10 Productivity Tips for Everyday Cadding

AutoCAD has been around for a long time. Yet simply using AutoCAD every day does not necessarily make you more productive. You may not realize it, but old habits, bad habits, and  inefficient commands and techniques may be robbing you of productivity.
                                                       - Matt Murphy (4DTechnologies/CADLearning)


I thought this command was for Internet Explorer, but it’s not. I was surprised when I type this command EXPLORER, presto it was access to the libraries e.g. documents, videos, pictures, and music.


Type “notepad”(without the quotes) into the command line. It will prompt: File to edit. Now if you don’t know which file you want to edit just type the *. Bingo, notepad is already in front of your screen.


Create and edit drawings or images in an instant. Type “PB” or PBRUSH. AutoCAD will open its application. Even your recent edited images you can explore it.



This command defines which application to start. Just type the START command. A prompt state “application to start”. Example for Excel just types EXCEL, for word is WINWORD and snipping tool, SNIPPINGTOOL. You can use the acad.pgp file to define a new AutoCAD command that runs an external command to start your application. 

      Did you know that you can:

  • stretch
  • move
  • rotate
  • scale
  • mirror
  • add vertex
  • remove vertex
  • convert line segment into an arc 

Without even typing on the keyboard and by just picking a grip. Yes, depending on where your base point is (base grip). You can cycle through these commands while on grip mode by pressing SPACE bar.


To adjust the zoom percentage, change the value of the ZOOMFACTOR system variable. The initial value of ZOOMFACTOR is 10. You can enter an integer value for ZOOMFACTOR in the range 3–100. The value you enter represents the percentage change in zoom level for each increment of wheel rotation. For example, when ZOOMFACTOR is set to 10, each increment of wheel rotation changes the zoom level by 10 percent.

To ensure the pan feature works when you depress the wheel, make sure the MBUTTONPAN system variable is set to one (1). When MBUTTONPAN is set to zero (0), you’ll get the Object Snap popup menu.

9. Command aliases 
Fewer clicks and picks is one way to productivity, but what about eliminating the number of
keystrokes you execute? Rather than typing the entire command name, you can use
abbreviations called command aliases. Many AutoCAD commands are already programmed for three or fewer keystrokes.

10.More keys to control: Love or Hate It?

People either love or hate control keys, but control freaks usually have their house in order. The importance of control keys is indicated by the presence of two of them on the keyboard! The following is a list of Control Keys defined in Windows and in AutoCAD.

CTRL+TAB     Cycles through open drawings – forwards 
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB   Cycles through open drawings – backwards 
CTRL+1    Properties 
CTRL+2    AutoCAD DesignCenter 
CTRL+3    Tool Palette Window 
CTRL+6    dbConnect 
CTRL+0    Cleanscreen 
CTRL+A    Select all 
CTRL+SHIFT+A  Toggles Group* 
CTRL+B    Toggles Snap 
CTRL+C    Copy to Clipboard 
CTRL+D    Toggles coordinate display 
CTRL+E    Cycles through isometric planes 
CTRL+F    Toggles running Object Snap 
CTRL+G    Toggles Grid 
*CTRL+H    Toggles Group  
CTRL+J    Executes last command 
CTRL+K    Insert hyperlink 
CTRL+L    Toggles Ortho on/off 
CTRL+T    Toggles Tablet mode 

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