Basic AutoCAD Commands
LMaking simple lines in the drawing.
CMaking a circle in AutoCAD.
PLMake a Polyline in your drawing.
RECThis command will make a rectangle in AutoCAD.
POLMake a polygon with minimum 3 sides and a maximum of 1024 sides.
ARCMake an arc in AutoCAD.
ELLIPSEMake an ellipse with the major and minor axis.
REGMake a region geometry in AutoCAD.
COCopy object(s) in AutoCAD.
ARRAYMake Rectangular, polar or Path array.
TRTrimming a geometry.
OPOpen options window which contains most of the settings of AutoCAD.
SCChange the scale of an object.
BCreating a block, the properties of the block can be defined using the block definition window.
IInsert an existing block or a drawing as a block in AutoCAD.
STOpen text style window which controls properties of the default AutoCAD text style.
XExplode objects like Polyline to simple lines, an array or a block to a simple geometry etc.
FAdd rounded corners to the sharp edges of the geometry, these round corners are also called fillets.
CHAAdd slant edges to the sharp corners, these slant edges are also called chamfers.
LATo open layer properties manage palette which is a tool for creating and managing layers in a drawing.
Keyboard Shortcut Keys
Ctrl + NOpen a new drawing a tab in AutoCAD.
Ctrl + SSave a drawing file.
Ctrl + Shift + SSave the drawing as a new file or in short this is shortcut for “save as” command.
Ctrl + 0Clears screen to show only the drawing area and hides palettes and tabs. Press it again to reset default AutoCAD interface.
Ctrl + 1Select and object and press Ctrl + 1 to open the properties palette which lists properties of the object. You can use this palette to modify most of the properties of the object too. You can also use PR command to open the property palette.
Ctrl + 2Open design center palette which contains many AutoCAD blocks that can be used directly in your drawing.
Ctrl + 9Toggle the visibility of command line. If for some reason your command line is hidden from the drawing area, then use this keyboard shortcut to bring it back.
Ctrl + CSelect objects from the drawing area and press Ctrl + C to copy to objects to the clipboard.
Ctrl + VTo paste the copied objects of the clipboard in the drawing keeping their original properties, you can use this keyboard shortcut.
Ctrl + Shift + VTo paste the copied objects as a block you can use this keyboard shortcut, the block thus created will have a random set of characters as is name. You can use this keyboard shortcut to make blocks quickly without going through the create block window.
Ctrl + ZUndo last action in your drawing. You can press this shortcut key multiple times to undo many actions.
Ctrl + YRedo the last undo action which you have performed.
Ctrl + TabCycle through all open drawing tabs in AutoCAD.
Status Bar ToggleStatus bar options along with their properties and uses.
F7Toggle the visibility of background grid which is often visible in your drawing area.
F9Toggle Snap mode, when snap mode is active AutoCAD cursor will jump to specific points in the drawing area which is defined in snap mode.
DYNMODEBy default the value of this system variable is set to -3 which keeps it off you change this system variable to 3 to make dynamic input active. Dynamic input allows you to add information dynamically on the cursor tooltip.
F8Toggles Ortho mode on/off. When ortho mode is on you can make lines either horizontally or vertically only.
F10Toggles Polar tracking on/off. With polar tracking active you can make lines inclined to any angle which is defined in the polar tracking increment angle.
ISODRAFTUsing this toggle you can activate the isometric drawing plane in AutoCAD. You can select from Isoplane Left, Isoplane Top and Isoplane Right. You can also toggle between different isoplanes using F5 function key. The default value of ISODRAFT option is orthographic.
F11Toggles Object snap tracking on/off. Using this option you can track snap points of geometries like center, midpoint, endpoint etc and make geometries with their reference.
F3One the most important status bar toggles. This function key activates/deactivates object snap option, when object snap is active you will be able to snap your cursor to some exact points in the geometry like End, center, quadrant, tangent etc. This option allows you to make precise AutoCAD drawings.
LWDISPLAYThis system variable toggles visibility of lineweight in a drawing. The default value of this system variable is OFF which keeps the lineweight display off you can change its value to ON to keep lineweight visible in the drawing area.
TRANSPARENCYDISPLAYJust like lineweight this status variable allows you to toggle the visibility of transparency of an object. You change the value of this system variable to 1 to make transparency visible or 0 if you want to make it invisible.
