AutoCAD 2009 – Why do you hate the Ribbon?

AutoCAD 2009 – Why do you hate the Ribbon?

Judging from the results of the Ribbon usage poll (and the usual poll caveats apply), you are turning off AutoCAD 2009’s Ribbon in droves. I’m surprised. I thought there would be a significant minority of 2009 users who turned it off, but it looks I was wrong and it’s a large majority. The non-Ribbon numbers have hovered around the two-thirds mark right from the start and have now settled above the 70% mark. If nothing else, this validates Autodesk’s decision to make the Ribbon optional and keep all the old user interface elements.

Now I’m curious about the reasons. Why do so many of you dislike the Ribbon so much? Is it an unwillingness to change, a reaction against Microsoft’s influence, or are there more practical reasons? Is it screen space, extra picks, performance, customisation difficulties, difficulty in finding things, or something else? Did you turn it off straight away or did you give it a fair go first? Is the whole idea a write-off as far as you’re concerned, or is there something Autodesk could do that might convince you to use it?

Please comment and let me know. If I get enough responses, I’ll post a multiple-choice poll to get a better idea about how many of you have the various reasons for going Ribbonless.


  1. I don’t like the Ribbon because is designed wrong.
    I hate use of Clear Type by default, I hate the looks. I think that Office 2007 Black theme Ribbon is 10 times better.
    Autodesk should change the looks of the ribbon like the one in Office 2007, with, at least, silver and black themes and make it an option at AutoCAD install.
    I want that the Ribbon to contain ALL commands on a large number of tabs. In this way it could have a chance.

  2. Chris Cowgill

    It’s not that I dislike it, I dont use the ribbon because I keyboard everything, I have no use for tool bars, and therefor see no need to waste the screen space of even a reduced ribbon. My favorite feature of 09, the menu browser, now I can hide the menus and get that extra space at the top of my screen.

  3. Rick Moore

    The OOTB ribbon is unusable, IMO. The idea that clicking a tab to show a hidden tool is somehow desirable escapes me. This only works for tools that aren’t used much but in the default configuration you can’t work without clicking tabs. I tried to make a ribbon with one default one-line tab work but it had problems that ADSK couldn’t solve in this release. I wanted to use tabs in place of workspaces – a default 2D tab and a 3D tab. Maybe next release…

  4. metis

    it’s a waste of real estate. i use a keyboard or nostromo n52 to hotkey 90% of my input, and 2 rows of toolbars across the top and one down each side give me all of the less common, but daily use, tools and macros i need.

    if don’t use it that often i’ll use the menu’s to get the command, or type it.

    it might be useful if it accomplished something quickly, but it’s another layer of useless but pretty gui. take 20 minutes to make yourself a few custom tool bars and you’ll have the functionality you need. if you want to waste 2 seconds every time you want a tool to wait for it to appear, just use the menus, it’s faster.

  5. Mark

    It’s too slow (hovering, etc), it adds mouse clicks (click to expand?), and it takes up real estate that could be more efficiently used by a standard toolbar.

    Three strikes, you’re out.

  6. diffd

    keyboard for 90% of commands. One slither of a toolbar for the other 10% of commands I never quite get round to learning /setting keys for. I want screen space and plenty of it not things hovering about, popping up here there and everywhere blocking my view. I gave it a chance, but it was too slow, unintuitive (too many clicks to work with it and damn well ugly) 🙂

  7. John Bogie

    I had to start using 2009 only because of a (temporary) problem with 2008. I use the keyboard for 90% of commands but I needed the tools from the (3d)view(point) toolbar or equivalent – I gave up after 15 minutes of trying to find them and switched to Classic.

  8. John Bogie

    Quote=Shaan Hurley
    “The Ribbon is one of those features that you gradually get used to otherwise we would all still be using the screen menu and a digitizer. ;-).”

    The screen menu WAS excellent – until it was revised to match the pull-down menus – and I’m still convinced that the digitiser is the most efficient input device available.

  9. Janina

    I tried using it for a while, but it takes longer to get to the command you want. (more clicks of the mouse, plus slower reaction time)
    I do like it for multi leaders/dimensions, but for the most part it’s not worth it.
    I was starting to get used to it, but then all the images on the ribbon menus disappeared. Now they are completely useless! (Don’t know what anything is – anyone know why that would happen – know how to get them back?)
    That added to my frustration so i am sticking with the old way (tool bars/typing)

  10. Sean

    Like many Autocad users, I am very busy drawing, and do not have the time to re-learn the software every year. I have many custom toolbars and lisp routines that I stuggle to get working after every reinstall.
    I draw very efficiently with the program “as-is” and wish the boss would quit throwing down the next “greatest” version on my desk.
    As soon as I saw Ribbons using screen space, I switched to Classic View.
    Now… back to trying to figure out why my attributes keep going dark when I regen (groan).

