. This will leave you with 2 line objects that share a common point (5,5). Start the PEDIT command (PE) and select one of the lines. AutoCAD will ask you if you want to turn it into one, select Y .
Command: PE PEDIT Select polyline or [Multiple]:
Object selected is not a polyline
Do you want to turn it into one?
Enter an option [Close/Join/Width/Edit vertex/Fit/Spline/Decurve/Ltype gen/Undo]: J
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
1 segments added to polyline
Enter an option [Close/Join/Width/Edit vertex/Fit/Spline/Decurve/Ltype
Now you have one object (a polyline). This is a handy tool to use for editing.
Now the shape is complete and you can offset it, scale it, etc., as one object. In 3D, you could also extrude it (if it is closed).
Once you have a polyline, it is sometimes useful to break it into the individual segment. For example, you might want to offset segments by varying distances.. To do this, use the Explode command. It is used to separate many other AutoCAD objects as well such as blocks.
Polylines are useful – try to use them whenever possible. Sometimes you can draw the outside walls of a building, offset the polyline for the wall thickness, then explode both of them for more versatility.
View the video about Polylines in AutoCAD.
Revcloud (Revision Cloud)
Another version of the Polyline command is the Revcloud (Revision Cloud) command. This is something you don’t want to see on your drawings when the boss reviews your work. A Revcloud is used to highlight problems or errors in a drawing.

You might also want to create a Revcloud to highlight a question you have with your own work.
To create a revcloud, start the command. Then set the arc length to about 12 for an architectural drawing, or test out different arc lengths.
Minimum arc length: 96′ Maximum arc length: 96′ Style: Normal
Specify start point or [Arc length/Object/Style] : A
Specify minimum length of arc : 12
Specify maximum length of arc :
Specify start point or [Arc length/Object/Style] :
Guide crosshairs along cloud path…
Revision cloud finished.
You might have ended up with something like this:

One thing with revclouds is that it can be hard to define a specific area clearly. Therefore, you have another option for creating accurate, clean revclouds like the one in the first example. Start by drawing a rectangle over the area you want to highlight, then start the Revcloud command and choose the Object option. Select the rectange and press enter to end the command. This will work on most AutoCAD objects.
View the video about creating Revclouds in AutoCAD.
Extra Practice: Copy this drawing – extra_2-001.gif. You will need to use the Arc option when drawing the polyline. Try to draw it as one line, but if you have trouble, draw two polylines and join them. After drawing it, use the Spline option of PEDIT to change the polyline. Once you have the spline, use the Decurve option.
Extra Practice: Draw the exercise from Lesson 1-4 as a polyline. This is also a good chance to review your input options.
Extra Practice: Copy this drawing – extra_2-002.gif. The centre line in the middle indicates that both halves are the same. Create one polyline, then offset it to get the smaller one.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Printing via layouts (aka Paper Space)

In Level 1 you printed out your project using ‘model space’. This lesson will show you the preferred way of plotting your drawings. In AutoCAD there are two different workspaces: model space and Layout / Paper Space. For now think of model space where you make your model, or draw. Think of the Layout Tabs as where you print your drawing from, or layout the final drawing complete with dimensions, notes, title block, etc. Look at the images below to see a visual explanation of the concept.
Note about the terminology in this Lesson:
After AutoCAD R14, the term “Paper Space” was replaced by “Layout”. These terms are interchangeable. The release of AutoCAD 2000 brought other enhancements to this functionality. You can now have multiple layouts, you can name them, you can re-sequence them and more. I’m going to use the term paper space as I feel it explains the process better. And I’m old.
What is a Layout?
A layout is a page that allows you to set up a plot or printout of your drawing. Below is a sample of what a layout looks like (a really simple one).

The floor plan and dimensions (above) were created in MODEL SPACE at a 1:1 scale. The walls were drawn to be 30′ or more long.
The title block and viewport were created in a LAYOUT TAB / PAPER SPACE at a 1:1 scale. The title block is 8-1/2 x 11 inches.
The viewport is a window into “model space”. In the image below, the the viewport is the black rectangle and the contents of the viewport are displayed inside it. The contents of the viewport are scaled to either fit the viewport or (preferably) to conform to a specific drafting scale (ie: 1″=1′)
Below is a visual representation of a layout for a print to be plotted from a Layout tab.

This conceptual image shows the relationship between model space and a Layout.
Think of paper space as being ‘above’ model space. To see through ‘into’ model space, you have to create a viewport (Make Viewport MV command). Think of a viewport as a window.
As soon as you create the viewport, the window is closed and the extents of your drawing are displayed. You can see through it, but you can not ‘touch’ anything in model space.
To have access to your objects in model space from paper space, you have to enter the viewport by typing MS . This ‘opens the window’ for access. Type in PS to ‘close the window’.
You may be wondering why you shouldn’t just plot from model space. You can and many people do, but the advantage of plotting from paper space is that you can have many layouts from one drawing. You can even add detail views without having to copy and scale your geometry. This feature was radically changed in AutoCAD 2000 and is much more versatile. You now have multiple tabs to organize your plots (or ‘sheets’). As a rule, unless you’re working for a behind-the-times company with a confused CAD Manager, use Layouts.
To toggle between the two spaces, you can pick on one of the layout tabs and back to the Model tab. You can also enter the command TILEMODE and set it to 0 for paper space and 1 for model space. When you do this, you will notice that the UCS icon in the bottom left corner changed to a triangular icon. This new icon confirms that you are paper space.
Model Space (UCS) >>

Layout Tab (Paper Space) >>

When you are in paper space you can draw or insert a title block. In paper space you are still drawing at a 1:1 scale.
Start this exercise by drawing a simple title block like the one above in the tab called Layout 1. Make sure you draw it at 1:1 scale. Start with an 8-1/2″x11″ rectangle and offset it 1/4″ inside (erase the outer one). Make a couple of small rectangles for the text and add some text as shown in the sample above.
Once your title block is drawn, you can create a floating viewport . This is a ‘window’ into your model space. To create a viewport, type in MV (for Make Viewport) and then pick two points just as if you are drawing a rectangle. Use as much of your title block as possible.
As soon as your viewport is created, you will see all that you have drawn in model space appear to the extents of the viewport. The next thing you need to do is to scale your viewport for accurate plotting.
To do this, you have to ‘enter’ your viewport. Do this by either typing MS (for model space) or clicking on the square labeled PAPER (it will switch to Model) on the status bar. In newer versions of AutoCAD like 2005 you can also double-click in the viewport. You will notice that the familiar WCS icon appears in the bottom left corner of the viewport. If you have more than one viewport on the screen, left-click in the one that you want to scale or type CTRL+R to toggle through them to the one you want. To scale a viewport, you just use the ZOOM command. Type in Z
At the command prompt, you must tell AutoCAD what scale you want the viewport to be. This coincides with the scale that you will plot at.
¼” = 1′ 1/48XP
¾” = 1′ 3/48XP
½” = 1′ 1/24XP
The table above gives you some sample scales. Take ¼” = 1′ for example. First remember that 1’=12″. If you cross-multiply the 12 by the 4, you get 48. Therefore this scale will be at a 1:48 scale (ratio), or in other terms, your model will be 1/48th the size of real life on paper. To get AutoCAD to scale the viewport, you must type in Z , 1/48XP . This means 1/48th times (X) in relation to paper space (P).
Figuring out what scale you require takes some calculation (unless you are told which scale to use). You can see what your extents in model space are and then see what your viewport size is. You can also use trial and error to see what fits in your viewport. This can sometimes be quicker than calculating.
To sum this up, here are the basic steps required for using paper space layouts:
1. Finish your drawing (with dimensions) in model space.
2. Change to paper space. TILEMODE to 0 or click on the Layout tab
3. Add a title block.
4. Create a viewport using the MVIEW (MV) command.
5. Enter your viewport by typing MS (or double-click in the viewport)
6. Zoom in using a specific ratio by typing in Z ___/___XP
7. Leave your viewport by typing PS and return to paper space.
One thing that is very important to remember is that you should use paper space only for plotting. Do not modify your model in paper space. One reason for this is that you could have layers turned off in your viewport that are related to the objects you are modifying in the viewport. Return to true model space for any editing that you need to do. Also, do not draw objects on the Layout screen that are part of the drawing.
To practice this concept, open up one of the drawings you did in Lesson 2-1.
Change to paper space. Draw or insert a title block. If you do not have one, you can find a good 11×17 (B size) title block in your AutoCAD support folder (filename: ANSI_B.DWG). Maybe you drew one in this tutorial? Insert this and then create a viewport. Enter your viewport and scale as explained above. Return to paper space and print using the settings, EXTENTS / SCALE: 1=1.
Alternately, when you have a viewport active, you will see a list of scale options at the bottom of the screen to define the scale. Select the viewport, and then select the scale from menu:

Top 10 Viewport Tips:
1. You can create new layout tabs by right-clicking on an existing tabs and choosing New Layout.
2. You can rename a tab by right-clicking and choosing rename.
3. You can create viewports of various shapes by creating the object and then using the MV command with the Object option.
4. You can also choose to dimension in the Layout. This can be very convenient in AutoCAD 2005. Your dimscale is 1 and all your dimensions are consistent. Try this out on a sample drawing. AutoCAD will scale the dimension to size of the object in the viewport.
5. You can resize viewports with regular modifying commands and grips.
6. Put viewports on the layer called DEFPOINTS (created by dimensions) and they won’t plot or put them on a separate layer with the plot option turned off.
7. To quickly find the zoom factor of your viewport, use the LIST command on it.
8. You can lock and unlock viewports by using the MV > L option.
9. You can freeze (turn off) layers in any viewport. (See below)
10. You can now have your viewports plot for 3D drawings as wireframe, hidden line and rendered views when you plot – this is great! (See below)

To turn layers off in a viewport, you need to be on a Layout Tab and in Model Space of a viewport. In the viewport, then move your cursor to the layer droplist and select the layer you want off and hit the “Freeze in Viewport” icon (in red box) for that layer, then click on the drawing area. You can also do this directly from the Layers Dialog.

To reverse this, use the same process which will “Thaw” the layer in that viewport.
View the video about using Layout tabs in AutoCAD.
Review: The ability to use viewports successfully leads to well organized drawings and print sets. From there, you can put together sheet sets for distributing to other people. When it comes to plotting 3D drawings, Layouts are essential to capture the views you need and put them on paper. It may take some time to master the concept and procedures, but the results will be well worth it.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Parametric Contraints
This is a new feature in AutoCAD 2010.
Parametric constraints allow you to force an object to behave the way you want it to. If you need a line to remain vertical at all times, you can set a constraint on it to do just that. Need 2 circles to remain the same diameter? How about a circle for a bolt that must stay 1/2″ diameter? No problem with constraints. These are just some examples that will make it easier to control your drawing.
Constraints can be divided into two groups and are on the Parametric Tool Panel:
Geometric Constraints
Constrains a object based on geometric properties : vertical, horizontal, etc
Dimensional Constraints
Constrains an object based on a set length or radius.
This tutorial is not going to explain each one, but jsut show you how they’re used and then you can explore the others and learn how they work. This may not be something that you use in everyday drafting, but it can very useful at times.
Geometric Constraints
Let’s start with an easy one. Draw 2 random lines without having Ortho on.
Click on the Parallel Constraint icon and then select one line and then the other. The second line should now be parellel with the first.
Command: _GeomConstraint
Enter constraint type
/COLlinear/Symmetric/Equal/Fix] :_Parallel
Select first object:
Select second object:
The angle of the first line will be the constraint put upon the second line. Now if you try moving one of the lines around, you’ll find that the two will stay parallel. If you highlight one, the other becomes highlighted. You also now have constraint indicators next to the objects.

Most of the geometric Constraints work the same way. Select an object to create the constraint and then select another to match. You can only constrain 2 objects at a time, but you can use multiple constraints to constrain multiple objects. If you copy one of the constrained objects, the constraint does not copy with it.
Try out a bunch of the geometric constraints before moving on to dimensional constraints. Notice how the procedure is pretty much the same. See what happens when you add a new constraint to an object that already has a constraint.
Dimensional Constraints
Dimensional constraints are different from what you just worked with. Instead of making a line vertical (for example), you can make a line 10 units long and make it stay that way until you change it. You can more than one dimensional constraint on certain objects.
Draw a random angled line on the screen. Pick on the Aligned constraint icon. Pick two points on the line.
Notice that even if you have your Osnaps off, you can only pick the endpoints and midpoint on the line. After selecting the 2 points, you can now enter a length that you want the distance between those points to be.

With the constraint still highlighted, enter a number. d3 in this example refers to the 3rd dimensional constraint in the drawing. If you added a constraint from end to middle, add another from end to end (or vice versa). Notice that the constraint will be double the first one. If you change one, the other will change.
Mixing it up
You’ll notice in the geometric constraints panel, there is one for equal. this can used to make objects the same size. In this example, draw 2 different sized circles. Make one a dimensional constraint for diameter. now use the Equals constraint to make the other one the same.
Imagine using this when you are designing a part with holes to be drilled. If hte part isn’t finalized yet, the hole size might change. Using the Equals constraint would allow to change one and make the others the equal at the same time.
This tutorial has shown you the basics of working with parametric constraints. The are simple to use, easy to delete if you don’t need them any more, and they can be a great time saver. Practice with them. Go over some previous exercises using constraints.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Overview of working in 3 dimensions

You may have already figured out why CAD has many advantages over manual drafting. One big advantage is that once you’ve drawn something, you shouldn’t have to draw it again. If you manually drew a house plan, you would have to draw a front elevation, side elevations, and possibly a perspective view. With one 3-D CAD model, you can generate views from any angle either inside or outside the house and animations. Afterwards, if your client needs something changed, you can then make the changes once. If you’re drawing mechanical parts, you can generate virtual prototypes or even create rapid prototypes. In this manner Boeing was able to design and prototype the 777 jetliner. This level of engineering would be impossible without CAD.
Your company may not do a lot of 3D work, but it is still a good skill to have and it’s also more fun than 2D.
You’ll be learning the 3-D concepts in the following order:
o Isometric Drawings (not true 3D)
o Wire-frame (very basic 3D)
o Surfaces / Regions (primitive 3D)
o Solid Objects (advanced 3D)
You will have a chance to draw the same object different ways to see the differences between the various methods.
Before entering the exciting world of 3-D, you’ll have to learn some more CAD terminology. This level presumes that you have a good understanding of 2D commands.
2-D A concept of displaying real-world objects on a flat surface showing only height and width. This system uses only the X and Y axes.
3-D A way of displaying real-world object in a more natural way by adding depth to the height and width. This system uses the X Y and Z axes.
Boolean operations
Commands that allow you to add, subtract or intersect solid objects in AutoCAD.
Complex surface Generally a curved surface. Examples: car fender, landscape contour.
Elevation The difference between an object being at zero on the Z-axis and the height that it is above zero.
Extrude The extrude command raises the shape of a 2D outline into a 3D solid. For example, a circle would be extruded into a cylinder.
Face The simplest true 3-D surface.
Facet A three or four sided polygon that represents a piece (or section) of a 3-D surface.
Hidden line removal A way of hiding lines that would not be visible if you were viewing the actual object you have drawn in AutoCAD. (Command: HIDE)
Isometric Drawing
A simple way of achieving a ‘3-D’ appearance using 2-D drawing methods.
Plan View Also known as the top view, a plan view looks directly down the WCS Z-axis to the X-Y axis.
A basic solid building block. Examples would be boxes, cones, cylinders.
A 2-D area consisting of lines, arcs, etc.
A complex way of adding photo-realistic qualities to a 3-D model you have created.
Shading A quick way of adding color to a 3-D object you have drawn. (Command: SHADE)
Solid Model A 3-D model creating using solid ‘building blocks’. This is the most accurate way of representing real-world objects in CAD.
Surface Model A 3-D model defined by surfaces. The surface consists of polygons. (See facets.)
A property of lines and other objects that gives them a 3-D like appearance.
The user co-ordinate system. This is defined by the person drawing to have easier access to portions of a 3-D model.
A particular view of the object you have created.
A window into your drawing showing a particular view. You can have several viewports on your screen. Different from the viewports used in plotting.
Wire-frame Model
A 3-D shape that is defined by lines and curves. A skeletal representation. Hidden line removal is not possible with this model.
The third axis that defines the depth.
As computers and software get more sophisticated, working in 3D becomes more popular. You have more power in desktop machine today, than was dreamed of when CAD first appeared. Be prepared that you will likely need to learn 3D at some point in your career. Once you are comfortable working in 3D, you’ll find that you will rarely want to draw in 2D again. Autodesk (the makers of AutoCAD) make other products designed specifically for certain disciplines – Architectural Desktop, Map, 3D Studio Max and more. Depending upon your budget and needs, you may need to look into programs like these. The concepts taught in these lessons will aid you when you work in any 3D program.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Isometric drawing procedures
Using Isometric commands is one of the simplest ways to give a 3-D representation while using only 2-D commands. This has been the usual way of doing things before CAD allowed true 3-D work to be done. Many times an isometric drawing is used to compliment a 3 view orthographic drawing. See the sample below.