SELECTIONCYCLINGUsing this system variable you can select overlapping objects very easily. When the value of this system variable is set to 2, an overlapping icon and a menu containing a list of overlapping objects appear and you can select the required object from this list.
If you set the value of this system variable to 1, only the overlap icon appears not the menu. You can turn this off by changing the value of this system variable to 0.
F6Dynamic UCS can be activated or deactivated using this function key. Using dynamic UCS you can make geometries directly of the face or another 3D object irrespective of the position of UCS. You can also toggle dynamic UCS using UCSDETECT system variable, the values of this system variable can be 1 for ON and 0 for OFF.
GRAPHICSCONFIGOpen Graphics configuration window which is used to change settings related to display and graphics properties of AutoCAD. You can also use 3DCONFIG for opening the graphics performance window.
These are some of the commands which can be frequently used in you drawing workflow to improve your overall efficiency. You might be familiar with many of these commands but there are also some commands which are really helpful still they remain largely unused.
TXTEXPConvert single line as well as multiline text into geometries.
XLINE (XL)Make infinite lines starting from the point of selection. When you trim or break this infinite line to a finite length it becomes a simple line geometry.
POINT (PO)Makes a single point geometry in the drawing. To modify the type of point created by this command you can use PTYPE command and choose the desired point type from Point Style window.
REVCLOUDMake a revision cloud geometry by freehand sketching.
SKETCHMake a freehand sketch using this command. You can use Line, Polyline or Spline as the object type for making this freehand sketch.
MULTIPLERepeat any command without pressing enter key then use MULTIPLE command. To cancel repetition of command press ESC key.
NCOPYCopy nested objects from a block or Xref without exploding them.
CALUsing this subcommand you can perform calculations directly on the AutoCAD command line even when you are in the middle of a command. You can start this subcommand by entering ‘CAL (don’t forget to add an apostrophe before CAL) while running any other command.
To know more about this subcommand refer the related article.
BURSTExplodes the block containing attributes retaining the attribute setting and its layer definition. This is especially helpful if you want to retain the text of attribute after exploding the block.
SPCheck the spelling of selected text and correct the spellings from Check Spelling window.
ARCTEXTWrite arc aligned text in AutoCAD. You can use this command to even write text aligned to a circle. More about this command can be found in this related article.
OOPSRestore the last deleted object in your drawing. After deleting an object if you made many other changes in the drawing and realized that you might need to restore the deleted object then simply type OOPS and press enter.
CHSPACEChange the space of an object from model space to paper space and vice versa. See the animated image shown below for reference.
DIVIDEDivide any 2D geometry into many equal parts. At each point of division, a point geometry will be added on the 2D curve. More about this command can be found in this related article.
RENAMERename any named object like layer, block or linetype simply use this command to rename it. More about this command can be found in this related article.
BREAKBreak 2D geometries at one or two points. It is helpful if you want to break a curve at the point of intersection with other curve or if you want to create a gap by breaking a part of the geometry.
TIMEFind a lot of information about your drawing like the date when the drawing was created and total editing time consumed on the drawing.
QSELECTMake the selection from your drawing with filters. As an example, you can use quick select to make a selection set containing all circles of the drawing with the radius of a particular value.
DIDistance between two points in the drawing.
COPYBASECopy any object using a base point.
PASTECLIPYou can paste the copied objects from clipboard to your drawing using this command. If you use COPYBASE to copy the objects then you will be able to paste it in the same or another drawing with the selected base point.
LISTFind lots of properties of an object like the layer they are on, area, length or radius, perimeter or circumference and a lot more. To use this command simply type LIST on the command line then press enter and select the object from drawing area about which you want to know and press enter again.
DIMThis command was introduced in AutoCAD 2016 version and it can be used to make most of the dimensions like Linear, aligned, radius, diameter and baseline. To access this command you can use DIM command or select the DIM tool from dimensions panel of Annotate tab.
TOLERANCEIf you want to add feature control frame representing tolerance related information in your drawing then you can use this command.
SCALETEXTChange the scale of existing Text or Mtext object in the drawing. To use this command type SCALETEXT on the command line press enter and select the text from drawing area and press Enter again.
Now select “Existing” option from the command line and then select “scale factor” option and then type the scale in which you want to convert the text height and press enter. When the scale of these text entities are changed the base point will remain fixed.
BASEChange the base point of a drawing without changing its origin. This is especially helpful in the situation where you want to insert the drawing into another as a Xref. By default, AutoCAD takes origin as the base point which can be modified using this command without changing the origin.
