TIPS FOR WORKING FASTER IN AUTOCAD®
Working faster is not simply beneficial for finishing school projects and exams by deadlines, but also very important to
employers for whom efficiency and production speed are critical to cost effectiveness and business success.
- Try to develop a preference for invoking commands at the keyboard rather than selecting
icons in ribbon panels or items in menus. It’s much faster. Of course you need to learn the command aliases,
but they’re usually very simple (e.g., L = Line, M = Move, EX = Extend, etc.). A very efficient AutoCAD
user uses only the keyboard and essentially a blank screen except for the drawing itself.
- When a command is invoked, apply it as many times as you can before going on to something else. Offset a number
of lines at the same time, delay trimming lines until you have a number of them ready to trim at the same
- Try to think ahead as you draw. This will enable you to do more things at the same time, and it will reduce
downtime needed for thinking before proceeding to the next task. Don’t underestimate the importance of a
lost minute here or there. You should be drawing almost continuously. Brain, hand, and computer should work
together. It’s sometimes fastest to invoke a command without knowing exactly how you will proceed to apply
it – prompts will usually enable you to make decisions as you go.
- To trim overlapping lines at corners, use the Fillet command with a “0” radius. If the fillet radius is set to
round corners, remember that you can hold down on the Shift key to use Fillet as though the radius were
set at "0" even though it is not. You will save the time required to reset the radius.
- Be resourceful. Every command makes it faster to do something. Practice and remember such commands as Mirror,
Stretch, Array, Break at Point, Join, etc. Remember the Copy option in the Rotate command, that there are
many ways of drawing circles and arcs and ellipses, that it’s often faster to select a large group of objects
and then remove one or more from the selection set than it is to select one object at a time, etc.
- Keep in mind what it is that you are drawing so that things make the most sense. Try to draw walls, stair risers,
pipes, bolts, property boundaries, etc. – and not simply lines. If you do that, you will expect things, have
a better sense of their appropriate line weights and forms, and not miss things that on reflection you realize
should have been obvious.
- Often Copy and Paste objects rather than recreating them from scratch. Even objects as simple as circles are
often copied more quickly than drawing each one individually.
- Copy and Edit label and note text, leader lines, and arrows rather than re-invoking the Text or Multileader
command and taking time to go through the basic options. Leader lines can very easily be adjusted by
manipulating the grips.
- If a line or other object is drawn incorrectly, think first of correcting it by manipulating its grips. It’s
usually much faster than deleting it and redrawing it correctly. Don’t go slow for fear of making mistakes.
- Avoid switching back and forth between layers. Create everything on the layer that most objects will be on,
then at the end reassign objects to the correct layers. Reassign one object, and use Match Properties to
reassign all other objects that should be on the same layer.
- Compete with yourself to increase drawing speed and efficiency. Class drawing assignments are scored without
consideration of the time it took you to complete them. But in an office situation you probably will not
be able to work on projects at home or at open office times. If you must work over lunch breaks and after
others have gone home, it’s probably most likely that sooner or later you will choose an occupation that’s
- Even if not explicitly instructed, start with a template (if allowed and appropriate). It probably has layers
already created, the viewport is probably pre-assigned to a non-plot layer, etc.
- Sit upright in front of the computer. It’s probably impossible to slouch and at the same time work competitively,
efficiently, and fast. You need to “get involved” in every possible way. AutoCAD® and design industry
work is not predominantly repetitive or “mindless” by nature. It involves challenges and concentration
and requires strict attention – and often great $$$ penalties if forgotten or avoided.