  11. Space Cowboy

    Not only the “Ribbon” is a STUPID idea… the persons ho designed it do not seem to know very much of real wok with the program… The idea of collapsing all the menus in one single menu inside a limited space like the “Menu Browser” is definitely a very STUPID idea too, is no wonder you have to use a browser to find something… like it would be a database… I am very disappointed of Autodesk because, since i started to use Autocad i admired the capability of it and all the great tools that it has, and even, in various discussions I’ve defend it against other people who use other CAD software. Now i now that the company i admired for so long, has been corrupted by the opportunist and monopolistic Microsoft, who for long time has demonstrated lacking of original ideas… I’m evidently Downgrading to Acad 2007, but i don’t know how much time i will keep using it… Now i know why Autodesk has never consider changing to the Mac platform…

  12. Petros Liapis

    I am located in London UK, and I teach Autocad for the last 5 years. I am an autocad user since release 12.
    The HUGE advantage of Autocad over any other CAD package in the market is the KEYBOARD input. It saves time and money.
    The ribbon was sold to Autodesk by Microsoft, and thus has NOTHING to do with drawing productivity. It is a corporate gimmick nothing more nothing less. The ribbon slows down the drawing process it does not speed it up.
    The Autodesk managing directors should stop paying attention to corporate rubbish and listen to autocad users.
    We do not want corporate “gurus” rearranging the software features every year, just for the shake of ..rearrangement. We want a rock solid application which is keyboard based for speed and efficiency.
    I must say I am very disappointed with the way Autodesk treats us (the users).

  13. D. Scheu

    When I first saw the ribbon, I wondered why Autodesk would buy in to the Vista-style interface after the market rejected it so wholeheartedly.

    But I gave it a fair shake. I tried to draw with the ribbon for a month, and after a month I concluded that it was a slower, larger, and less functional version of a toolbar. It was not slower because I was unfamiliar with it, but because it slowed down startup, it was slower to respond to input, and it required more clicks to get anything done. And on the plus side… well, there was no plus side. Nothing got easier, faster, or more intuitive because of the ribbon.

    So I canned it.

  14. Jon

    I dont get the idea of having more strange features to the toolbars instead of actually developing a better software that can make things without all users having to create their own patches /lisp routines. I do NOT suffer from a big screen as a cad worker, but i do lack time. I hate to have to re-learn the software frequently, adjust it back to what we are used to etc.
    The new toolbars are ridicilous , and why the f… would i need to minimize them when most people use at least 22 inch screens , and very often dual 40″…?

  15. Matt

    I can’t stand the ribbon because I much rather them quit adding useless features and work on making AutoCad stable instead. My company has a subscription plan so I have to use the “wonderful” new version with each subsequent year. 2009 uses about a gig of RAM and is the most unstable version yet. I have been using AutoCad since R12. Why can’t they do something like windows does and release a new version every couple years instead. Maybe create add-ons for whoever clamors for all these useless features. I don’t understand why my system resource usage tripled between this version and the last. Sloppy programming most likely.

  16. JT

    Why I hate the ribbon, by JT:
    The ribbon takes up a whole lotta space, requires more clicks to get you where you wanna go, and the response time for the clicks you make in the ribbon is sooooo slow, goodness – it drives me nuts when I’m in the big ‘A’ and are flipping from recent documents to file or something. Another thing that’s just such a dog-n-pony show is the preview thumbnails of all the drawings you have open – pleeeeeease, go back to the list. Again, alot of time wasted !!!! And one more whining comment: why can’t we get the command line down to one line? The least lines I see available for viewing / working is either two or none, and unfortunately I like just one. Sup with that? I don’t think it’s too much to ask? But back to the ribbon issue: I gave it more than an honest try, I used it for six months – really tried to like it – didn’t happen. I am now back to my limited icons and the trusty ol keyboard (along with the layer dialogue box that doesn’t autohide and exit the dialogue box everytime you set the color of a layer – so annoying) I am usually not so negative about things, but 2009 has really been a downer!
    The End

  17. I hate that thing. I tried it, I even tried to learn it. I didn’t like it from the first time I tried to use it. yeah, it was a shock not having everything where I expect it, but even now when I’m looking for something that I know exists I can’t find it. I like hot-keys, and it’s easier to read a menu that goes up and down, not sideways. I’d support a re-vamp of the old style way before an entire new style.. they are trying to re-invent the wheel here.

  18. Andrew Wright

    The ribbon is a horrible idea being forced by Microsoft and I absolutely hate it. First off its a waste of screen space. I buy a 24″ monitor to get a lot of real estate to have it wasted by this thing called a ribbon. Seriously whos great idea was this? Sure it may be nice for novice users or people who dont use software very often but that is the wrong crown to cater to.

    I turned the ribbon off immediately upon opening 2009 (after getting frustrated with how to turn it off. There should be a big red button flashing saying turn ribbon off here). Had I been unable to turn it off and IT refuse to give me a older version I probably would have quit my job. You may think that rash but here is why. I have tried ribbon with office and I hate that I cant revert to the old version. Microsoft loves to strong arm people like that. The entire point of toolbars is to have all your buttons in a place you prefer where you can easily access them. Now with the ribbon you have to go hunting for them because they are all behind different tabs and what not instead of all on the screen at the same time. Sure its nice and pretty and has lots of pictures and things for dumb people but those of us who actually want to get some work done it is impossible to streamline the entire thing. I have spent 3 hours in excel trying to figure out how to do borders like I used to in 2003 and a few other buttons that I had at the top and I cant figure it out. I am forced to manually go through menu’s and other options which takes far too long (the only things immediately on teh ribbon are commands that Microsoft “thinks” are most used when there input is based soley on people who gave feedback which does not represent the majority of users out there). I hope microsft learns and makes this all optional. And I definitly hope Autodesk never makes the ribbon mandatory. There is nothing anyone and I mean ANYONE could say that would make me give ribbon another chance. The ribbon increases the number of clicks to get to commands and wastes space and thus decreases productivity. I’m sorry. It’s just bad. Honestly remove it from the application and stop letting microsoft strong arm people into useing this BS.

