Course Content
AutoCAD for beginners
About Lesson

In this lesson, I will show you what the working environment of AutoCAD looks like. As soon as you start the program, the so-called New Tab which includes several basic functions. As you can see, on the left are options that allow you to start a new drawing (Get Started), while in the middle is a list that includes projects you have recently completed (Recent Documents). If their display does not suit you, simply click on one of these three icons and slightly different contents will appear on the screen – from enlarged drawings to a list containing all the accompanying information.

On the right side is an option that allows you to sign in to a service called AutoCAD 360. I’ve already done that, so that’s why my username is in the upper right corner. Among other things, this means that I can also use the drawings found on the so-called “cloud” (Cloud), and facilitate the exchange of data with other users.

If you need help, you can click on the Learn option and go to the section where there are several short video sequences intended for absolute beginners. I’ll go back to the previous section and select Start Drawing to start a new drawing. At that point, the complete working environment will appear on the screen, so I can finally show what it consists of. As you can see, in the upper left corner there is a red button with a capital letter A, which is used to open the so-called Application menu. It includes the basic functions of the program, which means that through it you can start a new drawing (New), open one of the existing ones (Open) or save the current state (Save and Save As). At the very top, there are two shortcuts that allow you to display recently used files (Recent Documents) or those you are currently working on (Open Documents) with one stroke. If you want to change some of the basic parameters, click on the Options button, and to close the program you can use the Exit Autodesk AutoCAD option. Of course, I will not do that, but by selecting this button I will close the main menu and go to the functions at the top of the screen. This zone is called the Quick Access Toolbar, and you can already tell at first glance that its content is very little different from the main menu. The only novelty is the Undo and Redo functions, but they are currently unavailable to us. If you want to change the contents of this Toolbar, simply click on the last icon on the right. At that moment, a list with all available functions will appear on the screen, so it will not be difficult for you to remove one of the existing ones and put a new one in its place. The following blank field allows you to easily search the entire Help and quickly find the appropriate topic. If you signed up for a service called AutoCAD 360, your username will be displayed here, and right next to it there is a button that allows you to open a site where additional applications are located (Autodesk Exchange App). In addition, there is the possibility to connect with other AutoCAD users and directly exchange experiences (Autodesk online community). Finally, in the upper right corner are the usual functions that allow you to resize the frame or remove it from the screen with a single swipe. However, similar icons are also found in the frame that includes the currently active project, which allows you to work with it completely independently of other contents.

As you can see for yourself, most of the functions are placed in the zone above the drawing itself (Ribbon). On it, individual sections (Tabs), panels and icons representing individual commands can be clearly seen. In order to make their layout as practical as possible, less important functions are placed in separate panels, but their content can also be displayed very easily.

And the frame in which the drawing itself is located has its own characteristic elements. In its upper left corner is the so-called File Tab, i.e. menu through which you can easily switch from the mode intended for entering new elements (Model) to the creation of graphic attachments (Layout). To show you what it’s all about, I’m going to click on the Layout1 option, and a box will immediately appear on the screen, representing the sheet of paper on which the future drawing should be placed. At the same time, an indicator will appear in the lower left corner indicating your current status, but you can return to the original state at any time. As you can guess, it is a shortcut that completely replaces the main File Tab menu.

If you want to work on two different projects at the same time, simply click on the + (plus) icon next to the File Tab. At that moment, the functions that you already had the opportunity to see at the beginning of this lesson will appear on the screen, which means that you really have a completely new project in front of you.

These three elements are called In-Canvas controls and each of them is used to open a separate menu. In essence, they serve to quickly change the angle at which the entire model is viewed (Viewpoint) and control its visual presentation (Visual Style). The circle you see on the right is called the View Cube and it allows you to even more easily position yourself to a specific place within the spatial model. On the far right is the so-called Navigation bar, and at the bottom is the command line. This space is reserved for displaying the currently active command and its options, and you can enlarge it at any time by clicking on this icon or pressing the F2 key. That way you can check what you’ve done so far, which in my case only involved one change of work mode and accidentally running a function to select one of the existing elements.

In the lower left corner of the screen, there is usually a symbol that represents the position of the main coordinate axes, so it will not be difficult for you to orient yourself. Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the icons placed along the bottom edge of the screen. They allow you to quickly change working parameters that are closely related to the way new elements are introduced. You will learn much more about them in the lessons that follow, and for now it is enough to know that those functions that are not currently in use are marked in gray and those that directly affect what you are currently doing are marked in blue. Some of these functions require the entry of additional parameters, which means that special menus can also be activated by selecting them.

It seems to me that this is quite enough for the beginning and that with a little practice you will be able to manage it yourself, so I suggest that you immediately move on to the next lesson and learn how to use the toolbar.

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