AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal”

AutoCAD 2011 – 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”. Not too far behind it is AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”. Apparently, lots of people find these posts useful, so here’s an updated version for the latest release. Some of this post is based on the originals, but there are significant additions and differences in this year’s Luddite post.

Note: there is an updated version of this post for AutoCAD 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. But it’s entirely your choice. We should be grateful that in AutoCAD 2011 at least (unlike some Autodesk products), 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. The main Workspace control is now located near the top right corner. If you have turned this off (right-click, Remove from Quick Access Toolbar) or if you just prefer working with interface elements in the same place year by year, there is another Workspace control in the bottom right corner. This is a little button that looks like a gearwheel. Every odd-numbered release seems to have the current workspace name missing from this button, so this year we miss out. If you want the name, this year you need to look in the QAT. In either case, click on the Workspace control and pick the item called AutoCAD Classic. This will perform some of the steps described below, but not all of them, so I suggest you read on. If you’re using a vertical variant of AutoCAD 2011, this workspace may not be available, so you’ll need to make your own by manually setting up your interface the way you like it, then saving it as a Workspace using the Save Current As… option under one of the Workspace controls.
  • 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.
  • NavBar. If you like the new NavBar feature as much as I do, you’ll want to turn it off. You can close it easily using the little X in its top left corner. Alternatively, control it with the NAVBARDISPLAY system variable (0 for off, 1 for on)
  • ViewCube. I like the ViewCube concept, and I think it’s a great piece of interface design. But not everybody agrees. It has caused performance issues and it’s not very useful for 2D users. If you want it gone, that’s a surprisingly difficult thing to find out about. It’s controlled using the Options command, in the 3D Modeling tab, in the bottom left corner. Turn off those toggles that don’t make sense for you. There is a related set of system variables called NAVVCUBExxx.
  • UCS Icon. Don’t like the new simplified UCS icon? Sorry! While you can use the UCSIcon command’s Properties option to change the appearance of the icon in various ways, there’s nothing to restore the UCS Icon’s appearance from previous releases with its little arrows pointing the way. This information isn’t totally useless, because at least it will save you the time and effort involved in finding this out for yourself.
  • Help. Unless you want your Help to work with the speed of a long-dead slug that has been nailed to a hefty piece of wood, you will want to turn off AutoCAD 2011’s online help. Go into Options again, this time in the System tab, then look in the bottom right pane to turn off the Use online help toggle. Even with online help turned off, you’re stuck with the unfortunate new browser-based Help interface. While you’re looking there, you may also wish to turn off AutoCAD’s insistence on firing up Internet Explorer, that is if you dislike IE or have security concerns.
  • 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 rather nastily removed that option in 2010, and it’s still gone in 2011. 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
    Paste this into AutoCAD’s command line area and the Standard toolbar will be turned on above your drawing area. This will leave a grey area to the right that you can right-click into. The other toolbars will be in sub-menus under that, with the main set of default ones in the AutoCAD section. 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, but it may not be the case in other verticals. As I don’t have access to such verticals, I’m afraid I can’t offer much advice here.
  • Graphic Background. Autodesk has half-listened to users’ pleas for a black background by giving you a nearly black one (RGB 33,40,48 rather than 0,0,0), in model space only. Many of you will want a real black background to provide better contrast. To do this, invoke the Options command (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. This will put you in the Drawing Window Colors dialogue box. 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 black model and white paper space. If you want a black paper space background too, you’ll have to pick the Sheet / layout context and specify that individually. When you’re done, pick Apply & Close, then OK.
  • Crosshairs. Want 100% crosshairs? Many people do. As before, use the Options command’s Display tab and look towards the bottom right, or use the CURSORSIZE system variable.
  • Status bar. Right-click on a status bar button, turn off Use Icons and your old text-based status bar buttons will return. If you have no use for some of the new status bar toggles, right-click on one, pick Display, then turn off what you don’t need.
  • Grid. I much prefer the new line-based grid. If you don’t, right-click on the Grid status button and pick Settings…, which will take you into the Drafting Settings dialogue box, which you can also get at with the DSettings command, or DS for short. In the Snap and Grid tab, the grid is controlled by the options on the right. If you want your dots back, turn on the toggles in the Grid style section. This can also be done using the GRIDSTYLE system variable. If you don’t like the fact that the grid is now on by default in new drawings, this is set on a drawing-by-drawing basis and is therefore controlled by your template drawings. If you use AutoCAD’s supplied templates, you will need to open them individually and turn off the grid in each one.
  • Dynamic Input. If Dynamic Input slows you down, you can turn it off with the status bar toggle or F12. If you like the general idea but don’t like some parts of it, there are lots of options available in the Dynamic Input tab of the DSettings command to enable you to control it to a fine degree. You can also get at this by right-clicking the Dynamic Input status bar button and picking Settings… As an example of the sort of thing you might do in there, the default of using relative coordinates is difficult for long-termers to get used to. To turn it off, pick the Settings… button in the Pointer Input panel, pick Absolute coordinates, then OK twice. There are a whole range of DYNxxx system variables for controlling this stuff.
  • Xref fading. Don’t like your xrefs looking different? Use the Options command’s Display tab and look at the Xref display slider on the bottom right, or use the XDWGFADECTL system variable.
  • Selection. Selection Preview annoys some users, adding as it does an unfortunate degree of stickiness and working inaccurately when Snap is in use. This is controlled in the Selection tab of the Options command. Turn off the toggles in the Selection preview panel on the left (these control the SELECTIONPREVIEW system variable). If you dislike the coloured boxes you get while doing a Window or Crossing, pick the Visual Effect Settings… button and turn off the Indicate selection area toggle. This controls the SELECTIONAREA system variable.
  • Hatch dialog box. If you want the Ribbon on but prefer the old Hatch dialog box, set HPDLGMODE to 1.
  • Hatch double-click. If you’re not using the new Ribbon-based hatch editing feature, you will probably want to invoke the HatchEdit command when you double-click on a hatch object. Doing this involves braving the CUI interface, but I have gone into step-by-step detail of that process here. In short, you need to drag and drop the Hatch Edit command from the bottom left CUI panel onto the double-click action for Hatch in the top left panel, replacing the default action (Properties).
  • 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. (Autodesk has deprecated these commands in 2011, which I think is a really bad idea). 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 using 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. If past experience is anything to go by, the job done by Migration will probably be imperfect.