DWGPREFIXIf you have a drawing open in AutoCAD and you don’t know the location where it is saved you can simply type DWGPREFIX command to look it. This command can be used to quickly find the location of Xref’s attached in the drawing.
TJUSTChange the text justification of Text and Mtext elements in the drawing.
UNITSSet the drawing units and other settings like the precision of linear and angular dimensions and default rotation angle.
MLMake a multiline geometry which contains multiple parallel lines.
TINSERTYou can insert a block or a drawing as a block in the table using this command. You can also fit the block in the table cell and also justify its location automatically with TINSERT dialogue box. I have made a simple table by importing blocks of design center as shown in the image below.
MIRRTEXTBy default, AutoCAD does not mirror text in the drawing but if you want to mirror the text of your drawing then change the value of MIRRTEXT system variable to 1.
AREAAs the name suggests this command can be used to find the area of closed or open shapes in the AutoCAD drawing. To know more about finding the area in AutoCAD drawings refer this related article.
TORIENTUsing this command you can reorient text entities in best readable position. In the image A below the text is oriented at different angles and in some of the situations, the text is not properly readable. Whereas in image B below TORIENT command has been used to make the text readable for all angles.
IDFnd the coordinate values of a point in AutoCAD drawing.
MINSERTInsert existing blocks of a drawing as a rectangular array component. An array added using MINSERT command can’t be exploded.
BOUNDARYExtract closed boundaries from any enclosed area. This boundary can be used to find the area of the enclosed region or for many other applications. In the image below the boundary of the area mentioned as A has been extracted as a polyline using BOUNDARY command.
DIMROTATEDMake a dimension line inclined to a particular angle with respect to the positive side of the X-axis. In the example shown below the dimensions are made with DIMROTATED command.
BREAKLINEMake a Breakline symbol on a line. Type BREAKLINE on the command line and press enter then click on scale option of the command line and apply an appropriate scale to the breakline.
Select the starting and end points of the breakline then click at any point on the line to specify the location of breakline or directly press enter to place it exactly at the center of the line.
TXT2MTXTConvert a text object into a Mtext object and you can also combine multiple separate Mtext objects into a single Mtext unit.
SAVEALLSave all of the open drawings in AutoCAD window.
There are many best practices that you follow to keep your AutoCAD software and PC in great working condition and there are also many inbuilt tools and commands in AutoCAD that help you in keeping the performance of your software properly optimized. In this section, you will find all those performance and optimization related commands which you can use in your daily workflow.
PURGERemove unused named objects like layers, blocks and dimension styles from the drawing.
LAYDELDelete some of the most stubborn layers from your drawing which can’t be removed using PURGE command. This command can also remove Defpoints layer and also layer containing objects but I would not recommend that.
FILLMODEUsing this system variable you can turn off or on the visibility of filled area in hatches or wide polylines by changing its value to 0 or 1 respectively. By turning the FILLMODE to off you can enhance the performance of AutoCAD by limiting resources consumed on regenerating the filled geometries.
You need to regenerate the drawing using REA command after changing this system variable to see its effect on the drawing.
APERTUREThis system variable controls the area of influence of object snap. The aperture size as defined by this system variable is the area of the square under which the point will be selected if the cursor is brought into it. The default value of this aperture is 10 but depending on the complexity of the drawing you can change this value between 1-50.
The size of the aperture is relative to the current scale of the screen and it is not an absolute value. In the image below the red box (not visible in AutoCAD) is the aperture size for two values 10 and 50 respectively.
OVERKILLRemove overlapping or unnecessary geometries from the drawing.
ISAVEPERCENTYou can change the value of this system variable to reduce the time it takes to save a drawing. This system variable also affects file size of AutoCAD drawings and its compatibility with other softwares.By decreasing the value of this system variable you can increase its compatibility with other softwares and it also decreases the size of the CAD file but the time consumed in save operation generally increases. When you increase the value of this system variable opposite happens.
The default value of this system variable is 50 and it can be changed from 0 to 100.
SELECTIONPREVIEWWhen hovering the cursor over any object a preview will appear if the value of this system variable is set to 3. You can remove this preview thereby improve the performance by changing the value of this system variable to 0.
HIGHLIGHTThis system variable is also similar to SELECTIONPREVIEW but in this case, the object will appear highlighted when selected. Its default value is 1 but you can turn off this highlight effect by changing its value to 0.