You can see that it is a very simple drawing. This basic isometric drawing of the object gives a very good idea of what it looks like. If this is all that is needed then isometric works well. Unfortunately, as soon as you change anything, like the block’s height, you’ll need to redraw all four views.
AutoCAD has a command called ISOPLANE which allows you to easily draw at a 30 degree angle as needed for an isometric drawing. You can switch between the three ‘isoplanes’ (top, right, left) by using this command or by pressing the F5 key.
Current isoplane: Right
Enter isometric plane setting [Left/Top/Right] : T
Current isoplane: Top
By invoking this command, AutoCAD is now set to draw on the top isoplane. Your other choices would be Left or Right. Your first exercise will be to draw the object shown above using isometric methods.
Begin a new drawing using the acad.dwt template
Create a layer called OBJECT and give it a green color. Make this your current layer.
Type in DDRMODES to bring up the Drawing Aids dialog box. Make your settings the same as what you see below (just turn on Isometric Snap).

Press OK and you’ll see that the grid is set up for isometric drawing for the left isoplane in 1/2″ increments. Your crosshairs are now angled to show you which isoplane you are currently on and the Grid is laid out differently from what you may be used to..
Begin by drawing the left side of the box (shown at the top of the lesson) using the line command. Ignore the hole at this point. You will want to use the Direct Distance Entry System for this exercise and make sure that you have Ortho (F8) and Osnaps (F3) turned on.
Switch to your right isoplane (F5) and draw the right side.
Switch to your top isoplane (F5) and draw the top view.
Create the angle lines to add the angled surface.
Switch back to the left isoplane and start the ELLISPE command. At the command prompt, press I for isocircle. This will allow you to create an ellipse at the correct angle based on the radius of the circle in the orthographic drawing. Use the Osnap to pick the correct center point.
Save your drawing in your CAD folder.
To dimension an isometric drawing, you have to do a few things first. Create a text style called Left, and give it a 30o obliquing angle, then create another called right with a -30o obliquing angle. Then create a new dimension style that has the text aligned with the dimension line. After you have placed a dimension, use the DIMEDIT command to change the obliquing angle of the dimension + or – 30 degrees. You may also need to use the properties to change the text in the dimension to left or right depending upon the orientation of the dimension.
Keep in mind that this is still only 2D. Remember that in some instances, it may be quicker and easier to use this method rather than the more complex 3-D methods you’ll be learning in the following lessons.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
3D Coordinate system | Rotation in 3D
By now you should be very comfortable working your way around the X-Y co-ordinate system. Anyway, here is a quick review. Looking from the plan (top) view, this is what you see to figure out where is positive X and positive Y.

If you were to look at the same picture, but at a slight angle, you would see the third axis. This new axis is called the Z-axis. Imagine that the positive Z-axis is coming towards you out of the monitor.

The Z-axis has always been there, lurking in the background, waiting for you.
When you entered points previously, you would enter them in the format: X,Y. By doing this, you let AutoCAD know that in these cases, Z was equal to zero. Entering 4,3 would be the same as entering 4,3,0. Now if you drew a line from the origin (0,0,0) to a point at 4,3,2, you would get a line that goes 4 inches to the right, 3 inches up and 2 inches towards you. The properties of this line would be this:

Notice that the line is actually 5.3852″ long. If you were to look at it from the plan view, it would look exactly like a line drawn from 0,0 to 4,3 Draw a line from 0,0 to 4,3 and then compare the properties.
The diagrams below, show this line from 4 different views to illustrate how things can look different in 3D. Look at each one carefully, and see if it makes sense to you.

This is the usual view you have seen when using AutoCAD in 2D. You are looking straight down the Z axis (positive Z is pointing at your). It looks like any other line you have drawn, going from 0,0 to 4,3 – but there is a difference…

If you were to look at the line from the front, instead of the top (as shown above) you would be able to notice the elevation of 2 units in the Z axis. This is the same line as above, only viewed from a different angle. In this view, you are looking straight down the -Y axis.

Just for fun, here is the same line but viewed from the left. This would be looking down the -X axis.

Finally, here is the line as viewed in 3D space from the Southeast view. This is where viewing 3D objects on a 2D monitor gets tricky. You need to visualize the Z Axis.
What the above images show you is that you will have to get used to looking at a 3D world on a 2D monitor. In each image, the black line looks flat, but you have to use your reference points to determine where it truly is. If you don’t understand this perfectly right now, don’t worry. It’s just an exercise to expose you to 3D viewing. As the lessons progress, you will get much more familiar to this.
Why is this important to look at before entering the world of 3-D? If you were to only look at a 3-D model from the plan (top) view, you would not be able to see any difference between the two lines. (Draw them and see for yourself) On a 3-D model, you can easily have many points over top of each other. This would be very difficult to work with. You may think you’re snapping to a particular endpoint, but the reality of it could be very different (think of how the top of the wall looks the same as the bottom of the wall if you’re looking straight down it). Fortunately, AutoCAD provides different viewing options for 3-D drafting. This will be discussed in a later lesson, but for now, if you want to see your 2 lines in a view similar the Z-Axis image above, go to your menu called View > 3D Views > SW Isometric. You’ll see the lines that look identical in the top view, look very different when viewed from an angle.
3D Rotation
Now for the confusing part. You already know how to rotate 2D objects, but you also have to know how AutoCAD measures angles of rotation in 3-D. There is a somewhat simple rule for this called “The Right Hand Rule”. To figure out which is the positive rotation angle, imagine that you are wrapping your right hand around the axis with your thumb pointing towards the positive end. The direction that your fingers are wrapped is the positive direction. This applies to all three axes.

The main point of this lesson is to tell you that objects can trick you in 3D space. Shortcuts don’t always work, you have to be careful with Osnaps and your drawing can turn into a mess very quickly if you’re not paying attention. Trust me, I’ve seen enough students take the easy route and have to start over. If you want to learn 3D, review each lesson before progressing. Make sure you know the concepts inside and out. This is just an introduction to the concepts, you will learn more in the following lessons. You may still want to refer back to this tutorial, though.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Viewports | Perspective Views
AutoCAD has a few ways for you to view an object other than the plan view that you have used for your 2-D drawings.
For quick, easy views use the pull-down menu options. To do this choose View > 3-D Viewpoint > (then select one of the four bottom isometric options). Look at the drawing below to see the differences between four views. When doing basic drawings, it is a good idea to use only one view. This will keep you orientated a lot easier. It is most common to use the Southwest view, as this keeps your positive X and Y axes in a logical position. For most of your work in this course, stick with this view.
There will be times when you may need to see around to the other side of your object. Then you can easily use the other preset views to see your model. You can also have more than one view on your screen at a time.
To achieve this, use the Tiled Viewports option of the View pull-down menu. Then choose the New Viewports tab, and pick from several layouts. Any view or viewport configuration can be saved under a unique name. Later you can easily restore this view when needed. Here are the preset viewport configurations that you can use in model space.

As you can see, you can select options for 2D or 3D, and change the view by picking in one of the viewports and selecting a new view in the droplist. Note that I have hidden the ribbon by clicking the button to right of the ribbon.
Here are a few general notes about views and viewports:
• You can have viewports in either model space (tiled) or paper space (floating).
• They can have different zoom ratios.
• There is a difference between views and viewports.
• If you go to a lot of work to get a view you need, save it using the VIEW command.
• When saving a view, give it a descriptive name.
• Keep an eye on the UCS icon in the corner of the screen or viewport.
• The smaller your monitor is, the harder it is to see tiled viewports.
• When you have more than one viewport, click inside the one you want active.
To practice viewing your 3D drawing, open up up this sample 3D file of a table and chairs. Change to different viewport layouts as shown above. Try some of the different Isometric views. Depending upon the size of your monitor, it may not be practical to use multiple viewports. In the end it is a matter of personal preference that decides what setup you are comfortable drawing in.
Change back to 1 viewport (View > Set Viewports > Single) and switch to the SW Isometric view.

There is another command called DVIEW (Dynamic View) that gives you more control over the view of your object. It will also allow you to see a perspective view of your model. This can be a very confusing method if you don’t have a system. What follows is my approach to creating perspective views.
The basis of generating a perspective view is to have a virtual camera and target. Think of where you would like to ‘stand’ (the camera) and what direction you want to look at (the target).
In this example, I want a view that gives me slight perspective view of the table and chairs. The first thing I need to do is draw a point for my camera location.
Draw a line from the centre of the bottom leg 6′ in the negative X axis. Now draw a line 5’6″ straight up (@0,0,5’6) – and finally draw a line to the middle of the far end of the table. It should look like this:

Now start the Dview command. You will be asked to select objects. You can select everything, or for the purposes of setting points, I would normally just choose the line as it makes the command faster in large drawings.
Select the top line to the middle of the table.
Choose the POints option by typing in PO
Now you have to select the Target – pick the right endpoint of the line (use Osnaps)
Next select the Camera – pick the left endpoint of the line.
It will look like the line disappeared, but you now looking straight down it.
Press to end the command.

Start the DVIEW command again and select all the objects. In larger drawings, select the objects that are furthest to the extents of the drawing (this will save time and let you know the limits of your view) and any objects that are critical to your view. What this means in that if you are using the command on a very large drawing, the DVIEW command can bog down (slow down) your system to a crawl. By selecting only the ones on the outside limits of your drawing, you will still be able to use the command quickly and efficiently.

This time, choose the Distance option by pressing D . This option effectively zooms in and out while in a perspective dynamic view. Move the slider at the top until it is just right of the ‘1x’ and then left click with your mouse. Note that slower computers will take longer to regenerate the drawing for you. You can also enter distances manually on the command line – try this out as well. Each 3D model will require different settings to get the view you want.

While still in the Dview command, type in PA for the Pan option and move the table and chairs up slightly in the drawing area so that they are centered.
And lastly, type in H for the hide option for a more realistic view. and then press .
You will notice that certain commands do not function while in a perspective view. For example, you can not zoom or pan the usual way. I recommend that you don’t edit your drawing in this view.
To preserve this view that you worked so hard to achieve, type in V (for view) and select the New button and give your view a name. Now when you need to go back to this view you just type in V again, select your named view, press the Set Current button and press OK.

If you are using this command on larger drawings, like a home or building, the same process is used, but you should create the camera location to be further away from the objects you want to view. Practice makes perfect and this command can take some trial and error sometimes to get it just right. In the end, it is a very powerful viewing tool. When practicing, save views so you can go back to them if needed – it will save you a lot of time.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Wireframe drawing techniques

In this lesson, you will be drawing two objects. First, you will draw the shape from the isometric exercise (refer to that exercise for dimensions) using the same line command that you have always used. Then you will draw a simple chair using the same method. This exercise is good practice to work on the XYZ co-ordinate system. Wireframe models are the simplest form of true 3D drawings. They can be used for conversion to other programs or other simple uses. Still, this is not a common way of drawing in 3D these days.
Start a new drawing using the acad.dwt template.
Create a layer called OBJECT and give it a green color. Make this your current layer.
Using the line command, draw the outline of the front view placing the bottom left corner at 0,0,0 Then draw the circle.
Copy the outline and circle 2″ up in the Z-axis. When asked for the base point, select anywhere on the screen, and copy it relative to the base-point: @0,0,2 (X,Y,Z)
Switch your view to the SW Isometric view.
Notice that you have the front and the back drawn now. Using your endpoint Osnap, connect the corners of the object.
Your finished drawing should look like this:

Pick any line and snap to an endpoint grip. Look at the co-ordinate display on the left of your status bar and see if it makes sense to you. Try this at other points. What you have just done is created a simple object in 3D drawing space. It has length, depth and height. Get used to looking at it, and review what you did to create it.
Save your drawing under the name wireframe1.dwg.
Start a new drawing using the acad.dwt template.
Create 3 layers called SIDES, SEAT,and BACK and give them different colors. Make back your current layer. Multiple layers make your drawing easier to work with – trust me.
Look at the drawing below. This is the basic chair shape that you will be drawing a few different ways in this course. For this lesson, you’ll be using rectangles. Switch to your SE Isometric view.

Start with the back. Make rectangle to define the plan view of the back of the chair. Copy it 34″ in the Z-axis and then connect the corners with vertical lines.
Next draw the sides (on the sides layer). Use the same method you used for drawing the back (except copy them up 24″)
Once you have drawn one side, you can copy or mirror it to make the other side.
Finish up by drawing the seat. This will take a bit of thought as you have to make it fit between the sides. Start by drawing the rectangle for the seat in the correct location, then move it up 12″ so that it is at the correct elevation. After that, copy it up 4″ and connect the corners.
Save the file as wirefame2.dwg in your CAD folder.
Try to get the viewport configuration you see below using tiled viewports

You don’t need to dimension this drawing, but use the Distance command to confirm that the sizes are correct.
When you are sure that your drawing is correct, save it again for later use.
From these simple exercises, you can see that the world of 3D (so far) isn’t really different from 2D. You used the same rectangle, line, copy, move commands that you would drawing in a 2D world. The only difference is that you added the Z co-ordinate to give your point ‘height’. Once again, make sure you are familiar with what happened in this lesson before moving on to the next. Redo it if you have to, but get used to the concept of height
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Line Thickness drawing techniques

In this lesson you’ll create the same chair by drawing lines and then giving them thickness. Think of thickness as the height of the line or how tall it is (like a fence in your yard). This is different from the width of the line that you learned in the polyline lesson. This is a quick, simple way of achieving some degree of 3-D feel. Once again, remember that in some instances, simple concepts may do the job. This is also a good technique for AutoCAD LT users, who don’t have the option to draw in true 3-D.
Start a new drawing using the acad.dwt template.
Create 3 layers called SIDES, SEAT, BACK and give them different colors. Make back your current layer.
Look at the drawing of the chair in Lesson 3-5 for dimensions.
Draw rectangles to create the back, sides and seat on their respective layers (as if you were drawing the top view). Do not worry about height, thickness or anything but the basic outline of the top view.
Select one of the rectangles, right click and select ‘Properties”. When asked to select an object, select the polyline that will become the back of the chair. Leave the palette open for the rest of this exercise.
You’ll see the Modify Polyline dialog box pop up and it should look like the one below.

For this lesson, there are two important areas to look at. Make sure that your line is located at and elevation of Zero. From there you want to go into the Thickness text box and enter 34. This will give you a polyline that is based where you drew it and will be 34″ thick, meaning that it will extend 34″ in the positive Z-axis. (Entering a negative number will extend the thickness in the negative Z-axis.)
Change the properties of the sides and give them a thickness of 24″.
Give the seat a thickness of 4 inches. The seat should be based on Z=0. To move it up to the correct location, enter the move command and give it a displacement of @0,0,12.
Look at your drawing in the SW isometric 3-D view and it should look like the one you drew in the wire-frame exercise. There is one major difference between the two models. As stated earlier, wire-frame models do not allow you to hide lines that you might not see in the real world. With your cursor in the SW isometric viewport, enter the command HIDE. You should see that your chair now looks like the one below.

You’ll see that it is now starting to look like a chair. It’s not perfect yet. You can still see the sides through the seat and the tops of the sides and back are hollow. Once again – think of a fence around your yard.
Save the drawing under the name chair_line_thickness.dwg in your CAD folder (you’ll use it in the next lesson).
So far you have learnt two ways to construct a 3-D-like object and still haven’t learnt any new drawing commands. These methods use 2D commands to achieve 3-D appearances. Another advantage of these methods is that they can be used in AutoCAD LT, which doesn’t have any true 3-D capabilities at all.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Regions | 3D Surfaces

In this lesson, you’ll begin using true 3-D commands. First you will create a 2-D region and then extrude it into a 3-D solid. Then you will add 3-D surfaces to the tops of your previous drawing (line thickness) to
close the back, sides and seat.
Begin a new drawing with the acad.dwt template.
Create 3 layers called SIDES, SEAT, and BACK and give them different colors.
Draw the outlines (using rectangles) of the back, sides and seat as you did in Lesson 3-5, but don’t add line thickness.
You’ll start by creating a region for the back of the chair. Make sure that back is your current layer. (Any region you create will be on the current layer, regardless of which layer the object was on when you selected it.) Start the region command by entering REGION (or REG) at the command line. Pick the polyline that will become the back of the chair and press enter. Your command line should look like this:
Command: REGION
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
1 loop extracted.
If the Region wasn’t created, it usually means that you have a gap in the shape. Polylines must be closed to be used for Regions. Repeat this for the other polylines representing the 2 arms and the seat, ensuring that you have the correct layer current.
At this point, you have four 2-D regions. The next step is to extrude them into 3-D solid objects. Make BACK the current layer and start the EXTRUDE command. Pick the region on the back layer. Look at the command line. You will be asked a few things:
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Specify height of extrusion or [Path]: 34
Specify angle of taper for extrusion :
The first thing that AutoCAD needs is the height of the extrusion. This is similar to the thickness that you gave the polylines in lesson 5. Remember that if you give a positive number, it will extrude in the positive Z-axis. If you give a negative number, it will extrude the region in the negative Z-axis. Then you are asked for the ‘Extrusion Taper Angle’. In most cases this will be the default of zero. Press to accept the default.
Note: You can also extrude directly from rectangles, circles and closed polylines, but I wanted to show you the Region command.
Extrude the sides and seat. Remember to move the seat up 12″ if you haven’t already. Check that the model is correct by viewing it in the SW isometric view. Type HIDE (HI) and you should see a solid chair like the one below.

