Basic Layout Introduction AutoCAD

Basic Layout and Introduction to AutoCAD

AutoCAD is a 2/3 Dimension (2D/3D) computer-aided design software owned by AUTODESK used in Architectural designs, Engineering designs, Construction and Manufacturing designs which assist in the preparation of blueprints and other engineering plans before bring it to real life. Professionals who use AutoCAD are often referred to as drafters. AutoCAD software has an easy to use interface which makes its simple for beginners. AutoCAD software comes in different version as Autodesk keeps updating and upgrading their software on yearly basis. Many student versions available for free online at

Opening the AutoCAD Software

After installing your AutoCAD software, you can open it by either double clicking on the program Icon on the desktop or by clicking on the program name in the Start menu.   The program will start and will display a screen similar to the one shown below (in my case, am using AutoCAD version 2013).  Clicking on the dialog box “A” circled with blue will aid you in getting started at either creating a new drawing or continuing your work on previous drawings.

AutoCAD basic Layout
AutoCAD Basic layout

Once you click on the box with letter “A”, the dialog below will appear which you will now choose the next thing.

Basic layout of AutoCAD

Basic Operation in AutoCAD

Settings and management

The options window lets you set all your preferences within the drawing

Snap and Aperture settings are on a Totally personal basis

Clicking option on the above image will open the image below which you can use to set your worksheet….

Setting Worksheet in AutoCAD
Setting Worksheet in AutoCAD

After setting up the sheet the go to the upper toolbars you will see format, click on it and a screen will appear look down and you will see UNITS then click on its to set your drawing units. The image below show the unit setup

Setting units in Auto CAD
Setting units in Auto CAD


When you are not in command, the cursor looks like a cross with a square in the middle.  When you are in drawing related commands, the square disappear.  When you are in modify related commands, only the cross disappear.  You can escape from a command by hitting Esc key.

Cursor types in AutoCAD
Cursor types in AutoCAD

Selecting and deselecting objects

You can select the objects by clicking on an object or drawing a window around it.  Drawing a window from left to right selects everything that the window crosses.  Drawing a window from right to left selects everything that the window contains.  You can deselect objects by doing the same operation while holding down Shift key, or deselect everything by hitting Esc key.

General shortcuts in AutoCAD

Many general shortcuts are used in AutoCAD.

For example:

Ctrl+S saves the dwg file (qsave)

Ctrl+Z undoes the previous action (u) and Ctrl +Y redo the undone action again (redo) Ctrl+C copies and Ctrl+V pastes Ctrl+P opens the plot window (plot)

Basic Drawing Commands and Editing Tools AutoCAD

The following below are some of the drawing tools:


  • Line
  • Rectangle
  • Circle
  • Polyline
  • Trim
  • Extend
  • ffset
  • Move
  • Mirror
  • Scale
  • Rotate
Basic Drawing editing tools AutoCAD
Basic Drawing editing tools

What you can do with some of the editing/modifying tools

Introduction to Basic Drawing and Editing Tool AutoCAD
Introduction to Basic Drawing and Editing Tool

A little description of each is described below:


The program will respond with:

Select Objects:

You select the objects (lines, arcs, circles, etc.) in several different ways.  The easiest way is to click on the object you want to erase.  When you do, the object is redrawn as a dashed line.  This shows the object has been selected for deletion. Click on all of the objects that you want to erase then press the ENTER key to terminate the command and erase the objects.

AutoCAD commands frequently have command modifiers that change the way the command works.  For the ERASE command, you can type:


And AutoCAD selects all of the objects in the drawing for erasure.  The word ALL modifies the way command works.

Another option is:


The W stands for window which allows you to select the objects by drawing a box around them.  First click above and to the right of the objects that you want to erase.  When you do, the mouse pointer changes to an elastic box with one corner fixed at the place where you clicked.  Move the mouse until the box completely covers the information you want selected and click the mouse button again.  All of the objects inside the box will be selected for erasure.  Press the ENTER key to erase the objects. You can type E to start the ERASE command.

ERASE command Example AutoCAD
ERASE command Example

The figure above is an example of selected object for erasing command


This command help to select object at a particular area and paste it in different direction and distance, after pasting as much objects as you want the you hit the enter key.

Mirror Command:

The mirror command helps you to duplicate half of an object in line to make a particular object. For example drawing an arc then mirroring it to form a sphere.

Mirror Command Introduction AutoCAD
Mirror Command Introduction


This command can be used to duplicate a particular part of an object at a distance.

Offset Command introduction AutoCAD
Offset Command introduction

Rectangular Array:

You can use this to distribute object into a rectangular shape, have rows and Colum. Draw an object, select the object and click on the rectangular array then hit enter key it will create rows and Colum which the number of row and Colum can be changed.