Once you’re happy with your new environment, I suggest you save your workspace under a name of your choosing (Save Current As… under a Workspace control), then export your profile in the Options command’s Profiles tab. Keep a safe copy of both your exported profile and your main CUIX file (acad.cuix by default), because that is where new workspaces are stored.

Let me just end by saying that Autodesk generally does an excellent job of keeping long-term AutoCAD users happy by allowing them to keep working in the way that they prefer. There are exceptions, but conservative users are much better off with new releases of AutoCAD than they are with, say, Microsoft Word.


  1. If we’re talking vanilla AutoCAD then it should be there, but if you’re using one of the vertical variants in pretending-to-be-vanilla mode then you might be out of luck.

    I’ll confirm the vanilla situation as soon as I can.

  2. Wm.J.Townsend

    Wrong classic guys… An earlier, umm, version of straight vanilla no nuthin’ 2011 included an image of Dark, Light, and Classic schemes for that idiotic UI overlay. I wasn’t in the beta programs (time and side-by-side installation restrictions) so I wasn’t able to snivel and whine firsthand.

    My preferred vertical application sleeps with the fishes – and I know far better that to ever migrate to multiple hours of pain.

    Speaking of suffering, bad week there Steve. Thanks, -Bill

  3. Ah, I see now, not the Workspace, the Color Scheme. No, I never saw one with Classic in it, only Dark and Light. If there was a Classic in an early 2011 Beta, I never looked for it and never saw it (not that I’d be allowed to mention it if I had).

  4. Yes, that’s true. Personally, I never found that particularly useful, and the printable area should still be displayed as a dashed line. It would be good to be able to change the beyond-paper background as an individual interface element rather than it being hardwired in as light grey, but I know of no way of changing it.

  5. John Skeens

    This post has helped me more than you know. And the last bit about migration? I tried migration from 2010 product to the 2011 of ACA (architectual desktop version of autocad) DON’T DO IT !!! On my experience, it correctly imported all the pull down menus and toolbars, but the Toolpallette which has all your doors walls and what not, all the information there gone. I had to uninstall and reinstall without using migration to get them back to normal. I think it’s a better idea to manually import any menus and toolbars you might want to keep than to rely on the migration tool, that tool is just too imperfect and a nightmare if something goes wrong. But I sorta got off topic lol. Thanks again for this post it really helps.

  6. Tail

    I’ve found that selecting objects when working in 3D is horribly frustrating now. If I’m in wireframe and trying to select an object “behind” another, it’ll select the one above because its face is covering it (as though it was opaque). So I can’t “click through” a wireframe face any more to select something beyond it. If that explanation made any sense, is there any way to toggle this behaviour?

  7. Bogdan

    Let me know if you have found a solution to that? I am very frustrated with the same problem!!! AGGG!!! makes me want to just go to the good old 2000 version!!!! or better yet… R14 😉 those were the days…

  8. Clarissa

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve recently installed the AutoCAD 2011 to my computer. Without really thinking, I allowed it to migrate my 2009 interface. Is there any way to undo that and completely return the AutoCAD 2011 interface? I’d like to do this to give the 2011 a try. Thanks

  9. Pieter

    I have the same problem as “Tail”: “’ve found that selecting objects when working in 3D is horribly frustrating now. If I’m in wireframe and trying to select an object “behind” another, it’ll select the one above because its face is covering it (as though it was opaque). So I can’t “click through” a wireframe face any more to select something beyond it. If that explanation made any sense, is there any way to toggle this behaviour?”