    Also I am gettings sick of the fact I cant turn off the menu browser. 2009 is wasting so much space with its pretty features and I am trying to gain some back but theres things like the menu browser that I cant turn off so the menu bar is thicker then normal by a few pixels. And yes those few pixels matter.

    Please stop this nonsense.

  19. Doug

    I hope all these comments are making it back to Autodesk, because they certaily don’t listen to individuals. One comment that I did not see discussed thus far is the point that many users are going to wide screen monitors. The ribbon is designed horizontally across the top which is the worse possible location for a wide monitor. Yes, it can be undocked and moved to the side, but anyone who has tried this quickly realizes this is no solution either. I can get to just about any command from the pull down menues just as quickly and have a simple floating toolbar with 25 commands that represent the drawing tools that are used all the time. The only time and space saving feature I have noticed so far is the ability to add buttons at the very top in the window title bar. 2009 was a wasted upgrade. Even though we are on the subscription program, we have chosen not to implement this version. I hope 2010 addresses these issuses or we might have to reconsider updating every year. Oh and I bet 2010 will have a new file format. Got to love that!

  20. Dash

    What to say… Should I start considering AutoCAD competitors? The new GUI offers me, an experienced user, no extra functionality. Since my start with the CAD suites I have always utilized typed commands to increase the speed with which I can draw. The new GUI, to me, is only dead weight. The most notably AutoCAD lost much of its ability to be customized. In prior versions it was simple to tailor your menus to your drawing style and specialties.

    Maybe Autodesk should start providing 2 solutions; a professional “power user” version which is stripped of the non essential graphics and a second windows friendly GUI based verison for lighter users.

    The new ribbon system may have potential but the strength I always attributed to the Autodek products their ability to be tailored to the individual user. Autodesk, please don’t take that away…

  21. John

    We tried Acad 2009 and decided that it was resource hungry, cumbersome and slow, so we reverted back to 2008, after all there wasn’t too much that was broke with 2008 IMO.

    For me, Dash’s comment regarding a “power user’ version hit’s the nail squarely on the head. It would be perfect, particularly if the stripped down “power user” (dinosaur) version had some decent memory and resource management features that would help me cope with some of the monstrous drawings that I’m forced to deal with occasionally.

    As others have said, it would be nice if Autodesk concentrated on making the product quicker and more stable instead of adding GUI bells and whistles that the majority of long time users (I started with R10) waste a lot of time switching off.

    Whilst I am living in the fantasy land where I can dream of a “better” AutoCAD, when will they abandon the user by user configuration and adopt a system that where a CAD manager can control things at a network level OOTB.

    I for one do not hold out much hope for any great improvement with Acad 2010

  22. Chris Cowgill

    Steve is more into the performance checking side of things, but from my personal experience, AutoCAD 2010 seems significantly faster in startup, cui command initialization, and overall, less stickiness than 09. But I’m sure that Steve has some numbers to back that up.

  23. Bob Brown

    Wasted space! No matter how large your screen, any graphics operator wants to see as much simultaneously as possible, not a bunch of stupid icons. Anyone smart enough to use computers can reason, logically, and logic determines the category of commands. Some are file, some edit comands, etc. On the other hand, some drop-down toolbars have an extra “layer” conceiling the desired commands. This is the opposite tactic, and desired commands are often buried several clicks deep, a waste not of space but of time. The traditional windows interfaces were all implemented for the purpose of productivity, and style uniformity is part of this. File is always to the left, help on the far right, etc. This is to do work smoothly and maximize viewable workspace while having applications logically resemble one another. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Different is not necessarily better, as I wish Autodesk had learned long ago. Ease, smoothness, efficiency, speed and productivity ARE better. ‘Nuff said?

  24. For several reasons:

    1. It’s SLOW, I still use 2008 due to it. I’m not sure why Autodesk has a bad track record with odd numbered releases. I have still not received 2010 yet (I’m the customer, I want it delivered not downloaded).
    2. Takes up too much space.
    3. Too many ‘clicks’ to do what you need to do. I’m more concerned about production, production, production….
    4. I can’t figure out why Autodesk wastes time with junk like this instead of resolving problems, such as Autocad crashing when you open the file menu.
    5. Another adoption of a stupid Microsoft invention. I’m not sure it was forced by Microsoft; but Autodesk certainly acts like a lap-dog when it comes to this stuff.

  25. John Hammer

    The most productive people use commands. Tool bars take up space, they take time to re-arrange after every deployment, Autodesk just won’t leave them alone. Clearly they are out to make it more intuitive for new users instead trying to please the ones they already have. How many times have they changed the express tools buttons icons? people use visualization and repetition to be productive so quit changing the visualization and layout, making us all LESS productive.

    Corporate gimmicks to appease stock holders is all this is. Stock holders need to look at the satisfaction of CURRENT users NOT THE AMOUNT OF NEW USERS. Clearly autodesk feels compelled to show investors their doing something that lay people can “see” instead of doing stuff users NEED.

  26. R. Paul Waddington

    John’s point is a very valid point; changes to the interfaces have cost users and NOT improved productivity. As for new users, I will add, as a person who spends around twently hours a week teaching ‘new’ users to use Autodesk products, mostly AutoCAD, commercially and in several instututions, the ribbon is of considerable disadvantage.

