As Technical Design Manager at The Interiors Group I often get asked many questions about AutoCAD, some simple and others not quite so straightforward! Therefore I thought it would be useful to compile a few of my top AutoCAD tips for beginners... This is by no means the most comprehensive list, as there are so many useful resources on the web but a couple of shortcuts that I find particularly useful. So with that in mind, in no particular order my top tips are:
So many times I have heard an anguished shout across the office floor from someone who has just lost a few hours' work because they haven't been saving frequently and their auto-save was set up badly. Save frequently, get into the habit of saving as often as you can, check your auto-save setting in the options dialogue box. I have even gone so far as to changing the auto-save file to an easier location in case of those emergencies.
I find this such a useful tool for cleaning up drawings. Often we get drawings from architects and we need to change it to our layering standards. It's much easier to single out one layer and make the necessary changes.
Another time saving tool for printing off a whole set of drawings is to publish to a PDF file format for emailing out or you can send the collection of drawings to the printer directly. If you have a good Cad manager in the office these settings will have already been set up and will be available in your start up template but if they are not, it is very easy to set up. Through the page setup manager you can add all the different types of printing you regularly use (A1 to A3 colour, A1 to A3 PDF, etc). Play around with this one as it has so many options to suit.
These two commands are very useful for cleaning up messy drawings!
Another one of my favourite tools that allows you to quickly select similar items throughout the drawing thereby helping you to work more efficiently. Along the same lines, QSELECT is also a great tool which gives you a wider range to filter out object type or properties.
A great tool for setting up your drawings and again your CAD manager should have set up the title-block template to your office standards. Under the file / drawing properties pull down menu you can add custom fields which only need to be edited once in the drawing for it to then update every reference. We use this for the client name so that it is then added to every title-block in the drawing.
When working on multiple drawings this allows you to quickly cycle through them. I use this to copy and paste information between open drawings.
This is not a very long list but hopefully these are of some benefit to new users. Make the most of the multitude of resources available to you online as in my experience that is the best way for you to learn more about CAD.
Greg heads up our Technical Design team at The Interiors Group, liaising with our design team, external design partners and our delivery team. In his spare time Greg enjoys spending time with his family and mountaineering in Africa when given the increasingly rare opportunity!
"Very flexible, bringing experience and knowledge to the project."
Liz Pickard, Founding Director & Project Leader, Consarc Architects