AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”

AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”

Edit: If you’re running a more recent release of AutoCAD, have a look at the post AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal” instead.

Easily the most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. Lots of people seemed to find it useful, so I guess it’s worth doing an updated sequel for the current release. Much of this post is the same as the original, but there are differences.

Note: there are updated versions of this post for AutoCAD 2011 and 2012.

One thing that’s regularly asked whenever a new AutoCAD release hits the streets is how to make it work like earlier releases. As I stated in my original post, I think you should give any new features a fighting chance before turning them off or ignoring them. The 2010 Ribbon is still a Ribbon, but in my view it’s a better one than in 2009. But it’s entirely your choice. We should be grateful that in AutoCAD 2010 at least (unlike Revit 2010), you do still have that choice.

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision to put your environment back to AutoCAD 2008 or earlier; how do you do it?

  • Workspace. In vanilla AutoCAD, you can restore much of the user interface by just switching workspaces. In the bottom right corner, there is a little button that looks like a gearwheel. This is the Workspace control. Click on it and pick the item called AutoCAD Classic. If you’re using a vertical variant of AutoCAD 2010, this workspace may not be available. If so, or if you want finer control over your interface, read on.
  • Pull-down Menus. Enter MENUBAR 1 to turn pull-down menus on. To turn them off again, enter MENUBAR 0.
  • Toolbars. In AutoCAD 2009, you could turn individual toolbars on and off by accessing a menu obtained by right-clicking on the QAT. Autodesk (vindictively?) removed that option in 2010. That menu is still available if you right-click in an unused docked toolbar area, but if you have no toolbars visible there will be no such area available. What to do? Turn on one toolbar at the Command prompt, then you will be able to access the menu by right-clicking on the blank area to the right of it. The following command sequence will do it:

    _.-TOOLBAR ACAD.Standard _Top 0,0

    Note that this will only work if you have the acad.cuix file loaded (or partially loaded). This is the case in vanilla AutoCAD and some verticals (e.g. AutoCAD Civil 3D), but it may not be the case in other verticals (e.g. AutoCAD Architecture).

  • Ribbon. You can close the Ribbon with the RibbonClose command. If you ever want to turn it back on, enter Ribbon.
  • Dashboard. The AutoCAD 2007/8 Dashboard is gone, but you can have a vertical Ribbon instead. If the Ribbon is not visible (it won’t be if you just selected the AutoCAD Classic workspace), enter Riboon to bring it back. In the tab title row (the bar with the word Home in it), right-click and pick Undock. Now you can place and size your Dashboard-like thing as you see fit. As before, you can right-click on things to change the various settings. However, getting the contents exactly the way you want it usually involves using CUI, and that’s well outside the scope of this post.
  • Graphic Background. Despite Autodesk thinking it’s a good idea to hide all the yellow lines in your drawings by giving you a creamy drawing area, many of you will want a black background. To do this, right-click on the drawing area and pick Options… (or just enter OP), then pick the Display tab. Don’t be tempted to choose Color Scheme and set it to Dark, because that just changes the appearance of various user interface elements. Instead, pick the Colors… button. On the left, choose a context you want to change (e.g. 2D model space), choose the appropriate background element (e.g. Uniform background) and choose the particular shade that takes your fancy. There is a Restore Classic Colors button, but that only takes you back to AutoCAD 2008 with its white paper space. If you want a black paper space, you’ll have to specify that individually. When you’re done, pick Apply & Close, then OK.
  • Status bar. Right-click on a status bar button, turn off Use Icons and your text-based status bar buttons will return.
  • Classic commands. If you prefer not to leave the various new palettes on screen all the time, old versions of various commands are still available: ClassicLayer, ClassicXref and ClassicImage. There is also a system variable LAYERDLGMODE, which when set to 0 will make the Layer command work in the old and faster modal way. If you use this setting, you can still access the new modeless layer palette with the LayerPalette command. Going back further, there are command-line methods of these commands: -Layer, -Xref, XAttach, -Image and ImageAttach.

If you have allowed AutoCAD to migrate your settings (I never do), some of the above will already be done for you, but by no means all of it. Once you’re happy with your new environment, I suggest you save your workspace under a name of your choosing (Save Current As… under the gearwheel button), then export your profile in the Options command’s Profiles tab.


  1. Nelson Chequer

    Is there a way to turn off the ‘skin’ effect that, I assume, is a gift from the WPF implementation? The colors are distracting and it’s probably using up a fridge full of resources.

