Tools and functions

Using a mouse

Most people use a mouse as their pointing device, but other devices have equivalent controls.

Diagram of mouse controls. Left click to select objects or specify locations. Track ball for pan and zoom. Right click for shortcut menus.

Tip: When you look for an option, try right-clicking. Depending on where you locate your cursor and whether a command is in progress, the menu that appears will provide relevant commands and options.

The command window

The Command window displays prompts, options, and messages. It is normally docked at the bottom of the application window, but can be undocked and moved as needed.

Screenshot of command window

You can enter commands directly in the Command window instead of using the ribbon, toolbars, and menus. Many CAD professionals prefer this method.

The command line is where you will see instructions and options when using commands. Watch this video to understand the command line.

Keyboard tips

  • Press Enter or the Spacebar to repeat the previous command.
  • Press F1 to open Help with information about the command in progress.
  • Press Esc to cancel a command in progress or if you ever feel stuck.

You can use function keys to quickly access common settings while drafting. Function keys can be found in the top row of most keyboards. Review the Handy Function Key Reference Table to learn how to use function keys to turn different modes on and off.

Pan and zoom

You can quickly navigate to different views by using the pan and zoom functions.

Use the wheel on your mouse to easily change your view:

  • Pan a view in any direction by holding the wheel down and then moving your mouse.
  • Zoom in or out by rolling the wheel.

You can zoom in and out within a drawing using the mouse wheel.

Properties palette

The Properties palette is an essential tool that displays the properties of a single selected object, or common properties shared by several objects when multiple objects are selected. When no objects are selected, it will display the default properties that are automatically assigned to new objects.

You can open the Properties palette in three different ways:

  • Entering PR in the Command window to use the PROPERTIES command, or
  • Pressing Ctrl + 1 on your keyboard, or
  • Clicking the Dialog box launcher (the tiny arrow in the Properties panel on the Home tab).

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When you create objects, it is important to distinguish how the properties of the objects are assigned. Watch this video to learn more about understanding ByLayer and object property concepts.