CAD For Beginners 2
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CAD For Beginners 2

Jul 16, 2021
Video Length:  57:55
Presented By:  Jaymz Wooden

In part 2 of our 3-part journey through CAD, we'll build on the fundamentals of part 1 and show you how to customize your CAD environment for your personal workflow. We’ll take you from stock CAD to a finely tuned workspace by demonstrating a variety of tips, from setting up your tool palettes to customizing your keyboard shortcuts, that will help you work faster and more efficiently.

Links to parts 1 & 3 of this series:

  • CAD for Beginners 1: Gain some basic familiarity with the software interface so you can jump right into drafting. We'll take you from the ground up, from opening the software to working with file types and using some of the essential drafting tools you see around the screen.
  • CAD for Beginners 3: Take a deeper dive into the fundamentals of blocks, as well as other drawing-defined items such as layers, MLeaders, and Dimension Styles (DimStyles). We’ll get into some native CAD capabilities to help you understand the basics. Then we’ll show off how Land F/X takes all this functionality to the next level.


Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • Customizing the Options Dialog Box
  • Tool and Palette Setup
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Demonstration

0:00 – 6:55: Intro/TOC

Topics covered in Part 1 (3:31):

  • Workspace
  • Mouse controls
  • Units and scale
  • Model Space
  • Paper Space (Layout)
  • Viewport
  • Layers
  • Linework (polyline, line, arc, etc.)


Topics to touch on (drawing definitions) (4:52):

  • Blocks: A block is a collection of objects that are combined into a single named object.
  • Hatches: A hatch is an area filled with a solid, gradient, or pattern.
  • Text and MText: Text consists of single line entities expressing a single font, kerning, and spacing. MText is a multiline entity that supports multiple fonts, heights, spaces, and other paragraph formatting options such as numbering and bullets.
  • MLeaders: An MLeader combines the entire callout – the leader, arrow, and text – into a single and contiguous entity.
  • Dimensions: Dimensions display measurements of items in CAD.

6:56 – 9:36: Customizing the Options Dialog Box

Accessing the Options dialog box (7:18)


Tabs (7:58)


Additional windows for settings (example: colors) (8:20)


Buttons at the bottom (Cancel, Apply, OK) (8:50)

We recommend clicking Apply before clicking OK after you've changed a setting.

9:37 – 11:19: Tool and Palette Setup

Opening your palettes (9:47)

Note that some palettes have a default keyboard shortcut. If a palette does not have this shortcut, you can just type the name of the palette in the Command line and press Enter to open that palette. However, note that some palettes have similar names. Pay attention to the names of the palettes you see in the list, and take care to select the correct one.


Palette settings (gear icon) (10:58)

11:20 – 13:29: Keyboard Shortcuts

Accessing the keyboard shortcuts (11:46)


Configuring the keyboard shortcuts in the Customize User Interface (CUI) dialog box (12:09)


Printing or copying and pasting a list of the keyboard shortcuts for reference (12:56)

13:30 – end: Demonstration

The Options dialog box (13:43)

Files tab (14:10)

  • Template settings (QNEW) (14:22)
  • Support File Search Paths (16:04)


Display tab (16:53)

  • Color settings (16:58)
  • Cursor and crosshair size (18:15)
  • Configuring how Xrefs display (19:12)


Open and Save tab (19:42)

  • "Save as" file setting (19:51)
  • Automatic save (time between saves) (20:12)
  • Proxy settings (ObjectARX Applications) (20:34)


Plot and Publish (21:09)

  • Setting your default printer (21:14)
  • Changing the Plot to file output path (example: setting a default folder location for plotting PDFs from CAD) (21:22)


System tab (21:35)

  • Graphics and Performance settings, including Hardware Acceleration and Smooth Line Display (21:37)

You might try to configure some of these settings to resolve graphics issues on a slower computer.


User Preferences tab (22:20)

  • Right-click customization (configuring the default setting for right-clicking your drawing to an action such as opening a standard menu or repeating the last command) (22:20)

The Repeat last command setting can be particularly useful in completing repetitive tasks.


Drafting tab (25:11)

  • Autosnap markers and cursor aperture (25:11)

These settings will be up to your preference, but we recommend getting to know the default settings for these items before changing them.


3D Modeling tab (not covered in this presentation) (25:35)

Selection tab (25:40)

  • Here, you can customize settings such as pickbox size and grip size. (25:49)

As with the Drafting tab settings, these settings will be up to your preference, but we recommend getting to know the default settings for these items before changing them.


Definitions of grips and pickboxes (26:04)


Profiles tab (not covered in this presentation) (26:36)


Tool and palette setup (27:03)

Examples of palette default settings (27:18):

  • Palette open (example: Properties panel) (27:18)
  • Palette open but auto-hidden (example: Layer Properties Manager) (28:02)


Changing palette settings using the gear icon (28:42)


Palette transparency (29:31)


Changing the width of a palette and/or its columns (29:57)


Opening palettes (30:28)


Tool palettes (31:17)

Creating your own custom tool palettes (31:48)


Adding tools to the Customize User Interface (32:42)


Deleting a custom tool palette (33:42)


Reordering tools in a palette (33:48)


Keyboard shortcuts (35:19)

Modifying the keyboard shortcuts (example: Paste as Block) (35:53)


Why blocks are useful (36:48)


Why we showed the CUI method for editing keyboard commands rather than the Edit Alias command in this presentation (42:11)

We'd already introduced the CUI earlier in this presentation, so we kept that method for the keyboard commands. As with most things in CAD, you have multiple options for how to change the keyboard commands, including the Edit Alias command.


Migrating your settings to a different or new computer (43:39)


The importance of making backups (44:46)


Why we recommend finding downloadable hatch patterns (PAT files) or sending us a request for a hatch pattern you'd like to see, instead of creating custom hatch patterns (46:06)

Just be wary of downloadable files and verify that they are from a viable source.


The importance of knowing where the automatic save file is (49:15)


The benefits of the incremental save percentage (50:26)

Incremental save percentage is a holdover from legacy versions of CAD. Essentially, it will save changes to the DWG file and just add that to the end of the DWG file, which will be faster than having to resave the entire file. However, some users have experienced file corruption with this setting. We don't have a specific recommendation for this setting other than to make backups of your files in case you experience file corruption.


Setting the hatch scale (54:22)


Placing a hatch showing bricks where each brick is scaled to be the size of the actual bricks in the plan (56:46)

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