  27. P.R.S. Sivakumar

    I really regret having upgraded from AutoCAD LT 2006 to AutoCAD LT 2009 with my hard earned money. The ribbon is horrible because it occupies too much of space – especially on a wide screen monitor. IMHO it is a horrible design and a big gimmick. I am highly used to work on the command line. I don’t even use the menu bars. Being LT, I don’t stand to gain much by way of improvement for my workflow. It was a major wrong decision on my part in upgrading to this. It is also much slower than LT 2006. (IMHO R14 was the fastest – from what I have experienced).

  28. Craig

    yeah fsck Ribbon, and I mean that. Ever since AutoCAD moved away from the data tablet and went to heavy icon based UI killing screenspace it has become a bigger and bigger problem spending a lot of time with customization. Simplest solution is to memorize commands and remove all toolbars, and if necessary create your own Ribbon Tabs. Productivity with magical moving buttons is a step backward unless you are new to the software and like moving your mouse everywhere for the same command… ‘Progress’ is not relative when it comes to squeezing money out of users, which is really all that matters to them.

  29. Tim English

    Main reason I don’t like the Ribbon is that the application CANNOT know what I am going to do next. It may have data saying “93% of users use an xref command straight after selecting an xref on screen”. So when I select an xref to change the colour of the layer of the xref, it annoys the crap out of me that the Ribbon decides for me that I must want to do an xref command and changes panel. IMHO this is what works best for me command line for the first tier commands, toolbars IN THE SAME PLACE and tool palettes for second tier commands and then menubar for everything else. Ribbon turned off!

  30. Mike Carlson

    I just started using AutoCAD 2009 on my laptop. I have 2005 that I use at work. I HATE the ribbon. I can complete a very difficult mechanical drawing on 2005 complete with dimensions in less than 8 hours. I waste so much time hovering and looking for snaps and waiting! How can I change to back to tool bars like in 2005. Somebody please help me before I am forced to use 2009 as it is!!

  31. Jacob

    I was waiting for calls against the Ribbon. I assmed has to be a great number of people that suffer the ribbon, too complicated, it seems to me Autodesk does not follow the KISS rule, keep it simple stupid. The learning curve is taking too much time.
    Are not good the Pulldown menus? The are easy,logic and at hand.
    I would like Autodesk change the approach.
    Thank you.

  32. David

    I just stumbled across the rather old discussion. I have been using the old dashboard in Autocad 2008 since we switched to using Widescreen monitors. I currently have no toolbars displyed because I have customized the dashboard to have only the tools I need and use. I don’t even need the menus anymore. Even with the dashboard being un-collapsable, I still have as much screen space as a standard monitor. I was very much looking forward to the ribbon for additional Tabs. But as said here, OOTB was unusable and customizing was not possible. However, being that it was a palette, it could be changed from the default horizontal to a vertacal bar. It could also be docked or undocked and made collapsed. This would give back your screen space. I think that if Autodesk would have made that the default, and not have had so many tools on expandable areas (they did this to show what could be done), then those that don’t customize (use it OOTB) would have liked it better.

  33. Chris Cowgill

    David, If you are still using 08, I recommend skipping 09 and going to 10, you can import your old dashboard to the ribbon. I currently use no toolbars, and only the ribbon and other palettes, anchored to the left, auto hidden, and vertical. I dont have any wasted space.

  34. michael

    ..unlike most users above i don’t really use the keyboard that much. I’ve had two big screens for a long time, and just had every toolbar i needed thrown around the screen, and everything was just one click away.

    this ribbon thing is a mess.. because my work is quite varied i can’t find anything, and when i do the delay is infuriating.

    i’m still trying though, but at first i thought i was just stupid. now every time i’m under pressure i use 2009 for about 10 minutes, and then end up using 2004 just to get the stuff out the door.

  35. Leslie

    I upgraded to 2009 earlier this year to test it out before deploying it in my small department. From the beginning, I detested the ribbons – which I refer to as tapeworms. I experienced the same problem Marc mentioned above: extra clicks, waiting time, etc.

    I gave the tapeworms my best, honest try for about a month before the setting everything back as closely as possible to my past toolbars and pulldown menus in classic mode. I use a wide variety of tools and work under the pressure of numerous interruptions and tight deadlines, so the headache was absolutely unwelcome. Learning my way around the new interface did not make it better. Functionality and efficiency were lost!

    During the time I used the tapeworms…err, ribbons, I spewed as much foul language as one might hear at the worst inner city construction site. I’m lucky I wasn’t fired from my office job, and the ordeal seriously has made me consider a career change if this is the direction we’re going with the tool of my trade.

    My new workstation has 2010, and the first thing I did was produce a new 2010 CUI with toolbars and menus based on my 2009 CUI.

  36. duncan

    Just had a new employee turn up & installed 2009 LT on the computer.
    We eventually managed to turn the interface back to defualt after trauling the net for a tutorial.
    The reason the ribbon does not work for so many.
    is beacuse it is too different to the original autocad interface with the icons arranged around your screen as you wish.
    Also a lot of people are hard pushed to perform in their jobs & changing sub-concious thought patterns is not a productive idea.
    As a long experienced user ever time a new relaes of autocad or autocad LT comes out i ALWAYS change the interface back to the original classic view with original classic windows theme.
    It just works better that way.
    You dont have to stop & think about where things are.
    AUTODESK should spend more time investing in useful tools & less time changing the interface for a new sellable look on every release. Just leave it as classic because it works.
    Wise old proverb: IF ITS NOT BROKE DONT FIX IT.

