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How to draw fast in AutoCAD: AutoCAD shortcut commands

Updated on November 20, 2011

Introduction

The following hub describes one method on how to increase productivity in AutoCAD and how to maintain that productivity when new versions of AutoCAD are released. With the release of an AutoCAD update there is usually an introduction in new screen layout, toolbar icons and feature changes that slows down your productivity as you try to familiarize yourself with these changes.

This article also assumes that you have a working knowledge on how to use AutoCAD although the earlier you can implement these ideas, the easier they will be to master. This article also assumes that you use the mouse in your right hand, i.e. that you are right handed. However you may be able to adapt these techniques for left hand use.

Background and Method

Command input into the AutoCAD interface has gradually progressed over years. In its infancy, when AutoCAD was a DOS (Disk Operating System) based program (AutoCAD Release 12), command entry was via the keyboard, on screen menus or by an electronic tablet board with pointer. Screen tool bar command entry was only introduced when AutoCAD migrated to a Windows based program.

Keyboard entry of commands has not changed over the last decade of AutoCAD releases, even from “DOS” days. This is the method of command entry that I have fine tuned to increase productivity in AutoCAD drafting.

Keyboard entry commands are either long hand or shorthand. For example if you would like to draw a line the long hand keyboard entry would be LINE and the short hand keyboard entry would be L. What I have done is to change (customize) the standard AutoCAD short hand (or short cut) keyboard entry commands so that the most commonly used are on my left hand. With this method I am able to keep my left hand on the keyboard and my right hand on the mouse. My head can remain level, looking at the monitor as I don’t have to see which keys to hit to enter commands from all over the keyboard.

Based on touch typing finger placement you will have to arrange your left hand (or right if you change these instructions to suit yourself) on the left hand side of the keyboard. That is with your index finger on the F key, middle finger on the D key, ring finger on the S key and baby finger on the A key. Please refer to the following diagram.

 List of New Short Hand Keyboard Commands

The following list shows the most common AutoCAD short hand keyboard entry commands that I have changed to suit my left hand.

AS = MIRROR

BR = BREAK

CC = CIRCLE

DR = LINE

DF = POLYLINE

E = ERASE

ET = OFFSET

EX = EXPLODE

TR = TRIM

Q = LIST

R = REDRAW

RE = REGEN

RT = ROTATE

SE = POLYLINE EDIT

X = EXTEND

Z = ZOOM

Some of these commands you may already be using, eg Z = ZOOM and some of these command changes will look very foreign. You can change any of these commands to suit your way of thinking. For example I changed LINE from L to DR to get it onto the left side of the keyboard and I used DR because I wanted to “DRaw a line”.

Other commands already existed and I needed to get around this. For example standard AutoCAD command for CIRCLE was CI as it takes the first two letters of circle. To get and alternative I couldn’t use plain C as this was already the command for COPY, so I simply made CC short for CIRCLE.

The following paragraph will show you how to change your keyboard entry commands.

How to customize your keyboard entry commands in AutoCAD

You will need to modify a text file in your AutoCAD support directory called ACAD.PGP. This file located in the following directory:

C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD 10\R18.0\enu\Support

(Note: I am using AutoCAD 10, therefore select your current version of AutoCAD under the Autodesk directory)

Once you have located the file you should save a copy in the same directory and call it something like ACADPGP.OLD. You can now open the ACAD.PGP file by double clicking it and selecting the windows text editor program (if it does not already open up in windows text editor or similar).

Scroll down through the file until you find the list of commands. The list will be long and will start like this:

A, *3DARRAY

3DO, *3DORBIT

3F, *3DFACE

3P, *3DPOLY

A, *ARC

ADC, *ADCENTER

AA, *AREA

AL, *ALIGN

AP, *APPLOAD

AR, *ARRAY

ATT, *ATTDEF

ATE, *ATTEDIT

To enter a new command, return a new line down after an existing command. Try to put your new command in alphabetical order. If the command already exists you can put a hyphen (‘) in front of the old command and insert your new command. The new command will have to be entered in the same way that the other commands are entered. Also after the command short hand and then the comma, make sure you use a space bar and not the tab key to get to the asterisk. For some reason your new command will now work if you use the tab button.

Example of a replaced existing command:

‘DR, *DRAWORDER

DR, *LINE

Once you have made your changes make sure you save the file and then exit the ACAD.PGP file. For the changes to take effect you will have to exit AutoCAD (if you were still in an AutoCAD session) then re-enter AutoCAD.