    I turned of selection cycling but nothing changes.When I’m in 3D wireframe I can make a window selection from outside an object, but not when starting from the inside. For example, I want to select all my furniture in a room in one window, but because the floor is an 3Dobject, I cannot select in it.
    Thanx fot the help.

  10. I think you’re all going to have to change your visual styles to 2D Wireframe while you’re working on your models. That appears to be the only one that allows you to select objects lying behind other objects, without having to resort to object cycling.

  11. David Kozina

    I appreciate this article.

    We have been trying to finally get migrated from 2008 to 2011 this week.
    Customization-wise, it’s been pretty painless (at least we have not noticed any show-stoppers so far). Most of our custom routines are CL routines, which works well for our needs. I am trying to put the CL on my second monitor and use the dynamic input to see how that works. So far no major issues. Hope it continues that way.

    One thing that has proven quite irksome:
    2011 performance overall has been on the sticky/balky side – PARTICULARLY with respects to the hatching (…gimme back my cursor!) – so the tip above regarding setting HPDLGMODE to 1 seems to make things MUCH BETTER. THANK YOU! Now I just need to remember to type “HE” BEFORE I select my hatch – which keeps the ribbon’s hatch edit panel out of the way. I cannot see how a claimed 44% speed increase or whatever it was Autodesk was claiming is even remotely possible, but maybe our AutoCAD usage is just so utterly unsophisticated that it prevents us from ‘seeing the light’…

    Something else I’m trying out to see if it improves performance is setting ROLLOVERTIPS to 0 – personally I find them annoying, and redundant, since I keep my Properties Palette on all the time anyway.

    Your tip on changing the help to Local rather than on-line is also a good one, and may help keep me away from the psycho-ward.

    We are having a glitch with with Grip Edit stretching WIPEOUT frames (only one vertex stretches, even when multiple vertices are selected), which is apparently a ‘known issue’ and is hopefully being worked on. Quite frustrating, since we need to do this quite frequently. This apparently ‘broke’ in 2010.

    The heads-up polyline editing is awesome – but I’m not sure yet that it’s worth the price of admission. But the more I use it, the better I like it.

    Just some comments, FWTW

  12. David Kozina

    After using AutoCAD 2011 in production work for a month now, I’ve got some additional comments about it, compared to AutoCAD 2008.

    1 – AutoCAD 2011 seems to be vying for the unenviable position of “Crash Master”…
    More specifically, I would crash AutoCAD 2008 approximately *once a month*. Really and for true. We found 2008 to be an EXTREMELY STABLE version.

    With 2011, I am getting a Fatal Error usually 2 or 3 times a day. Egads. I would hope that the programmers at Autodesk do not consider this a ‘feather in their cap’, but maybe this is 2011’s designated ‘Easter Egg’? The only “good part” about these crashes have been that in most cases, they occur upon closing a drawing, and to date, AFAIK, I have not lost any information – so perhaps I should count my blessings? I can tell within about a second if the program is going to go toes up after I hit close, since the display just freezes. After about 8 seconds or so, the computer finally figures it out as well and tosses the Fatal Error box up and after more GUI Error message gymnastics**, and a sluggish restart (compared to 2008), I can get back to work. Is this all part of the touted 40%+ increase in efficiency? I feel I am wasting ~3 to 4 minutes or so per day dealing with these crashes and interruptions, and I am not pleased. No it’s not a lot of time, but after having experienced literally *years* of good software stability, it’s not very impressive.

    ** Since I am seeing the Fatal Errors so often now, one thing that is REALLY getting old fast is the “We’re sorry but AutoCAD cannot continue…” dialog with a nice “OK” button. Now, what exactly is “OK” about a Fatal Error message? Why not use a [#*&@] button for this dialog? At any rate, if that was the end of it, it might be a little more ‘okay’, but, no, now there follows a cascade of additional dialogs requesting me to send a report to ‘Desk Central’. I did do that for the first couple of weeks or so, (two or three times a day), but at this point, I’ve stopped. Maybe this is ‘wrong’, but I’m not seeing any action to indicate that anyone cares. My reward? Instead of a ‘Thank you for telling us how we failed!’ now there is the nag: ‘Hey Number Six!, you didn’t send us information!… INFORMATION!’ [OK] Grrrr.

    2 – I’ve got to be really careful how quickly I start editing MText, or I run the risk of losing/overwriting/eliminating characters at the wrong location. Not sure why, and it’s a bit hard to explain, but MText editing seems to be more quirky and fraught with caveat compared to 2008.

    3 – As for the ribbon, meh. I frankly don’t like it taking up so much screen space, but if I compress it to its ‘menu-like’ headers, I have to wait longer for it to open up and navigate through it when needed. Should I unwittingly select a hatch object by accident, I find that I might as well take an early lunch, such is the amount of time I have to wait to regain control of my cursor again.

    4 – One thing I’m noticing about 2011 is that it seems to be hypersensitive to ‘drag-moving’ objects. If I happen to keep the left-mouse button depressed just a little bit too long, when I select an object I have to be really alert that the selected objects have not moved out of place. I understand that this has been the case in previous versions of AutoCAD as well, but I have not noticed this behavior so ‘sensitive’ as it appears to be in 2011.

