AutoCAD For Dummies

AutoCAD For Dummies

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The bestselling AutoCAD book-revised and updated!
It takes some practice to get handy with AutoCAD-and it doesn't hurt to have a good guide by your side to help get you through the rough spots. Updated to cover AutoCAD releases through the 2017 version, this new edition of AutoCAD For Dummies is an ideal companion when you're learning the basics of the popular software. Written by a former engineer and AutoCAD teacher, the book walks you through the basics of setting up projects and making simple drawings all the way up to creating 3D models.

Beginning with an overview of the AutoCAD interface, drawing tools, and ways to adjust your view of your work, AutoCAD For Dummies offers easy-to-follow guidance on using straight and curved lines to manage properties, object selection, and creating layouts. Next, it shows you how to use advanced AutoCAD tools, including Blocks, Arrays, Xrefs, and Parametrics. Finally, you'll find out how to move your work in to the wonderful world of 3D modeling.

Create an AutoCAD project from the ground up
Make and edit basic drawings starting with straight lines and curves
Jump into advanced drawing with 3D modeling
Find quick answers to your AutoCAD questions

It's true that AutoCAD is tough, but with the friendly instruction in this hands-on guide, you'll find everything you need to start creating marvelous models-without losing your cool.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 187 x 231 x 26mm | 992g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 17th Edition
  • 1119255791
  • 9781119255796
  • 64,113

Back cover copy

Create an AutoCAD project from the ground up Make basic drawings starting with straight lines and curves Jump into advanced drawing with 3D modeling

Here's the easy way to learn AutoCAD

AutoCAD may be complex, but this book is not! This expert author shows you how to navigate the interface, set up a project, create drawings, manage properties, and enhance your designs with text and dimensions. Once you master the basics, he'll guide you through advanced tools such as blocks, arrays, and xrefs, all the way to 3D modeling.

Inside... How to start a drawing Methods of viewing work All about lines and curves Tools for editing drawings Techniques for adding text Pointers on plotting Help handling parametrics Steps for 3D modeling Useful system variables
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Table of contents