The move command is one of the important editing tool often use when drawing, this command helps to relocate a particular object from one point to another. Navigate to the left toolbar click on move after rectangular array, select the object and place it at any point you want on the sheet.

Rotate Command:

The rotate command is used whenever you want to change the direction of an object. As shown on the picture below

Rotate Command Introduction Example AutoCAD
Rotate Command Introduction Example

SCALE (sc):

Scale objects by the ratio you specify. Select objects, click/type a base point and click/type the scale numerically. You can also scale objects by the relative distances using “Reference” points. Select objects, click/type a base point, then type “r” for Reference. Click the base point again, then click the second point to define the original distance.  Click the third point at where you wish the previous point to be after scaling objects.

In this way, it will scale the objects by the distance ratio of base point to the second point: base point to the third point.  Position of the base point needs to be constant.

TRIM (tr):

Trim objects along specified objects. Create objects that you want to use as trim edges. Click on Trim tool, select the trim edges and hit enter, click on the objects to trim on the side that you want to erase. You can trim multiple objects at once by using selection window or “fence” tool. To use selection window, draw a window after selecting trim edges instead of directly clicking on objects to trim To use fence, type “f” after selecting trim edges and draw a line.  It will trim everything that the line crosses.

Trim Command Introduction Example AutoCAD
Trim Command Introduction Example

Drawing Tools:

 LINE (l):

draws a line from one point to another.


draws a line/curve with multiple control points.

Pay attention to the command line while using POLYLINE tool; it will show you variety of options for the next move you can take.  Following are some of the examples. Drawing a polyline if you hit “Esc” while drawing a polyline, the line terminates at the last point you clicked.

Hitting Esc If you type “cl” while drawing a polyline, it draws a segment that connects the starting point and the last point you clicked (the line becomes a closed shape).

Typing “cl” You can also draw an object with arcs using POLYLINE tool. If you type “a” while drawing a polyline, your next segment will be an arc.  It will continue to draw arc segments with tangent to the previous arc. If you type “s” while drawing an arc segment, you can define an arc angle by specifying three points that the arc goes through. If you type “r” while drawing an arc segment, you can define an arc radius.


Draws a rectangle by defining two corners.

Click on the point where you want to place the first corner of a rectangle or type in x,y coordination for precise input. If you type “@” after defining the first corner, you can specify the second corner by x,y coordination.

For example, type @36,24 for 36” x 24” box. If you type “d” after the first corner, you can specify the second corner by the x and y distance from the first corner. For example, type “d” > space > 36 > space > 24 for 36” x 24” box.


Draws a polygon by number of edges. If you choose to inscribe in circle, it draws a polygon inside the circle with the radius you specify. If you choose to circumscribe about circle, it draws a polygon that contains the circle with the radius you specify.

CIRCLE (c): 

draws a circle. First click will define center of the circle.

Define the radius by typing it in or clicking. If you type “d” after the first click, it will draw a circle with the diameter that you specify. If you type “2p” or “3p” before clicking the center, it will draw a circle that goes through the points you specify. Drawing tools not on the palette

Saving your Work in AutoCAD:

Work Periodically, you should save your work.  You can do this by clicking on the “A” icon then selecting “Save” with your mouse.  You can also save your work by typing Ctrl S (holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the S key.) The first time you do this, AutoCAD produces a dialog box that allows you to select the file folder where you want the files saved and the name you want to use for the drawing.  The next time you use the command, AutoCAD saves the file at the same location using the same name.

Plotting Drawings:

You can plot the drawings you have made by clicking on the “A” icon then selecting print.  This creates the dialog box shown on the right.

Select the printer or plotter you are going to use then define the plotting area.  If you set limits for the area you want to plot select Limits in the “What to plot:” pull down menu.  If you did not define the limits, you can use Extents.  The Extents will plot selection will plot everything you have drawn.

We are not plotting scaled drawings at this time so mark the “Fit to paper” box.  This will stretch or shrink the drawing so that it fits on the paper.

Preview Drawing Before Printing:

Before you click on OK to plot the drawing, it is always a good idea to “Preview” to drawing.  Click on this button to see what the drawing will look like on your sheet of paper.  If it looks ok, you can click on the printer button in the preview screen.  If it does not look ok, click on the circle with an X in it.  This will return to the plot Model dialog box so you can make changes that will hopefully produce the plot you want.  After you have made changes, be sure to preview it again to make sure it is working correctly.

Preview and Plotting Drawing in AutoCAD
Preview and Plotting Drawing in AutoCAD

Thanks for reading ….look forward to receive comments from benefited students/ individuals.


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