    5 – ‘Heads up’ polyline editing – This is one improvement I **really** like, but I notice sometimes when I add vertices, if I select a midpoint grip and select “Add Vertex” I still end up “stretching” the entire edge out of position (similar to the drag-moving mentioned above).

    6 – Did I say sluggish start up time? Time for coffee!

    7 – Help? Fugidaboudit! Thankfully I don’t need to access it much.

    8 – Publish (Batch plotting) seems to work quite speedily, as well as e-transmit. So far not many issues with that, which is good.

    FWTW, those are my current observations/opinions. Personally, currently I’m rating AutoCAD 2011 to be about 95% as ‘efficient’ as AutoCAD 2008. Not bad, really, but not ‘better’. Autodesk’d gain 3 percentage points, maybe 4, if they’d fix/streamline the idjit Fatal Error ‘showcase of dialogs’ – especially since I get to watch it so often now…

  13. Mario C.

    when I switch to Classic view on my Autocad 2009, all my toolbars loose their icons: the toolbars contain all their buttons, and every button works fine, but all the buttons are just grey squares, without a symbol that helps me to identify their function. with the other views all the buttons are correct…

    Has sameone experienced the same problem, or has sameone any idea?

    I’m using autocad 2009 with windows vista 32 and a GeForce 8600 gs m.


  14. Clare Gieselman

    Hi! How are you? I just installed AutoCAD 2011. This might be a silly question. How do I get a blank white workspace. Right now I have a white background with a very fine grid. I would just like a workspace that is like a white piece of paper. Thanks so much.

  15. Clare, the button for toggling the grid on and off is in the lower left corner (and as usual in AutoCAD, there are several other ways of doing it). Hover over the status line buttons to see what they do, or see Status bar above to get the text versions back.

  16. MUZ

    I was wodnering if someone could shed some light on how to get your toolbars to stick in AutoCAd 2011. I imported my profile from 2010 and when ever i minimise autocad the toolbars that sit where the ribbon is dont minimise along with autocad?

    any help would be greatley appreciated.


  17. Ceseme

    I’m trying to set up 2011, coming from 2009. I like the quick access toolbar, but it quit accepting icons from the drag and drop feature after 20. At first I thought there was a limit, but then I overcame the problem by dragging them to the Quick Access Toolbar within the CUI. I had other toolbars I wanted to add at the top and the bottom, but they just won’t dock there. I think this is what Muz is referring to. Toolbars will dock only at the sides. If I try to place toolbars at the top or bottom, they won’t “click” into place. If I lock them and move my program from one monitor to the other, the toolbars just stay behind and you can’t drag them over until you unlock them. I am currently trying to create a second Quick Access Toolbar, thinking that might do the trick, but it doesn’t seem to appear anywhere after I made it. Well, tomorrow is another day.

  18. Gork


    I´ve been using Autocad 2011 for a few days and i´m starting to hate it. Not to mention all the problems you guys have already posted, it has some more weird configs. One of them is that the toolbars icons.In a normal window i can hardly see them and if i go to options>display-use large icons they become too big. Is there a way of creating medium icons? By the way, why would somebody create another cascade menu called Clipboard (right click the button of the mouse)to group some options that we already had in the old version? Now we have, if we don´t want to use ctrl+c-ctrl+v, to click twice to to the same job. It´s a little bit tiring for somebody who works many hours a day. Is there a way of changing that too?


  19. G.J. Vos

    Thanks a million Steve.

    I’ve recently moved on to 2011, mainly because I’m getting more involved in BIM and interaction with other modelling software (mainly Revit and/or Navisworks, as long as it’s IFC compatible).
    So far it has not been a happy experience altogether.

    I do agree with Steve: you can’t simply dismiss a new interface, otherwise we would have stuck to AutoCAD 14, wouldn’t we? And we did manage to learn to use that (I started with 9… man I’m getting old….)
    And it’s not just effectivity (albeit a huge motivation) either. No, it’s more out of habitual behaviour that we like to hang on to what we know.

    And so I decided to give 2011 a shot for a month or 2.

    Alas – even after some time it’s still a real nuisance to have to click about 3x as often to get to your commands. Even something simple as going from Plan view to Isometric when I first used 2011. Used to be 1 (ONE!) click. Now?… well, RSI is looming, I can tell you.

    Yes I know: it’s all down to how you set up your Workspace (and exporting that with CUIimport – a real lifesaver if I ever saw one…).
    But that’s exactly the point isn’t it?
    If we all have to recreate our individual Workspaces just to be able to effectively put AutoCAD 2011 to good use, it hardly seems worth Autodesk taking all the effort to design this new GUI, does it? And will it go pear-shaped with versions 2012 all over yet again??