Conclusion

With your fingers on the correct keys and your new command list printed and at your side as a reference you should be able to increase your drafting speed over time. It will feel alien to you at the start and you will be looking at your finger placement and keys quite a bit. But with time and practice you will improve and your keystrokes and your AutoCAD keyboard entry will become quite fast.

If your speed is not improving and you are struggling just hang in there. Try not to watch which keys you are typing and try not to revert to your old keyboard entry commands. This method is easier to master if you have had Touch Finger Typing experience and you are new to AutoCAD. This way you can get in early and learn the commands from the start. But anybody should be able to adapt these principles and learn how to increase your productivity and draw fast in AutoCAD.

 

Comments

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    • profile image

      md sultan ansari 

      5 years ago

      THANKS SIR

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR

      LeonJane 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Mercedes and enteng vitug, the information that I have provided is correct. There is no such thing as an incorrect AutoCAD alias command. If you read the main body text of my article then you would see that you can have any letter shortcut for any command. DR = Line and DF = Polyline is correct for me and I have been using it for 16 years. x = explode and ex = extend is also correct for me. Did you realize that you could use any arrangement of letters if you wish to make your keyboard commands? Try for yourself to change the acad.pgp file your could type ME = Line if you wish or EN = explode. It's purely up to you and what you want to make your commands. So please there is no incorrect answers here.

    • profile image

      enteng vitug 

      6 years ago

      corrections

      x=expolde

      ex=extend

    • profile image

      Mercedes 

      6 years ago

      Some commands are incorrect :

      DR = LINE

      DF = POLYLINE

    • profile image

      khem ale 

      6 years ago

      i want to know about that auto-cad 3d presentation and draw easy way.

    • profile image

      SAIRAM 

      6 years ago

      THEESE ARE VERY GOOD SELECTION OPTIONS

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR

      LeonJane 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Dina, you can configure your mouse through the Windows control panel settings. If you are left handed you will have to modify the mouse buttons to the way you like and if you want to use this method of touch typing then your Autocad commands will have to be suitable for your right hand on the keyboard.

    • profile image

      Dina 

      6 years ago

      can i use my left hand for enter ,so I don't need to leave the mouse , can I add enter to the right click list in my mouse

    • profile image

      MUHAMMAD 

      6 years ago

      I WANT TO LEARN A AUTO CAD.

    • profile image

      mujamil ahmed 

      6 years ago

      thanks a lot iam very happy for ur information..plz go on...

    • profile image

      NOORHASSAN ANSARI 

      6 years ago

      I WANT DO WORK IN AUTOCAD, BUT I AM NOT STUDY MORE THEN 10TH,

    • profile image

      ABEL 

      6 years ago

      HOW CAN I KNOW THE BUTTON FROM THE KEYBOARD THAT I WILL USE TO PICK OR TO CLICK HOWEVER IM NOT USING THE MOUSE?

      OR WHAT IS THE COMMAND OR A BUTTON THAT I USE TO PICK OR TO CLICK?

    • profile image

      Yousuffroomy 

      6 years ago

      Thanx for sharing this commands

    • profile image

      farook 

      7 years ago

      thank u sure heartly

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR

      LeonJane 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks guys for your comments, I'll try to add more helpful AutoCAD tips in the future.

    • profile image

      adrew_cyrus 

      7 years ago

      wow...nice..lot of peoples wont to learn more about auto-cad...

    • profile image

      Madni 

      7 years ago

      i am new as a learner(student) of autocad. plz help me how can i draw a drawing as per hardcopy.

      as my Boss give me 17 paper x (each 4 drawings) x (70cmX30cm)to convert into softcopy.

    • profile image

      gururaj 

      7 years ago

      really it helps me thanks a lot....give me more information

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR

      LeonJane 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks webgain, i'll be sure to check out your hub about CAD.

    • webgain profile image

      webgain 

      7 years ago from Delhi, India

      these commands are nice. I'll update them and will use. check my hub about CAD http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-Outsource-Your-CAD-Con...

    • LeonJane profile imageAUTHOR

      LeonJane 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Mohd Irfan!

    • profile image

      MOHD IRFAN 

      7 years ago

      VERY GOOD OPTIONS

    • profile image

      artist jobs 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for the info - will try to do so...

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information, I think it useful for us. Who want to learn about AutoCAD program.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 

      8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      I'm trying out these commands even now,thanks for sharing this hub, LeonJane!:D

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