  2. Bill Yard

    Why, would you ever what to go back to menus, toolbars and command line inputs? You guys will want to use single key commands next. The use of the Ribbon interface is possibly the best interface changes introduced by Autodesk, you just have to know how to use and customize them……

  3. R. Paul Waddington

    Bill Yard, I can understand your question but even asking it adds you to a group of people who a maybe not very tolerant of others. Why? because every person is different, every person see things slightly differently and responds differently to every interface we encounter.
    Another point I have made before, is that the ribbon interface is extremely difficult to teach with and as modification is not high on new/occasional users list of priorities, any interface increasing the teaching/learning load has to be looked at very carefully from a usefulness/productivity point of view.

  4. Earl Kubaskie

    The ribbon idea seems underutilized in Vanilla – and underimplemented in Map 3D & Civil 3D. My first thoughts on the interface were that every C3D toolbar-like function could fit within a single band of screen real estate. And it might, after somebody spends a *bunch* more time on it.

    Should be out just in time to be outdated by release 2011.

    And context-based ribboning seemed like a great idea at first, but in practice I hate it. I’d say that better than 80% of the time I end up having to click back to the home tab because I really just wanted to use a simple command on the selected object. And you know, that could be fixed pretty well if all the contextual tabs included a frame with the major “modify” commands.

  5. stuart

    To Bill, posting no 7- Its not your business to look down on anyone for having a preference. I have worked with autocad for just under 20 years. I love the command line, I love the menus. I am mad as hell at autodesk for the recent update. I think its good to continually update the software- think of how miraculous the data wheel as zoom/pan was. But this recent change is enough to make it a ‘new’ program. Some of us are just old dogs that dont want too many new tricks. Some new tricks, a few good ones now and then, but this one is rediculous.

  6. Roger

    I can think of nothing more frustrating with Autocad than the change of icons etc with every release.For weeks with every release i struggle (along with 25 other users in my office) with trying to put it back to what we are used to.We are not interested in new icons,features taken away and put back to justify the cost of updating etc etc .Autocad is not a design tool, it is basically an electonic pencil ,and is or was as good as it needs to be.
    Who gives a toss about new icons etc.The hours wasted in my office is ridiculous.
    We have recently bought 30 seats of solid works……….lets hope they are more astute

  7. Monika

    Could someone please tell me (in simple terms, if possible) how I can get to the AutoCAD Classic Workspace if it’s not listed as an option when I click on the gear icon at the lower right of my screen. I think our Civil 3D program (a “vertical variant”) has made this option disappear and I really want that workspace. Thank you!

  8. Sweet baby Jesus!
    Thank you for these tips. I can actually work again; I was having to resort back to text commands for a while.
    What is going on with this ribbon madness? I have found it increases the number of clicks and takes up way more screen space; isn’t that going the wrong direction?

  9. R Raybon

    utodesk crapped in my cereal as far as I am concerned. I am mostly a button clicker with a little keyboarding for some things. I was recently hired by a company to set up a new Architectural department. I was chosen because I had a long history with Autocad Architecture and was very productive. They invested in three seats of Revit Architecture 2010, which I had never used before. First thing I tried to do was get rid of the stupid ribbons as I did in 2009, but can’t find any good way to do it, so I have been floundering for the past month trying to learn the stupid ribbon commands. All my ‘automatic’ moves are gone. I used to be able to go to a button with my eyes closed. Now my productivity is gone and I have to work way too many hours to get a reasonable amount of work done to make my boss happy.
    Thanks for nothing, Autodesk.

  10. R. Paul Waddington

    R Raybon,
    There is the issue of switching from one piece of software to another but the point(s) you raise here is one of significance and one that is widely ignored. What works for one person does not automatically work for another but I am sure you will ultimately achieve a level of parity – but at what cost?
    The cost incurred by these type of changes are completely ignored by software developers as it does not come off their bottom line and, software developers , like Autodesk, appear to completely useless when it comes to understanding how important and costly are the losses they cause.
    But my advise to users is simple: if this change has caused you sufficient trouble to complain here then, please ensure you also forward a specific and detailed complaint to Autodesk’s CEO – Bass

  11. Nuker

    Help! Changing settings in ‘Drawing Window Colors’ doesn’t work. When I try to make changes in that window, the changes simply won’t apply, even though I’ve pressed the ‘Apply & Close’-button. If I open that window again, my settings have been replaced by the default creamy background, which is very annoying. Any suggestions appreciated!

  12. Jim

    Since at least R9, “alt-v z w” would get you to zoom window. I use this and other keyboard shortcuts all the time. They disappeared with the ribbon. Grr…
    Switching to ‘classic’ brought them back! Thanks!!

  13. KD

    The ribbon is awful! I just want my old toolbars back! My productivity just fell in the toilet with this crazy ribbon that takes up way too much of my screen. With AutoCAD Architecture how do I change to classic, I’m getting extrememly frustrated here.