    I don’t care what Microsoft dictates, the Ribbon is simply not that useful for us. It isn’t when using Word or Excel either… plus AutoCAD is not the same as Excel, is it?? The main difference being: people hardly use Excel for 8 hours a day every day, CAD users usually do. And having to wrestle with Workspaces / Ribbons all day just to get things done is frankly proving to be a massive headache.
    Companies I work for tend to stick to 2008 because “at least it works as promised”. And, honestly: they’re slowly moving towards AC2010, which involves also quite a big investment hardware-wise. And yes, they seem to be doing OK so far: wherever I look – no Ribbon in sight 🙂
    Thanks God for customised PGP’s eh?

    Luckily there’s blogs like these, so we can get on with things 🙂
    Let’s hope Autodesk takes notice of them too….

  20. Kim Schafer

    My company has bought a network version of Autocad Structure Suite 2011. I installed the program onto my computer and after much frustration still was not able to migrate my settings, however I then decided to download the stand alone version to see if I could get it to migrate and it worked like a charm. I’m wondering if I will be able to migrate my settings on a network version at all. Any insight would be helpful.

  21. Matt Van Ruiten

    Great article and comments! So far so good with our test installs of Acad 2011 however I’d like to find a way to disable the ‘Migrate Custom Settings’ dialog that pops up for all my users the first time the run the software. Any ideas if/how this can be done? Thanks!

  22. ray

    hello, i need your help, i have some problem in my autocad 2009, everytime i will select my drawing, i can’t see the selected area. but the drawing is already selected, the problem is i can’t see it..hope anyone can help me out of this problem.

    Thanks in advance.

  23. Mike D

    Hi came upon this page. Its great like many others here I must say thank god.
    My problem is in AC2011. Icant seem to recolor objects. Im working in 3D. But when I select an object and go to properties it doesnt show the properties for the object thats seleted. And its not a block, already checked that. And it happens also with newly created objects. Alsoe dont have it colored “by layer” either. already checked that too. Hoping its not a glitch because Im using the student version I downloaded from AutoDesk website and dont want to mess up my time left on my license. Think they changed it to a 3 year license. And last time i tried to reinstall a student version from them (Maya 2011) it wouldnt let me. It said there is already a verision install, etc etc. and that was after doing what I thought was a complete uninstll.
    Any ideas anyone?

    Mike D

  24. I am having an issue with the hatch ribbon being visible. i have the hpdlgmode set to 2 but the ribbon still does not appear. is there another setting that needs to be changed in order to get this to work?

  25. Mike D

    Hey people. resolved my problem of not being able to recolor objects using the properties palette. What was happening was, I was able to change properties via typing in the commands but couldnt change properties (Color, Layer, etc) through the the palette. I read on another post about repairing your installation. I am using AutoCAD 2011 on Windows 7. I went to Control Panel>Uninstall a Program. In the list of my installed programs I Selected AutoCAD and clicked “Uninstal/Change”. This brought me to the AutoCAD screen to uninstall or repair the program. I selected Repair restarted it and all was good again. You will probably loose some custom settings cause it resets everything I believe. However I did notice that 2 custom Visual Styles I created were still intact. So I hope this helps anyone with that similar issue.

  26. Rabbit

    I have a question about (what I think is) the view cube in 3d modeling: I’m working on a model that had originally been created in an older version of ACAD, and whenever I try to manipulate certain extruded objects, the view seems compelled to automatically switch to a TOP, FRONT, LEFT, etc. view depending I guess on whatever view that particular object had initially been extruded from. I never had this problem before, and I was wondering if there was any way to get the views to stop flipping around.

    Hope this makes sense. Thanks!

    1. serialvision

      Hi, just found your problem with google. have exactly the same suddenly.
      It sure is a variable setting but unbale to find what i did wrong. must be related to navcube.
      DIRTY SOLUTION: open your 3D planswitching dwg and a 3D cad drawing where you didnt had the problem, delete all, ctrl+c all the content of your faulty 3D dwg and paste in the other 3D cad.
      Test extrude and you l see it works now. It did with my dwg. (acad2011)

  27. Hi,
    I just loaded 2011. Finally got my toolbars to stick (the path didn’t migrate), but now I have a truly perplexing problem. None of the short commands will work. For instance typing L for line, C for circle, DT for dtext, etc. None of them will work at all. Really a problem for me as many of my macros and lsp routines use these commands.
    Any suggestions?

  28. hi viewers,
    I am using AC 2008 and was fine with me..
    Recently the files are taking long time to open..
    Its showing quick open and then hangs a while (5-6 sec) then its became normal. (feels something loading behind).
    Also the registry settings are automatically changing while opening any existing file or new..(eg: “MBUTTONTAB” changes to 0 instead of 1, ZOOMFACTOR changes to 12 instead of 60, FILLMODE changes to 0 instead of 1 etc….
    So i am manually bring back these settings after open each file!!!!!!

    To get rid out of ths issue, I tried to reinstall the programme. But couldn’t find any changes… The same problem showing 2006 version also in the same computer.

    Can any one help me…..?????????

