50 AutoCAD Commands that need to be at your Fingertips!
A powerful tool for 2D drafting and 3D modeling, AutoCAD has evolved immensely as engineering needs became increasingly intricate. Autodesk, on its website, modestly doesn’t tell you that AutoCAD is indeed one of the leading tools in the market. Since its reputation precedes the name, it expects you to know.
We expect that you have tinkered around with the software at least a little bit on your own and you know how to create a workspace, change to the desired units of measurement & switch between modes – ‘3D Modelling’ and ‘Drafting & Annotation’.
Before we move on, there’s one more important thing you should know:
Snapping prevents any open ends in your drafting. (NOTE: Only closed shapes can be extruded into 3D models) This feature is especially helpful in a myriad of ways – it offers to connect the line you’re dragging to the end of another, its midpoint & even offers to connect tangentially to a curve! There’s many more.
When making curved shapes like arcs and semi-circles, make sure the end of your arc connects back to the starting point, thus closing the shape.
12 Basic commands you must know as a beginner:
L – Draw a simple Line (input the length)
C – Draw a circle (specify centre and radius)
REC – Draw a Rectangle (feed length and breadth)
ARC – Draw an Arc as the name suggests (input centre and radius)
ELLIPSE – Draw an Ellipse as the name suggests (specify major and minor axes lengths)
CO – Copy object(s)
TR – Trim a shape outside of a specified boundary line
OP – Open Options if you need to change any settings (Options Window shown below)
SC – Change the scale of your drawing if the dimensions are too small or large
ST – Opens Text Style window which allows you to customize the text on your drawing (usually for the Bill of Materials & other document details)
F – Fillet sharp edges of the object (addition of rounded edges, radius to be specified)
CHA – Chamfer sharp edges (adding slant edges in place of sharp corners)
31 Useful Commands You probably Didn’t Know about (Alphabetically):
APPLOAD: Modify which applications to run when opening AutoCAD. (This is really helpful if you do not have a powerful enough processor to smoothly run AutoCAD)
AREA – Calculate the area enclosed by an object in the units selected earlier (it calculates vertex by vertex)
BACKGROUND – This lets you change the background of your draft just like a wallpaper on your desktop / laptop. It could be a solid colour, a gradient or a picture saved on your system. This option is offered to make it visual-friendly for all users in whichever way they may be comfortable.
BOX – Create a box in 3D (input length, width and height)
CHSPACE – Move any object from a created layout to the model with auto-scaling to fit the model. (auto-scaling makes this a very nifty command to use)
CLOSEALL – As the name suggests, this closes all open AutoCAD windows. (Before the windows shut, you will be asked if you have saved your work so don’t be afraid of using this command. It’s actually quite handy.)
DIMALIGNED – Insert a dimension in alignment with an Axis / Line
DIMANGULAR – Insert a dimension in alignment with an Arc / Circle
DIMBASELINE – Insert a linear or angular dimension from the basepoint of another dimension
DIMRADIUS – Creates a dimension for the radius of an Arc / Circle (different from DIMANGULAR)
DIMTEDIT – Edit the text of already existing dimensions
EXPLODE – Break up an object into its individual components. (However, before using this command please make sure that you are on the correct layer.)
LIGHT – Display and Modify the lights and lighting effects on any 3D Model. (You may be prompted to turn off default lighting)
MATLIB – This is used to import / export materials from / to a library respectively (A very useful command)
OVERKILL – This tells AutoCAD to inspect your completed drawing and makes it delete any overlapping or duplicated items. It is makes your draft neat, clean and organised. This one’s for you if you’re a pro-neatness OCD freak (like me)
PAGESETUP – This helps you pick your page layout, page size, printing device and other ancillary settings before you begin drafting.
PREVIEW – This will display how your complete drawing will look when printed out on the selected paper size (Yes, PAGESETUP should be run and configured before this step)
PURGE – This eliminates all unutilized objects from your drawing via use of filters (blocks, lines, materials, texts and layers can be cleaned out)
QDIM – Create a quick dimension for a pre-selected set of objects
QSAVE – Perhaps the most useful command in this list. This is the command to us when your work is unsaved for hours and AutoCAD freezes in the middle of your work and refuses to budge. (Obviously your file will be unnamed and autosaved, the same default name as SAVEAS will be used)
RECOVER – This command recovers a damaged file
RENDER – As the name suggests, this creates a render of the model you have been working on
SAVEALL – Saves everything you have worked on and left open
SHOWMAT – This command displays all details of a selected object such as dimension, thickness, radius, colour etc.
SPELL – Every software comes with a tool that proofreads your work to prevent errors. This command scrutinizes your text in the drawing and makes the necessary corrections for you (REMEMBER – System Language settings will be used not AutoCAD language settings)
SUBTRACT – Removes (subtracts) a selected region from a solid object. Again a very handy command.
U – This is a Ctrl + Z for AutoCAD so yes it undoes your last action
UNDEFINE / REDEFINE – Deletes / Creates an AutoCAD command respectively
XLINE – Creates an infinite line through the selected coordinate
A power-packed software obviously comes loaded with features that you must use if you want to propel your productivity through the sky. Imagine how much mouse movement and on-screen navigation these commands will save you when you start using them extensively. Practice makes everyone perfect, and we at Text and Clicks Academy have sworn ourselves to ensure it happens.
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