About This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

Conventions Used in This Book 3

Using the command line .3

Using aliases 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 6


CHAPTER 1: Introducing AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 9

Launching AutoCAD 10

Drawing in AutoCAD 11

Understanding Pixels and Vectors 14

The Cartesian Coordinate System 15

The Importance of Being DWG 16

CHAPTER 2: The Grand Tour of AutoCAD 19

Looking at AutoCAD's Drawing Screen 20

For your information 23

Making choices from the Application menu 24

Unraveling the Ribbon 26

Getting with the Program 29

Looking for Mr Status Bar 30

Using Dynamic Input 30

Let your fingers do the talking: The command line 31

The key(board) to AutoCAD success 32

Keeping tabs on palettes 36

Down the main stretch: The drawing area 36

Fun with F1 37

CHAPTER 3: A Lap around the CAD Track 39

A Simple Setup 40

Drawing a (Base) Plate 45

Taking a Closer Look with Zoom and Pan 54

Modifying to Make It Merrier 55

Crossing your hatches 55

Now that's a stretch 56

Table of Contents iii

Following the Plot 59

Plotting the drawing 59

Today's layer forecast: Freezing 62

CHAPTER 4: Setup for Success 63

A Setup Roadmap 64

Choosing your units 64

Weighing up your scales 67

Thinking about paper 70

Defending your border 70

A Template for Success 71

Making the Most of Model Space 73

Setting your units 74

Making the drawing area snap-py (and grid-dy) 75

Setting linetype and dimension scales 77

Entering drawing properties 79

Making Templates Your Own 80

CHAPTER 5: A Zoom with a View 85

Zooming and Panning with Glass and Hand 86

The wheel deal 86

Navigating a drawing 87

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom 88

A View by Any Other Name 90

Degenerating and Regenerating 93


CHAPTER 6: Along the Straight and Narrow 97

Drawing for Success 98

Introducing the Straight-Line Drawing Commands 99

Drawing Lines and Polylines 100

Toeing the line 102

Connecting the lines with polyline 102

Squaring Off with Rectangles .107

Choosing Sides with POLygon 108

CHAPTER 7: Dangerous Curves Ahead 111

(Throwing) Curves 111

Going Full Circle 112

Arc-y-ology 114

Solar Ellipses 115

Splines: Sketchy, Sinuous Curves 117

Donuts: Circles with a Difference 119

Revision Clouds on the Horizon 120

Scoring Points 122

CHAPTER 8: Preciseliness Is Next to CADliness 125

Controlling Precision 126

Understanding the AutoCAD Coordinate Systems 129

Keyboard capers: coordinate input 129

Introducing user coordinate systems 130

Drawing by numbers 131

Grabbing an Object and Making It Snappy 133

Grabbing points with object snap overrides 133

Snap goes the cursor 136

Running with object snaps 137

Other Practical Precision Procedures 139

CHAPTER 9: Manage Your Properties 143

Using Properties with Objects 144

Using the ByLayer approach 144

Changing properties 146

Working with Layers 148

Accumulating properties 150

Creating new layers 151

Manipulating layers 157

Scaling an object's line type 160

Using Named Objects 161

Using AutoCAD Design Center 162

CHAPTER 10: Grabbing Onto Object Selection 165

Commanding and Selecting 166

Command-first editing 166

Selection-first editing 166

Direct-object manipulation 166

Choosing an editing style 167

Selecting Objects 168

One-by-one selection 169

Selection boxes left and right 169

Tying up object selection 170

Perfecting Selecting 171

AutoCAD Groupies 175

Object Selection: Now You See It 175

CHAPTER 11: Edit for Credit 177

Assembling Your AutoCAD Toolkit 177

The Big Three: Move, COpy, and Stretch 179

Base points and displacements 179

Move 181

COpy 182

Copy between drawings 183

Stretch 183

More Manipulations 187

Mirror, mirror on the monitor 187

ROtate 189

SCale 190

-ARray 191

Offset 192

Slicing, Dicing, and Splicing 194

TRim and EXtend 194

BReak 196

Fillet, CHAmfer, and BLEND 197

Join 200

Other editing commands 201

Getting a Grip 203

When Editing Goes Bad 205

CHAPTER 12: Planning for Paper 207

Setting Up a Layout in Paper Space 210

The layout two-step 210

Put it on my tabs 212

Any Old Viewport in a Layout 214

Up and down the detail viewport scales 214

Keeping track of where you're at .216

Practice Makes Perfect 217

Clever Paper Space Tricks 217


CHAPTER 13: Text with Character 221

Getting Ready to Write 222

Creating Simply Stylish Text 224

Font follies 225

Get in style 226

Taking Your Text to New Heights 228

Plotted text height 228

Calculating non-annotative AutoCAD text height 228

Entering Text 229

Using the Same Old Line 230

Saying More in Multiline Text 233

Making it with mText 233

mText dons a mask 236

Insert Field 237

Doing a number on your mText lists 237

Line up in columns - now! 240

Modifying mText 241

Turning On Annotative Objects 242

Gather Round the Tables 245

Tables have style, too 245

Creating and editing tables 247

Take Me to Your Leader 249

Electing a leader 250

Multi options for multileaders 252

CHAPTER 14: Entering New Dimensions 253

Adding Dimensions to a Drawing 254

A Field Guide to Dimensions 256

Self-centered 259

Quick, dimension! 259

And now for the easy way 260

Where, oh where, do my dimensions go? 261

The Latest Styles in Dimensioning 262

Creating dimension styles 265

Adjusting style settings 268

Changing styles 271

Scaling Dimensions for Output 271

Editing Dimensions 274

Editing dimension geometry 274

Editing dimension text 276

Controlling and editing dimension associativity 277

And the Correct Layer Is . 278

CHAPTER 15: Down the Hatch! 279

Creating a Hatch 279

Using the Hatches Tab 283

Scaling Hatches 286

Scaling the easy way 286

Annotative versus non-annotative 287