RECOVERALLThis command repairs a corrupted or damaged drawing along with all of its attached Xref’s.
LAYMCHUsing this command you can change the layers of selected objects. To use this command type LAYMCH on the command line and press enter key then select objects whose layer assignment you want to change and press enter then select any object of the layer which you want to apply on selected objects and press enter key again.
PICKBOXUsing this system variable you can change the size of Pickbox which appears at the cursor of AutoCAD. The default value of this system variable is 3 and you can change its value from 0 to 50.
In the image below the size of Pickbox is 3 for first cursor and 10 for the second cursor.
STARTMODEThis system variable will toggle the visibility of start tab at the beginning of the AutoCAD application. By default the value of this system variable is 1 which allows start screen to appear, you can change this value to 0 if you don’t want to see the start
CLOSEALLIf you have multiple tabs open in your AutoCAD window and you don’t want to manually close them one by one then you can simply use CLOSEALL command to close all the open windows. AutoCAD will prompt you with the save dialogue box before closing all unsaved drawings and it will take you to start screen after closing all of the drawings.
SELECTIONCYCLINGUsing this system variable you can make a selection of overlapping objects very easily. When the value of this system variable is set to 2, an overlapping icon and a menu containing a list of overlapping objects appear and you can select the required object from this list.
If you set the value of this system variable to 1, only the overlap icon appears not the menu. You can turn this off by changing the value of this system variable to 0.
AUDITThis command should be used for removing errors from your drawing. It is always a good practice to keep checking your drawing file with AUDIT tool for errors.
RECOVERThis command is similar to the AUDIT command but it is useful for the drawings which are corrupted to such an extent that you can’t even open it. More about drawing repair tools can be found in this related article.
MACopy properties of one object on other without changing its geometry or contents.
CLOSEALLOTHERClose all open drawing windows except the current drawing window.
TEXTFITShrink or expand the text entities in a drawing to fit in the required area. In the example below I have fitted the AutoCAD text within the rectangle using TEXTFIT command.
WIPEOUTUsing wipeout command you can clean background in a crowded drawing to make overlaying objects clear against the background. In the image shown below Wipeout command has been used to clean the area around the second hook. You can use WIPEOUTFRAME system variable and change its value to 0 to remove wipeout frame boundary also.
DWGUNITSConvert your AutoCAD drawing from one unit to another and you can also scale the existing drawing to new scales automatically, you can know more about this command in the related article.
TEXTMASKUsing this command you can automatically create a masking behind the text to make it clearly visible against the crowded background. In the image below Textmask has not been applied for the first case and in the second case, it has been applied.
LAYMRGIf you want to merge layers of multiple objects then this command is for you. Type LAYMRG press enter key then select the objects whose layers you want to change then press enter again. Select any object of target layer on which you want to transfer the selected objects and press enter again.
All the objects of the selected layer will be transferred to the end layer and also the selected layer will be removed.
DSUsing this command you can open the drafting settings window which can be used to change settings related to status bar options like object snap, polar tracking, snap and grid settings.
LAYWALKUsing this command you can check all the objects which are on a particular layer. When you use LAYWALK command a list with all layers appears on the screen and you can click on any of the layer(s) from the list and objects from that layer(s) will only become visible in the drawing area. The original status of layer and object visibility is restored once you close LAYWALK window.
CENTERMARKThis tool was added in the AutoCAD 2017 version and it allows you to create center mark easily on a circle or arc.
CENTERLINEAs the name suggests you can add a centerline easily between parallel or intersecting lines using this tool. See the related article for more on Centermark and Centerline tools.
TABLETIf for some reasons you are looking to use Tablet as pointing and navigation device in AutoCAD then you can use this command to turn the Tablet input on and off. The Tablet can be turned on and off using TABMODE system variable also.
TEXTSCROpen a text window which has a history of recently used commands.
BATTMANModify the attribute information of blocks containing attributes.
SEEKThis command will redirect you to BIMobject.com page (formerly Autodesk seek) which is a CAD and BIM object catalog. It is one of the great places to get blocks for your projects.
FSUsing this command you can select objects which are connected to the selected object in the drawing area. The behavior of this command is controlled by FSMODE system variable, if the value of FSMODE is OFF then FS command will select only the selected object and one object that is directly connected to the selected object.
If the value of FSMODE is ON then FS command will select the selected object as well as all the objects connected to it and its next connected object in the series. This selection series continues as long as the command finds connected objects.