  14. Denis Sears

    I agree with all the comments above. Our productivity has decreased 10 fold and 25% of that is due to the constant crashing without notice.
    (autosave is now set to 3 minutes) It is too bad that autodesk has more programmers than users guiding there development. For Bill from number 7, using the keyboard (the pgp file increases production better than any ribbon) makes you a 2 handed drafter thus increasing your output by 2 and saving your mouse hand from a premature failure. Don’t ignore the advice of us older users that really do have a clue. I just wonder how long before the keyboard or lisp is deemed unnecessary by a programmer. Here’s not looking forward to the next release before I am done finding out what 2010 really has to offer. I am just thankful for all the blogs available to seek out support.

  15. Susan Lafleur

    I agree with the Ribbon haters. AutoCAD has enough real things that need fixing or improving without making cosmetic changes that just muck up productivity. And changing the icons entirely is akin to changing the alphabet. Sure, we’ll get used to the new stuff, eventually, but the level of productivity decreases(as does the desire to upgrade at all) and disgust and distrust of the company increases (what’s going next?) Making the newest version of AutoCAD “prettier” for the newbies is doing a great disservice to us, the AutoCAD veterans who got them where they are today. (Do the newbs really care? They’ll be happy to have a job, regardless of the AutoCAD version)

  16. R. Paul Waddington

    A, recently done, trial of mine is relevant to the discussion about interfaces.

    With two copies of AutoCAD running one with the ‘classic’ interface and the other with the ribbon only with the tools tab being the active one.

    I asked my wife to draw circle using both systems. The first she used was the ‘classic’ and it took her only a couple of minutes to find the draw>circle>cen,rad option and draw a circle; without prompting.

    In the ‘ribbon’ system Judy took quite a long time fiddling with the ‘ribbon’ she could see and after more than five minutes she said she “could not do it”. I showed her how to switch the ribbon using the View & Tools tab and the left her again to try for the circle. Judy tried all other tabs before selecting the home tab, spotting the circle icon and drawing a circle for me. A long period of time and prompting necessary.

    This is only part of the trial I did and to put in context Judy is in her mid 60’s, does not draw ‘anything’, knew what a circle is but could not remember when she may have last drawn one; “maybe putting a circle around something in a magazine” was her reply to my question.

    The trial was interesting and very useful to me for a number of reasons. Judy is not a user of computers as many of us are and not being a person who draws made her an ideal ‘one off’ for my trial which also included her using Inventor.

    The relevance to the discussion on the ribbon is obvious – left on her own Judy, with NO prior knowledge, relatively easily, found the ‘pop down’ menu using known words, to solve the problem; the ribbon simply did not assist her.

  17. Susan Lafleur

    @ R. Paul:
    very interesting!
    The reason I chose AutoCAD in the first place, nearly 25 years ago, was that it was intuitive. I had no prior knowledge of drafting software (my husband was the drafting guy, but he had only used mainframe software), and I “hated” computers, but DH wanted to buy one of the new drafting softwares for PC’s to start our own business. He borrowed the instruction books for AutoCAD and some other program (VectorCAD, maybe?) and had me look at them to see if either made any sense to me, as someone with no experience. It took about 2 seconds for me to choose AutoCAD, since the commands were in English, not computer-speak. Line, circle, erase…yup, I could deal with that. It was the right choice, and I was able to teach myself and gradually become somewhat of a whiz. For the last 20 years I’ve worked for a company who was a client, as the resident CAD queen, but I’m about ready to concede defeat, because dealing with the changes every year, and trying to help all my fellow workers deal with them, is getting ridiculous.

  18. Paul, if you had left the Ribbon in its default state prior to running the trial, then it would have been a rather more valid comparison. Even starting there and giving your wife something to look for that is usually “hidden” in the Tools tab would have been fairer.

  19. R. Paul Waddington

    Hi Steve, welcome back.

    The facts are that I have given you only a small amount if information relating to a larger trial. Part of that trial also included the use of Inventor and AutoCAD started using the ribbon in its default state. Yes, Judy spotted the circle icon, in the Home tab, after a little less than minute and drew the circle.


    Your point about the commands being in ‘English’ is a very important and widely overlooked. Those who train, who pay attention, are honest about what ‘really’ works at that level very quickly realize the shortcomings of an icon driven program. That said I have a solids modeling program I was asked to test in early 1985 (yes, DOS base and long before other modelers and windows) that was entirely ICON based. It was sent to me by the developers with a printout of descriptions of each the ICON with the comment “I guess we need to include this because you may not know what the ICON do”.

