up AutoCAD, you should be greeted with a screen asking if
you want to open an existing drawing or start from scratch.
(Dependant on your version of AutoCAD, the screen will be
slightly different - The image shown below is for AutoCAD
Select 'Create Drawings',
then 'Start from Scratch'.
Ensure that you select metric (i.e you are telling AutoCAD
that you will be drawing in metres and millimetres NOT feet
will now create a new drawing file named drawing1.dwg.
AutoCAD will default to 'model space'. For now it is sufficient
to say that model space is the blank space where all the drawing
is carried out. Paperspace (now called Layout space since
AutoCAD 2000) isn't really required until we are ready to
plot (print) the drawing.
There are many toolbars available in AutoCAD. Go to View
> Toolbars from the drop down menu to see them
all. For now make sure that the following toolbars are checked:
Draw - Contains AutoCADs most common drawing tools
Modify - Contains all of the common editing commands such
as erase, copy etc.
Object Properties - Contains 'layer' information as well as
object colours and line style options. (Covered Later).
Standard Toolbar - Contains open & save options as well
as zoom & pan options.
Object Snap - AutoCAD's intelligent drawing aid - joins lines
at specific points. (Covered later).
Arrange the icons to where is comfortable for you (A typical
layout is shown below):
The Command Line
The command line appears at the bottom of the AutoCAD screen
(as shown above) and displays the commands entered. Commands
can be entered into the command line in text format, or by
using the icons or drop down menus. 'Old School' Cad users
tend to type each command into the command line, as was required
with older versions of AutoCAD. It is much quicker to familiarise
yourself with the tool bars and drop down menus. There are
times however when commands need to be typed into the command
line, these will be covered later.
Drawing Technique - AutoCAD's Co-ordinate system
Just before we start drawing, one more important point. AutoCAD
works on a co-ordinate system. When drawing, we can be very
precise and specify an exact point in space where a line should
begin or end. The 2D co-ordinates system is based on the horizontal
and vertical axis named x and y. (This is shown in the bottom
left of the AutoCAD drawing area, the X Y icon is called the
Drawing - Line Command
1)Select the line
command from the draw menu
(alternatively select line from the 'draw' drop down menu).
asks you (in the command line area) to specify a start point.
Simply pick an area central to the drawing area (left click
of the mouse).
now asks for an end point. Select somewhere (left click) to
the top right of the drawing area.
one line is drawn. AutoCAD keeps the line command open so
that another line can be drawn beginning exactly where the
previous finished. We want to end the command so simply right
click to end (AutoCAD 2000 users and above - right click will
open a small menu - simply choose 'enter' to end the command).
Drawing - Line Command - Specifying Points
Erase the line we just created. Select the erase
command from the menu
or from the 'modify' drop down menu.
AutoCAD asks you to select an object, left click the line
we drew. Right click to enter the command and delete the line.
Let's imagine we are looking down over a plot of land (plan
view). We are going to draw the land boundary from some measurements
taken. The land measures 25m x 40m.
the line command as before. This time for a start point we
will specify some co-ordinates (simply an exact point in the
2) We will
start our drawing at a point 50m horizontal and 50m vertical
from the default UCS location of 0,0. AutoCAD is asking for
a start point, type in the command line: 50,50
followed by hitting enter.
Note - AutoCAD's normal co-ordinate system is always
relative to the UCS icon position of 0,0.
3) For the next point we'll draw the bottom end of the plot
of land. We want a line 25m horizontal from the start point.
We can specify co-ordinates from a particular point
by including the @ symbol in front of the co-ordinates. This
informs AutoCAD that the co-ordinates we are specifying are
relative to the last point specified and not to the UCS.
To enter a 25m length horizontal line from the start point
the command would be @25,0
(i.e go 25m along, go 0m up).
Now we should have drawn a horizontal line 25m long.
Note - Do not right click to end the line command, this layout
can be drawn leaving the command open.
4) We now need a 40m vertical line to represent the right
side of the plot of land. This command would be @0,40
(i.e go 0m along, go 40m up).
for the top of the land. We need to go back horizontally by
25m from the current end position of the vertical 40m line.
The command would be @-25,0
(i.e go back 25m, go up 0m).
6) To finish off we need to draw the last line. we need to
go 40m vertically down so the command is @0,-40
(i.e go 0m along, go 40m down).
click to end the draw command.
That's it! We've just drawn a scale drawing of the plot of
land from the measurements given from a start point of 50,50
relevant to the UCS.
TIP- If your drawing is only taking up a small area of the
screen, try zooming in with the various zoom commands. To
quickly view your drawing close up choose zoom
to see the entire drawing.
- Rectangle Command
Erase the 4 lines we just drew. We will know try
a command that would have drawn the above land layout in one
1) Choose the rectangle
or select it from the draw drop down menu.
2) AutoCAD asks for the start point. As before, we want to
begin 50m horizontally and 50m vertically from the UCS, so
enter 50,50 then hit return.
now asks for the position of the top right corner of the rectangle
we are going to draw. To draw the plot of land we need 25m
along and 40m up from the start point, so the command is @25,40
Your drawing should be identical to the one we drew before,
but was a lot simpler and quicker to draw.
play around with the line and rectangle commands and familiarise
yourself with how they operate.
any errors/omissions to
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