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AutoCAD 2016 - AutoCAD 2016 interface | 12th Computer Technology : Chapter 6 : AutoCAD 2016

Chapter: 12th Computer Technology : Chapter 6 : AutoCAD 2016

AutoCAD 2016 interface

The AutoCAD 2016 interface is based on Ribbons and the Application Menu.


The AutoCAD 2016 interface is based on Ribbons and the Application Menu. The important feature of this interface is that the size of the Graphical Area will be bigger.


1. Application Menu

The Application menu appears when you click the red “A” called the Application Button. This menu contains file-related commands such as creating a new file, opening an existing file, saving the current file, saving the current file under a new name and in a different folder, exporting the current file to a different file format, printing and publishing the current file, etc.

The Search bar displays at the top of the Application menu. It is used to search for any command.  If you  type any keyword Fig. 6.9 in the search bar, you can find a list of commands related to it.

In the Application Menu, you will see the recent files. You can also choose how to display the recent files in the Application Menu using this control 

You can also choose how to sort the recent files in the Application menu using this control:


2. Title bar

The title bar contains the program name (Autodesk AutoCAD 2016) and the title of the current drawing (Drawing1.dwg).


3. Quick Access Toolbar

This toolbar is located at the top left corner of the window next to the red ‘A’ button. It contains all File commands mentioned in the Application Menu along with Workspace and Undo/Redo.

The user can customize this Quick Access toolbar by clicking the arrow at the end, which will bring up the following:

You can add or remove commands by using Customize Quick Access Toolbar. You can also add Menu bar by clicking Show Menu Bar.


4. Ribbon

On the top of the AutoCAD 2016 window, just below the title bar, is a wide area called the Ribbon. The Ribbon consists of two parts: tabs and panels, as shown below:

In the Home tab of the Ribbon, Draw, Modify, Annotation, Layers, etc. panels are displayed.

Some panels such as Draw, Modify have more buttons than shown. These panels can be expanded to display more tools. You can see an arrow to the right of a panel title. When you click on the arrow, it expands the panel to display additional tools and controls. By default, an expanded panel closes automatically when you click or move to another panel. To keep a panel expanded, click the push icon in the bottom-left corner of the expanded panel.

For some commands, there are many options. AutoCAD put all the options in the same button as shown in Fig. You can easily access these options.

The ribbons have a very simple help feature. If you hover the mouse over a button, a small help screen will appear.

If you leave the mouse over the button for a longer period of time, AutoCAD will show more detailed help screen.

·            Panels have two states—either docked or floating. By default all panels in the Ribbon are docked in their respective tab. Drag and drop the panel in the drawing area to make it floating.

·            You can send the panel back to its respective tab by clicking the small button at the top right side.

·            While the panel is floating you can toggle the orientation.

·            It will either extend to the right or down.

Changing the display of the Ribbon

You can change the display of the ribbon by clicking the Minimize Ribbon button located at the top of it. The ribbon can be displayed in three different modes as shown below.

1. When you click the Minimize Ribbon button for the first time, the full ribbon changes to display tabs and panel buttons. Now hover the cursor over the panel buttons. The panel buttons expand to reveal all the tools shown on the full ribbon.

2. When you click the Minimize Ribbon button for the second time, the panel buttons change into panel titles. Now hover the cursor again over the panel titles to reveal each panel’s tools.

3. When you click the Minimize Ribbon button for the third time, the panel titles change into panel tabs. Hovering the cursor over the panel tabs doesn’t have any effect. Click the Home tab in the ribbon to reveal the full panel temporarily. It disappears after you move the cursor away.

4. Verify that Cycle Through All is selected in the Minimize Ribbon button’s menu and then click the Minimize Ribbon button for the fourth time. The full ribbon interface is restored.


5. Start Tab

When you click the Start tab at any moment, you will get the AutoCAD 2016 Initial screen again. Using it, you can start a new drawing, open an existing drawing, etc.


6. File tabs

File tabs are located beneath the ribbon. For each opened file a tab is created. You can easily switch between different drawing files by using the file tabs.

You can also create a new drawing file by clicking on the (+) sign available at the end of the file tabs.

The File tab bar is located at the bottom of the Ribbon. In the bar, all the tabs added get arranged in the sequence in which the respective drawings are created. Using mouse you can change the sequence of tabs in the File tab bar. To do so, press and hold the left mouse button on any tab and drag it to the desired location on the tab bar.

All File tabs are gray in colour. The current file (tab) will appear in a lighter gray, and the other tabs will appear in a darker gray.

If you hover over one of the file tabs, two things will take place:

·            The path of this file will appear above the File tab.

·            The model space and the layouts of this file will appear beneath the tab.

A star beside the name of the file in the file tab means this file has changed and you need to save changes.

·            You can also close the File tab by clicking on the (x) sign beside the name.

·            The user can customize the File tabs by switching them off. To do so, press the View tab in the ribbon and locate the Interface panel. Click on the Files tab button to close the File tab bar.


7. Drawing Area

The drawing area covers the major portion of the screen. You can easily draw objects and create 3D graphics in this area.


8. Command Window

The command window is normally located at the bottom of the application window, just above the status bar. This window normally contains three lines of text and the first two lines list the immediate command history. The bottom line is the command line. If you do not see the command window, press Ctrl + 9 to make it appear.