Now you can see how solids are a good way to go in some cases. They will usually give you the most accurate way of viewing the model. You can also get a lot of information out of a solid. Start the Mass Properties commands (MASSPROP). Click on one of the solid objects and press . You’ll see that AutoCAD can give you a lot of information about it. A lot of these are useful in engineering applications, but the volume is something that may be needed in many different instances. As you’ll see in the next lessons, you can do a lot with solids.
Save your drawing under the name: chair_extruded.dwg
View the video about extruding into solids.
Open your chair_line_thickness.dwg drawing and immediately save it under a new name: chair_3D_face.dwg
What you’re going to do is add 3-D faces to the tops of the back, sides and sides. Begin by viewing your model in the SW Isometric view. Type hide to see where you need to cap off the extruded lines. Type REGEN or RE to regenerate your screen so you can see all the corners again.
Make sure that BACK is the current layer. Type 3DFACE to begin the command. You will be asked to select some points. Make sure that your endpoint Osnaps are on.
When asked to pick the points, select them in the order as if you were drawing a rectangle. Do not go from one corner to an opposite one. After you have picked the fourth corner, press (enter). Your command line should look like this:
Command: 3DFACE
Specify first point or [Invisible]:
Specify second point or [Invisible]:
Specify third point or [Invisible] :
Specify fourth point or [Invisible] :
Specify third point or [Invisible] :

Repeat the command to add 3-D faces to the top of the sides and the seat. 3D faces are great for making odd shapes that include any four lines (or arcs) that are touching).
Enter the HIDE commands to check that it was done correctly. If it all worked, you should see an image that looks identical to the solid model. You’ll notice that the 3D face covers what would be the opening at the top of the arms and the back. If it was done incorrectly, there may be a line running down from the back corner of each piece.
Save the file.
Now you have created some true 3-D objects. Take some time to think about how much work was involved in each method: Wireframe, line thickness and extruding. Think about instances where one might be better than the other. Review the methods that you have used so far:
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Extruding | Lofting

The purpose of this lesson is to look further at the EXTRUDE command. As you saw in Lesson 3-7, it can be used to create a 3D solid from a closed 2D shape. Two other ways you can extrude (which you may have seen as options on the command line) are to taper the extrusion and the extrude a shape along a path. If you need to, you can also combine the two options and extrude along a path while tapering the shape (shown below).

One example where you can use extruded paths is to represent pipes in a drawing. You may not use the tapered path option often, but at least you know it’s there.
Draw a POLYLINE from 0,0 to 120,0 to 120,120 to 240,120 to 240,0 and then press to finish the command.
Do a Zoom > Extents to see the polyline and then zoom out a little more. Your line should look like this:

Next you will put a 24 unit radius on all the corners. The easiest way to do this is using the Polyline option of the FILLET command.
Command: F
Current settings: Mode = TRIM, Radius = 0.0000
Select first object or [Polyline/Radius/Trim/mUltiple]: R
Specify fillet radius : 24
Select first object or [Polyline/Radius/Trim/mUltiple]: P
Select 2D polyline:
3 lines were filleted

What you’re going to do next is extrude a circle a long the polyline – or to be more accurate, the path of the polyline. This would be one way of drawing pipes in 3D. For this example, you’ll draw a pipeline with a diameter of 12 units.
Next draw CIRCLE at the bottom right end of polyline. Use a diameter of 12 (radius of 6). Once you have that, you need to rotate it in 3D. This is covered in the next lesson as well. To do this, you will select the circle, select the axis you want it rotated around and then choose the angle.
Command: ROTATE3D
Current positive angle: ANGDIR=counterclockwise ANGBASE=0
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Specify first point on axis or define axis by
[Object/Last/View/Xaxis/Yaxis/Zaxis/2points]: X Specify a point on the X axis
Specify rotation angle or [Reference]: 90
Your circle should have rotated 90 degrees and now you are looking at the side of it so the circle appears to be a line as shown in the image below.

Now comes the easy part. Next you will EXTRUDE the circle along the path of the polyline.
Command: EXT
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Specify height of extrusion or [Path]: P
Select extrusion path or [Taper angle]:
Note: After the Extrude command, the polyline will still be there. If you need to keep your drawing clean, remember to erase the path if you don’t need it any more. To see how it looks, view the object in the SW Isometric view, and use the HIDE command. It should look like this:

This is just one option available with the Extrude command. Try it on other paths and see how it works. You will find that if your circle is too large, it may not be able to be extruded on polylines with tight corners. You might then see this error on the command line:
Unable to extrude the selected object.
Any object that can be extruded can be extruded along a path. A path can be any open object such as lines, arc, polylines, splines, etc.
For more practice, try to created a cord for your lamp (Lesson 3-8) using a Spline as the path. You can also extrude 2 circles along a path (make one one circle smaller) and then SUBTRACT the smaller diameter extrusion from the larger to create a hollow pipe.
Extruding along a taper gives you another option in your 3D toolbox. Here is an example of how it is done:
Draw a RECTANGLE 100 units by 100 units.
EXTRUDE the Rectangle 50 units high with a taper angle of 45 °. Here are the commands needed.
Command: EXT
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Select objects to extrude:
1 found
Select objects to extrude:
Specify height of extrusion or [Direction/Path/Taper angle] : T
Specify angle of taper for extrusion : 45
Specify height of extrusion or [Direction/Path/Taper angle] : 50
Here is what you should have (a pyramid):

Use the 3DORBIT command to view it at different angles (Click on the screen, hold the button down and move the cursor around the screen). Try extruding different shapes with various taper angles for more practices.
These options give you a lot of versatility within one command. You may not use these options very often in your everyday drafting, but they’re good to know.
New in AutoCAD 2007 (and long overdue) is the LOFT command. The loft command is similar to the extrude command, but much more versatile. Instead of extruding a single shape, the loft command allows you to extrude several shapes and make one continuous object.
Here’s an example of how it works, I have drawn several shapes and aligned them with the same center. Next, they were copied above and below the largest circle. The goal is to create a smooth object from the 7 profiles shown below.

Here is a front view of the objects before and after the loft command:

The example above is very simple, but think of how you can create complex shapes using this simple command.
The goal of this exercise is to create a “twisted Cube” – a 20x20x20 cube that looks like the top was twisted 45o. We’re going to start with a simple one. Draw a square 20×20. Copy it in the same place. Rotated the 2nd square 45o using the midpoints of the square as the base point. Finally, move the 2nd square up 20 units. You should have something like this from the SW view:
From left to right, the original square, the copied and rotated square and the moved 2nd square. Copy the 2 rectangles over (out of the way) to use in another exercise.

Next you will create a lofted object from the 2 rectangles using the defaults.
Command: LOFT
Select cross-sections in lofting order: 1 found
Select cross-sections in lofting order: 1 found, 2 total
Select cross-sections in lofting order:
Enter an option [Guides/Path/Cross-sections only] :

After hitting OK, you square will be turned into one lofted 3D Solid.
Now something doesn’t look quite right to me. I would expect that corners of the squares would be even so that the lofted square looks like a ‘twisted cube’. Instead, you can see lines going from the middle of the bottom square to a corner of the top square. Use the HIDE command to see how it looks. It looks a little strange, but you can make out that it has some odd shapes.
Take the pair of squares that you copied over earlier and draw lines from lower corner to upper corner as shown in the drawing below:

Now start the LOFT command again. This time you’ll try something different. Select the squares again as your cross sections, then instead of accepting the default, use the Guides option G. Now select the four lines which will guide the loft to create a shape that better represents what you want.
Command: LOFT
Select cross-sections in lofting order: 1 found
Select cross-sections in lofting order: 1 found, 2 total
Select cross-sections in lofting order:
Enter an option [Guides/Path/Cross-sections only] : G
Select guide curves:1 found
Select guide curves:1 found, 2 total
Select guide curves:1 found, 3 total
Select guide curves:1 found, 4 total
Select guide curves:
Compare the 2 objects, the 2nd one should look more like the goal of a twisted cube.
To change how you view things, use the VISUALSTYLES command to open the Visual Styles Manager palette. This command allows you to quickly change settings for how you view 3D objects that previously needed the knowledge of several system variables.
Use the settings highlighted below and press the “Apply to Current Viewport” button (or double click on any of the colored squares at the top. You should now have a clear view that illustrated the differences between the first lofted object and the second one that used guides.

Try creating your own lofted 3D Solids. Anything that can be extruded can be lofted – so any closed shape will work. Try lofting a rectangle to a circle. Try exploding a lofted object. There are many other options to this command, but in a effort to be brief and cover the basics, I will not go further into this command. Remember to pick the cross sections in the correct order, add guides to better define the shape.
In review, you can see how extruding and lofting are two simple commands that give you a lot of power in the 3D world. Get familiar with extruding, as it is a great way to build things in 3D. Lofting will allow you to create more ‘organic’ shapes that previous versions of AutoCAD.
Extra Practice: Draw this object. Start with a 3DPolyline (3DPOLY) and then extrude the circle along the path of the polyline.
Extra Practice: Copy this drawing that shows the dimensions on the left and an isometric view for reference. Then create a lofted object (using the default setting) to look like this.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Revolving Objects | Revsurf | Revolve
Below is a sample drawing showing 2 different revolved objects (lamp and lampshade). It will also be your goal in this lesson to duplicate similar objects.

So far you’ve only worked with very basic blocks. Suppose that you need to draw something other than a rectangular cube. You did some new shapes in the previous lesson while extruding and lofting. AutoCAD gives you two commands for those times when you need to draw cylindrical objects. One (revsurf) will give you a complex model comprised of a 3-D surface made up of many facets. The other (revolve) will give you a solid object. The method that you use will once again depend on what you need it for. Take a look at the lamp on this page. This is an example of two different types of objects requiring two types of object construction. The lampshade is a ‘hollow’ object. Essentially it’s just a surface. The lamp base is a solid object. The revsurf command was used to create the lampshade, while the revolve command was used to create the base. It’s not the greatest looking lamp ever, so in this lesson, you’ll be designing a lamp base and a lampshade. You’ll start by defining half the profile of each object, then revolving them. This will also be good practice for viewing your 3-D model.
Begin a new drawing using the acad.dwt template.
Create 2 layers called SHADE and BASE and give them different colors.
Make BASE your current layer.
Start the polyline command. Begin the profile for your lamp base. Use Ortho mode to draw a a backwards “” shape with the vertical line 10 units up and the horizontal lines can be whatever you like (you’re the designer now).
Next draw a spline to connect the two ends of your polyline using Osnaps.
Hint, when ending the spline command, you will be asked for the start and end vectors – choose the endpoint just to the right of your ends in the vertical line.
Draw a short vertical line as shown in step 3 (make sure Ortho mode is ON).
Make SHADE your current layer Draw a short angled line as shown in step 4 (this is the beginning of the shade.)
Make BASE your current layer. Start the REGION command and create a region from the lines that makeup the base. Don’t include the vertical line at the top.

You have drawn everything you need for this lesson and will use modifying commands to complete the lesson.
First you’ll create the lampshade. Before you do this, though, you’ll have to set two of AutoCAD’s system variables (SURFTAB1 & SURFTAB2). These variables control how many facets you’ll have in your surface. The default is 6, which will give you a very chunky looking shade (like a hexagon instead of a circle). The number you pick will also influence how fast your computer can display the object as well as how round the shade will appear. The sample on the previous page had the SURFTAB1 variable set to 24 to give the lamp 24 sides.
To change these, type in SURFTAB1 at the command prompt enter 24. AutoCAD will show you the current setting and give you a chance to reset it. Set the variable and then set SURFTAB2 enter 2 for this variable. Since the vertical shape is a straight line, you only a setting of 2 (the minimum).
Now you’re ready to create the lampshade. Start the REVSURF (Revolve Surface) command. You will be asked to select the object to revolve. This is the line that represents the lampshade. Then you are asked to select the axis of revolution. Pick the vertical line that you drew up from the base profile. Accept the defaults of 0 for the start angle and 360 for the included angle. This will rotate your line a full 360 degrees.
Command: REVSURF
Current wire frame density: SURFTAB1=24 SURFTAB2=2
Select object to revolve:
Select object that defines the axis of revolution:
Specify start angle :
Specify included angle (+=ccw, -=cw) :
You’ll see that the lampshade looks like a lampshade now.
Next you will create the base. Start the REVOLVE command. You’ll be asked to select objects. Pick the region for the lamp base. Next you’re asked to select the axis of rotation. With your endpoint Osnap on, pick the top and bottom of the vertical line. Accept the default of for the angle of revolution. This will revolve the profile around the vertical line 360 degrees and create a solid object.
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
Specify start point for axis of revolution or
define axis by [Object/X (axis)/Y (axis)] :
Select an object:
Specify angle of revolution :

For the next few lessons, you should switch to the 3D modeling workspace. Look for the icon in the bottom right of the AutoCAD screen.

Use the HIDE (HI) command to see that you really have 3D objects and that the shade blocks the top part of the base.
If you switch to your SW Isometric view, you’ll see that the lamp is ‘on its side’. To arrange it to be sitting on its base, you will have to use the ROTATE3D command. Begin the command by typing ROTATE3D and select the objects that you want to modify and press enter. By accepting to default of 2points, you are going to tell AutoCAD what axis you want the lamp rotated about. Pick the points as shown in the example below. Make sure you have your Osnaps (Quadrant) on. Refer to the right hand rule for the correct rotation angle.
Command: ROTATE3D
Current positive angle: ANGDIR=counterclockwise ANGBASE=0
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 2 found
Select objects:
Specify first point on axis or define axis by
Specify second point on axis:
Specify rotation angle or [Reference]: 90

Now that you have your own 3D model, try some of the viewing options described in Lesson 3-4.
Save your drawing as cool_3d_lamp.dwg as you will need it in a later lesson. You’ll be adding materials to it and rendering a visualization of it soon.
Extra Practice: Create this wineglass by drawing this outline and revolving it.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Materials and Rendering
For the next few lessons, you should switch to the 3D modeling workspace. Look for the icon in the bottom right of the AutoCAD screen.

One of the more interesting aspects of working in 3-D is that you can visualize what your design will look like. You have so far used the hide and shade commands to give you some idea towards how the final piece will look. The next step is to learn about the RENDER command. This command is the most powerful one for viewing your objects. Using render, you are able to add realistic lighting and materials to get the most realistic view of what you’re designing.
You can render objects that don’t have materials applied to them, but it won’t look as realistic as if you have material added.
The first two blocks shown here are examples of the usual wire-frame view before and after the HIDE command.

These two blocks show how the render command can show the object two ways. The block on the left was rendered without a material applied, while the one on the right has a white ash material applied.

Applying the materials is a relatively easy process, getting them to look exactly the way you want them to can be a skill in itself. Once the materials are added, getting the lights and shadows to look realistic is another task that many people prefer to complete in a program other than AutoCAD.
Follow these steps to get an basic, accurate rendering:
• Draw the object using solids or surfaces
• Apply the materials
• Render the scene
Once your objects are drawn, you have to decide which materials you want to use. AutoCAD comes with a basic materials library that you can use to apply to your objects.
Later lessons will teach you how to create new materials and map them to objects. This lesson is designed to allow you to quickly and easily apply materials to your objects.
Start by drawing a basic cube 20x20x20 – this will be your object for testing materials. Go to the Ribbon and find button for Render (shown below). This will give you a new set of tools to work with for visualization.

Now that you have your object (the cube) and a list of materials, you’re ready to go.
Type in Materials and you’ll see the materials palette appear. It’s got a lot of controls in it, but look at the two that I have boxed in red. By changing these two, you can create a number of basic materials to apply to your objects. If you want to get adventurous, you can move the sliders around for Shininess and Opacity.

To add a material to the cube, click on the icon of the material (at the top) you want to use. Then press the Apply Material Button . Move your cursor into the drawing area and your cursor should change to this one:
Just move the new cursor over the cube until it is highlighted and click on it. Press to end the command. It will look like absolutely nothing happened. You may have even done it a couple time to try and make it work. The only way to confirm that the material is attached to the cube is to ‘render the scene’. This is easy – just type in Render and press enter. You’ll see that a new window opened and rendered your cube.

Instead of rendering, you can have more ‘real time’ results by changing your settings in the Render Ribbon. You will see under the Visual Style Panel, you have an option for Realistic.

And then over to the right, you’ll find the Materials Tool Panel – look for the Materials / Texture On setting.

Making these 2 settings will give you a fairly realistic look to your objects. It will still lack realistic lighting, shadows and detailed materials.
Use these commands to apply materials to the lamp that you drew in Lesson 7, and other solid objects you have drawn. Materials cannot be applied to wireframe objects or those drawn with line thickness.
Adding materials is a very simple process. Getting them to look exactly as you want or life-like can take some time to perfect. It is a combination of material, mapping and lighting. This tutorial is just an introduction and later on you’ll be making custom materials and getting even better rendering results.
For even more realistic looking materials, you may have to map them as shown in Lesson 3-13
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Box | Sphere | Cylinder | Cone | Wedge | Torus | Pyramid | Polysolid
For the next few lessons, you should switch to the 3D modeling workspace. Look for the icon in the bottom right of the AutoCAD screen.