    You can learn to use almost any form of interface but there are some things that are just commonsense and irrefutable – words fit the bill for many reasons and in all honesty AutoCAD’s original screen menu was neither difficult to learn, to teach or use and, maybe it’s still a good interface for many?

    In training new users I ALWAYS show them each of the interfaces they have available in AutoCAD, ALWAYS work class demonstrations using the ‘pop downs’ but do not dictate which interface a student should use. Preferring them to find what suits them – even tho’ that make classes more difficult to manage, for me, having to keep track of each student doing the same task differently.

    It is also why I often challenge much of what is said in discussions on interfaces and ease of use: few people can or try to separate out what ‘may work for them’ and as a result their comments are,’ not incorrect’, but they are skewed.

  20. losty kitten

    can I just say that i found this forum ever so helpful. i have the new AutoCAD 2010 and just looking at it’s pale white background depressed me. I managed to get the black background back thanks to you guys and also managed to set it to the ‘classic’ settings. so thanks everyone!!

  21. Jim

    Thank you so much for this help, as an AutoCAD user for over 15 years I am very frustrated with this dramatic interface change. Ok, you wan’t new guys to learn with ribbons but give us old dogs an option to do it as we did for years. Some things become reflex reaction after so many years of use and with ribbons I feel like I am beginner in CAD after 15 years of using it.

  22. in older versions of autoCAD I always used the contol key and then dragged a copy of text or geometry to the approx location. Now I can’t copy unless i enter co at command line or click copy. I realize this is trivial, but when i’m working and in a flow, it was so convienient to just hold down control, drag some text edit it and move on, now i may as well start with the text button and make a window and type it….anyone? is there an alernative, surely i can’t be alone here

  23. Steven, it was AutoCAD 2007 that changed the effect of certain keys, in this case preventing you from using Ctrl before the long click. You just need to delay pressing down Ctrl until a little later in the process.

    The following works in all recent releases, including 2010:

    1. Left-click the object to select it.
    2. Long left-click it to initiate the drag process.
    3. Once you have the little rectangle glyph on the cursor, hold down Ctrl to change the mode from move to copy.
    4. Move the cursor to the desired location and release the left button to drop the object there.

    As an alternative, you can do this:

    1. Left-click the object to select it.
    2. Long right-click it to initiate the drag process.
    3. Move the cursor to the desired location and release the right button to drop the object there.
    4. Left-click Copy here on the cursor menu that appears.

    I think I’ll make a new post about this, as it’s a handy tip. Thanks for raising it!

  24. A Petersen

    From verson 2000 to 2008, I have alway been able to switch between drawings using the windows command Alt, W, then select the number for the drawing. It is an extremely easy way to swith drawings using only the keboard. Now with the advent of the ribbon, I have to type Alt, V, OR, then use the arrows to select the drawing.

    This is very inconvient. I have turned on the menubar for the sinlge purpose of switching between drawings quickly.

    I’m curious if this command has affected anyone else.

  25. Chris Cowgill

    I have to admit, I have never used Alt+W to switch between drawings, I’ve always used dwgmanager by caelink, and since going to 09 and 10, I’m using dwgmanager in combination with the quickview drawings.

  26. MR

    The reason I hate the ribbons is because I don’t use all the commands and I want to have a toolbar with the most used commands on it instead of what AD or some young kid thinks I need. And if you don’t think a young kid is working with them, the look at the pan icon, does that look like a hand or an alien video game hand to you.

    It’s very slow to have to move all over the place for “toolbar or ribbone” buttons instead of just the ones you use all the time.

  27. Kay

    Iwe been working with autocad and civil3d for 4 years. I really think this latest “improvement” with the ribbons is so arrogant from autocad, and directly stupid. (EVIL!) I thought i knew every command there was, and now i feel less than a beginner. Im getting an ulcer from having to work so many hours of free overtime, because im so embarrased with my new boss, from my lack of productivity. I recently changed work, and on the last place I switched back to C3D 2008, which I relly liked. I used a combination of placing the most used commands as icons, the dashboard and a litle bit of command line. Now feel like the program is constantly fighting me, like armwrestling. I just cant understand what kind of work method the developers of this program is expecting from the users.
    I really thought that this trend would go away sooner, because its so obviosly not working for anyone who actually uses the programs to produce something. With the rate of improvements and new versions going on just to get us to buy subscriptions deals and support services, its very soon going to be cost effective to get out the old fashioned drawing board and pencil.

    I am sorry if this is not very constructive, but i just really need to went my frustration.

