Knowing AutoCAD: Graphical User Interface

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: January 28th, 2013

AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design) software application comprises of tools that assist in designing and drafting. Scaled drawings are utilized to manufacture equipments, design electrical circuits, plan out infrastructure projects and build structures.

AutoCAD is Autodesk’s widely used software product which supports 2D and 3D formats. It is used by project managers, architects and engineers. AutoCAD supports a number of APIs such as AutoLISP, VisualLISP, VBA, .NET and ObjectARX for customization and automation.

The latest releases are AutoCAD 2013 and AutoCAD 2013 for Mac with some interface enhancements. The two Windows versions of AutoCAD 2013 and AutoCAD LT 2013 look and function quite the same way but AutoCAD LT doesn’t support automation. And some advanced 3D functionalities.

AutoCAD Interface Elements — Before using AutoCAD, it is imperative to acquaint with its Graphical User Interface (GUI).

The workspace in AutoCAD is divided into two separate areas: The drawing area covers most of the screen and the toolbars are furnished above and below this drawing area.

The native file format of AutoCAD is .dwg. DWG (DraWinG) is a binary file format. It is used to store 2 and 3 dimensional design data and meta data. The DWG format is widely used format for CAD drawings. For instance, .bak(drawing backup), .dws(drawing standards), .dwt(drawing template) and .sv$(temporary automatic save) files are all DWG files.

Tool palettes are a very easy way to create a custom tool. Frequently used tools can be placed here for convenience.

View cube is for view navigation and is especially useful when we work in 3D Modeling. However, it can be turned off if we are working in 2D Modeling.

Steering wheel can be used to present live walk through demo with walk and up/down tool. To view the surroundings, we can also use ‘look’.

Ribbon comprises of many tabs like ”Home”, ”Insert”, and ‘‘Annotate’’, ”View” etc which are standard commands. Status bar is just across the bottom of the screen. It consists of control settings which assist in monitoring changes in the drawing.

Command/Prompt toolbar is just above the status bar and is the place where the software communicates with us.

HOW TO START ON AutoCAD — First and foremost we have to decide what project we want to use AutoCAD for. There are specialised programmes pertaining to architecture, mechanical, civil and aeronautical drawing. The computer should meet the Program’s System requirements. For instance, AutoCAD would require:

  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2 GB of space for installation
  • Screen resolution of 1,024 X 768
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher


Simple techniques and fundamental skills in AutoCAD have to be mastered and practised. It is the start of an interesting journey from drawing a 4-inch horizontal line to accurate dimensions for a real-life commercial structure.