AutoCAD Tips

Circular Viewport

Let's say you want to create a circular viewport completely contained within a larger rectangular one. You don’t want objects displayed in the rectangular viewport, only showing objects in a circular viewport.

Here's what you can do:

1. In a layout viewport, create a rectangle and a circle within it.
2. Create a copy of the circle in the same location as the original circle (use COPY 0,0).
3. Change all three objects into regions with the REGION command.
4. Subtract one of the circular regions from the rectangular one with the SUBTRACT command.
5. Enter the MVIEW command and specify the Object option. Select the rectangular region, change it into a viewport with a "hole" in it.
6. Repeat the MVIEW command selecting the remaining circular region. This converts it into a separate circular viewport, that fills the hole in the previous one.

Revision of your Drawing

To create a continuous revision of your drawing, create a separate layer for notes and labels that explain the drawing and what still needs to be done or corrected. Freeze or delete this layer when the drawing is completed.

Scrolling through Directories Searching for Drawings?

In AutoCAD you can add your most frequently used folders in the Open dialog box. Right-click on the far left of the dialog box to add and remove directories.

Grips to Edit Objects

  1. Select the objects to copy.
  2. Select a base grip on an object by clicking the grip.

    The selected grip is highlighted, and the default grip mode, Stretch, is active.

  3. Cycle through the grip modes by pressing ENTER until the grip mode you want appears (stretch, move, rotate, or scale). Choose rotate.

    Alternatively, you can right-click to display shortcut menu modes and options.

  4. Next choose a basepoint.
  5. Enter C (Copy).
  6. Now you can make copies of your object, for example around a circle, by pointing some angles with polar tracking. Copies continue being made until you turn off grips.
  7. Turn off grips by pressing SPACEBAR or ESC.

Speed Up the Erase Command

Click on the 'erase' icon twice with the right hand mouse button.

This will display Button Properties.The Macro command line should read - ^C^C_eraseChange this line to read - *^C^C_erase single. So when you erase objects, just click on them and they will disappear at once. No need to confirm each selection with the right mouse button. You can also use this trick with the other modify commands.

Object Fields

It is easy to create object fields that are located in the same space as the object to which they are associated, what about if the object is located in modelspace, but you want the field to be displayed in the layout? You can do this very easily by starting to create the field in the same space as the object. Before you exit the field dialog box, highlight the Field Expression at the bottom of the dialog box. Next you right-click and choose Copy.  Cancel the dialog box and then switch to the layout. Right-click and choose Paste to create a Mtext object with the field data. Additionally you can also paste the code into a table cell.

Rotate Coordinate System

You can create portions of a drawing at an angle. This is how you do it: Rotate the User Coordinate System around the Z-axis to the angle. You can then use Object Snap Tracking, Ortho, Grid, and Snap relative to the angle.

A Fast Way to Make a Floor Plan

A fast method to begin a drawing such as a floor plan is to use the RECTANG command to create a series of overlapping walls. Use the REGION command to convert them to regions and then use UNION and SUBTRACT to join them together. Now everything should look neat, without any overlapping. Finally, to turn the objects into lines, use the EXPLODE command.

Stretch Command

I find the STRETCH command to be very useful. With this command it is easy to change the dimensions of multiple lines, a rectangle or triangle. Use a crossing polygon or a fence to select the objects then stretch them to where you need them. Use ortho if needed.

Copy With a Base Point

When you want to copy objects, simply use "COPY TO CLIPBOARD", instead of using the command "COPY WITH A BASE POINT". It lets you pick a base point on the DWG to copy from. Then the basepoint will be used as a insertion point, when you insert a block, then you can specify the exact position. Even try creating a tool bar button for the command.

Scale with Reference

You probably received a drawing that was scaled wrong. I recommend using this method to change the drawing into a correct scale.

Type SCALE enter.

Select objects.

Select a basepoint, choose lower left corner.

Select Reference enter.

Select 2 points that defines the total length of the object.

Now enter the correct length.

Lengthen an Arc

Draw an arc with given radius of any length. Then to set its length use the LENGTHEN command with the Total option. Or change the length with PROPERTIES.

Object Snap Tracking

Use object snap tracking to track along alignment paths that are based on object snap points. Acquired points display a small plus sign (+), and you can acquire up to seven tracking points at a time. After you acquire a point, horizontal, vertical, or polar alignment paths relative to the point are displayed as you move the cursor over their drawing paths. For example, you can select a point along a path based on an object endpoint or midpoint or an intersection between objects.

In the following illustration, the Endpoint object snap is on. You start a line by clicking its start point (1), move the cursor over another line's endpoint (2) to acquire it, and then move the cursor along the horizontal alignment path to locate the endpoint you want for the line you are drawing (3).

AutoCAD Object Snap Tracking

Moving an Object to a Absolute Coordinate

From AutoCAD 2006 Autodesk introduced dynamic input, this display your coordinates and angle input on-screen in small boxes. The standard setting for this feature creates a little problem when you type absolute coordinates. The solution is to switch off dynamic input, before you type the coordinates. Just press F12 and you type the coordinates in the command line.

Draw an Arc Counter-Clockwise

Ever get frustrated trying to draw an arc clockwise as opposed to the default counter-clockwise? Try this to draw an arc using ""end-center-end"". Draw a ""V"" shape using equal line segments. Before you start drawing the arc bring up the UCS tool bar and rotate around the X or Y axis 180 degrees. Now draw the arc using the left point of the V as the start point, the vertex as the center, and finally the right point of the V to end. Don't forget to select the ""world"" icon on the UCS tool bar to return it to normal.


