Mousing around the AutoCAD Interface – AutoCAD Beginner Tutorials
Welcome back to the AutoCAD beginner tutorials series. In this tutorial, we’ll learn more about getting around the AutoCAD interface. There are various tricks regarding the mouse functionality in CAD programs that can significantly speed up your work, and AutoCAD is no exception. This is part one.
In the graphic area below I’ve got a rectangle. AutoCAD works a bit differently for selecting and deselecting entities than do many other CAD programs. Right now, nothing is selected. My rectangle appears in normal white solid line (you can change all this in your program options–the color of the background, the color of the drawn lines).
Figure 01 – Rectangle deselected in the graphic area.
Now, bring your mouse to the rectangle and hover over one of the sides.
Figure 02 – Now the mouse hovers over the rectangle.
The cursor changes to the select square, and the line appears white and dashed. But, we haven’t yet selected it. However, this is now you know which entity you’re about to select. Now, left click on the rectangle to select it. Here’s how a selected entity looks:
Figure 03 – a selected entity – dashed line with handles
Now that the rectangle is selected, each vertex has a blue square on it, the rectangle is now in dotted line, and there are four handles we can use to adjust the size of the rectangle. Note the cursor–it still remains as the selection square. Let’s right click while the rectangle is still selected. This launches the context-sensitive or contextual menu. It’s called context-sensitive because the menu from a right-click changes depending on the environment you’re in, the item you have selected, the tool you have open, etc. It’s like a good dental assistant who anticipates every need of the dentist. An intelligent context sensitive menu is a feature common to most CAD software like Auto CAD.
Figure 04 – The context- sensitive menu that launches when you right click while the rectangle is selected.
AutoCAD, in this context-sensitive menu, anticipates that we might want to create another rectangle (repeat), check on recent input (that means the rectangle dimensions, for example), create a polyline (an irregular type of line), access the clipboard for the purposes of copy, cut and paste, access the isolate menu in case we want to, for example, split up this rectangle into segments, erase the rectangle, copy it, scale it, rotate it, and so on. There are also sections in the context-sensitive menu–the top section contains the options I just listed; the middle is about selecting items–either selecting similar items or deselecting all, and the bottom section opens up the more general tools like selection filters, quick select, and the quick calculator. The quick calculator lets us input formulas, for example, in our dimensions or quickly make some calculations while this object is selected.
This concludes part 1 of this tutorial; stay tuned for part 2! By the way, the SEO analytical tool I use in wordpress tells me this article is difficult to read and that I should use less difficult words to improve readability. I resist the dumbing down of the masses! This article is totally easy to read. Anybody ever seen Idiocracy??
Thanks! Rosanna D, VTN
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