  28. Google Translation from Polish: “Hello, I have already auto cad 2010 architecture, and wants to have a classic view of icons, how to do it? because in the lower right hand corner I can not? goroca Request”

    Many of the vertical variants of AutoCAD have no Classic workspace. I don’t have access to these verticals to check, but if the toolbars are still there you should be able to do the individual parts yourself and create your own classic workspace. Start with “_.-TOOLBAR ACAD.Standard _Top 0,0” and see if that works.

  29. Brent Daley

    Not a lot of proponents of the ribbon here so I guess I’ll be that guy. I manage Vanilla AutoCAD and Civil 3D. I can understand everyone has their own opinion, and some are set in their ways, so I’m not knocking anyone or how you manage your software or workflow…this is just my own personal take on my experience.

    We pride ourselves here as wanting to be on the cutting edge of technology, and stay ahead of the competitors. So I guess you could say that we would rather embrace change and move on then spend time fighting what is inevetable. By this I mean seeing the ribbon in other software…realizing of course that it is not going away, it is here to stay. When I deployed 2009 products most of us had the ribbon on office so we were used to seeing it. Some embraced the change, and some rebelled, but after they realized that it took work and time to set up their old environment rather then just leaving the ribbon and learning it…it didn’t take them long to be assimilated. With Civil 3D it’s awesome. I don’t miss the toolbars at all. No one complains about the ribbon anymore, especially since we’ve upgraded to W7 and the ribbon is on all sorts of things now…even Paint.

    As a user I guess it is a given that you will rebell some, especially if not introduced or trained to something new. But as a manager I don’t see how you wouldn’t embrace change, you really have no option if you want to keep your team on the cutting edge and stay competitive. You may not see it as productive at first because it seems you are looking for things, but you will finally get used to it, just like a new phone for example. I’ve seen people let go because they were the ones that were not accepting what it took to move forward instead of trying to still do things the old way with newer technology. Especially in this economy. For example if your looking for a civil job and don’t know Civil 3D…good luck getting that job.

    1. ZMONEY

      I appreciate your attitude, as I have had a similar attitude for many years and was able to pick up and use many of the civil components that my survey colleagues did not use for many years, but a wholesale change like this seems like a slap in the face to many of the tried and true workhorses of the industry.
      History repeats itself and one day you will probably find yourself complaining how some new guy has entered your domain and is pulling the rug from under you. you will probably say that can do the same job he can do if you use your tools, but the contract is going to state that only the new tools can be used, and you will feel angry and want to yell at someone too. Its a method of quietly removing people for “new and shiny” young folks.

  30. Darin


    People are afraid of new technology, and they are the ones who still use lines instead of polylines, text instead of mtext, a revision table with lines and text instead of using a table. Brent you are right, these are the people who find there way out of a job, because with this mind set it's not a career. With every new release we are forced to explain how to go back to the OLD way of drafting. I've most of seen this question at lease 1000 times, "Where is the ____ tool located". <— Well, if you click the big "A" in the upper left corner, and type the command name in the search box, it'll tell you where this tool is located.

    I'm sorry for being so harsh, but someone needed to say it!

    I challenge everyone to work with the new ribbon and interface for 45 days straight, than decide if you want to switch back to classic.

    1. Mark_wd

      I am an “old school” guy. I’ve been using auto cad since r13 and I couldn’t work with your lovely ribbon for a 4.5 sec., what about 45 days?! The new technology, son = business, business for people who are inventing it, of course. Every year a new release of the same software, right?. It used be every few years back then, but hey, “business is business”, everyone wants to make more money. So, here you have it, every year a new release (about 4k), or a new upgrade (about 1k), or some kind software for converting new versions to older ones, another couple bucks, and so on. The late versions of the auto cad, starting from 2006 (maybe even 2004) are simply overkill. I am just waiting for animated icons in the next release. Imagine that, turning on all the palettes, toolbars at once + ribbon. That’s going to be a show. You can just sit and watch it all day long. So, to wrap it up, let me quote:

      “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” (Rick Cook, author)

    2. ZMONEY

      Just to be clear though, this is not new technology. This is just reworking of the same technology.

      It’s like Rube Goldberg got a hold of your Classic ’69 Firebird and added a door mechanism that requires you to first select how you want your door handle to look and will it turn up,down, out, or push in to open the door. The gas gauge wants you to know if you prefer the E on the left or the right, and the ignition can be accessed via console after you have set up the “new and improved” voice activation option which will only require you to input your credit card for a trial basis, which you can deactivate within two months if you don’t like.

      All you want to do is jump in the car and pick up you girlfriend and get a hamburger! like you have been doing the same way for so many years. Is there something wrong with that?