    Hope this helps.
    UK User.
    architectural & surveying practice.

  37. Krisafie K.

    I tried it and found it to be a waste of time and very valuable space. It’s useless, especially if you are proficient in CAD, you are likely to use the keyboard for 90% of all commands. Half the icons on the ribbon are useless to me, so really it was just taking up a whole lot of real-estate. I noticed that it was taking me more clicks to get to certain commands.
    Also, call me a creature of habit, but I really didn’t like the look – and it annoyed me that many icons where identified by images rather than words. I ended up clicking on two or three icons before getting to the one I wanted. With the classic menu bar, it is easily identifiable, so I’d rather stick to it.
    And partially, I don’t feel like trying to get accustomed to an interface that does not work as efficiently for me and only frustrates me further.

    I almost understand why MS Office uses this idiot-proof interface but most AutoCAD users are by default not idiots so we see no point in this idiot-proof feature – in fact it hinders our productivity.

    I’m incredibly glad that we have the option to go back to classic (thank god!)- otherwise I would not be a happy camper.


  38. Susan

    I use mostly keyboard and toolbars that I have customised with my most used commands. I raely have to dig for a command. I didn’t find the ribbon at all usable and reverted to my own workspace in 2009 and now in 2010.
    And please stop redesigning the tool icons!

  39. CADman

    ribbons are for little girls hairs.
    not for my CAD machine.

    Those “experiments” are only due the wacky honeymoon between Autodesk and Microsoft “standards” and “point of view of computing”.

    I have started with AutoCAD since release 2.5 and i used to love it, now i really hate what they have done with the whole software.

  40. ChrisP

    The ribbon device found on many Windows based apps, including the recent Autocad releases and Word etc. is in my opinion a step backwards. I have stopped using MS Office and may stop using AutoCAD as there are many alternatives with equivalent functionality. AutoCAD was once the easiest to use and customise drawing app on the market, this is no longer the case. I, like many others, prefer simplicity to complexity and just want to draw without having to navigate around a slow, awkward interface.

  41. Will Bateman

    It was the differences between autocad & microsoft products that I used to love. Microsoft you have to learn by rote; autocad had a underlying logic – proved by a moment with r2004 when I thought ‘There should be a command that does [that], & if there is it should be… here! And it was & it did!
    I’ve spent 3 months properly using the ribbon, and can now say it offers me nothing but additional picks & clicks [every ACA training I’ve been to has focused on minimising this].
    Our firm is now stopping subscription to break our tie in to autodesk products. Then in 3 years or so we’ll be able to look at the market & consider other products – judging by the last few years of ‘upgrades’ it should only improve our productivity as we’ll save time on adapting to changes..

  42. Mike

    I tried the ribbon for a few months. I wanted to like it, but was not as efficient as my old setup. It was promoted as a screen space saving, click saving feature but it does neither. With costomized flyout toolbars, I have oodles more toolbars than any one in our company, yet they only take 2 lines of toolbar space compared to the 4 or 5 the ribbon uses. If you use the autohide on the ribbon, you not only have an extra click, you have to think about what tab the button you want is in. The menu browser is also lame because of the extra clicks, and doesn’t really save screen space.

  43. becca

    I honestly did not give the ribbon a chance nor do I want to. I like the way it was before they created that. Instead of changing things that work just fine and making it “look good” maybe they should work on fixing bugs that have been in the last few releases or changing the find and replace command to what it was pre-2009 release. There are numerous things that I like to search for that I can no longer do in 2009. Please stop changing everything and fix what is there. Then when stuff is getting fixed you can start “improving” on the product.

    BTW the bug that I am speaking that has been there for the past several releases is that my AutoSave function keeps randomly turning itself off. If anyone has a fix for this it would be greatly appreciated

  44. Chris

    to fix the bug where AutoSave keeps randomly turning itself off, turn it off yourself, then the status wont change. We havent used AutoSAVE for the past 2 releases because it is pretty much worthless.

  45. rob seed

    The ribbon is not good. It is a tool designed to make it look as though Autodesk are busy justifying their fees to users while the best use of OUR cash would be to speed the program up – not slow it down. I used to teach AutCAD and ADT when it was quicker-8 years ago! what are you guys playing about at? I am appaled at the state you have allowed this bag of nails to get into. Saving a ’small’ drawing using ‘intelligent’ databasing features is driving me bananas WAITING for results as I did when I was using a machine with 4Mb of RAM 18 years ago. Get with the program people and pull your finger out-Or I will move to ArchiCAD permanently-even if it means changing my job…I feel THAT annoyed. I will no longer recommend your software.

  46. carrie

    For me, it’s a matter of being able to get in the computer and being able to get things done as quickly as I know how. It’s not that I don’t want to take the time to learn, it’s that I don’t have the time to learn. Why change something that works already? I get completely frustrated when trying to find a certain action…and things are just popping up all over the place. I absolutely hate it.

  47. k small

    I dont like the ribbon because I cant find the commands(icons) that I am frequenly using. also it requires more clicks to do simple tasks.
    It it not our main cad system so I only use it 30% of the time for editing existing drawings, and do not have the time to spend working out the software interface.
    I have the same problem in the new version of MS Office, its crap.