What is a Primitive Solid?
A primitive solid is a ‘building block’ that you can use to work with in 3D. Rather than extruding or revolving an object, AutoCAD has some basic 3D shape commands at your disposal. From these basic primitives, you can start building your 3D models. In many cases, you get the same result from drawing circles and rectangles and then extruding them, but doing it one command is generally faster. Using these with Boolean operations can be a very effective way of drawing in 3D. There are eight different primitives that you can choose from and are on the Home > Modeling Tool Panel (when in the 3D workspace).
(Click on the ICON below to go to the command)
Creates a solid box after you provide 2 opposite corners and a height.
Creates a solid sphere from a center point and radius.
Creates a straight cylinder from a center point, radius and height.
Creates a tapered cone from a center point, radius and height.
Creates a triangular wedge from 2 opposite points.
Creates a torus (donut shape) based on center point, radius and tube radius.
Draws a solid object with a polygon (3-32 sides) base that rises to a central point.
Draws a solid object with width and height as would draw a polyline.
You can use primitives to either begin building a model, or it can even be a finished object on its own. Many of these commands are similar to 2D commands, except with an extra co-ordinate in the Z axis. Here is a summary of working with these commands.

Think of a box as an extruded rectangle. It has width, height and depth. It is created by establishing a starting corner and then establishing a second corner by either picking or giving relative co-ordinates.
Here is an example of this:
Command: box
Specify corner of box or [Center]: 2,3,4
Specify corner or [Cube/Length]: @5,7,10
This draws a box that is 5 units in the X-axis wide, 7 units long in the Y-axis and has a depth of 10 units in the positive Z-axis with one corner located at 2,3,4.
Here is another way of drawing that same box:
Command: BOX
Specify corner of box or [Center]: 2,3,4
Specify corner or [Cube/Length]: @5,7
Specify height: 10
Using this method, you establish the first corner as before, but only enter the X and Y co-ordinates of the opposite corner. AutoCAD will then prompt for the height.
Another way of drawing a box is to establish where the center of the box will be:
Command: BOX
Specify corner of box or [CEnter] : C
Center of box : or
Specify corner or [Cube/Length]: @2,3,4
This draws a box that is 4x6x8 based about the center of 0,0,0.
If you want to draw a perfect cube, you can use this option:
Command: BOX
Specify corner of box or [CEnter]:
Specify corner or [Cube/Length]: C
Length: 4
This draws a cube with all sides equal to 4 units based of off a picked point.
The last way of drawing a cube allows you to enter the Length, Width and Height as separate distances, and not based on co-ordinate points.
Command: BOX
Center/ :
Cube/Length/: L
Length: 5
Width: 4
Height: 6
Of course you can also draw a box by picking two opposite corners with your mouse. This is useful for filling in areas and can be very quick. Make sure to use your Osnaps.

A Sphere is a globe-like shape. It is very similar to drawing a circle in that you pick a center point and then input either the radius (default) or diameter. Both methods draw the same sphere in the following examples:
Command: SPHERE
Specify center point or [3P/2P/Ttr]:
Specify radius or [Diameter] : 6
Command: SPHERE
Specify center point or [3P/2P/Ttr]:
Specify radius of sphere or [Diameter]:D
Specify Diameter: 12
Both of the above methods will give you the same result.
You also have the options of selecting 3 Points, 2 Points, or using 2 tangents and radius (TTR).

A cylinder is just like an extruded circle. Creating one is very similar to creating a circle, except that you are giving depth to it.
These two examples would draw the same cylinder:
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center point for base of cylinder or [Elliptical] :
Diameter/: 2.5
Center of other end/: 1.2
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center point for base of cylinder or [Elliptical] :
Specify radius for base of cylinder or [Diameter]: D
Diameter: 5
Specify height of cylinder or [Center of other end]: 1.2
Drawing a cone is the same as drawing a cylinder, except that the resulting object tapers smoothly from the bottom to a point at the top.
Command: CONE
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center point for base of cone or [Elliptical] :
Specify radius for base of cone or [Diameter]: 4
Specify height of cone or [Apex]: 8
Command: CONE
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center point for base of cone or [Elliptical] :
Specify radius for base of cone or [Diameter]: D
Specify diameter for base of cone: 8
Apex/: 8
Another way of drawing a cone is to enter in the center point, the radius (or diameter) and then establish where you want the apex (point of cone) to be. You can either type in co-ordinate points or pick a point with your cursor.

Command: CONE
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center point for base of cone or [Elliptical] :
Specify radius for base of cone or [Diameter]: 5
Specify height of cone or [Apex]: A
Specify apex point: @5,5,6
One of the trickier primitives to draw is the wedge. You have to be careful which co-ordinates you input to make the wedge lie in the position you want. If it doesn’t turn out just as you hoped for, you can always rotate it.
Here is an example of drawing a wedge:
Command: WEDGE
Specify first corner of wedge or [CEnter]:
Specify corner or [Cube/Length]: @5,2,4
Once the first corner is established, you can either enter points, or pick a spot. AutoCAD will draw the shape like it would draw a cube except it is slice in half along the length starting at the point above the first corner. There are other options to drawing wedges and see the box examples for these.
A torus is a donut-like shape or something resembling an inner tube. When drawing one you have to enter the center point, a radius to the center of the tube and the radius of the tube itself.
Command: TORUS
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Specify center of torus :
Specify radius of torus or [Diameter]: 3
Specify radius of tube or [Diameter]:.25
The diagram above shows the resulting diameters from the input above. A center mark indicates the picked center of the torus.
To draw a pyramid, you need to know the diameter of the base and the height. The diameter can either be inscribed (inside the circle) or circumscribed (outside the circle). You can define the number of edges to from 3 to 32.
Command: PYR
5 sides Inscribed
Specify center point of base or [Edge/Sides]:
Specify base radius or [Circumscribed] : C
Specify base radius or [Inscribed] : I
Specify base radius or [Circumscribed] : 4
Specify height or [2Point/Axis endpoint/Top radius] : 9
In the above example, I showed how to switch between Inscribed or Circumscribed as the options change depending upon the method selected.
Try creating some pyramids using a variety of methods.

This is a new command for AutoCAD 2007. A polysolid allows you to draw a solid object while defining the height and the width. I think this command is aimed at the architects, who will enjoy the ability to quickly draw solid walls.
Command: PSOLID
POLYSOLID Specify start point or [Object/Height/Width/Justify] : H
Specify height : 96
Specify start point or [Object/Height/Width/Justify] : W
Specify width : 6
Specify start point or [Object/Height/Width/Justify] : J
Enter justification [Left/Center/Right] : L
Specify start point or [Object/Height/Width/Justify] :
As mentioned in previous lessons, solids are usually the way to go with 3D CAD. Depending upon your chosen field, you may use 3D meshes in Civil Drafting, Isometric in HVAC, solids in mechanical, etc.
I recommend getting used to solids if you are doing any kind of mechanical drafting or architectural drafting if you are using base AutoCAD software. When using solids, you will usually take a shape and extrude it – then use boolean commands and others to edit it. Here is a basic building that was quickly drawn using a variety of primitive solids.

Extra Practice: Draw some primitive solids using the dimensions shown above or make up your own. Try to create a building out primitive solids.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Union | Subtract | Intersect | Extrude Face | Slice | 3D Align

First, to explain the funny name : “It was named after George Boole, who first defined an algebraic system of logic in the mid 19th century.”
Working in 3D usually involves the use of solid objects. At times you may need to combine multiple parts into one, or remove sections from a solid. AutoCAD has some commands that make this easy for you. These are the boolean operations as well as some other helpful commands for solids editing.:
(Boolean) UNION / UNI
Joins two or more solids into creating one based on the total geometry of all.
(Boolean) SUBTRACT / SU
Subtracts one or more solids from another creating a solid based on the remaining geometry.
(Boolean) INTERSECT / IN
Creates a single solid from one more solids based on the intersected geometry.
Allows you to increase the size of a solid by extruding out one of its faces.
Slices a solid along a cutting plane.
Aligns 2 3D Objects in 3D space.
The boolean commands work only on solids or regions. They are easy to work with IF you follow the command line prompts. Here is an example of each.
Start these exercises by drawing a box 5W X 7L X 3H and a cylinder 3 units in diameter so that the center of the circle is on the midpoint of the block.
Below left, there is a box and a cylinder. These are two separate objects. If you want to combine them into one object, you have to use the union command.

The UNION command combines one or more solid objects into one object.
Here are the command line prompts and the resulting object:
Command: UNION
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
NOTE: The object that you select first will determine the properties of the unioned object when it is created.
The subtract command is used to cut away, or remove the volume of one object from another. It is important to check the command line when using this command. Remember that AutoCAD always asks for the object that you are subtracting FROM first, then it asks for the objects to subtract. Here is an example:

The SUBTRACT command removes the volume of one or more solid objects from an object.
Select solids and regions to subtract from…
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects: Select solids and regions to subtract…
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
You can also Subtract any number of solids from a number of solids. If you do this, the solids that you subtracted from will become ONE object – even if they are not touching. Be careful with this (although you can always slice the object if you need to).
This command creates a new solid from the intersecting volume of two or more solids or regions. AutoCAD will find where the two objects have an volume of interference and retain that area and discard the rest. Here is an example of this command shown below:

The INTERSECT command combines the volume of one or more solid objects at the areas of interference to create one solid object.
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
You can intersect solids that are not touching – they will become one object.
Try these 3 boolean commands with various 3D solid objects to get familiar with them. Draw the block in Lesson 3-2. Draw the outline of the block, extrude it – then draw the circle and extrude it. Then subtract the circle from the block.
These commands will allow you do a lot of 3D work, using only the extrude and these boolean commands. Of course, there are some other ways to edit 3D solids.
This command does exactly what the name implies. You can slice a 3D solid just like you were using a knife.
Start with the basic block and cylinder shape you used in the examples above.

The INTERSECT command combines the volume of one or more solid objects at the areas of interference to create one solid object.
Command: SLICE
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects: Specify first point on slicing plane by
[Object/Zaxis/View/XY/YZ/ZX/3points] :
Specify second point on plane:
Specify third point on plane:
Specify a point on desired side of the plane or [keep Both sides]:
This is a very useful command – think of it as a trim in 3D. Make sure you have your Osnaps on for this command and that you pick the correct points. In a complex 3D drawing, this can be tough to see. Undo this slice and try picking 3 other points. See if the results match what you thought they would do.
Just as there is a “trim”-like command in 3D – there is also a “stretch”. This is a new command in recent versions.
I usually start this command by clicking on the Ribbon item Home > Solids Editing > Extrude Faces.
The command is quite easy to use, but you need to be careful on which face you select.
Try to extend one edge of the block by 1 inch. Start the command and pick the face on the side (on the bottom line). You’ll notice that the bottom face highlights as well. Next type R and pick the bottom face to remove it. Then follow the command line to finish the command.
Command: _solidedit
Solids editing automatic checking: SOLIDCHECK=1
Enter a solids editing option [Face/Edge/Body/Undo/eXit] : F
Enter a face editing option
[Extrude/Move/Rotate/Offset/Taper/Delete/Copy/coLor/Undo/eXit] : E
Select faces or [Undo/Remove]: 2 faces found.
Select faces or [Undo/Remove/ALL]: R
Remove faces or [Undo/Add/ALL]: 2 faces found, 1 removed.
Remove faces or [Undo/Add/ALL]:
Specify height of extrusion or [Path]: 1
Specify angle of taper for extrusion :
Solid validation started.
Solid validation completed.
Enter a face editing option
[Extrude/Move/Rotate/Offset/Taper/Delete/Copy/coLor/Undo/eXit] :
You should end up with this:

Another way of editing faces in AutoCAD 2007 and newer is to use grips to extrude the faces, just like you would on a 2D object. Here is an image below that shows some of the grips available.This option is only available on the basic shapes shown in lesson 3-10.

Sometimes, you may find it faster or easier to draw something separately and then move and align it into place. The command to use this in 3D is (funnily enough) 3DALIGN.
This is a simple example, but will show you the method.
Draw a box that is 5 x 5 x 6 tall. Next draw a cylinder that is 3 in diameter and 1 tall. It should look like this:

The goal will be to align the cylinder on the front face of the box where the dotted line is.
Turn on your quadrant Osnaps. Start the 3DALIGN command. You will first be asked to select the objects – select the cylinder and press enter.
Now you will be asked to select the 3 points as indicated below: the center and 2 quadrants. Now the cylinder will be “stuck” to your cursor as AutoCAD asks where it needs to go.
Line the cylinder up with the box by using object tracking to locate the center of the face on the box first. Then pick on the midpoints to line up the cylinder to the box. After you pick the 3rd point, the cylinder should move into place and end the command.
Here’s a view of the points that were picked incase you had trouble.

The finished ‘alignment job’ should look like this after using the hide command.


After learning how to draw some basic 3D solids, you can see that using equally basic editing commands you can have a lot of options. Before advancing, review these commands by drawing simple 3D shapes and editing them.
With the commands explained on these pages, you will be able draw most of the shapes you will need in 3D. There are other options, but get very familiar with these 3D editing options before moving on. The drawings done in the sample drawing section were done almost exclusively with the commands taught in Lessons 3-7 to 3-11. Your approach will make the project either easy or difficult. Think of the various ways to draw an object before starting. You could save days with some forethought.
Extra Practice: Draw this object as a 3D solid using primitive solids and boolean operations.
Extra Practice: Draw this object as a 3D solid using primitive solids and boolean operations.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Setting and Using the UCS | Dynamic UCS

When working in 3D, it sometimes necessary to change the plane that you are drawing on. For example, if you need to add some detail to the side of a wall, you would want to draw on that plane. It’s like taking a sheet of paper up off the floor (WCS) and taping it onto the wall (UCS).
The WCS is the World Co-ordinate System. This is the way that the standard X,Y and Z axis are directed when you begin a new drawing (X to the right, Y pointing up and Z pointing towards you). The UCS is the User Co-ordinate System. This is a ‘redirection’ of the WCS based on parameters set by the AutoCAD user.
There are several ways of doing this, and we’ll look at an example here.

This is a simple shape drawn on the WCS with one corner located at 0,0,0.
Here is the same object shown a new UCS based on the side of the object, so that you are enabled to draw on the side of the building – maybe to put a door in? Note the direction that the X and Y axes are now pointing.

Notice that the positive X Axis is now pointing along side of the structure.
Here’s how it was changed: You first choose the 3 point option by typing 3 at the prompt. Next you have to pick three points to define the plane. The first point is the new origin. The second point is where you want the positive X-axis to be positioned. The last point is for the positive Y-Axis.
Command: UCS
Current ucs name: *NO NAME*
Enter an option [New/Move/orthoGraphic/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/Apply/?/World]
: 3
Specify new origin point :
Specify point on positive portion of X-axis :
Specify point on positive-Y portion of the UCS XY plane

This is the ‘3-Point’ option of the UCS Command. It is one of the most useful, because you control exactly where the new drawing plane will be. You must also be extremely careful when picking the 3 points, or your plane can be shifted and cause some major problems. I would recommend using this method for most of your UCS work – or at least get very comfortable with it before moving on to other methods.
NOTE: Pressing enter immediately after entering the UCS command accepts the default of returning to the WCS.
Here are the other options of the UCS command.
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: O
Origin point :
This option moves the UCS based on a newly picked origin point. It does not shift the drawing plane at all as you only pick one point.
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: ZA
Origin point :
Point on positive portion of Z-axis :
This choice allows you to pick two points. First you pick the new origin, then you pick a point for the positive Z-Axis. Make sure you type ZA to choose this option.
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: OB
Select object to align UCS:
Using this method, you have to pick on a 2D object that is lying on a particular drawing plane. This gets tricky, as you have to be aware how your positive X and Y axes end up.
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: V
By choosing the view option, AutoCAD will automatically reset the UCS to be aligned with your current view, keeping the origin where it was previously located.
X / Y / Z:
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: X
Rotation angle about X axis : -90
By selecting either the X, Y or Z options, you need to first pick a point along the axis you have chosen, then provide a rotation angle based on the right hand rule mentioned earlier. This example shows how you would rotate the UCS -90 around the positive X axis.
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: P
This option returns you to the last setting you had for the UCS. You’ll use this one a lot in 3D. You might need to change your UCS to draw one object, then go back to what you had it set at before.
The next options are used in conjunction with each other. You have the option of saving a particular UCS with a name. You can then restore that named UCS or delete if you no longer will be using it. Here are examples of these options:
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: S
?/Desired UCS name: VIEW1
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: R
?/Name of UCS to restore: VIEW1
Command: UCS
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: ?
UCS name(s) to list :
Current UCS: VIEW1
Saved coordinate systems:
Origin = , X Axis =
Y Axis = , Z Axis =
Origin/ZAxis/3point/OBject/View/X/Y/Z/Prev/Restore/Save/Del/?/: D
UCS name(s) to delete : VIEW1
Deleted 1 UCS name.
This was a series where a view named VIEW1 was saved, restored, listed, and then deleted.
Another option to try is using Dynamic UCS, but I don’t recommend this technique for new users. Here it is anyway. Down on the status bar, you have an icon that turns this setting on or off.
With Dynamic UCS turned on, you can easily draw on any surface you want. If you have a drawing like the basic building shown at the top of the page, you can draw a rectangle or box on the roof without manually setting a new UCS. The key is to look and see which face is highlighted as you move your cursor on the screen.
In the images below, you can see how this works. The left side shows the ‘roof’ face is highlighted and the cursor has changed to reflect the new UCS. The right shows how this looks when the right side face is active. Not the change in the colored cursor while the UCS Icon remains the same.

