How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

AutoCAD has a lot of tools that are accessible to automate your work flow, and make your job easier, odds are, you’re already using a lot of them without realizing them.  What we’re going to cover today are ways that make these tools work more readily for you.

Tip number 1:  Use templates

In fact, you already are; whenever you create a new AutoCAD document, it loads up the default template.  However, if you’re going to be doing lots of variations on the same sort of design work and drawing, you may want to make your changes of all the things that are common among them and save that file as a template.  Templates are a great way to save time by setting unit types and drawing limits, setting your snap, grid and other drawing settings, organizing your layer information before you begin, and pre-set a lot of common information.

If you’re working for a business, odds are you’re using a company provided template that provides this consistency across multiple draftspersons.  You may end up using a client supplied template, and you’ll be told which templates to use – templates make sure the output from multiple workers is consistent (which is why businesses are big on them) and they can save you a lot of time…but only if they’re designed right from the beginning.

To make a new template, first get your parameters all set up, in a regular drawing.  Then go to File  > Save As and save it as a template.  It’s as easy as that – though you should make sure you save it in a folder you’ll be able to find later.

Tip number 2:  Object Snaps

Object Snaps (OSNAPS) are the most frustrating tool in AutoCAD.  Until you learn what they’re doing, and you wonder how you could’ve ever lived without them in the past.  An object snap is an attachment that you can tell to go to one of the gripping points on an existing object.  These gripping points are things like the centerpoint of an object, or the end point of a line segment.  An OSNAP lets you link an object to one of those attachment points with absolute certainty for provided attachment points.

It’s when you arrange OSNAPs that things get a little counterintuitive.  You can set OSNAPs that are designed to be perpendicular to a selected objects, click to the nearest object, run at a tangent, and even some intersection driven ones.  Try to use only the OSNAPs that are the most convenient for you with the project that you are working on.

Most OSNAPs are activated in ‘running mode’ – you type the command in the command buffer, and they just work.  While this is the fastest way to use a commonly repeated OSNAP, for people who don’t keep the arcane commands in their forebrains, AutoCAD has given iconic OSNAPs as well.  You can access them by bringing up the OSNAP dialog box, or by holding down the shift key and right clicking an object to pull up a context driven menu.  Even so, if you use a lot of OSNAPs, you’re eventually going to learn the three letter codes to use them at run time just to save yourself time.  (It also has the benefit of turning the OSNAP off once that command has been run.

Tip 3:  Learn The Commands

While we touched on it in the prior tip on using OSNAP, it’s always worth it to learn how to use the command line prompts for AutoCAD.  Typing three characters takes a fraction of a second, versus a few seconds for using a mouse to find the icon, navigate through the menu system, click OK, then repeat for turning off the functionality you just used.  It’s always faster to learn the keyboard shortcuts, and more than any other tip, these will save you the most time.

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Category: Computer Aided Drafting and Design

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