  48. David R. White

    Well, at first I didn’t like the ribbon like most of you. But after about a couple days of studying (reading helps everything) I learned how to customize it. It’s not that hard folks. Think about me, I was running AutoCAD 2002, then 2010. But I was able to rework the ribbon to the point that my commands (plus a few others new to me) are all just like I had them for the past 7-8 years. I too have customized my AutoCAD over the years to help me design tools and special machinery. Most of the AutoCAD supplied mechanical stuff takes too many clicks, looks amatuerish, or is just too much interface to deal with to create a screw connection. But the ribbon can be mastered. I dock mine to the left. I shortened each command name as much as I could. I really don’t like icons (being that I’m not Egyptian by birth)because I can read english words, even trucated abbreviations. By shortening the command names the ribbon is only about 1 1/2″ wide on the left. I added the snap selection toolbar docked next to it. On my Dell 24 inch monitor I still have a very large screen area. Equal to the old pull down menus from the past. I say quit your whining and join in on some real innovation. You can change your menu much faster with the ribbon. You don’t have to exit Autocad, write the change to the menu, open Autocad again, declare that you really want to open a .mnu file, and face not liking what you changed, only to have to exit again and rewrite. You make your menu changes on the “fly” with the ribbon. If everything stayed the same, we’d all be driving T-Model Fords. Think about it.

  49. R. Paul Waddington

    What you have just described is a menu not unlike AutoCAD original menu.
    If you don’t like using icons and can read English (actually not necessary) why not just set Autocad’s original ‘screen menu’ in the Options? Customize it just as easily as for the other systems and, on my screen it is less than your 1 1/2″ width, only 20mm on my screen.
    It can have 60 commands available in the menu at any one time and these can be made to change in a contextual manner just the same as the others. This means a single narrow menu, docked left, right or floating can have all you need and still more screen area to draft on. 😉

  50. David R. White

    R. Paul: I have a question about the menubar. I went in and changed a few things, but the menubar that comes up is not changed, i.e., I removed a couple items, added a few more and the changes aren’t there. I even went to my current workspace and deleted a menu under menus. It’s still there. I moved a menu in the menus listings and it is right where it was before. I tried removing the “vault” command but it is not even on my files menu to remove. Where is all this stuff besides right in front of you when you are customizing the cui?

  51. R. Paul Waddington

    David, I have not experienced what you describe but I have seen, what may be a similar problem, happen to a student. He was modifying the default ACAD Classic workspace and not seeing the changes made after ‘exiting’ the CUI editor; when we selected ‘ACAD Classic’ from the menu and forced an update his changes were reflected.

    Have you any suggestions to make here Steve or anybody else?

  52. Mike

    It must be nice to work somewhere without deadlines or pressure to be productive with a new release *RIGHT NOW*, and have the time to tinker and play with a new interface. I know I don’t work in such a place. I’ve got design project due, and at the same time have to administer 25 AutoCAD stations at two sites (“…but don’t let your administration duties interfere with those design deadlines!”).

    As far as having to exit AutoCAD to edit a menu; users haven’t had to do that for years. I know the time I modified a 2008 menu I did it in a CUI editor…

    The question still is, why should an interface require extensive customization to be productive? The only “customization” required out of the box with versions 2008 and previous was to select which toolbars you wanted visible. Customizing beyond that was generally just fine-tuning.

    When 2009 came out even Autodesk’s Lynn Allen talked about having to spend “a week or two” to get familiar with and get to like the Ribbon. A couple weeks to start to like an interface that’s a step backwards in functionality? The Ribbon is about as efficient as using pulldown menus was in the old Version 10 days. When toolbars were added to AutoCAD it took me about an hour to get comfortable with them. I’ve hammered away at the Ribbon for days, tried to consolidate and streamline it, tried to get used to the new technology, and I still think is sucks. No commonly used command should be more than one click away. I’d rather use keyboard shortcuts than that idiotic Ribbon. My biggest worry is that Autodesk will, in a few more releases, eliminate the “classic” menu and we’ll be *forced* to use the Ribbon.
    If it works for you David, I’m glad. Unfortunately it ain’t working for me, or the majority of users according to the straw poll on this site.

  53. Jay

    Google: “I hate the Ribbon” and this was one of the top 3 results.

    I really hope AutoDesk is listening. My office is considering not upgrading 3 more seats because of this issue.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if it was easy to go to classic and disable all the bloat, but I was forced to upgrade into AutoCAD Architecture 2010 with a new job, having used 2007 LT and Full previously.

    But, with ACA2010, THERE IS NO “Classic” Workspace or menu option OOTB!!!??? It took me an hour of poking around the ‘new and improved’ program (ribbon), trying to stop the pain, then an hour+ on the internet searching for fixes. Apparantly, there was a patch posted to an official forum at one point, but it was pulled within a few days.

    I never had any formal training in AutoCAD, but as a long-time power user of windows, graphics, audio, and programming software, I was able to pick ACAD up pretty quickly for my needs (drafting and MEP detailing).

    But the ribbon is ridiculous.
    – a huge waste of space.
    – 90-99% of the commands I use are commandline / dynamic cursor inputs
    – the other 1-10% are obscure or rarely used commands (setting workspace or drawing options, setting up drawings, options, plotting/final stages).
    – I hate the waste of space. Toolbars are acceptable.. I visually group toolbars in a line, and by sight I can see “oh, those are the font/alignment buttons” I DONT need a 150×15 pixel space taken up by “Font” and “Alignment” My brain knows that already. And I’m wasting time looking at multiple lines of icons and text that is aligned in different ways, instead of being able to quickly scan vertically/(con)textually (menus), and horizontally/iconically (toolbars)

    Ahhhg. I’l stop now, but this is serious ACAD, your going to lose some long time and power users if you continue to fix what isn’t broken, or atleast provide easier ways to transition or optout of the “progress”

  54. K Lee

    What a silly idea forcing ribbons on us cad users. I for one have been using cad for so long now I forget….but whats stayed consistant throughout this time is the “classic view”, its like going from right hand drive to left hand drive (or vice versa) in an instant……I feel let down by Acad, if they feel it has’nt caused any problems then they should read this site, its also the only time I’ve felt compelled to right a complaint about any cad program I’ve used….