  31. Darin, I have to challenge your theory, type in wblock in that command name search box and see where it takes you. Command line may be ancient, but I guarantee you, it is a whole lot faster than the ribbon. I dont have a problem with the ribbon, I keep it tucked away auto hidden, anchored to the left side of my workspace. I use it for custom commands that I use infrequently and havent taken the time to memorize their command line input. Other than that, it just sits there.

  32. Denis Sears

    We have a company of 50 users spread over 10 offices in 3 provinces.
    Change may be simple and training in a single office easy but for this scenario it requires constant IT support and the loss productivity and turn around time from office to client is not a very cost effective or efficient way to do business.

  33. R. Paul Waddington

    I was quite interested in the points raised by Brent Daley and Darin and in the main if the ribbon was actually new technology that improved businesses bottom line by a considerable amount I would probably totally agree. But the ribbon is just another way of selecting exactly the same commands; for many if not most users. Even for those who have made the transition and or like it will not be making ‘considerable returns’ because of it!

    So what these fellows seem to be saying is, it is ok for tool suppliers to make changes and inflict additional costs on the running of mine or another’s business and we should just accept the additional business expense as an unavoidable consequence. Having difficulty with this logic? Why is ok? If a change in a software tool inflicts an additional cost into a business for no bottom line improvement then why should any business be expected simply to accept it, not speak out or want to return to an earlier technique?

    Another way of looking at this is to say/ask, do we accept it is appropriate to pay (in advance for many) software developers to make changes to the tools we use simply so we have the ‘pleasure’ of spending additional time – therefore – money we otherwise would not have had to spend? It’s ok to pay others to ensure we waste our time and money; is that what we are saying here? Just asking 😉

  34. Shannon

    I have noticed that autoCAD 2010 has disabled the PROBE command. I used this all the time before – does anyone know of a similar command to replace PROBE? I used it primarily to identify what layer a line was on in an xref, or what block it was part of, or what file it was located in.

  35. Is PROBE a custom LISP routine? If it uses the (nentsel) function it should still be capable of working in 2010, as far as I know. This code works for me in all recent releases:

    (defun C:LAYSHOW (/ es)
    (while (setq es (nentsel "nPick object on desired layer: "))
    (if (listp es)
    (princ (cdr (assoc 8 (entget (car es)))))

    Note that this is just a simple example to show (nentsel) working, with no error checking (e.g. for the case where the user picks a point with no object in it).

    Edit: Hmm, code indentation isn’t displaying, I’ll have to look into that.

  36. SLIM JIM


  37. Joe Mammy

    Fantastic post!

    Personally, I think 2010 ACAD is the ultimate ‘electronic pencil’ as someone put it.

    Within 10 minutes of using it, I had disabled the ribbon completely, didn’t bother turning on menus, disabled the command line (it’s always just an F2 or CTRL+9 away – and continues working in the background), and then spent a few minutes assembling a quick access toolbar, and turning off any other unnecessary junk taking up space, or causing distraction.

    Now I have one line at the top containing the quick access toolbar, the drawing window below it has a transparent bar (probably the coolest AD innovation I’ve seen in the last decade), and one line at the bottom. Interestingly enough, none of this ‘went back to the old way of doing things’ but was actually a *real* improvement.

    I use a combination of quick access icons and keystrokes while doing my electrical/lighting/fire alarm/communications design, (among other things) – including a fair amount of mechanical/plumbing/fire protection, civil, surveying, structural, as well as prototype design/improvement/documentation for various projects for myself and other people.

    Someone else buys my software, so I always end up with the MEP version of ACAD – even though I don’t use any of the MEP features (at all). I use polylines for some things, regular lines for others, multi-line text for some things (even with attached leaders when I’m feeling frisky) single line text for others, actual tables for some things, and line/text tables for others.

    That’s the beauty of ACAD – it will do whatever you want, however you want.

    Programs like Revit overlook how the design process actually works. You don’t usually already know what all is going to be involved in a project – but with ACAD you can start wherever you like. Sketch things in quickly for review (most designers aren’t the end decider of what goes on anyway) and then go back and improve as time warrants.

    I would listen to more Revit (and Ribbon) junkies if it weren’t for my continued gainful employment (despite their ‘warnings’ of the danger of not ‘keeping up’), my productivity level (without requiring me to work unpaid overtime in order to make up for the difference between what is required, and what I can accomplish), and the fact that EVERY SINGLE PROJECT THAT I DO GETS DONE ON TIME AND ON BUDGET.

    Got time and money to waste? Go Revit.

    Got actual schedules and budgets? Go ACAD.