Other notes about the UCS:
Be careful when choosing a UCS. Look to the UCS icon and see that it is aligned the way you want it to be. Look for a clean vertical lines if it should be aligned along a vertical plane. Most of the time I will use the 3 Point UCS option and then Previous to return and then back to a different 3 point option and so on. 3 Point gives me a lot of versatility without having to think about it too much (and concentrate on how I’m going to draw the project.
Always be aware of where your UCS is located. Make sure that positive X is where you expect it to be.
Extra Practice: Create this drawing by switching the UCS to the correct plane to draw the roof and skylights. For the geometry, use a combination of extruding and boolean operations to build it.
Extra Practice: Create this drawing by setting the UCS to achieve what you need. Tip: Extrude a rectangle, set the UCS and extrude another rectangle.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Mapping materials on Objects

Whenever you are attaching materials to an object in AutoCAD, you are effectively ‘stretching’ the image of the material around the object. For many objects, this can be acceptable. For a lot of others, though, you may want to adjust how the material is displayed on the object. This process is called mapping. The commands in this lesson replace the SETUV commands used in previous versions of AutoCAD.
Here is an example of the same object with the same material, but with the mapping of the material adjusted on the right-side object.

By default, AutoCAD will apply the material as it sees fit. In this example above, the scale of the material is too small. To properly render the block, mapping is used to adjust and fine tune the material so that it looks the way you want it to appear. With a little knowledge of this command, you can make your renderings more realistic.
Here are the commands needed for mapping your materials:
Render > Materials > Material Mapping Enter this on the command line to select mapping options via keyboard or icons.
Planar Mapping
Render > Materials > Material Mapping > Planar Maps individual faces of an object.
Box Mapping
Render > Materials > Material Mapping > Box Maps any solid object with controls for width, depth and height as well as rotation on all sides.
Sphere Mapping
Render > Materials > Material Mapping > Spherical Allows you to map any solid object, but uses rotation only.
Cylinder mapping
Render > Materials > Material Mapping > Cylindrical Maps a solid object with height and rotation only.

Start by selecting the Ribbon Location Render > Materials > Material Mapping (or CTRL+3) and you will see a large palette appear that includes the default material library.

The palette you have just opened contains all the default palettes in AutoCAD. You may or may not see the one you need when you open them up this way.
The palette you want for this exercise is the one called “Masonry – Materials Sample”.
If you don’t see it, click in the area shown by the red box in the image to the left. This will display a list of all palettes available. Select the one needed for this exercise and it should then look like the one shown on the left.
Once you see the correct palette, click the icon on the top for the Masonry.Unit Masonry.Brick.Modular.Common.
This action will add it to your materials palette (which you will see in the next steps).
Start by drawing a box that is 120x120x240 high and do a Zoom > Extents. Set your visual style to Realistic (Render > Visual Styles > Realistic). Switch to the SW ISO view.
As shown in lesson 3-9 apply the material called “Masonry.Unit Masonry.Brick.Modular.Common.” to the box. Depending upon your settings it may look something like this in a default view.

In this view, you can see the bricks, but we want to make them bigger – this is done via mapping.
We’ll start with the BOX MAPPING icon and then select the box and press enter.
You should now see some new grips on your object (this are different from the grips that allow you to adjust the size of an object.

The above image shows the added options when the rotate option is selected on the command line.
With the grips active, you will need to make the map larger by selecting the mapping grips one at time to make the material bounding box (in yellow) larger. Once you have finished moving a grip, click in the drawing space to release it. Note that there is one on the top as well (for height) as well as the four at the bottom. When you are happy with the look, press enter to end the command. Your new and improved box could look something like this:

As you can see, the one on the right looks better than the default on the left.
Now start the Box Mapping option again, and type in R to invoke the Rotate option. You should now see the circular grips as shown two images above. To rotate the map, move your mouse over one of the circles and it will change color. Click and you will be able to rotate the material around the axis you chose.

From these simple options, you can control the look of any material on any object. Ultimately, the look of your final rendering is the choice of you – the designer.
The image below shows the options below for the cylindrical and spherical mapping commands:

The left image shows the options available with the spherical mapping command. Note that it is limited to Rotation and Moving. The right image shows the options of the cylindrical mapping command. It is limited to rotation and height adjustment.
Try the two mapping methods shown above on a sphere and cylinder. Then try using the Box Mapping command on those objects. You may find that in common usage, the Box Mapping method will provide you with the most versatile options to achieve the look you want.
The other option not discussed yet is the PLANAR MAPPING command. It works a little differently than the others in that adjusts the material on one face only instead of the whole object.
Draw a cube 120x120x120. Apply a material to it that has some contrast to it so you can see the results clearly.
Start the Planar Mapping Command using this icon:
Instead of just selecting an object, press the Control Key as you click the box and you will see that only one face is highlighted. Click on the face that you want to map. From there, you will see that you have the same resize and rotate grips available to you, but will only affect the one face you selected.
For practice, try mapping several different materials onto various objects of different sizes. You will need to get very familiar with this concept to produce decent renderings.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Creating your own custom materials
Once you start working with AutoCAD’s default materials, you’ll soon realize that you don’t really have a large selection. What if you need a white stucco material for a wall? Or grass for the lawn, or brushed aluminum, or… well, you get the picture. What you need to do is create your own materials.
The first step is to locate an image that represents the material you want in your drawing. There are a number of sources available on the internet. Check out the links page for some. Below are 3 samples you can try for this lesson.
Metal Sample Brick Sample Wood Sample

Pick on any of the images above and when the new window opens, right click on the large image and select “Save image as…” and save it in a folder where you can find it easily.
Now start the MATERIALS command to open the Materials Palette.

At first glance, this will look very different if you are used to previous versions of AutoCAD. If you have used 3D Studio MAX, then it may look familiar.
Palettes are used in AutoCAD in much the same way as dialog boxes. A big difference is that they can be left on the screen while you are drawing. You can expand or collapse a palette by clicking the buttons on the bottom left. Close it by clicking the X on the top left corner.
In the top section of the palette is the materials used in the drawing shown as balls in default view. Below are buttons you will be using to work with the material, and at the bottom is a section for editing the material.
I will take you through the simple process of creating a material from an image file and applying it to an an object in your drawing. Then you will learn how to modify the material.
The small red box shows where some icons are that you will be using this tutorial. The larger red box shows where the controls are to modify your material.
Other lessons will give you more information on mapping the material to an object.
To create a new material from one of the images from above (or another texture) open the materials palette and click New Material button. This will open a dialog for naming.

Give it a good name and description (start with good habits) and press OK. Now you are back in the Materials Palette.
Editing Basic Materials
Using the sliders in the Material Editor – Global section, try some new settings on your new material. Here are the setting I made for the material shown below.

Although the example above is very basic, it shows how you can quickly create some materials for a fast rendering. Keep this in mind when you are just starting your rendering process or when you don’t have any advanced materials to work with.
Editing Custom Materials
Create another new material like you did above. Instead of editing the material, this time you will use on of the images you saved (from above) to create a more realistic material.
Click on the Select button in the Diffuse map section:

You should notice a new ball in the top section that has the material mapped to it. The clarity of the material will depend on it’s contrast in the image and the size of the ball in the top section.
Now is the east part. Draw a solid object of some kind. Highlight your new material by clicking on the ball. Next click the Apply Material to Object button . Finally, select the object.
If everything looks right, great. If not, you may have to use the mapping tools you learned in Lesson 3-13 to adjust the material to your liking.
Another option to get the materials set in scale to the object is to use the “Scale to Object” setting in the Materials Palette. This is found after you have created a new material next to the Select… button which will open up the Adjust Bitmap dialog (formally found in the SETUV command).

This will help get the scale close to what you want it to be, of course this depends on the size of your original image file (as a rule, larger files are better as you can scale them down and retain clarity) and the size of your object. This dialog box also allows for more settings, but each will apply to your own specific needs and image files. Try different settings and check the results. There are an infinite number of possibilities – so explore – go crazy with it – have fun.
To make the material transparent or translucent, move the opacity slider on the Materials Palette to about 50 – making the material 50% transparent. You can adjust other options as shown in this dialog box.
This is just an introduction to the world of creating new materials. If you have a photo editing program like Photoshop, Gimpshop (it’s free) or another, you will be able to adjust the image files to fit your needs.
For practice, here is good way to get graphics into your renderings. Draw an octagon (POLYGON command) and turn it into a REGION. Then create a new material using this image of a stop sign and apply it to the region. You will most likely have to adjust map settings to make it look good (or use the scale to object option shown above). For even more fun, add a wooden pole to it and use 3DROTATE to make it stand up properly.
For more practice, try downloading some images or using ones that you already have and apply them to objects. Use the mapping tools to adjust them.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Putting the concepts into practice

There is only one way to get better at AutoCAD and that is to practice. In 3D, you not only need to know the commands, but also how best to use them. As you start drawing in 3D, you may start looking at everyday objects and think about how they would be drawn. Look at the sample drawing page and think about how they were done – using only the commands shown in this level.
If you have finished the previous exercises and would like more practice, try this:
Sketch out a simple coffee table on paper. Add the basic dimensions. Draw this in AutoCAD using any 3-D method. Once you’ve done this, draw another lamp and place it on the table. Use rotate3d if you need to turn it right-side up. Find a good view to display what you have drawn. Add materials.
Take your file from Lesson 3-7 that gave you a solid model and use the fillet and chamfer commands to add some smoother corners to your chair.

Draw the object that you draw in the isometric lesson in 3-D using extruded regions. You will have to first create the outline, then the circle. Turn both objects into regions. Subtract the circle from the outline to have one remaining region. Extrude this to get your solid object.
For this tutorial, you should be familiar with these commands: region, extrude, union, subtract.
This tutorial shows you a method for quickly turning 2D shapes into 3D objects. One of biggest problems with 2D objects is that they are not always drawn properly. This is something that should have been addressed when it was first drawn, but here is a way of working around it.
First lets start with a basic shape (remember the array command). This is the profile for a gasket. It is drawn in 2D with lines, arc and circles.

Let’s hope it was well drawn, meaning no overlapping lines, gaps, etc. Copy the objects over to the side for the next section.
Here is how you turn it into a 3D object easily. Start the REGION command. Draw a crossing window around the whole area and press enter. Once you have your regions created, you can extrude them. Start the EXTRUDE command and select all objects. Press enter and enter your extrusion height and taper angle. When these are extruded, begin your SUBTRACT command and first select the larger object first (to be subtracted from), press enter then select all the other objects and press enter. When you change to your SW Isometric view, type in HIDE (enter) and you should see the object as shown below.

Remember that you can always work in your SW Isometric view to see the progress of your 3D work.
There is one problem when using the REGION command. If have two lines that are overlapping, AutoCAD can not make a region out of the objects. You could search until find the offending line, but there is an easier way. Here’s this approach:
Now look at the copy of the shape that you made you earlier. Instead of using the region command, use the BPOLY command. This command works similar to the HATCH command in that it finds the boundaries for you. Start the command and you will see this dialog box come up:

Accept the defaults and press on the Pick Points button. In your drawing screen, pick an internal point as if you were hatching it and then press enter.
Now start your EXTRUDE command and select the last (L) object created and extrude it. Now begin the SUBTRACT command and select the outside object, (press enter) then use a crossing box to select everything else and press enter. Use the HIDE command to ensure that everything is as it should be.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Creating a Building in 3D

If you have completed the previous lessons in this level, you now have the tools to create a large variety of objects in 3D. This lesson is designed to show how to create simple building in 3D from start to finish. The same process can be used to build more complex buildings as well.
Below is an image of the final building that is explained in this lesson.

Start by setting your units to architectural (DDUNITS). Remember to create new layers for each type of objects you will draw (windows, doors, walls, roof, etc). Also use the “Render > Visual Styles > Realistic” option when adding materials.
Now draw the bases of the walls using the dimensions are shown below. You don’t need to dimension it. Optionally, you can use the (new in AutoCAD 2007) POLYSOLID command.

Now you will create regions out of all your wall lines.
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 7 found
Select objects:
3 loops extracted.
3 Regions created.
You should now have 3 regions. If you don’t then it usually means the your lines don’t meet.
Next you are going to EXTRUDE the walls 9′ high.
Current wire frame density: ISOLINES=4
Select objects: Specify opposite corner: 3 found
Select objects:
Specify height of extrusion or [Path]: 9′
Specify angle of taper for extrusion :
It should appear that nothing has happened. You will need to go to the SW Isometric view to see how the wall were extruded. Do this and then use the HIDE Command. Something doesn’t look right. What you will need to do is Subtract the 2 smaller regions from the larger region. You should see this result after the Subtract and Hide commands.

Now it’s starting to look like something. Your walls are almost complete.
Next you will add a door or two. The first door, on the outside will be on the bottom left wall. Start by drawing a rectangle from the middle of the outside wall and the other corner @6,36 – this will create the opening. Your rectangle should look like this:

Now you want to EXTRUDE the rectangle up 6’8″ and SUBTRACT it from the wall.
Create a door layer (or make it active if you already have one) and draw a rectangle in the door opening that is 3″x 3′ – put it in the middle of the door opening. Extrude it 6’8″.
Now create a second door (and opening) on the inside wall parallel to the outside wall that is 32″ wide. After you do that, the drawing should look like this from the SW Isometric view:

If you haven’t saved your drawing yet, now would be a good time.
Now you’re going to add some windows. This will be done using a similar process as the door. You will create openings, then add the window.
Create 2 rectangles in the position shown below.

EXTRUDE the window 36 inches. Them move them up 3’8″ in the Z axis. Remember your relative co-ordinates from Lesson 1-1?
Command: M
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects: 1 found, 2 total
Select objects: Specify base point or displacement:
Specify second point of
displacement or : @0,0,3’8
Now mirror the bottom left box to the opposite wall (Note: It will be easier if you revert to the top view for the mirror command)and the upper box to the inside wall so you have the 4 boxes looking like this :

Next, subtract the four window openings from the walls. After switching to SW Isometric view and using the hide command, your drawing should look like this:

Now the window panes have to go in. Since this is a simple drawing, you just be putting in a plane of glass to represent the window.
Create a new layer for windows. The easiest way to do this is just like you created the doors. Make the window 1″ deep. Once again, start with the rectangle at the base of the window opening, extrude it the height of the window opening and move it into the centre.
Once you have one window made, copy it to the other openings. Save your drawing and then type in SHADE and choose the G option. Your building should look like this:

Wow – now you’re getting there. Next you will add to the walls to make them the right pitch for the roof.
First you will have to change your UCS. Start he UCS command and choose the 3Point option by typing 3 . When prompted (watch the command line) select the points shown below:

After you pick the third point, the cursor should turn on its side. Now you can draw on the side of the building. In this case, you will be drawing a triangular shape to represent the rest of the wall up to the roof.
Draw a LINE from the middle of the top outside of the wall up 6′. Then draw a POLYLINE from one corner, to the next, to the top of the line and use the C option to close the polyline.
Finally EXTRUDE the triangle -6″ and then COPY the extruded object to the other side of the building. Erase the vertical line you drew. You should have something like this now:

To finish the wall, perform a UNION (Lesson 3-11) between the triangular sections and the bottom wall.
You’re almost done now. You will need to draw the roof to complete the drawing.
First you will need to change your UCS to align it with the slant of the roof. Use the points shown below – and be careful which endpoints you select.

Now draw a RECTANGLE from the top left corner of the triangular shape to the bottom of the opposite corner of the other triangular shape. It should like the magenta rectangle below:

New EXTRUDE the rectangle 6″. Then copy 12″ down in the Y Axis and then copy it 12″ up in the Y Axis – when you have the 3 sections UNION them into one object.
Change back to the WCS (UCS ) and mirror the roof object to the other side. Check that it looks correct by viewing the model from the left and from the front.

