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A Two-Page Tutorial on The Basics of AutoCAD and DraftSight Version 1.

0 June, 2011

A Two-Page Tutorial on


Do all the design in the Model view and print layouts in the layout view. Zombies will dismember you if you put your sheets in your Model view. Drawings will never look right and you will be constantly fighting with the software to get it proper. Instead, you need to realize what parts of your drawings belong to the Model or the layout. For example, scale information on the drawing belongs in the Layout View and not in the model so you can have the same drawing referenced properly in multiple sheet sized layouts. Set your title page layout in your layout view, and customize separate ones for different paper types, colors, line weights, types, etc.


Ahmed Dassouki, 2011-
This tutorial covers DraftSight and AutoCAD 2006. The presented techniques should translate between the 2006 and 2010+ versions but I could be wrong. If you understand the concepts below and memorize them, you will be a CAD guru in no time.

ESnap: Enable all options. Note that when in a command, you can type mid, per, etc to get a specific snap. Polar: Enable and view the guides set at 22.5 degrees. ETrack: Enable and set the tracks to view across the screen. Disable, Grid, Ortho, and Snap modes as the above options are better usability wise.

Create a maintainable amount of layers that you can easily interchange between documents and project types. Remember that you will get drawings from different individuals on different aspects of a project. Careful planning and proper nomenclature is essential to having a good document. Check with the Architectural Graphic Standards or with the firm you work for about layer systems and standards. Always follow a standard! You can group, show, freeze, and set the layer to print/un-print. For example, you can create a grid type layer with light colors) that is locked and unprintable. In the layers property window, change the line weights and types. Depending on your practice and firm you work at, standards are different, therefore, consult with local companies and see what they use. To add line types click on Load and select additional line types. In the same window set the line type scale and weight for the layer. PRINT)



For Imperial units change the unit system to Architectural. Set the dimensions to have high precision. In some occasions an operation might screw up (especially when extending, stretching, etc). With high precision set, you can easily detect the discrepancies. For example, a wrong dimension on a line might read as 10.00453 instead of 10.00000. You will have to backtrack and figure out which line is misbehaving. Set your dimension properties (not unit properties) to show different unit systems. To display drawings in both unit systems, draw in imperial and then enable and display the metric as a secondary unit in your dimension settings. Scale up drawings dimensions (not the drawing itself) in the dimension properties to be n times larger. For example, if the main unit is metres but want to display the dimensions in millimetres, set the dimension scale factor to a 1,000.


Most firms have their own print files. In a drawing, go to print additional options, you can find the ctb files under print style tables. Create a new style for each plotter and digital copies. This is an iterative process and you will always continuously improve it. Always export as PDF with the proper line types, weights, and color schemes.

If you are doing 2D work, you only need these toolbars enabled: Standard: for basic file and printing operations. Layer and properties: for layer options and customization. Component: To edit and modify blocks.


Once the basic blocks, entities, layers, and title blocks are properly working, save the file as a template.

A Two-Page Tutorial on The Basics of AutoCAD and DraftSight Version 1.0 June, 2011


The following is a list of commands that are used with AutoCAD or DraftSight that you should know very well. Remember you can change and customize any of these commands.

s: stretch. al: align that uses three points. sc: scale. spl: spline, takes a while to handle properly. ml: multiline, draws a multiline, I usually set the justification to zero. You will need to explode the ml to use it as a regular line. h: hatches, by pattern or objects. The benefit of doing it by objects is that the hatch will adjust automatically when you modify the object. w: weld, combines multiple overlapping or regular lines into one. br: break an existing line into multiple pieces. div: divide a line into multiple divisions, resulting in a series of points.


l: line, you can either click the first point, move the mouse in the desired direction, then enter the distance; or use the snap to the second point location, or do a detailed entry, for example: l space 5,5 or l click with your mouse then @50<45 that translates to a line of length = 50, angle = 45. xl: infinity line. pl: polyline, Draws a polyline based on user defined vertices. In a polyline, you can change from a line to an arc by typing a, or l. For example, pl, then draw your line, then a, to draw an arc, then l again to draw a line: IMPORTANT: If you are creating a CLOSED polyline, and you are at your last segment in creating the polyline, press c to close the polyline. Otherwise your polyline is fucking useless! pe: polyline edit, this commands adds or removes a section of a polyline. When in pe mode, you can use trim, extend, etc to edit your polylines. IMPORTANT while in pe, you should join (j) and close (c) the mother fucking polyline, otherwise it is useless! pt: point. a: arc. c: circle. el: ellipse. rec: rectangle. cc: copy, by default it multi copies. m: move, moves objects based on a base point. ma: match, this command matches two objects to have the same properties (layer, text, type, weights, etc. this useful when you offset a line, and want to change its type. o: offset, it draws a parallel line by a certain distance. mi: mirror, to mirror an object along an axis. tr: trim, trims one or multiple lines. f: fillet, joins two lines without end tails based on a radius. ex: extend, extends one or multiple lines to a user specified object. If you press shift, extend becomes a trim command. ro: rotates.

b: block, creates a block. Usually set the block to be on Layer 0 for easy movement between files. i: insert, inserts the block you just created. x: explode, breaks up a multiline, polyline, object into regular lines. simplenote: annotation tool. ed: edits a simplenote. mt: multiple text, another way of inserting text into your document.

area: area, it also gives perimeter, this can only be used on regions (reg) or on closed polylines) di: distance. d: distance settings. e: erase. layon: layer on, turns all layers on. layoff: layer(s) off, turns specific layer(s) off. Layiso: layer(s) isolate, isolate specific layer(s). ltscale: line type scale, sometimes this differs from model to view. plot: opens up the print settings. r: refresh, redraws the canvas.