Modelspace viewports in layouts are usually scaled at other than 1:1 ratios. This means that text objects in the viewport may appear at a different size than on the layout, even if they have the same height property. The SPACETRANS command changes distances (typically text heights) from either modelspace or paperspace to an equivalent distance in the other space. This command can be invoked transparently to provide correct values when distances are requested by other commands. If used in standalone mode, this command displays the computed value on the command line.

Restore Viewport Settings with a Click of a Button

While viewing a layout, did you ever want to make a little change to your model without having to switch to model space? Did you ever start to make such a change, only to accidentally mess up the scale and limits of your viewport? Well, you can edit your models within paperspace viewports safely and easily with VPMAX.

In a layout with the desired viewport selected, click on the Maximize Viewport button at the bottom of the AutoCAD screen in the tools tray. Your viewport will switch to model space and expand to fill the AutoCAD screen. You can now safely edit, zoom, and pan without fear of ruining your carefully set up scale and limits. When you’re done editing, simply toggle the Maximize Viewport button again. All of your viewport settings are restored to normal and you’re ready to print.

Trim and Extend

From AutoCAD 2006 a new feature in AutoCAD has appeared. In the Trim command you can switch to extend by holding down SHIFT, you select the objects first and then press down shift while you click on the end of a line you wanna extend. You can do the same with Extend command, switch to Trim. But there are also more functionality in these 2 commands. Especially the options Fence and Edge are worth mentioning. With fence at hand you can easily trim or extend multiple lines by making a long cutting line in 2 clicks! The other option I should mention is Edge. With Edge you can extend to a invisible boundary. There should be a line to make an invisible extension with. Select the option Edge in the Extend command. When AutoCAD prompt;
"Enter an implied edge extension mode [Extend/No extend] <No extend>:" Type E enter. Next pick a line to make an extension with (boundary). Job done!

The Better Alternative to Explode

XPLODE is a very good command that allows you to control the color, layer, lineweight and linetype in all the components of an exploded object. It works similarly to EXPLODE, but with more functionality. For example, a block is a compound object. You can explode multiple compound objects simultaneusly. Furthermore it's possible to change the color, layer, lineweight, and linetype of each object individually or change the entire selection set globally. You can specify a color, layer, lineweight, and linetype, or these properties can be inherited from the object being exploded. A compound object contains multiple AutoCAD objects. Xplode breaks a compound object into its component objects.

Can't Find an Object

Use ZOOM extent to find objects that are located far away, outside drawing limits. Allways locate objects inside the drawings limits, then you avoid this problem.

Drawing Lines

TIP 1: Use ORTHO to keep your lines at a set angle, for example 90 degrees. Press F8 to turn ORTHO on or OFF. Or press SHIFT to activate or deactivate to ORTHO command.

TIP 2: For odd angles, change polar angle settings (Polar Tracking).

Drawing an Rectangle

To draw an exact rectangle, first select a starting point. Type D for dimensions, Next type length and width. Move mouse to left or right, thereby placing the rectangle.

Convert Lines to Polylines

From AutoCAD 2006 you can use Pedit to convert multiple lines or arcs to polylines in one session. This option will save you a lot of time, if there is many lines in the drawing that needs to be converted. Type PEDIT enter. Type M for multiple, choose the lines you want to convert. To the prompt: <Convert Lines and Arcs to Polylines [Yes/No]?> Answer Yes, press enter twice to end command.

I used the PEDIT command often, it is a very good tool for modifying polylines.


Formerly in older AutoCAD releases, when you used Polyline Edit to join a line or arc with other objects, you were prompted to enter Y (for Yes) if you wanted to convert the line or arc into a polyline. By setting the PEDITACCEPT system variable to 1, you can avoid this prompt and proceed directly to joining your line or arc with other objects.

Linear Dimensions by Selection

Want to make a quick dimension? This can be done easily by doing a return, when AutoCAD prompts you for the <First extension line origin>. At this point AutoCAD will ask you to select the line to be dimensioned. Just select a line and place the dimension in a desired location.

Quick Precise Projections

Use the RAY command instead of XLINE command. Besides creating basic construction lines, it also will create lines at precise angles fast and easy. Use the RAY command with osnap "on" when you make your projections. Tip: After trimming, the ray lines becomes lines. The RAY command never extend the line in 2 directions. The line is extended infinite, but only in one direction from the start point. Advantage: Not wasting time cutting construction lines at both ends. It will save you time, once you get used to the command.

Creating Polylines of any Closed Space with a Single Click

To create a closed polyline of lines in a closed space, use the BPOLY command (Boundary Command). This command works similar to the hatch command, but creates a closed polyline instead of hatch.


When you want to cut away multiple lines then use the sub command fence. The command is versatile with cross-polygon function. The fence command can be very time saving when a complex design needs to be trimmed.


Use Mirror command as much as possible. Plan where you want the mirror axis before using the command. Use ORTHO and snap endpoints on mirror axis.


Place toolbars on the user interface in a location, that gives you the shortest distance to move the mouse. Activate only the toolbars you need for your job. Customize the toolbars with the CUI feature. Include only the commands in the toolbar, that are required for your work. Type CUI enter and click 3D modeling (current), next you click Customize Workspace. See image 1 below.

Image 1

AutoCAD Customize User Interface

Then you clik the square boxes on the left to add or remove toolbars. You click done, when you are finish. See image 2 below.

Image 2

AutoCAD customize user interface continued

Finally you click apply and OK. You can use the same procedure for menus and dockable windows.


Use the new toolpalettes as organized menus. Place them on the right side, if you are right-handed. Add your favorite commands, dimstyles, textstyles, hatches, blocks and materials in a alphabetic order. Create a library of dynamic blocks. Each block with different specified actions, for example stretch, scale or rotate. Use autohide, if you want more space on the screen.

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