AutoCAD 2D Tips

Circular Viewport

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

Here is what you can do:

  1. In a layout viewport, create a circle.

  2. Change the circle into a region with the REGION command.

  3. Enter the MVIEW command and specify the Object option. Select the circular region and press enter. This will change it into a viewport.

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 2D Objects

  1. Select the objects to copy.

  2. Select a base grip on an 2D object by clicking the grip. The selected grip is highlighted (turns red), 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

Execute the command CUI. Under toolbars – modify you find the erase command, next look at properties. The Macro command line should read - ^C^C_erase. Change this line to read - *^C^C_erase single. So when you erase objects, just click on them and they will disappear at once. You don’t need to confirm each selection with the right mouse button. You can apply this little coding trick to all the editing commands. I think it's a great way to speed up your work.

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.

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 an insertion point, when you insert a selection of objects. The advantage is that you can specify the exact position in a new drawing window. Useful feature if you want to copy parts of a drawing to another drawing. Try also 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.

  1. First select the objects that you want to scale.

  2. Select a basepoint, choose lower left corner.

  3. Select Reference and press enter.

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

  5. 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


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. After trimming, the ray lines become lines. The RAY command never extends 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. CONSTRUCTION LINE command extends the line in 2 directions.


The SNAP command makes it possible to draft precisely, when you are making a drawing in AutoCAD. Type SNAP enter. Now type 1 or you could type with decimals 0.1  Make a snap setting that is appropriate to the object's size. The result of using SNAP, is that your drawing contain objects that are located in coordinates with rounded digits. F. ex. 200. 50, 200.00. I believe most people prefer precise and rounded coordinates. Use OBJECT SNAP, OBJECT SNAP TRACKING and SNAP as much as possible to create accurate drawings.

Object Snap

Always use object snap when you make a drawing. Turn on the object snaps that are necessary for griping the desired points on your drawing object. If you turn on to many object snaps, then you give AutoCAD a hard time choosing the correct point.

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 can type the coordinates in the command line.

Draw an Arc Counter-Clockwise

Ever get frustrated trying to draw an arc the default counter-clockwise? Try this to draw an arc using "end-end-center". With polar tracking on, draw a 45 degrees "V" shape using equal line segments. Now draw the arc using the right point A of the V as the start point, the left point B of the V as second point and finally the lowest vertex as the center to complete the arc. NB: The UCS must be set to default “world”.


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 creating a layout, did you ever want to make a change to your model without having to switch to model space? You started to make such a change, only to mess up the scale and limits of your viewport. Fortunately, you can edit your models within paperspace viewports safely with the command 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 zoom, edit and pan without fear of ruin the scale and limits in your viewport. When you’re done editing, simply press the Maximize Viewport button again. You’re now back in paperspace and all of your viewport settings are restored to normal. You find the Maximize Viewport Button on the status bar.

Maximize Viewport

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 want to extend. You can do the same with EXTEND command, switch to TRIM. But there is 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 an invisible boundary.
Create a line to make an invisible extension. 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 create an extension.  Imagine the line as a boundary for your extension.

Stretch Command

I find the STRETCH command to be very useful, when you edit objects. With this command it is easy to change the dimensions of multiple lines, a rectangle or triangle. Use a crossing polygon by typing CP to select multiple objects and then stretch them to a desired location. When specifying second point: I move the mouse in the desired direction, then type the distance and press enter. Remember, ORTHO must be on. If you want to do a diagonal stretch, then use Polar Tracking. Procedure: Press F10, and then right click on Polar Tracking in the status bar, next click "settings". Set increment angle to a specific angle. Now do the STRETCH command as described above. NB: In irregular shaped areas use stretch together with subcommand CP (Crossing Polygon).

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. Always locate objects inside the drawings limits, hence you avoid this problem. In the PROPERTIES command you can also find and select objects by using Quick Select.

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 and press 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. Or close an open polyline, this is recommendable, because you then only have to move 1 unit. I’ve 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.

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. Click button Pick Points and click inside a rectangle of lines.


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.

Toolbars and Menus

Place toolbars on the user interface in a location that gives you the shortest distance to move the mouse. Activate only the toolbars and menus that 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. Now you see the Customize User Interface, here you click 3D modeling (current),next you clickCustomize Workspace. See image below.

Image 1

AutoCAD Customize User Interface

Then you clik the square boxes on the left to add or remove toolbars and menus. 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 dockable windows.

Tool Palettes

Use the tool palettes as organized menus. Place them on the right side, if you are right-handed. Add your favorite commands, dimstyles, textstyles, hatches, blocks and materials on tool palettes. Organize tool palettes so you can easy view and access your tools. I recommend the following: Move all tool palettes into palette groups. This way the tool palettes are organized and it is easier to find them. Right-click in the bigger gray area on a tool palette, now click Customize Palettes. In the left side of dialog box you organize the palettes alphabetic by dragging them up or down. In the dialog box, move all the tool palettes from the left side into palette groups on right side. In the right side of dialog box you organize the palette groups alphabetic by dragging them up or down. Close the dialog box when you have organized the palettes. Again right-click in the bigger gray area on a tool palette. Next click "Sort by Name", this will display the list of tools in alphabetic order. In the same shortcut menu, adjust the size of images and text in "View Options". On the tool palette you can use autohide, if you want more space on the screen. A great feature is that you can create tool palettes with different dynamic blocks. You can add dynamic behavior to existing block libraries. For example you can interactively stretch the block with a list of lengths. Or rotate and move a block with dynamic behavior.

Blocks: I advise that you mainly use blocks in your drawing, they are much easier to move and rotate.

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