  29. trey

    Just a reminder… for those upgrading from 2008 or older, you will probably need a new computer. I was running 2007 on a 4 year old machine and it ran fine, now that I have ACAD 2010 and 2011 we needed new computers. I have an I7 920 Intel with 4 cores and hyper-threading, and an Nvidia card with 1 gig memory, running vista 64 (I hate vista) with 6 gigs of ram and i can tell you that I still need more machine when performing certain tasks on ACAD 2011. Hatch preview for one is ridiculous and if you have a lot of objects in the drawing it will lag.

    Hope this helps

  30. Scott N

    I have been in going through the proscess of FIXING all the little things that ACAD has changed. I am extreamly gratefull for everyone who has contributed to this blog. I have one question though. The old text editor had a tool bar that came up when you double clicked on a mtext group. What happened to it and can it be turned back on. I dearly miss it and would love to have it back with my profile.

  31. Anas, sorry, but I don’t know. I’ve seen various releases of AutoCAD mysteriously change settings when I’m certain it hasn’t been done by LISP routines, etc. Your problem looks more than that, though. You might find you can only fix it with a clean Windows install, but you should probably see if you can get a local expert to have a look at it first.

  32. Scott, the Mtext in-place editing toolbar should appear by default if you have the Ribbon turned off, but that’s dependant on the MTEXTTOOLBAR system variable. If you set that to 1 (the default is 2), it will appear even with the Ribbon on.

  33. Hi. I am brand new to autocad 2011 for Mac and I hit the wrong button and now I cant see the properties of any of my lines. The Property Inspector bar shows up as a single line with no information below it. Can anyone help me get it back to where I can see the properties of my lines?

  34. Hene

    I just upgraded from Autocad LT 2008 to Autocad LT 2011. I have problem using layout arrows, which are on left from layout tabs. I have files, that include hundred layouts. Earlier I could click arrow quite fast to scroll and search layout I needed. Now it seems, that if I hit arrow too fast, layouts are not scrolling to right, but instead first one is willing to change its name. Layout name is “blue”. If I hit arrow slowly, scroll does work.

    How can I put this back it once was? I know alternative methods to scroll through layouts, but I like to use this old style.

  35. DBCNYC

    “I think you should give any new features a fighting chance before turning them off or ignoring them.” I’m all for trying new things, but I can’t complete even the most simple tasks on this new version because I can’t find anything! And the help files are hideously bad–at least on the Mac version. Why is it that you can type the name of a command into help and it doesn’t even find anything? Yikes.

  36. kristoffer

    I´m new in cad for mac. somehow the meny for switching between modell and layout disappered. how can I get it back again? Is there someway of just put all the settings back to normal?

  37. April

    Using Windows 7 and AutoCAD 2011…

    I am not able to XREF, File Open or Save As. Who knows what else! The Aero Theme in Windows seemed to have been the issue but I have changed back to Classic with no positive results. How do I resolve this?!

  38. Catherine

    I have Civil 3D 2011 (64 bit) installed. On the tool palette, sometimes the symbols appear and sometimes they are missing. On the generic links tab, for the Link Slope to Distance, I do not have an option to change the information in the dialog box prior to inserting. It is missing the “right/left” option. Once inserted, I can change the subassembly properties; however, I cannot mirror it to the other side for this specific subassembly. It does work for the link slope to surface subassmebly.

    The install was out of the box with no customizations. Has anyone else encountered this?

    I’m also having issues with changes not being reflected on the drawing until I close and reopen the drawing.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  39. Ania

    Thank you so much, I have had to dig deep to find these items individually so as not to go mad. This is a most useful reference! For me 2007 is still the fastest release. I’ll trial 2012 as I do each new release and I live in hope.

  40. murph

    After months and months of fighting with it, i’ve come to the conclusion that autocad 2011 is complete garbage (Compared to the previous versions of course) Is this really worth it’s ridiculous price tag for the amount of frustration it’s causing me?

    Don’t get me wrong, all of the features are still there and then some, but this release is just “wrong”

    I don’t know how many times I have to disable the ribbon and rediscover and reenable all of my old toolbars and color settings. The cui is no help, it just breaks the gui everytime I load one. Constant crashing and no support from audodesk other than blaming it on video drivers (Which have no changed, and work fine with older versions) all I can say is, if I had a choice between using acad2011 on a brand new computer and autocad2000 on a 10 year old computer, I would pick the 10 year old computer over what I have now.

    Unfortunately, I was never presented with this choice. A simple (classic UI) button would have been nice, would have saved time and possibly lives, but no. Thank god for this blog, thank god for Steve.

  41. PLATINUM@@!

    I am having a problem with the toolbars sections command sequence, I am using autoCAD architecture 2010, am I doing something wrong or is anyone else having problems with this? Can someone please explain this in better detail.

    Thank you guys

  42. David

    In older 2007, there was a pulldown menu for lines, and under that was a command for drawing a line by direction. Any ideas on how I can do this same task in the 2011 version. I do alot of Land Survey work and we draw by bearings and distances most of the time. Any help would be great. Thanks.