You can enter a command manually at the command line. You can type at the cursor position on the command line, that is, the Command: prompt.

If you just type the first letter of a command, it will list all the commands starting with that letter. Note: Always press ENTER after you type values on the command line.

You can drag this window to a different place on the screen and resize it.

When you enter a command, AutoCAD doesn’t care if you use UPPERCASE or lowercase characters, or a combination of either. If you make a mistake typing on the command line, press the BACKSPACE key to correct.

You can press ESC at any time. If you press ESC while an operation is in progress, it terminates the command.

To repeat the command you previously entered in AutoCAD, press ENTER (or the spacebar) at the ‘Command:’ prompt. As an alternative, right-click to display the cursor menu, and then select the Repeat option.

Recent Input

AutoCAD remembers the last twenty commands and options you enter at the ‘Command:’ prompt, or select from a menu or toolbar. Autodesk calls this “Recent Input.”

If you prefer to see a list of the command history, right-click, and then select Recent Input from the shortcut menu. AutoCAD lists the previous commands and/or coordinate inputs in a submenu.


9. UCS Icon

You can see an L-shaped line in the lower-left corner of the drawing area. It is called the UCS icon; UCS is short for “User Coordinate System.”

·            The UCS icon is useful primarily for drawing in three dimensions.

·            The icon is not needed for 2D drafting, and you can turn it off with the UCSICON command. Type the command name, and then enter the Off option, as follows:

·            Command: ucsicon (Press ENTER.)

·            Enter an option [ON/OFF/All/Noorigin/ ORigin/Properties] <ON>: off (Press ENTER.)


10. Navigation Bar

The Navigation Bar is displayed in the drawing area and contains navigation tools.


11. Status Bar

The Status Bar which is located below the command line, and docked in the lower-right corner of the window is called Application Status Bar.

It contains so many buttons which help you to create a drawing very easily. You can easily turn ON or OFF these buttons just by clicking on them.

Some buttons are hidden by default. You can also display more buttons on the status bar by clicking the Customization button at the bottom right corner and selecting the options from the menu.

Drawing Coordinates

By default this button is hidden in AutoCAD 2016. Using the Customization menu you can show it. It displays the drawing coordinates when you move the pointer in the drawing area. You can also turn OFF this button by clicking on it.


The MODEL button is chosen by default because you are working in the model space to create drawings.


If the GRIDMODE button is chosen, the Display drawing grid will turn ON and the grid lines are displayed on the screen. The F7 function key can be used to turn the grid display on or off.


If the SNAPMODE button is chosen, the snap mode will turn ON. When snap is on, the cursor under mouse control can only be moved in jumps from one snap point to another. The F9 key acts as a toggle key to turn the snap off or on.

Dynamic Input (F12)

The Dynamic Input button in the status bar is used to turn the Dynamic Input on or off. If the Dynamic Input mode is turned on, the x,y coordinates and prompts show when the cursor hairs are moved. Using the F12 key, you can turn the Dynamic Input on or off.

Ortho Mode (F8)

You can turn ON or OFF the Ortho Mode just by clicking on it. If the ORTHOMODE button is chosen, you can draw lines at right angles only i.e., lines can only be drawn vertically or horizontally. You can also use the F8 function key to turn ortho on or off.

Polar Tracking (F10)

You can turn ON or OFF the Polar Tracking just by clicking on it. When you turn ON the Polar Tracking, a small tip appears showing the direction and length of lines etc. in degrees and units. You can draw lines easily at regular angular increments, such as 5, 10, 15, 23, 30, 45, or 90 degrees. You can also use the F10 function key to turn on this option.


A workspace is a complete user interface, which includes the location and appearance of the drawing area and all menus, buttons, and groupings of buttons. Think of a workspace as a unique, specific arrangement of AutoCAD’s features and capabilities that can be retrieved at any time. It is easy to switch between workspaces, modify workspaces, and create custom workspaces to match the specific requirements of a user or a particular task.

Workspace Switching

In AutoCAD 2016, you can switch between different workspaces by using the Workspace Switching button that is available at the right of the Status Bar. On clicking the Workspace Switching button, a flyout will be displayed with the list of all available workspace. You can select the required workspace to invoke.

There are three workspaces available in AutoCAD 2016: Drafting & Annotation, 3D Basics, and 3D Modeling. By default, the Drafting & Annotation workspace is activated in AutoCAD 2016. You can easily create 2D drawings in this workspace.

You can also easily switch between workspaces by using the Workspace drop-down on the top-left corner.

Clean Screen

The Clean Screen button hides most interface elements such as the Ribbon, and maximizes the drawing area to focus on the current drawing. This button is at the lower right corner of the screen. Choose the Clean Screen button again to restore the previous display state of the screen.


In AutoCAD 2016, you can customize which buttons appear on the status bar at the bottom of the AutoCAD application window. When you click on the Customization button, It opens a menu. In it, select the items you want displayed in the status bar.


12. Menu Bar

Menu Bar is not displayed by default. To display the menu bar, Click on the arrow in the Quick Access Toolbar; a flyout is displayed. Select the Show Menu Bar option from it. The menu bar will be displayed. You can select commands from the menu bar.


13. Toolbar

Toolbars are not displayed by default. To display a toolbar, choose Tools > Toolbars > AutoCAD from it; a list of toolbars will be displayed.

Select the required toolbar. The following Figure shows the Draw toolbar invoked.

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