    Also how do they expect people to pick up revit with the ribbons, it just does’nt work, get it through your skulls Acad and listen to the people that use your programs and not writers, we are the ones that pay your bills!!!!!!!!!

    If we wanted it we would have asked but we obviously did’nt…

    ahh that feels much better

    JAY – there is a classic view available just look in workspaces 🙂

  55. M.Kirkland

    I “want” to like the Ribbon, but Autodesk has made my doing so incredibly hard to do.

    Like most professionals, I too use the keyboard for 90% (Yay Visual LISP!), and the remaining 10% consist of two rows of toolbars across the top, and one row of menu pull-downs. Now that I can finally customize the ribbon… yeah that’s right, FINALLY. I use AutoCAD Civil 3D Land Desktop Companion 2009 (could the name be any longer?) – I couldn’t customize the ribbon until IT recently installed all software updates!

    I made a simple effort of converting my few custom toolbars to ribbon panels, and thus into one custom ribbon tab.


    – The ribbon takes up more screen real-estate, as compared to the same custom toolbars.
    – The ribbon does not stay anchored, even when saved in that position within a given workspace.
    – The ribbon has no customizable color options, not even to match the theme (Dark, etc.)
    – Each platform version has a different version of the ribbon (2008-2010), which software updates do not compensate for.


    – Why can’t we customize how many rows of tools we want visible, like the Quick Properties?
    – Why can’t we set the ribbon to automatically show all rows without a hover (when minimized)?
    – Where’s my AECRIBBONTOOL command for AutoCAD Civil 3D Land Desktop Companion 2009!?
    – Why can I not pull the Layer States Manager Control (pull-down menu) into a toolbar?
    – Why does the Layer States Manager Control (pull-down menu) not automatically regen after changing state?

    Hey Autodesk Executives, have you ever seen Undercover Boss? Granted I am not employed by Autodesk; but I’d still love for them to see the interface, and its inherent road blocks, through the eyes of a real-world, production user.

  56. I am an intermittent user of AutoCAD and find the Ribbon very unfriendly. I can’t find any of the simple commands that I used to have right my finger tips. Its more clicks, and time spent to get to the commands I’m looking for. In general I am frustrated will all that has moved to ribbons. This is not a resistance to change. I have not found a ribbon interface yet that has reduced the amount of clicks I have to go through to get to a tool. Ribbons are probally great for people that only use 10% of the commands but advanced software users (generally most CAD users) suffer because of them

  57. IjaDaNickMan

    The Ribbon is not efficient at all!!!!!!!!!

    How many freakin clicks do you have to make on that friggin piece of prac!

    The regular pull downs are

    way faster!!!!!!!!

    Way more organized!!!!!!!!!!!

    Way less clicks!!!!!!!!

    Way less frucgkin stupip!!!

    Way more fruggin faster!!!!!!!!!

  58. Kay

    My general feeling after talking to autodesk support in the country where I live, is that no one there has ever tried to use any of the programs they sell to solve a real problem. They learn a little sequence to show like a demonstration on a sales stand. Then I guess something like ribbons may seem like a good idea. I think that even when I find the commands I want, it must be like 3 times faster to work without the ribbons. Its so slow!
    Does anybody else find that the snap tools are also doing a lot of weird things in C3D 2010?

  59. Stuart C.

    Resistance is useless.we will assimilate you into a world useless GUI tools.
    The best improvement is the workspace switch we can get back to a minimalistic format.
    The best thing to do with a ribbon is to tie the developers hands to a chair and stop them fiddling with things that are not broken.

  60. Graham S


    I have been using Autocad from v1.2 at university in the 80’s. Since then I have worked for many large and blue chip companies. I consider myself quite a veteran user.

    Ribbon, well for me why learn something that I know all so well to do get the same result. In addition why lose a load of my workspace area.

    What I have seen in my last contract for a very prestigious company is that 100% of users turned off the ribbon!

  61. am

    the ribbon sucks arse : it takes more button clicks to do anything, it’s slow…you have to customize toolbars everywhere. jean nouvel’s office wrote a script to take out the ribbons, probably like everyone else.

    anyways, nothing new here, autocad’s DEAD last in user interface. can’t they freekin design a polyline edit system that works fluidly?? then, the hatch worked great in 2010. now in version 2011, you have to click TWICE to add another point. hot dammit, why can’t they make a system that learns from itself??? why? let’s take a peek at the latest research paper on user interfaces, for some key points, HINT HINT AUTODESK :

    THERe, i got my yayas out. been building up for years.

  62. Yves

    I used Autocad ever since r2.6… way back in 1987.

    As with Office 2010, I gave autocad ribbons a try, but unlike the Excel ribbons, not that I like them, but are easier to use than autocad’s.
    As with Office’s ribbon, Autocad’s take more clicks, more time, less intuitive.