The last thing to do is trim the excess pieces off the top of the roof where the two slabs intersect. This will be done using the SLICE command (Lesson 3-11).
Go to the SW Isometric view.
Start the SLICE command and select the roof section towards the back. Then when you are asked to pick three points on the slicing plane, select any three points on the top of the roof section at the front.
Switch to the NW Isometric view and slice other roof section in the same manner. Check to see that your roof looks correct, and if it is, union the two roof objects now.
Go to the WCS and copy the roof 12″ in the Positive X Axis and 12 ” in the Negative X Axis and then union all 3 roof objects. Your building should now look like the one below:

Your building is complete. To add a lawn , draw a very large rectangle around the house at the same Z level as the bottom of the house. Then turn it into a region so that materials can be added later.
Save the drawing, then if you like, add materials and render the final image. In the image at the top of the lesson, the door is detailed material. More detailed instructions for rendering will be found in Lesson 3-17.
Here are the materials used for the rendering at the top of the page. You can download them and add them to your Textures folder. The door texture would be used like the stop sign you may have rendered in lesson 3-14.
door.jpg | grey_roof_slate.jpg | grass.jpg | stucco_white.jpg
You can also try to add more detail to the building if you like. But now you can see that using a few commands (in this case about 12), you can draw decent looking models.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Basic Lighting and Rendering

If you have successfully worked your way through this level, you should be able to create some decent looking models in AutoCAD. The next step is learning to render them. This lesson will include a look at the new lighting and rendering options in AutoCAD 2007.
Looking at the image below, from Lesson 3-16, you’ll notice that it has a background of clouds, shadows and looks (if you squint) real. You should already know how to create the model, view in a perspective view, add materials, map them and look at them in the viewport. The next step is to create lighting, add a background and render the scene out to a file.

This lesson will use the house model as an example. If you didn’t draw it (yes, you should have) here is file that you can download as well as the textures used.
Building drawing file building.dwg

Roof material grey_roof_slate.jpg

Grass material grass.jpg

Wall material stucco_white.jpg

Door material door.jpg

Sky background sky.jpg

Here’s the drawing ‘as-is’ with the Visual Style set to Realistic – with materials added, but not mapped.

Note that it looks very rough at this point

Now with the materials mapped, it’s starting to look more realistic:

Looking better, but not there yet.
Next step is to add a background to the scene. To do this, you’ll have to create a new view. Set up a perspective view similar to what’s shown above (see Lesson 3-4) and name it using the VIEW command. The comes witha ready made perspective view (PERS). Click on this. Under the General settings, you will see one for Background. Select this and choose Image. This overrides other background settings used in other views.

Find the sky.jpg and select it in the next dialog, then select the “Adjust Image ” button.

This will give you the next dialog that allows to scale the image for the background. This is similar to setting your Windows desktop background. Choose Stretch in this example.

Press OK and OK and Apply and OK to get back to the drawing screen. If all went well, then it should look something like this:

Ok, not the best background, but you now know the concept.
So now you have the model, the materials, the mapping and the background. All that is left is some light and shadows. There are three types of lights in AutoCAD: Point, Spotlight and Distance. I’ll show how each one is created and adjusted.
One form of a distance light is the Sun (most distance of all light).
To do this, type in SUNPROPERTIES or (menu: Render > Sun and Location). It will give you this palette:

This palette allows you to control the Sun. Yes, it sounds very powerful, and it is.
First you must turn on the Sun, if it isn’t already. Then select the time and day sometime you like (in daylight). Finally, pick on the “Launch Geographic Location” button shown to the left. This will open a dialog that will allow you to pick the nearest city to you or your exact co-ordinates.
As you set it, you should see the results in your drawing area. If it seems too bright, you can also adjust the intensity of the Sun.
Try different settings until you get the look that you like.
Note: If you selected Las Vegas as your Location, and you have lawn, your water bill will be quite expensive.
To render the scene, type in RENDER. You should get something like this:

Now that you see how it works, you can try different settings. Earlier in the day should produce longer shadows than at midday.
You can also control the sun from the ribbon.

The button the left for Sun Status will turn the sun On or Off (in the image above, it is on). This is a quick way to work with the sun. You can also type in SUNSTATUS and give the variable 1 (on) or Zero (off).
The next type of light to add is a spot light. We’re going to add a safety light above the door for night time. First you want to change the background from the sky image to night. Instead of using another image, choose the gradient option in the View Manager > Background Option. Try to get a black to dark blue gradient.

If you perform a render now, you will get a nice twilight background and generic lighting.

For something a little more dramatic, it’s time to add a spotlight. This will be placed under the peak of the roof and point straight down.
Look for the Lights Tool Panel on the Render ribbon.

This is easy enough – just click on the button and you will have the choice of where you want your light and what direction you want to point it. In this example, pick the endpoint (osnaps) under the peak of the roof and point straight down to the ground (ortho).

Once your light is placed, press . Now select the light glyph and you will see the default spread of the beam that the light will cast. (You might want to switch to your SW ISO view first).
Radiating from the glyph are two cones. The outer one is for falloff, the inner one is for hot spot. Think about how a flashlight works. You have an intense beam in the middle, then it dissipates out to the sides. By clicking on the bottom of the cones, you can adjust these settings easily.

Make some adjustments (go back to your pers view) and then perform a render. Pretty cool, eh?

Point Light
Another light option is a point light. Think of this a light bulb you would have in a reading lamp. Point lights radiate light in all directions evenly (unlike the directional spotlight). In this example, we’re going to add a point light inside the building and let its light shine out the windows. We’ll keep the twilight look.
From the same light tool panel that you used to place the spotlight, select Point Light and place inside the building in the larger room. Check from other views to make sure that you placed it correctly. You may find that you need to move it. Once you have it placed, perform a render.
You will probably find that the light isn’t very bright. In fact it needs to be brighter to show through the windows. Click on the point light glyph and press CTRL+1 to bring up the properties palette.

In the image above, you can see the I have changed the Intensity Factor to 6. This should make the light bright enough to be seen. Change this setting in your drawing and try another render.
Below is what I have after moving the view slightly (with 3DO) to show more of the ground where the light from the window hits.

Now that you have a decent looking image, you can try some more settings. try increasing or decreasing the Intensity Factor for the Spotlight. Try adding another point light inside. Remove the interior door to get light into the small room. Try adding a street light to light the exterior of the building a little. Add a Distance light off to the side and try different intensities. Yes, I know I didn’t show you how to add a Distance Light, but I believe that you can figure it out now (distance light is the easiest).
To see how many lights you have in your drawing and access them quickly for changing settings, click on the bottom right corner of the Lights tool panel.

Draw a light for the safety light and put the spot light where the bulb should go. Add some window panes to get more dramatic lighting.
The most important thing with lighting is to experiment. Try different locations and settings. Now that you know the basics, it’s up to you to explore.
Render Settings
Now when you render a final image, there are many options available to you. Mostly it depends on the end use of the rendering.To adjust these settings, type in RPREF (Render > Advanced Render Settings…) to get this palette full of options.

To get a good quality rendering like the one above, set the top setting to Presentation. This will set the defaults to the best settings. Make sure that you have materials and shadows on. Render out to the window and choose the size that you want it to be. Once you have the setting you want, type RENDER again and view your results. If you like what you have done, you can save an image file from the render window.

That’s the basics of rendering, practice with different settings and even experiment with light.
Once again, you have learned some easy tools that will allow to produce a good rendering of an object. Of course there are many variations and a lot of detail would go into a larger corporate presentation, but it only takes time, practice and experience.
For practice, many people will measure out their home and model it and then render it. This is a great exercise. Also, here is a good site that offers some more advanced 3D exercises.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Template files | Creating Templates

Whether you know it not, you have already used templates to begin a new drawing. AutoCAD uses a template every time it starts up. If you do not designate your own template, AutoCAD will use a default one.
A template is a drawing file that includes some of the following settings:
• Unit type and precision (DDRMODES)
• Drawing limits (LIMITS)
• Snap, Grid, and Ortho settings (Status Bar)
• Layer organization (LA)
• Title blocks (Tutorial)
• Dimension and text styles (DDIM, ST)
• Linetypes (LT)
• Common blocks (Tutorial)
In most cases, you do not want to set these things every time you begin a drawing. By having a template with all of these parameters pre-set, you can work more efficiently, faster and consistently. There is no difference between a template file (DWT) and regular DWG other than the extension.
Most CAD businesses use a company-wide template that is updated from time to time. Occasionally, you will use a client’s template. When you start a project, you will be told which template you are to use.
Creating a Template
To create a template drawing, you first have to set up any parameters that you feel you would need (see the list above) in a regular drawing. Once you have this, you can save your drawing as a template. Do to this, press CTRL+SHIFT+S to get the ‘Save As’ option.
You will see this dialog box:

You have to change the ‘Files of type’ setting from a DWG file to a DWT (template) file.
Once you’ve changed this, make sure you save it in the folder where you can load it later.
To use the template for a new drawing, type NEW to start a new file and select the template you want.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Object Snaps

Object snaps (Osnaps) are one of the handiest tools in AutoCAD. Without them, you would have a lot of trouble doing even the simplest dimension accurately. Before discussing how they are used, first think about what they are. Their name, “object snaps” means that they snap to objects, or more precisely, they snap to specific parts of an object. A line for example has 3 points that you can snap to: a midpoint and two endpoints. A circle has 5 points: a center and 4 quadrants. To use Osnaps effectively, you must know what points an object has that you are able to snap to.
There are also some Osnaps that are not precise. These allow you to snap to (sometimes) arbitrary points along an object. These would include nearest, tangent, perpendicular and to some extent, intersection.
There are two different ways of working with Osnaps; in running mode or invoking them individually as required. Running Osnaps mean that certain ones are turned on and running in the background. This means that they are available when needed in the middle of a command.
Sometimes you may need one Osnap that isn’t one you have selected in running mode. In this case you can turn it on for one-time use. There are a few ways of doing this: you can select the icon for the Osnap you need, you can type in the 3 letter shortcut, or you can bring up the Osnap dialog box and turn it on (‘OS), or even shift+right-click and pick from the menu. I recommend learning the 3 letter shortcuts and typing them in when required. This is generally the fastest way to get your Osnap on, plus it doesn’t leave it on if you don’t need it afterwards. Having the icons up your screen works, but takes up valuable screen area. Try each method and see which one works best for you.
In most cases you want to turn on all the osnaps while drawing as you could accidently snap to a point you don’t want. For example, the endpoint and a perpendicular point could be very close – so you need to be careful when using perpendicular.
Below is the Osnap dialog box with a detailed listing of how each one is used.


















– M2P Middle of 2 points

The Osnap toolbar is only available when you are in the AutoCAD Classic Workspace. You will see the icons when you Shift+Right-Click while in a command.

The 3 letter shortcut is in bold in the list above, notice that it is the first 3 letters of each Osnap.
Also note the Osnap symbol beside each setting in the image of the dialog box above. These will be visible on your screen as the osnap becomes active.

TEMPORARY TRACKING – While not really an Object Snap, this option allows you to pick any point on the screen and track from there. This point can be on an object or not.

FROM – This option allows you to select an Osnap and use it as a reference point. Very similar to Temporary Tracking.

ENDPOINT – This snap is used to get to the exact endpoint of a line, arc or other object that has a definite ending to it. This should be used for joining lines, and dimensioning. In general, you would want this on as a running Osnap in your drawing. The endpoint Osnap is indicated by a small square.

MIDPOINT – This is used to find the exact middle of any object that has a beginning and an end. All lines and arcs have a midpoint. (Circle have a center, not a midpoint.) This is also a good Osnap to have in running mode. The midpoint Osnap is indicated by a small triangle.

CENTER – The center Osnap is used to find the exact center of circles, arc and ellipses. This is also a good Osnap to leave in running mode. To pick the center point, you have to select the object itself, and not an area in the middle of the object. The center Osnap is indicated by a small circle.

NODE – Nodes are points. The are created using the point command. They are also created when an object is divided. A node Osnap is indicated by a circle with angled crosshairs in side.

QUADRANT – Quadrants are the ‘corners’ of circles and ellipses. Arcs can also have quadrants. The quadrant Osnap is indicated by a diamond. The are four quadrants on every circle.

INTERSECTION – The intersection Osnap appears wherever two objects cross. If you select one object you’ll see a cross with three dots indicating that you have to select a second object to find an intersection. Pick on the second object and AutoCAD will find the intersection for you. This is handy when you have a lot of lines in the same area. An ‘X’ indicates the intersection Osnap.

INSERTION – The insertion Osnap will snap to the insertion of points of objects such as blocks, text and attributes. Each object will be different depending on how it was created. The insertion Osnap is shown as two small, offset squares.

PERPENDICULAR – The perpendicular Osnap is used to draw a line from one point to another point at a right angle (90degrees) to an object. This Osnap can save you having to trim or extend afterwards. If you use the perpendicular Osnap for starting a line, you will get the indicator with 3 dots telling you that the next point is needed to establish the starting point. The perpendicular Osnap is indicated by a square with two extending lines.

TANGENT – Tangent Osnaps are used on circles, arcs, ellipses and splines. A line tangent to an arc gives you a smooth line off the curve. If you select the tangent Osnap as the first point, your indicator will have three dots following it. This means that the tangential point can not be established until the second point is given. The tangent Osnap is shown as a circle with a line across the top of it.

NEAREST – The nearest Osnap does just as the name implies: it will find the closest point on an object relative to where you started. This is handy for measuring distance and drawing quick lines, but can lead to erroneous results when dimensioning or drawing. This Osnap should rarely be used in running mode, and never for dimensioning. The nearest Osnap is indicated by a triangular hourglass.

APPARENT INTERSECTION – The Apparent Intersection Osnap is used when two objects appear to intersect on the screen, but do not truly intersect in 3-D space. It also works when any two objects do not intersect, but you need to find the point where they would. This Osnap will also find the true intersection of two crossing objects. This Osnaps has different indicators depending on which mode is needed at the time.

NONE – This command is used to turn off any Osnaps that may be on in running mode. You can also disable your Osnaps by hitting the F3 key, which would be a faster way of doing this.
In AutoCAD 2005, there is a new Osnap “Midpoint Between 2 objects” – it’s not in the Osnap dialog box, but can be invoked when needed by typing “MTP” or “M2P” or using the shift+right-click option.
Command: L LINE Specify first point: MTP
First point of mid: Second point of mid:
Specify next point or [Undo]: (Select point or enter to end)
Osnaps are only available when you are currently in a command.
Toggle Osnaps on and off by using the F3 key. If you do not have any Osnaps on in running mode, the F3 key will invoke the Osnap dialog box.
Get into the habit of working with the same 2 or 3 Osnaps in running mode whenever you are drawing. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to keep track off while working.
When dimensioning, you must be VERY careful where you are snapping to. Make sure that you are not using the nearest, perpendicular or intersection Osnaps unless you specifically require them. Below is an image that shows a common mistake of dimensioning to another dimension line and not the object. Often you will catch this if your measurement is an odd number (should be 11 in the example below).

If you have a lot of objects in one area, and need a particular Osnap, use the TAB key to cycle through all available Osnaps in the area. As you hit the TAB key, you will see that the Osnap location changes and AutoCAD highlights the object you would snap to.
Zoom in when in doubt. Make sure that you are snapping where you need to. Snapping to the wrong part can cause catastrophic events.
If you want to invoke the Osnap dialog box while in the middle of a command, type in ‘OS at the command prompt. You can then make your changes and then continue with the command.
If you want to change the appearance of the Osnap indicators, such as size or color, bring up the Osnap dialog box and pick on the Options button on the Osnap Dialog box).

On the left side of the dialog box, you can set the ‘look’ of the Osnaps when you are using them.
The Marker, Magnet and Snap Tip should be left on. Marker shows the active osnap. Magnet ‘snaps’ you into position when you are near. The Snap Tip is a small text box telling you which osnap is current. Leaving the aperture box off, makes it easier to see the snap points.
The Marker Size is a matter of personal preference, but the default seems good to me.
The color of your Osnap might need to be changed depending on the color of the objects you are working with or screen background color.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Linetypes | Linetype Scale | Lineweights

When you have been drawing in AutoCAD during these tutorials, almost all of the lines have been continuous. This is a particular linetype. Most simple drawings can be drawn with just this one linetype. More advanced drawings will require different linetypes such as center lines, hidden lines, phantom lines and others.
When you first start AutoCAD, the default template has only one linetype is available. This is the continuous linetype. AutoCAD has many more available, but only loads in one to start with in order to keep the drawing file size smaller. If you need a different linetype, you must load it into your current drawing. As is usually the case in AutoCAD, there are a few ways to do this.
Command Keystroke Location Result
Linetype LINETYPE / LT Home > Properties >
Linetype Opens the LINETYPE dialog box
Linetype scale
LTSCALE / LTS None Allows you to set the linetype scale globally.
Lineweight LINEWEIGHT / LW None Set line weight globally
Invoking the LINETYPE command brings up the Linetype Manager dialog box as shown below.

You’ll notice that it is similar to the layer dialog box.
Instead of creating a new linetype (like you would a layer), you will have to LOAD it into your drawing. AutoCAD has many different linetypes that you can load, as well as giving you the option to create your own. (This will not be covered in this lesson.) To load a linetype, press the Load… button that is towards the top-right corner. When you do this, you’ll see another dialog box appear (shown above).
Notice that AutoCAD is giving you a choice of different linetypes as defined in the acad.lin file. Scroll through the list to see what options you have available. You’ll see the most common ones (hidden, center, etc) as well as some that are only for certain applications. Click on the Hidden linetype and then press OK.
Adding a linetype to your drawing is that easy. Notice that there are three different hidden linetype options: HIDDEN, HIDDEN2, HIDDENX2. All of these are valid linetypes, but as you can see from the samples shown in the right side of the dialog box, they are slightly different. Which one you choose is up to you. Remember one thing though. If you pick HIDDEN2, then you should also pick CENTER2, if you need a center line. This will keep your linetype scale consistent. Only change your linetype scale singly if you have a specific reason to.
Here is an example of 3 different linetypes:

Your linetype scale determines how the linetype is displayed and plotted. Depending on your linetype or original area you set up, you may have to change it. This is one more reason, why you should set up your drawing properly from the beginning. If you need to change your linetype scale, type in LTSCALE and try different values to get the look you want. You can also change you linetype scale from the LINETYPE dialog box by changing the value in the Global Scale Factor box.