  43. Ester

    I just started using 2011, I was using 2008, in this 2011 I cannot seem to get the PROPERTIES command tow work, I select several objects, and the window says: NO OBJECTS SELECTED, any ideas! thank you

      1. Can you preselect objects and use them successfully in other commands (e.g. Move)? How about changing preselected objects’ properties using the Ribbon or Toolbar controls? How about using the quick properties feature (available in the 2nd rightmost button in the left-side group of buttons in the status line)?

    1. Ester, I’m running out of ideas here. If you can preselect objects for other commands but not the various controls, it doesn’t sound like it’s just a setting. I hesitate to use a cop-out response like this, but how about trying a repair install?

  44. eavmaster

    just installed 2011. went to classic workspace. i cant find my wall,doors, stabs..etc palettes. i copy pasted a smart wall from another drawing and when i click it it doesnt even show grips. my guess is that is not finding the right path.
    cananybody help me,, thank you very much

    1. eavmaster, I assume you’re using AutoCAD Architecture? I’ve never used that product so I’m groping in the dark here. Changing a workspace shouldn’t remove the ability to show grips, it only affects things like menus, toolbars and other user interface elements, so there’s something else going on here. Did you check to see things were working before changing your workspace? Do things get better if you switch to a non-Classic workspace?

  45. zul

    I create all my library in autocad 2004, since then i use autocad 2004 to do work, but now i start using autocad 2008, the problem is i can’t use all the library that i create before.

    any one can help to teach me step by step how to put my library in autocad 2008, FYI, i can transfer all menu template to autocad 2008 but the dialog box blank and no slide display.

    thank you in advance.

    1. zul, I assume this is an ***IMAGE menu section in AutoCAD 2004? There are several possible reasons the slides don’t display. You need to make sure the slides or slide library is in AutoCAD’s search path, and if the image menu is in a partial menu, make sure the menu item invoking the image menu includes the menu group name for that partial menu, e.g.

      [Menu item label]^C^C$i=MENUGROUPNAME.IMAGEMENUNAME $i=*

  46. Vince

    I truly hate the new grip points with the new mtext. I have managed to revert the new arrows to the old grip types. But they are still triangles, how do I change this to be the same old squares that I love so much?


    1. The number and location of mtext grips is dependant on whether or not the mtext object supports dynamic columns. To turn this off for future mtext objects, set MTEXTCOLUMN to 0. If you want to change an existing mtext object, use the Properties palette to change its Columns property to No columns.

      However, that just changes the location of the grips to pre-2010 mode, and I think you’re saying that you’ve already done that. I don’t know of any way of making the grips squares rather than triangles, sorry.

      1. Vince

        Thats correct, I already found the mtextcolumn 0 system variable. That made me happy. That only allows all new mtext written to be in the old format. Also as a tip if you ever need to tell anyone else, you can change existing dynamic text (thats MTEXTCOLUMN 2) to old format by going to properties->columns where it says dynamic click to change and a little dialogue box opens. Change from dynamic columns to no columns.
        Thanks for your help Steve

  47. trav

    When I open a DWG in 2011LT from the 2006 format the text size seems considerably larger and doesn’t fit in the text box. As I reopen it in 2006 it goes back to normal. Is there a command/option setting I can use to fix the text resizing as I go from one version to another?

    Please help its very annoying.

    1. One possible cause for this would be if you have a font file available to AutoCAD 2006 that isn’t visible to LT 2011. If your font can’t be found, a substitute will be used in its place (the default is Simplex.shx). Check to see what font file is being used in 2006, then make that file available in 2011’s search path.

  48. Andy Male

    After about a day, a problem manifests that will not go away.
    It is that in C3D2011 I get “Unidentified Shape ##” errors at the command line for every C3D label and Mtext and text object in the drawing that I open.
    No labels or any text show on screen.
    This error renders Civil 3D useless on this machine.

    I have a subscription support request open….holding at the moment until I provide more information before perhaps sending it on to the development team.
    So, no solution at all from AutoDESK other than….
    AutoDESK suggested I run C3D in diagnostic mode. (Run msconfig, set to diagnostic and reboot).
    This has the effect of not running any services of having any other conflicts from any other programs.
    I did this and the problem for C3D goes away.
    This suggests to me either and OS issue or a program conflict….with the anti-virus software the first suspect.


    I have been able to replicate the issue this morning.
    I thought it was Outlook that was interfering, but it seems not.

    I boot up, start C3D, open a drawing, all good. Open more drawings, all good.
    Close C3D. Start C3D, open a drawing, errors occur.
    After this point, it does not matter whether I start C3D with another profile, the errors still generate on drawing open.

    Log off and follow same procedure as above and errors are still generating.

    Reboot and follow above procedure and all good…until I close C3D and start it again.

    I have replicated this 3 times now.

    any ideas?

  49. Vince

    Hi Steve,

    I am trying to turn of dim style overrides
    Any suggestions or system variables? I am sick and tired of having my dim styles over-ridden by my thoughtful Architectural Desktop 2011….