    I’ve switched to classic, with toolbars, faster, use less screen space.

    Try to find copybase on the ribbon, I’m I the only one using this command!!!

    The ribbon shouln’t have existed just like version 13!!!

    Instead of paying 60+ users courses, we simply turned off the ribbon at each autocad installation.

    This is one good thing though, Autocad, unlike Microsoft, gives us the choice of turning off their annoying enhancements.

    One question should be asked… after an autocad upgrade, how much time, a long time user $pend putting it’s interface as it was with the previous release!!!

    The idea of not supporting VBA in a near future pi…s me off too.

  63. Adam

    I prefer MicroStation but have used AutoCAD back w/ R14 and very little w/ 2000.
    I recently had to help on a few non-transportation projects using AutoCAD LT 2010. For the first month I felt like I couldn’t draft anything. Couldn’t find features, lots of clicks, less real estate (Not a fan of Microsoft Ribbon but pretty much used to Work,Excel,&Outlook now).

    After the first month a co-worker showed me the classic setup and now I feel as if i can draft nearly as quickly as using MicroStation.

    The Ribbon really is horrible! Just helps me feel good about liking MicroStation more.

  64. Bill H

    I’ve left mine up for 8 months now. It locks up if I do any text commands – I’ve been in Acad since 2.18. I usually try to embrace new stuff. This one is NOT working for me.

    It just occured to me I could get about 48 square inches of usable screen back if I just turn it off.

  65. Anonymous

    It’s a fat toolbar with a “cool” “ribbon” name tracing back to some arrogant micro$oft meeting somewhere around a table “let’s call it the ‘ribbon'” yeah, that’s kewl it’ll help us get even more money somehow because it’s kewl. Lack of choice. How arrogant. All that’s needed is a non-screen-wasting single one-row toolbar containing the buttons/functions the user uses the most. It’s called a USER interface not a developers-think-it’s-kewl interface.

  66. Dave

    Horrible. Way too graphic. The ribbon is using up unecessary memory, graphics, and space in the drawing area. Horrible idea. Spend some more time making the hatch command better. Stop expanding the program; it is too huge. Make it leaner and more functional. I started on R12 and feel there have been few improvements since then.

  67. Michael Meio

    Actually, believe it or not, that RIBBON has made me more money in less time than the full AUTOCAD lineup since the infamous 2009 release.

    WHY?.. I sell a fully customized workspace layout that gets rid of GUESS WHAT!?…, skyrocketing production for me and my colleagues. Took me a week full time to set it up using a simple process people working for AUTODESK could perhaps look into:

    1. Get TRUE feedback from REAL users.
    2. FOCUS on MINIMIZING steps to ensure longer lasting pain free carpal tunnels while making money to your clients.
    3. REMEMBER how HARD it is to get used to change in the working environment.
    4. DON’T force yourself to BE CREATIVE. It’s like love.. you either have it or not.

    EVERYONE I know in the business either has a customized workspace derived from mine, or keeps losing time/money. A few are just plain stupid.

    What’s wrong with the RIBBON?.. Simple: It’s in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY better than ANY of the previous interface. Think I’m wrong? Check out how many on this thread still use keyboard entry and you’ll understand.

  68. Pab

    First of all I apologize for my bad English.

    I really do not understand which advantage should the ribbon UI bring! I think it is considerably less efficient than old toolbars and menus and, moreover, it seems to be not consistent with the actual typical dimension of monitors, squeezing vertically the work area.
    I think that ribbon UI absolutely doesn’t represent an improvement, on the contrary, it is an useless waste of time. Just think about the number of clicks you need to activate a single command: it is often twice or more times than what the old toolbar system required.
    I’ve found it very difficult to use the Ribbon UI, and this is very unpleasant, considering that suddenly, after years, I’ve found myself unable to use Office programs as fast and natural as I used to do before with toolbars and menus.
    At least for AutoCAD developers have left the possibility, for the user, to choose between the ribbon and the classical UI.

  69. Jeff Anderson

    I hate the new user interface! Not just ACAD, but a lot of softwares that use the ribbon type interface. It would appear to me that software is getting changed (at least from an interface perspective) just for the sake of changing it. Older drop down menus were much easier and more visually practical and efficient. Although I use a lot of key commands, I like the menus at times, particularly when I am looking for something I forgot how to do. The new ribbons make finding commands very difficult because the commands are now scattered all over the screen instead of being organized into easy to view drop down lists. And the icons??? I hate most of those too.

  70. I echo all the comments from other Acad jockies in this forum. I, too use my own defined quick keys, aka, customized pgp file commands. I also use several customized toolbar button commands that I’ve collected over the years.
    So basically, every time I have to install the latest Acad version, I just migrate my old settings and I never have to look at the evil ribbon. I go back to my own customized menu that has the toolbars I use and nothing more. The ribbon may as well not even exist in my world. At least Autodesk has allowed the option to customize and shut off the ribbon. But MS has not done that and I get really irritated when I have to use Word or Xcel. There seems to be nothing democratic about MS and Autodesk when it comes to developing software based on the people’s needs. I guess this is what our world is coming to.

  71. Angela C

    it slows everything down. every time the dumb ribbon tries to load a contextual menu, cad freezes up and i end up sitting on my hands. finally had to reduce to menu titles to get things back to almost normal. Between the contextual ribbons and the palettes auto-loading i was loosing 20 to 30 minutes a day waiting for them to load. Ridiculous!

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