    You really want to jump on the BIM bandwagon for engineering? Get Bentley (Microstation) – one look at their electrical design software was mind boggling how far ahead of the curve they are vs. Revit. For lighting design and photometrics it actually opens ‘Visual’, which is the industry standard (and the one I am already using – although I have to export stuff to cad – whereas Bentley automatically imports it into the model).

    So far all Revit (and the Ribbon) seems to have is a bunch of douchebag apologists. If they want to use new programs or features, more power to them. When it comes to preaching the superiority of their way of doing things – they can go get bent.

  38. Kris

    that ribbon thing is just stupid. Why waste screen space that you could be working in? As soon as I can figure out how to restore the classic menus in Architecture 2010 that lame-a$$ ribbon will be GONE.

  39. Wilson

    I don’t have “architecture classic” (autocad 2010 32bit)option from workspace, just have “architecture”. So how or where do I get “architecture classic” to load a classic interface back?

  40. Greetings

    I have a friend enigineer have a problem with some command in the keystroke, the command is s-strecth, he told sometimes its work, sometimes not.

    Can you tell me some solution for this, then I can help him.

    Mr. Zaldy

  41. I finally found it. All you need to do is type ‘cuiload’ at the command line. When the box comes up type acad.cuix as the file name in the bottom box, and ‘hey presto’, all the old lovely menus come back.
    if you right click one of these menu bars you can turn them on and off from the list that comes up.
    Also, by typing ‘cui’ at the command line at any time you can edit any of the buttons, then drag it onto your chosen menu. For example, I often use ‘lengthen’ rather than extend. There is an option under lengthen called dynamic and rather than type dy after hitting the commmand, I edited the lengthen command to ^C^C_lengthen _dy and dragged the new button to my edit menu, and dragged the extend button off to the trash. Now at one click I can lengthen any line with the drag of the mouse.

    Enjoy, so nice to be back to NORMAL. Computer GEEKS at Autodesk take note.

  42. Emily

    I was using C3D Land Desktop Companion through the 2008 version until the powers that be decided to drop the C3D 2010 bomb on everyone. I have gone through and changed my user interface and my options to match as closely to the old stuff as possible, but there are still a number of commands and functions that I cannot duplicate. Unfortunately, these are the ones I used the most. Even the simplest things, like text, coordinates, labels, notes and leaders, are a royal PITA…and no matter how much tweaking I do to the endless list of settings, these features don’t come out right. The drawings look like the bottom of a birdcage. The ADD people forgot that some poor S.O.B. actually has to build something from this mess. It doesn’t matter what you can do with this stupid software…if you can’t read the drawings, it is useless.

  43. Patricia

    Hi. I’m having a little problem with the move tool in Autocad 2010. In some archives when i try to move something it makes a copy instead of moving… did it happen with someone before?

  44. Im using acad2007, can any1 explain how to:
    everytime i swith between 3dworkspace and classics, all my shortcut icon bars dissapear and have to turn them again each time, previous versions always stored these and didnt had any problems but now…its frustraing….
    appreciate it!

  45. archt

    for some reason I open up a dwg from an earlier version in “ribbon” mode and the layout tabs do not show up in paper space- only the coversheet, and I have had no luck in finding the layout tabs and/or how to turn them “on”

  46. Tim

    OK, Now I have done it. I tried to add an icon in the new Release 2011 that I use all the time, called Snapang. Where I can put in the angle I want to run the curser on. Only when I created it, I lost the entire snap family that you get to by hitting the shift bar and right mouse button.
    That one is goinfg to cause me some real greif. Anyone know how to undo what I have created? I will go back to typing Snapang if required. But I have to have mny snap settings and choices.

    1. If you mess up in the CUI command, you can undo that if you go back into CUI, right-click on where it says ACAD, then use Restore ACAD.CUI. That takes you back to the backup version that AutoCAD automatically makes when you modify the CUI. If that doesn’t take you far enough back to repair the damage, you can use the Revert ACAD.CUI option to go right back to the original version.

      If you’re doing more than casual customisation, it’s always a good idea to make manual safe copies of your CUI files before taking the plunge.

  47. Amanda B.

    Just wanted to drop a line to let you know people are still finding this site, and finding it useful. I was tearing my hair out over the cream-colored background among other things. Thank you so much!

  48. Mark

    Great post. Thank you.

    It’s not the Ribbon that I mind so much as the frustrating colour scheme that AutoCad adopted for all their icons.

    Tiny grey and pale blue icons: could they have made them any more difficult to recognize and select quickly?

    I’m trying to learn AutoCad Architecture and working through a lot of books and tutorial – which all use the Ribbon of course. So the command line is of limited help right now.

  49. mike

    Words can’t describe my anger towards Autodesk, Microsoft and all these other companies with wife-beating, child molesting programmers and their sick jokes.