Note: you can change the linetype scale separately on each object, but this is not recommended as it can be very difficult to keep track of, and therefore lose consistency.
Here is a single linetype (hidden) with 3 different linetype scales applied. Notice that the line with a LTS of .5 has lines and dashes that are 1/2 the size of line above it. The line with a LTS of 5 has lines and dashes that are 5 times longer.

You can change the linetype of an object by changing its properties, or use the droplist of layers on the main drawing screen. This is a simpler, quicker method – just select the object, then pick the linetype from the list.

Linetypes can also be controlled by putting them all one layer and using the ByLayer option. For example, you could have all of your hidden lines on one layer so you can turn them off all at once or give them a light lineweight.
Another property of lines is their lineweight, or how wide they display on the screen and when printed. One common example of a heavier lineweight would be a border around a title block. Some times, you may use a lighter lineweight for hatching. But whatever you use them for, they are powerful display options.
Here are the range of lineweights available (There are more options in between):

The methods for changing the lineweight for objects is similar to the ones for linetypes (above). There is also the option of turning the lineweight display on or off. Just click on the LWT icon of the status bar. Below the icon indicates that lineweights are shown in the drawing.

Type in LW to access the Lineweight Settings Dialog box.

The options are quite straightforward, but you also have the option of displaying lineweights or now (Display Lineweight) and changing the default display lineweight.
By working with different linetypes and lineweights you can make a drawing clearer. Some people will make their objects have a heavier lineweight than the dimensions to make them stand out better.

Extra Practice: Make an isometric drawing that uses a heavier lineweight for the main objects and a lighter lineweight for hidden lines.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
File Formats

Every file in a computer is created as a particular type or format. For example, a Corel WordPerfect letter file is created as a WPD file. A standard AutoCAD drawing is created as a DWG file. The difference is the way that the application program recognizes the file. Each file type also has a distinct structure so that the program that created it can read it correctly.
In the ‘olden’ days when DOS was the common operating system, all files had a maximum of 8 characters in their name, followed by a period, followed by the extension. The extension was a 3-letter ‘code’ indicating the type of file.
DRAWING1 name of the file
DWG extension
After the introduction of Windows 95, you may have more than 8 characters in a name (up to 256), but the 3-letter extension remains. Windows is even set up to hide these extensions from you in its default configuration, so you’ll want to turn them on to make things easier for you..
While working with AutoCAD, it is important to know that there are several types of drawing files. Here are some of the common filetypes you will come across:
DWG – BAK – DWT – DWF -SV$ – DXF – WMF – 3DS – JPG
These are only a few of the file types that AutoCAD uses. There are many others that would be considered support files. Those listed above deal with various forms of drawing files. There are many other ways to save your drawing, but these are the common ones.
DWG – This is the standard AutoCAD drawing file format. The thing to remember is that older versions of AutoCAD cannot read files created on newer versions. The newest version can read any of the older files. If you are exchanging files with other companies, do not assume that they are using the same version you are. Some co-workers will also have older or newer versions than the one on your computer.
BAK – This is AutoCAD’s backup file format. Whenever you save a drawing, AutoCAD will automatically create a duplicate backup file. This file has all the same information as the original, but a different extension. If your original file becomes corrupt, or unusable for any reason, you can rename the BAK file to a DWG file and open it as you would any other drawing file. You can set the interval for backing up your file in the Options > Open and Save tab set for as short as possible with interrupting your workflow.
DWT – This is a newer format (R14) that is used for drawing templates. Templates are the same as prototype drawings in that they contain all the setup parameters for certain types of drawings. They are essentially the same as a DWG file.
DWF – This is also a fairly new format. This is used when you want to create a drawing that is for use on the Internet or otherwise not editable. It is a Drawing Web Format. This type of file contains features that allow users to view drawings on the Web without having AutoCAD on their computer. You can also use the DWFOUT command to open the Plot dialog box pre-set to DWF setting.
SV$ – This is AutoCAD’s format it uses whenever it performs an automatic save. AutoCAD will save the file automatically within a pre-determined time frame. This is set in your Options > Files dialog box. You can also tell AutoCAD where you want your autosave files to go. Most computers are set to save to the Windows/Temp folder. If you need to recover a drawing from the autosave file, just rename it to a DWG format.
DXF – This is not really an AutoCAD format but an industry standard, but one that you should be aware of. DXF stands for Drawing eXchange Format. This is a very standard format that is used but many different CAD and graphics programs. This allows users to exchange drawings even if they don’t have the same program. When you use the DXF format, some objects may change their appearance when re-opened. As with DWG formats, DXF formats vary from different releases. You have the option of saving the files as a DXF or you can use the DXFOUT command, conversely DXF Files can be imported using the DXFIN command.
WMF – This is a Windows Meta File. This file can be used if you need to use this drawing in a non-CAD program. For example, you may need to add a drawing of section of a drawing to a Microsoft Word document. You would use this format to do that. You can export only a portion of your drawing with the WMFOUT command.
3DS – This is an older extension for 3D Studio Max – a high level animation and rendering program. You can import to (but not export from) AutoCAD by using the 3DSIN command.
JPG – Most people know JPG’s as the common format on the internet for images. You can also export your drawing easily to a JPG now. Use the JPGOUT command and then choose between the viewport or selected objects. You may need to change your background color to white for this.
BMP – This is similar to a JPG, but exports a raster BMP file instead of a JPG. Use the BMPOUT command. Generally JPG’s are smaller and better for e-mail and websites.
PDF – Although not a AutoCAD specific file format, you can now save your drawing as a PDF (Portable Document Format) so that others can read it with the common Adobe Acrobat Reader. Use the Saveas… PDF option.
These are the common file types used in AutoCAD. The main thing to remember is that you have the option of sharing your drawing with people who don’t have AutoCAD installed on their machines.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Working with Grips

By now you should be familiar with grips. These are the ‘blue squares’ that get highlighted when you select an object outside of a command.

Grips are handles that allow you to manipulate the object without entering a command directly. Be aware that grip editing can lead to undesired results if you are not careful.
The look of your grips can be changed by entering the DDGRIPS command. You’ll see this dialog box (it’s the Options dialog box: Selection tab):

Notice that you can enable or disable grips, as well as control whether they are enabled within blocks or not.
You can change the colors so that they are more visible depending on the particular drawing or background color you are working in. You can also change the size of the grip if you need.
Notice that there are two different colors for grips, one when they are unselected (but visible) and another color when they are selected, or hot.
Usually these settings do not need to be changed.
When you first start working with grip editing, I recommend that you use it for modifying your dimensions. This is an easy way to get started, as it won’t affect your geometry.
Once you have mastered grip editing with dimensions, try editing your geometry and you’ll find that in many cases this can be quicker and easier than using the regular AutoCAD commands.
When you first select a grip and make it hot, it turns red and you are able to stretch it to where you need it to go. Always read your command line when grip editing.
/Base point/Copy/Undo/eXit:
You’ll see that there are few options, ignore these for now and try the stretch option. You can now move that point anywhere and snap to any Osnap that you have active. This can be a quick easy way to connect lines rather than extend them. Once you have made your modification, press the escape key to deselect the grips. (Pressing the enter key will repeat the last command, which you don’t want to do). You may have to press escape a few times to totally deselect the object.
The stretch option is only the first of several commands that you have available for grip editing. By pressing the space bar, you will be able to cycle through all available options for grip editing.
/Base point/Copy/Undo/eXit:
** MOVE **
/Base point/Copy/Undo/eXit:
** ROTATE **
/Base point/Copy/Undo/Reference/eXit:
** SCALE **
/Base point/Copy/Undo/Reference/eXit:
** MIRROR **
/Base point/Copy/Undo/eXit:
The previous lines of text show what the command line would look like as you cycle through the options.
To use any of these options, you should be very comfortable using the regular commands first.
You’ll notice that these other options work a bit differently than the stretch option. If you have many objects selected, you can stretch one point, but can move all the objects highlighted with grip editing. This applies to the rotate, scale and mirror options as well.
Different objects have different grips available to them. A line has 3 grips: 2 endpoints and a midpoint. You can stretch the endpoints, but if you ‘stretch’ the midpoint, you move the line. You can stretch quadrants of a circle to change the radius, but stretching the center grip will move the circle. Single line text has one or two grips depending on the justification used. You can use their grips to align the text.

You can also use grips to adjust points in 3D objects. Just like a 2D object, select the solid with no commands are currently running and the grips will appear. You can then stretch grips to new points, giving you more power when editing solids.
In the example on the left, the Center grip was used to shorten the 3D solid.
In review, if you can master grips, you will be able to be much quicker at editing your drawing. In many cases you will want to make sure your Osnaps are on, to snap the grip to the correct location.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Distance | Area | Mass Properties | List | ID

AutoCAD has many tools to help you as a designer. Some of these you may have already used. The properties command gives you a lot of information about an object you have selected and allows you change most of them. AutoCAD also has some commands used specifically for pulling information from objects.
Most of these commands can be accessed from the Home > Utilities tool panel. Here is a list of those commands (click on the icon for more information) :
Distance DISTANCE / DI
Distance measures the distance and angle between two points
Measures the radius of an arc or a circle.
Measures the angle between two lines.
Area Calculates the area and perimeter of objects or of defined areas.
Area Calculates the area and perimeter of objects or of defined areas.
Mass Properties MASSPROP None Mass Properties Calculates and displays the mass properties of regions or solids.
List LI None List Displays database information for selected objects.
ID Point Displays the coordinate values of a location.

The first one, DISTANCE (DI), is quite straight forward. It allows you to select two points on the screen and AutoCAD will tell you the total distance as well as the changes in X,Y & Z.
Command: DI DIST
Specify first point:
Specify second point or [Multiple points]:
Distance = 12.5107, Angle in XY Plane = 25, Angle from XY Plane = 0
Delta X = 11.3228, Delta Y = 5.3208, Delta Z = 0.0000
MEASUREGEOM is used to for a few options, amond them Radius which will measure the radius of a circle or arc. Enter the command and then choose radius from the list on the screen.

With Radius selected, just pick on any arc or circle to have the radius displayed.

AutoCAD is kind enough to give you both the radius and the diameter on the screen – and on the command line:
Command: measuregeom
Enter an option [Distance/Radius/Angle/ARea/Volume] : R
Select arc or circle:
Radius = 3.3780
Diameter = 6.7559
You are left in the command and can select another option like Angle. Now you’re asked to select 2 lines and the screen will display the angle between them.

Volume measurements can be used on 3D objects or 2D objects (if you enter a height). You can either select and object or pick points.

AREA is a command that can be very useful. This can used to calculate square footage for floors, property lots, or even something like sheet metal parts. To use this command, you can type in AREA and see this on your command line:
Command: AREA
/Object/Add/Subtract: O
Select objects:
Area = 56.7498, Perimeter = 30.6775
The default option is to pick a point on the screen. This allows you to select the four corners of a room to find the total area in square drawing units (usually inches). You can pick as many points as you need and then press enter when you’re done. AutoCAD returns the area and the perimeter length. If you select the next option (object), you can select a circle, rectangle, polyline or some other closed object. You also have the option of adding to or subtracting from the initial area. You may need to find the carpeting area of a room, but exclude where you have tile. Or you may need to add several rooms together.
MASS PROPERTIES is an option for finding information about 3D solid objects. You can find out the total volume and from there calculate the weight based on volume. AutoCAD also figures out some important engineering figures for you such as the center of gravity for an object. This listing shows you all the information you can get from MASSPROP:
Command: massprop
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
—————- SOLIDS —————-
Mass: 12.0984
Volume: 12.0984
Bounding box: X: 1.8644 — 4.1304
Y: 16.1318 — 18.3978
Z: 0.0000 — 3.0000
Centroid: X: 2.9974
Y: 17.2648
Z: 1.5000
Moments of inertia: X: 3646.3725
Y: 148.8749
Z: 3722.6569
Products of inertia: XY: 626.0851
YZ: 313.3141
ZX: 54.3957
Radii of gyration: X: 17.3607
Y: 3.5079
Z: 17.5413
Principal moments and X-Y-Z directions about centroid:
Press ENTER to continue:
I: 12.9564 along [1.0000 0.0000 0.0000]
J: 12.9564 along [0.0000 1.0000 0.0000]
K: 7.7653 along [0.0000 0.0000 1.0000]
Write analysis to a file? [Yes/No] : n
This is a lot of information, so AutoCAD gives you the option of saving it to a file after it is displayed.
LIST is an inquiry that gives you some basic information about a command. This is usually the information that AutoCAD needs to know about it to keep track of it in its database. Here is a listing of a line:
Command: LI LIST
Select objects: 1 found
Select objects:
LINE Layer: “0”
Space: Model space
Color: 1 (red) Linetype: “BYLAYER”
Handle = 2fd
from point, X= 9.2042 Y= 13.5272 Z= 0.0000
to point, X= -2.1187 Y= 8.2064 Z= 0.0000
Length = 12.5107, Angle in XY Plane = 205
Delta X = -11.3228, Delta Y = -5.3208, Delta Z = 0.0000
Here are the properties (CTRL+1) for the same line:

Notice that you can get the same information, but also have the option of changing anything that you need to.
After List, the next option is ID POINT. This allows you to select anywhere on the screen and have AutoCAD return the X,Y&Z co-ordinates for that point. Here is a listing of ID POINT:
Command: ID Specify point:
X = 155′-2 1/2″ Y = 48′-9 3/16″ Z = 0′-0″
(You can also get this information by selecting a grip and looking at the status bar.)
Time Displays the date and time statistics of a drawing. Type TIME.
Status Displays drawing statistics, modes, and extents. Type STATUS.
Set Variable Lists or changes the values of system variables. Type SETVAR.
TIME and STATUS are two inquiries that give you information about the system, as opposed to objects.
Here is a listing of TIME:
Command: TIME
Current time: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 6:00:11:671 PM
Times for this drawing:
Created: Sunday, April 28, 1996 10:11:02:620 AM
Last updated: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 1:24:52:328 AM
Total editing time: 0 days 12:00:49:244
Elapsed timer (on): 0 days 12:00:49:244
Next automatic save in:
You can see the current date, when you last saved and when AutoCAD will do its next automatic save. And yes, that file has been with me for 8 years.
Here is a listing of STATUS:
Command: STATUS
120 objects in Drawing1.dwg
Model space limits are X: 0.0000 Y: 0.0000 (Off)
X: 12.0000 Y: 9.0000
Model space uses X: -4.1963 Y: -0.2930 **Over
X: 52.2702 Y: 34.7170 **Over
Display shows X: -9.5333 Y: -7.2543
X: 68.2812 Y: 37.6074
Insertion base is X: 0.0000 Y: 0.0000 Z: 0.0000
Snap resolution is X: 0.5000 Y: 0.5000
Grid spacing is X: 0.5000 Y: 0.5000
Current space: Model space
Current layout: Model
Current layer: “TEXT”
Current color: BYLAYER — 3 (green)
Current linetype: BYLAYER — “Continuous”
Current lineweight: BYLAYER
Current elevation: 0.0000 thickness: 0.0000
Fill on Grid off Ortho off Qtext off Snap off Tablet off
Object snap modes: Center, Endpoint, Intersection, Midpoint, Quadrant,
Free dwg disk (C:) space: 2797.3 MBytes
Free temp disk (C:) space: 2797.3 MBytes
Free physical memory: 13.6 Mbytes (out of 509.8M).
Free swap file space: 752.0 Mbytes (out of 1246.3M).
As you can see, there is a lot of information here, not only about your drawing, but about the computer you are working on.
The last inquiry, SET VARIABLE (SETVAR), allows you to change any system variables, or if you like AutoCAD will list them for you. The details of this command are not covered in this lesson. You must be VERY careful when working with system variables. A brief overview is given in Lesson 4-8
Topics covered in this Lesson:

An X-ref is an ‘external reference’ to another AutoCAD drawing file. One file can reference many other files and display them as if they were one. These are used in larger projects for many reasons:
• They keep the file sizes down.
• They allow many users to work on individual components of a project.
• Every time an X-ref is loaded, it is the most recent version of the drawing.
• X-ref’s can be updated, added, or unattached from the main drawing at any time.
• You can X-ref drawings that they themselves X-ref other drawings (nesting).
In these days of networks and the Internet, many projects are produced this way. People from anywhere in the world can collaborate on a project in real time.

The first thing to do is to ATTACH the X-ref. This means that you are linking another drawing to your current one. Do this by starting the XFEF (XR) command. When you start the command, you will see the palette shown on the left.
To attach an Xref,click on the “Attach DWG” button on the top left. (Note that you can also Xref Image files and DWF’s)
The “Select Reference File” window will open: select a file and press Open. When you do this, you will see another dialog box appear.