Pushing the Boundaries of Hatch 288

Adding style 288

Hatches from scratch 289

Editing Hatch Objects 291

CHAPTER 16: The Plot Thickens 293

You Say "Printing," I Say "Plotting" 294

The Plot Quickens 294

Plotting success in 16 steps 294

Getting with the system 298

Configuring your printer 299

Preview one, two 301

Instead of fit, scale it 301

Plotting the Layout of the Land 303

Plotting Lineweights and Colors 305

Plotting with style 305

Plotting through thick and thin 310

Plotting in color 314

It's a (Page) Setup! 315

Continuing the Plot Dialog 316

The Plot Sickens 319


CHAPTER 17: The ABCs of Blocks 323

Rocking with Blocks 324

Creating Block Definitions 326

Inserting Blocks 330

Attributes: Fill-in-the-Blank Blocks 333

Creating attribute definitions 334

Defining blocks that contain attribute definitions 336

Inserting blocks that contain attribute definitions 337

Editing attribute values 337

Extracting data 338

Exploding Blocks 338

Purging Unused Block Definitions 339

CHAPTER 18: Everything from Arrays to Xrefs 341

Arraying Associatively 343

Comparing the old and new ARray commands 344

Hip, hip, array! 345

Associatively editing 351

Going External 352

Becoming attached to your xrefs 354

Layer-palooza 356

Creating and editing an external reference file 356

Forging an xref path 357

Managing xrefs 359

Blocks, Xrefs, and Drawing Organization 361

Mastering the Raster 362

Attaching a raster image 363

Maintaining your image 364

You Say PDF, I Say DWF 365

Theme and Variations: Dynamic Blocks 367

Now you see it 367

Lights! Parameters! Actions! .371

Manipulating dynamic blocks 373

CHAPTER 19: Call the Parametrics! 375

Maintaining Design Intent 376

Defining terms 378

Forget about drawing with precision! 379

Constrain yourself 379

Understanding Geometric Constraints 380

Applying a little more constraint 381

Using inferred constraints 386

You AutoConstrain yourself! 387

Understanding Dimensional Constraints 388

Practice a little constraint 389

Making your drawing even smarter 392

Using the Parameters Manager .394

Dimensions or constraints? Have it both ways! 396

Lunchtime! 399

CHAPTER 20: Drawing on the Internet 401

The Internet and AutoCAD: An Overview 402

You send me 402

Prepare it with eTransmit 402

Rapid eTransmit 403

FTP for you and me 405

Increasing cloudiness 405

Bad reception? 406

Help from the Reference Manager 406

The Drawing Protection Racket 408

Outgoing! 408

Autodesk Weather Forecast: Increasing Cloud 409

Your head planted firmly in the cloud 410

Cloudy with a Shower of DWGs: A 360 411

The optional extras 413

Sharing and collaborating 413

Sender, we have a problem! 414

Free AutoCAD! 414


CHAPTER 21: It's a 3D World After All 421

The 3.5 Kinds of 3D Digital Models 422

Tools of the 3D Trade 423

Warp speed ahead 424

Entering the third dimension 425

Untying the Ribbon and opening some palettes 426

Modeling from Above 427

Using 3D coordinate input 428

Using point filters 428

Object snaps and object snap tracking 429

Changing Planes 429

Displaying the UCS icon 430

Adjusting the UCS 430

Navigating the 3D Waters 435

Orbit a go-go 436

Taking a spin around the cube 437

Grabbing the SteeringWheels 438

Visualizing 3D Objects 439

On a Render Bender 441

CHAPTER 22: From Drawings to Models 443

Is 3D for Me? 444

Getting Your 3D Bearings 445

Creating a better 3D template 445

Seeing the world from new viewpoints 450

From Drawing to Modeling in 3D 451

Drawing basic 3D objects 452

Gaining a solid foundation 453

Drawing solid primitives 454

Adding the Third Dimension to 2D Objects 455

Adding thickness to a 2D object 455

Extruding open and closed objects 455

Pressing and pulling closed boundaries 456

Lofting open and closed objects 457

Sweeping open and closed objects along a path 457

Revolving open or closed objects around an axis 458

Modifying 3D Objects 459

Selecting subobjects 459

Working with gizmos 459

More 3D variants of 2D commands 460

Editing solids 461

CHAPTER 23: It's Showtime! 465

Get the 2D Out of Here! 466

A different point of view 470

Additional 3D tricks 471

AutoCAD's top model 472

Visualizing the Digital World 474

Adding Lighting 474

Default lighting 475

User-defined lights 475

Sunlight 478

Creating and Applying Materials 479

Defining a Background 481

Rendering a 3D Model 483

CHAPTER 24: AutoCAD Plays Well with Others 485

Get Out of Here! 485

Things that go BMP in the night 486

Vectoring in on WMF 487

And now here are the lumpy bits 488

PDF 489

What the DWF? 489

3D Print 490

But wait! There's more! 490

Open Up and Let Me In! 491

Editing other drawing file formats 491

PDF editing 491

Translation, Please! 492


CHAPTER 25: Ten AutoCAD Resources 497

Autodesk Feedback Community 497

Autodesk Discussion Groups 498

Autodesk's Own Bloggers 498

Autodesk University 498

Autodesk Channel on YouTube 499

World Wide (CAD) Web 499

Your Local Authorized Training Center 499

Your Local User Group 500

Autodesk User Groups International 500

Books 500

CHAPTER 26: Ten System Variables to Make Your AutoCAD Life Easier 501











And the Bonus Round 506

CHAPTER 27: Ten AutoCAD Secrets .507

Sheet Sets 507

Custom Tool Palettes 508

Ribbon Customization 508

Macro Recorder 508

Programming Languages 508

Vertical Versions 509

Language Packs 509

Multiple Projects or Clients 509

Data Extraction and Linking 510

Untying the Ribbon 510

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About Bill Fane

Bill Fane is a retired professional engineer and mechanical design instructor. He has taught classes on AutoCAD and other design tools, and contributes regularly to Cadalyst magazine.
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