    Let’s hide all the tools during a depression. Let’s just make DAMNED SURE they can’t eat!

  50. Rentu Philipose

    Hi, I am a beginner in autocad 2010.
    I want to know about how to include the symbols like inverted deltas quickly. Also i am not able to locate my curson on the circles when it is zoomed.

  51. Jesse (aka CadDog)

    Thanks for you this post Steve,

    I have been working with AutoCAD 2008 all this time and just this past week made the jump. I try for two days to keep an open mind and work with the ribbon but a lot small things were missing. One, when I selected an object to see what layer or file it was on the ribbon would change, thinking it knew what I wanted. Two, Layer being left open is cooling but going to model and paper space is slow and switching from one drawing to the next is a paid. Thanks for helping me take a few steps back…

    I also, didn’t like not being able to select the tools I use all time to display. This reminds me of 2007 (F12) command which places your inputs on the end for your mouse. Hey.??? Where is my mouse this time. O, there it is… All the users in this office turned that feature off right away…

    Today since I changed out the ribbon back to working menu (classic), I’m working fast again. I hope there are hidden new tools I have yet to find.

    Great job Steve and please keep the tips coming… 🙂

  52. Hi,

    Could you help me putting back all of my icons as they are all disappear, I’m using AutoCaD 2007 and my problem is My Menu bar is not available “only File,View,windows,Help appears and the rest are not likewise with my toolbars.

    1. It’s at times like this you need a dealer or tame support person. I’ll take a guess at something you can try at your own risk but if it doesn’t work out you’re on your own. It looks like AutoCAD 2007 can’t find its Main CUI file, which by default is acad.cui. Try entering the MENU command and selecting the acad.cui file. Afterwards, you may need to load the Express menu using the EXPRESSMENU command, and there may be other partial menus you will need to load in manually.

  53. jc

    Hi I have worked at a company divided over the incumbant versions of AutoCAD so we as users all decided to put it to a test our company has probably 75 yrs ocmbined experience with autodesk products and even has a few rogue Bently users. Anyway back to the test we took an old 2D handrawn parts assmbly from our manuscript locker
    and basically had a informal race to see which group of users could duplicate it more quickly and accurately.
    we ensured that no one had an adavntage of pre exitsing blocks as the part had been out of production for a long time. also we allowed the users of the newer porduct time to learn it properly and feel that they where comfortable with the interface ribbons etc. most of the technically savy users who do not oppose change worked very hard to prove that they where on the path forward. OK so now the test Bang goes the gun and guess what
    the “old timers” clobbered the ribbon users in both speed and efficiency! Also one thing that the judges noticed was that the traditionalists was the fact that both hands where working on solving the problem
    hot keys for line working in conjuction with te snaps. instead of contant moving of the mouse to a new command.
    lessons learned: it is way more important that the product is user focused-shame on autodesk for moving away form this simple trueism. I love alot of the feautres of later generation autocad especially the ease with dealing with text from word and tables to xls and I am not sure I could have grasped the the huge gains in 3d Modeling with out the flexible & dynamic UCS but the ribbon idea was proven to be a step backward not forward
    only one user who happens to be th IT guy uses the ribbon based commands anymore and he seldom does any produciton work…

  54. Joe Williams

    All of this begs the question as to why we continually have to update AutoCAD for features we generally don’t want, don’t find useful and end up spending time having to figure out how to disable.

    I have wasted a couple of hours now trying to get AutoCAD 2010 for mac up and usable out of the box.

    I have to hand it to Autodesk, they have made us slaves to upgrading and handing them more money year after year.


  55. Rajesh Sardar

    I have prepared some DWG in Autocad 2008 and when i sent those DWG to one of the consultant he was able to open those DWG files in Autocad 2010, but other consultant whos is using Autocad 2013 he is not able to open those drawings.
    The Drawing i prepared made via the Architecture version of AutoCAD and not the Mechanical version. I need to change the profile setup in the Architecture version to the vanilla version and save the file as AutoCAD 2010.
    How can i do that, Please help?

    1. Sorry, I have zero experience with the Architecture version. It’s very strange that AutoCAD 2013 can’t open 2008 drawing files; there may be something else going on that’s not version-related. This looks like the sort of thing resellers are supposed to be able to help with. Failing that, Subscription support?

    2. R. Paul Waddington

      Rajesh, go to and look in the “recent comments” column for a posting by a P.R.S. Sivakumar to do with an article titled “Customer Support” published 9th June 2012.
      He is an Architech and outlines what would appear to be a very similar problem.
      Reading what is said there may give you a direction to follow and a posible solution.

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