Once you find the file, decide whether you want it to be an attachment or an overlay. An overlay will not include any of the nested X-ref’s that the file may contain. Below that section are the insertion parameters. You have a choice of either defining them on-screen, or using standard defaults in the dialog box. Once you make you decisions, press OK.
Finish the Attachment by following the prompts on the command. You’ll see that it is similar to inserting a block.

After inserting the Xref, you will see that the Xref Palette is updated with the new Xref.
Now that you have an X-ref, there are more options for you if you right-click the filename of the Xref.
ATTACH – Attaches another X-ref.
DETATCH – Detaches the selected X-ref.
RELOAD – Updates the selected X-ref – use this if the Xref was changed.
UNLOAD – Removes the X-ref, but retains the reference for future use.
BIND – Permanently attaches a loaded X-ref, so that it is part of the drawing.
Working with X-ref’s is usually quite straightforward, but there are some things to keep in mind.
The insertion point is very important. Everyone on a project must be working on the same set of co-ordinates and insert points..
When you attach and X-ref, you insert that file’s layers and blocks. AutoCAD creates new layer names based on the filename and layer name of the X-ref. In AutoCAD R14, you have a limit of 31 characters for these names. If you exceed that number, your X-ref will not load.
When you print, AutoCAD will automatically reload the attached X-refs.
If a file is moved from a location that AutoCAD expects to find it, you can browse for a new path, without having to re-attach the X-ref.
Recent versions have added more functionality to Xrefs. You can edit them in the drawing (as opposed to having to open the original file). To do this, just select the Xref in the drawing and right-click.

As you can see, there are other options to Open the Xref, Clip it (crop it down) or open the Xref Manager.
One problem in the past was the if a co-worker changed an Xref that was attached to your drawing, you didn’t know and could keep working on the wrong information. Later versions of AutoCAD alert you when an Xref in your drawing has been modified by someone else.

Keep in mind that Xrefs are important and used in any major project. Practice working with them by attaching some of your previous drawings.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
System Variables

AutoCAD is a complex program and one of its major selling points is that it is highly customizable. Every user will use AutoCAD differently. Some use icons, some use command line prompts. Each drawing is also different. You may have different text heights, or dimension styles from one drawing to the next. To keep track of these different parameters, AutoCAD uses a large number of system variables to do this. You have recently used one system variable: LTSCALE. This could have been changed in the Linetype dialog box, but typing LTS is easier and quicker.
A system variable is a configuration setting that can be changed by the user. Some system variables can not be changed, these are known as read-only variables. Here is an example of each:
ACADVER “16” (read only) READ ONLY
Most of AutoCAD’s system variables are changeable. This allows for quick customization as well as easier programming.
Once you have used AutoCAD for a while, you may find that it is easier to redefine a system variable than to go through a dialog box to get the same result. In some cases, the only way to make these changes is through the system variable itself. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for entering these, you have to either remember them, or have a list nearby. Some of them are quite straightforward as to what they do, but some are rather cryptic and make it difficult for memorization.
**NOTE: In Level 3 (3-D), you were working with system variables to some degree.
Warning: Don’t change system variables unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
To see a list of all of the AutoCAD system variables, follow these steps:
Command: setvar
Variable name or ?: ?
Variable(s) to list :
It shows you what the settings were for a particular drawing at a specific time. The list also shows you which system variables are read only. For a listing of these in AutoCAD 2008, click here.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Creating Tables

Tables are a new AutoCAD object that is can be created and customized by the user. Tables can be used for parts lists, revision history and time you need to organize text.
Annotation > Tables… Creates and inserts a new table.
Start the command and you will see this dialog box.

The labels look pretty straightforward – you can define the number of rows, columns, row height, column width and press OK. Or……you could press on the button circled above to open up the Table Style dialog box.

This allows you to create your own table style – sorry, just had to state the obvious. Give the new style a name and press “Continue”.

Here, you can define the parameters (color, text height, borders, etc.) in your new custom style. This preview is used in the other dialog boxes as well. Make sure you have your Text Styles defined first. Define different styles for the Title, Header and Data. Note that you can access the Text Style Dialog as well from here.

So now that you have defined your table style, you can insert one into the drawing and enter data using the Mtext editor and tabbing through the cells. Anyone who has used a simple spreadsheet will be able to use this. One major drawback is that there is no formula function in the table.

Once the table is in the drawing, you can double-click (above) in any cell to edit it or right click (below) it for more options:

What once used to be a very tedious task in AutoCAD has become easy with this new tool. You also have the ability to copy styles from one table to another to add consistency to your drawing. Practice creating a table or two.
In case you missed it, you can also extract your data from attributes to create a table that is dynamically linked to your drawing’s blocks. This tutorial is in Lesson 2-4
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Creating Sheet Sets

How may sheets could a sheets et set if a sheet set could Sheet Sets? Well actually sheet sets can Sheet Sets, so let’s find out.

Sheet sets are the digital version of the rolled up groups of drawings shoved in the back corner behind you. Actually they are the next logical progression from Pack ‘n’ Go. This time though, you are just sending the layouts and not your actual CAD file. There are a lot of variables involved when you use these, but you will give you an idea of what’s involved. Sheet sets can be published as DWF’s or opened up in ACAD 2005 (.dst extension).
Sheetset Sheetset
View > Palettes >
Sheet Set Manager Opens the Sheet set Manager
The first thing you would do is check that you have all your ‘ducks in a row’ concerning the drawings and layouts that you plan to publish. It sounds obvious, but you don’t want to keep creating Sheet Sets after you find the layouts are scaled wrong, duplicated or whatever.
Start the command, SHEETSET, or use the File > New Sheet Set menu option to invoke the command (for those that like icons, it looks like the rolled up sheets shoved in the corner behind you. The palette will open as shown below – select the New Sheetset option.

After that , you’ll see what could possible be the largest dialog box you’ve ever seen with so little info:

In this example, use some existing drawings that are part of the default samples provided when you installed AutoCAD. you Press “Next” and get taken to Step 2.

This seems fairly simple, give your set a name(1), a description(2), tell AutoCAD where to save the file(3). There is a button for “Sheet Set Properties” that gives you some more options on the set (below) – you can even create your own custom fields here.

For the sake of simplicity, this lesson will not cover this, but it is straightforward to create your own fields.
The next tab is where you can select the “folders” where your drawings are saved and add them to the Set. In your AutoCAD installation folder, select the sample folder shown below.

You now can turn on or off the layouts as you need to them. In this example I have excluded the section layouts.

The last step is to confirm what you just did in the final tab of the wizard.

You see a list of layouts that will be part of this Sheet Set – if it’s what you want, press “Finish”.

After finishing the wizard, you are back in AutoCAD and ready to work with the Sheet Set.
If you double-click on a sheet name, it opens up in a layout tab. you have other options as well if you right-click on a sheet.

The view list (second tab down) allows you to zoom directly to any saved view that was part of the layout (a new, great use for views).
In the Publish menu there is a button that lets you “Publish to DWF”. This will publish whichever Sheets you have highlighted (all in one file). You can also right-click and select Publish for individual sets.
In the “Details” section, you have the option of either viewing the file information, or a thumbnail.
Of course there is a LOT more to these, but this lesson is aimed at explaining the concepts behind the command.
Topics covered in this Lesson:
Dimension Styles

A drawing needs to contain certain information. Most drawings will show you what the object is (as clearly as possible) but won’t tell you everything unless you dimension it. Would you agree to buy a house just by looking at the floor plan if it wasn’t dimensioned? Would manufacturers know how to build your product if you didn’t dimension it? You can see how important it is that a drawing used to convey information must have clear, accurate dimensions.
In previous lessons, you have done some dimensioning (first was Lesson 1-8). To continue with this lesson, you should at least have a good concept of basic dimensioning.
There are many ways to dimension a drawing, each drafting discipline has it own set of “rules”. For example, a drawing of a gear would use a different style of dimensioning than that of a subdivision. My background is in mechanical drafting, so I use that discipline as an example of how to work with setting your dimensions to work with your drawing.
Below is an example of how a drawing can be dimensioned:

As you can see, on a simple drawing like this one, only 8 dimensions are needed to convey all the information about the size and shape of the object. With a little more information you can have everything you need to build it. This is the default style you get with the AutoCAD template.
Below shows the same drawing, but with added tolerances and note about what the object is made out of.

The changes in the dimensions above were done easily using the DDIM command. This command opens a dialog box for changing the parameters of your dimensions. In this example, the text style was also changed.
The great thing about AutoCAD is that it is very versatile. In the case of dimensions, you can modify any component that is part of it. Below are the names of various parts of a dimension:

Also, you can modify the dimension text dramatically, here are some examples:
The Dimension Style Manager
So now that you have seen what can do – how do you do it? All options are available in the DDIM (Dimension Style Manager) dialog box.

On the left is current style for working with (highlighted in blue).
In this lesson, you will create a new Dimension Style and use it in a drawing. From there, you should try different styles and get familiar with the options. Most companies these days will have a standard style (or set of styles) to use on drawings, but this is a very important tool to know if you want to turn out professional looking drawings.
Start but invoking the DDIM command and press the NEW button to open the small dialog for entering the name of the style you are creating. In this example I used the name “DIMSTYLE 1″.

Make sure that “Start with” has “Standard” as its setting. Press the Continue Button when everything is set. This will open the dialog box for settings, so just press OK to close it for now.
Back at the “Dimension Style Manager” dialog box, you will see that the new style you created is listed at the top (left side). To modify it, select the name, then press the modify button. The dialog box opens and click on the second tab (Symbols and Arrows).

As a general rule, I recommend not change much on this tab – especially when you’re learning. Set as defaults, the dimensions are sized proportionately, if you change the setting on one parameter, your dimension can look ‘off-balance’. For example, you could end up with huge arrows and small text. For the purposes of this lesson, the only thing that will change on this tab is the arrowheads. Select something other than the standard. You’ll also see that you can set the colors, but just like regular objects, it’s best to leave them set to “Bylayer” – and make sure you have a separate layer for all dimensions.
Go to the third tab (Text).
Start up the Text Styles dialog box by pressing the button with the … next to the text name. Create a new textstyle using RomanS and a width of 0.8 and call it “DIMTEXT”. (For more info, see Lesson 1-8.) Close the Text Styles dialog box. Select DIMTEXT as your text for dimensions as shown.
The great thing about this dialog box is that it shows you a preview of what your changes will do the final dimension in the top right window. In the bottom right, select ISO as the Text Alignment option. Try some other changes to see their effects in the preview, then end with the settings as shown below:

So far you haven’t changed much, but you’ve seen the options available in just 2 tabs. Click on the next tab to continue.
As a rule, I leave this tab alone. AutoCAD does a good job of placing and fitting dimension where I want them. If I don’t agree, I usually just use grips to edit the placement. Click on the next tab (Primary Units) to continue.
In the Primary Units, you find some of the more common parameters that need to be changed. Precision is very important. First off, you usually don’t need to show 4 decimal places. If you do show 4 decimals places and send your drawing off to the machinist, you are asking him to manufacture the part to within 1/10000 of a unit – which can be a very expensive mistake. 3 Decimal places is usually enough – or less for rougher jobs.
Also, I have added a couple of other changes; adding trailing zeros and a suffix denoting the units. Note how angular dimensions have a separate section – make sure you don’t neglect them.

Make the changes you see above and check the preview after each change. In this tab, you can also set the overall scale of your dimensions. This can also be done using the DIMSCALE command.
The next tab (alternate units) is used if you want to display two different units in your dimension. For example, you can draw your drawing in imperial inches, then dimension with inches as your primary units and add the alternate units behind. Skip this tab for now and go on to the last tab (Tolerances).
In this example, you will set the tolerances to be +/- .05 units and display them at 80% of the primary units. Sound easy? It is. Look at the image below to see how this is done.

Once again – preview shows you how it will turn out. Click OK to close the dialog box. At the original Dimension Style Manger, press the name of your new style, then click the “Make Current” button. Close the dialog box to go back to your workspace.
Draw the wedge shape at the top of the less and dimension it using your new Dimension Style. It should look something like this:

Now you have the basic understanding of how dimensions work, you can experiment and work with other styles.
Here are some common rules about dimensioning:
• Keep them on a separate layer.
• Dimension towards the end of your project or you could be moving them as you add more objects.
• Use your Osnaps and confirm what you are snapping to.
• Assign them a unique co lour in the drawing, and use that co lour in all of your drawings to make it easier to identify dimensions (especially when zoomed in close)
• After you create your first dimension, AutoCAD creates a new layer called “DEFPOINTS”. This is used only for the small points you see at the end of an extension line. This layer will not print – so be sure not to draw on it.
• Keep even spacing between you dimensions and between your dimension and your object lines. Use DDE while placing dims.
• Try not over lap lines (either object or dimension).
• Use enough dimensions to make sure that all measurements are there – one dimension left out can hold up a project.
• Try to keep dimensions outside of the objects you are dimensioning.
• For clarity, don’t over-dimension.
• If you need to override one dimension (perhaps a unique suffix), you can change it in the properties (select > right click > properties)
Dimensioning in Layouts
If you are familiar with Layouts (or Paper Space) as shown in Lesson 2-4, you can continue with this lesson which will explain dimensioning in Layouts.
Using the same wedge shape from above, delete your dimensions and then scale the wedge up by 24X.
Go into your Layout and use a zoom factor factor of 1/12xp for your viewport.
Start dimensioning your lines. AutoCAD now does a great job of dimensioning in Layouts. It will recognize the scale of the viewport and find the correct size of the object you are dimensioning.
I recommend doing all of your dimensioning in you Layouts. There are a few reasons for this:
• It leaves your model space free of dimensions
• For 3D objects, this system is MUCH easier.
• You only need one size of dimensions for full view and details.
• You can add your title block, notes and dimensions in one area.
I hope that this lesson has given you the ability to create professional, accurate dimensions. Like everything else in AutoCAD, practice make perfect.
For more practice, create a simple floor plan and create a dimension style using Architectural units and ‘ticks’ instead of arrows. Use a precision of 1/2″. Here’s a very simple Architectural drawing using this style.

Topics covered in this Lesson:
Keyboard Shortcuts | Customizing the Interface

One of the great things about AutoCAD is that it can be easily customized to suit the individual user. By now, you have seen how you can change the osnaps for example, but you can change a lot more than that. This lesson will introduce you to some of the customization options you have.
Keyboard Shortcuts (you will need to have the express tools installed)
So far you have been using AutoCAD’s default shortcuts. This section will show you how you can create your own to help your productivity. All shortcuts are stored in the acad.pgp file. This file is loaded into AutoCAD every time you start the program. It is now easy to edit thanks to an express tool names ALIASEDIT.
Type in this command and you’ll see a dialog box pop up. Press the Add button.

In this example, I have created a shortcut for MATCHPROP which is usually MA (I find that two keys on opposite sides of the keyboard slow me down). Since N is not used for anything, I find that one letter is more than twice as fast as two. Type in what you see and press OK.
Now press Apply so that the changes take effect. You’ll see this dialog box warning you that you are about to overwrite your acad.pgp file. Press yes, ONLY if you are sure you did the correct changes.

Press Yes and you will see a message pop up that you have saved your changes and that your current AutoCAD session has been updated. That means that you can now use the shortcut you just added.
Quick Access Toolbar
The quick access toolbar is the row of icons at the top of the screen. You’ll find Save, Print and other common commands there. One that you won’t find is Save as. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I added it. It’s easy and you can do it to. Use this method for adding any commands to this toolbar.
Navigate the Ribbon to Management > Customization > User Interface. You’ll see this dialog box come up.

In the top left section, look for the Quick Access Toolbar 1 folder. Then look for the Save as command in the list in the bottom left. Drag the command up to it’s desired position on the toolbar. Press Apply. Your toolbar should now look like this.

If you have read all the tutorials, you’ll know that I don’t recommend using icons. Still there are sometimes you may want to. Perhaps the command isn’t used much, but you want easy access to it. Perhaps you can’t create a shortcut for the command. There could be a few reasons, but here is how to create a new toolbar with the icons you want.
With the CUI dialog box open, right click on Toolbars and select New Toolbar.

Once you have your toolbar added to the list, drag a command up to it. I’ve decided that I want to have a toolbar with an Update Dimensions on it to save me some typing. Once you have some commands on your toolbar, press Apply to see your new toolbar.
Now you will add icons to your new toolbar. Right-click a toolbar and select Customize again. You’ll see all the commands listed. You can now drag and drop an icon from that list to your custom toolbar. For this exercise, look at the list for commands you don’t recognize and add them to your toolbar so you can try them out.
Right-Click Customization
You can also control how your mouse works. By default AutoCAD displays a menu when you right click outside of a command. To do this, type OP for options and go to the user preferences tab. Select the “Right-Click Customization” button. You’ll see this dialog box.

For example, you should find that using right-click as and ‘enter’ will speed things up. Unless you frequently use the menus, you should switch to this.
These are just a few ways that AutoCAD can be customized. You can create custom hatch patterns and linetypes – even fonts. Other options include programming to automate tedious tasks in VisualLisp, VBA or C++(ARX). As you get more familiar with AutoCAD, look into these options.
Ralph Grabowski provides some great tutorials on customization. He also publishes one of the best CAD e-newletters.