  50. reza

    i now upgrade from Autocad 2008 to 2011 (xp).
    i have problem in using with color scheme (not ‘ gray or light in menu bar in autocad area).
    i want to use other color (like blue or …) similar autocad 2008 or older version

  51. Ragnhild

    Hi there.
    I have a strange case… When I opened Novapoint, Autocad Civil 3D this morning, the workspace had a big space between the roll down menu on the top and my drawing space. The space doesn`t disappear if I switch to other workspaces with the “workspace Switching” tap in the right corner (the chain-wheel) Do you have any ideas what to do with this? I`s pretty annoying just to be able to draw on about a quarter of my display…

  52. Shawna

    Does anyone know how to: isolate layers and have only those that you isolate show up (and not have the other layers ‘faded back’…makes it confusing when I’m trying to delete objects on a certain known layer to have all the other layers still there, just faded back. Any help would be much appreciated!

    1. Mueller

      Shawna, type in the command ‘layiso’ and it will give you a Settings option in the command window. Type ‘S’ to get to the option to change layers that are not isolated from ‘Lock and Fade’ to ‘Off’

  53. AJG

    I am using AutoCAD 2011 in the classic version. I will be getting a new work computer soon. I need to make a seamless transition and not miss a beat the instant I have my new computer set up. The office computer technician is not familiar with AutoCAD at all and cannot guarantee that all my quick key commands and all my button commands (both non-custom and custom) will be carried over. I cannot afford to spend any time re-setting up my whole AutoCAD screen to work and appear the way it is right now. Can anyone tell me where I need to look for all the necessary various menu files that will need to be copied over to my new computer so this equipment transition can be made without any hang ups? This is critical. Please help.

    1. AJG, it depends on exactly how you have done your custom stuff, but if you’ve done it all in CUI in a default setup, then you can find the cuix at the location specified in Options > Files > Customization files > Main customization file. I suggest you save your workspace with a name of your choice, then copy that file to the equivalent new location. For other settings, in Options > Profiles, export your profile and import that on the new PC. That should grab most of it, but it’s possible to do custom things in AutoCAD in dozens of other ways and I have no idea what has been done in your case.

  54. shawhill

    i would like to know how to access Autocad in Autocad Architecture. I know there is a way if the program file is altered that you could create a shortcut to enter the regular autocad. i did it with 2011 i just dont have the information anymore

    1. I’ve never even seen AutoCAD Architecture, but in the other AutoCAD verticals I’ve seen the plain AutoCAD shortcut is the same as the normal vertical’s one except it points to a plain profile, e.g.

      “C: … acwhatever.exe” /p “<>”

      where “<>” is the name of a profile. To see what profiles you have defined, use the Options command and look in the Profiles tab.

      Please note that this is based on no direct hands-on AutoCAD Architecture knowledge whatsoever, just reasonable guesswork. So if it doesn’t work, I’m probably not going to be able to help.

  55. Kurt

    I have the 2011 version of autocad and am still getting use to the program. You know when you draw a line then there should be small arrows and the size of the line at the top, well somehow it just disappeared or has become way too small to see it. Please help,I have an urgent assignment due and cannot continue working without the guidelines of dimensions sizes.

  56. Peter

    Just goes to show how much Autodesk is ripping off it’s customers.

    They can’t leave something alone that worked so well for years. They have to change it to justify the ability to charge for it.

    Sometimes – and in this case – new is not always better.

  57. Peter

    Hooray ! Finally got Autocad Classic back after 3 years of not using the 2009 version becuase I couldn’t even figure out how to get it to look the same as before.

    Autodesk – you are a joke.

  58. ott

    with an 8 gb of ram and xp 64 bit with a intel (r) core 2.93ghz processer is there a preferred page file that hydracad / autocad prefers? This thing is really dragging and the computer is new! I use navisworks as well and there is no problems. Heeeeeeeelp!!

  59. Rui

    Hi STeve!

    Thanks a lot for the usefull post!! I have one doubt that i could not identify in the thread, probably my fault… When i want to extrude, i get the annoying previw of heights, which consumes a lot of memory if the polyline is really complicated… How do i turn that extrusion previw off? Is it around dynamic inputs? I was around there but couldnt do it! Thanks again!! 😀

  60. Rob

    I’m a bigg fan of this blog – thanks for keeping it up!. Upon a reinstall, AutoCAD 2011 msut have optimized my Win7 OS for performance. Therefore, AERO is turned off, and it won’t let me turn it back on.So my Win7 machine looks like Win95! It’s awful! I’ve even updated my nVidia drivers, but I still can’t change these settings. Since I don’t do any 3D work, have no reason for this “optimized Win95” look.

    Can anyone help me switch this back?

    1. I’ve seen this happen in various releases when Windows runs out of System Resources. I’ve fixed it in the past by closing AutoCAD, moving/renaming/deleting the .mnr files associated with the .cuix files that use the missing images, then restarting AutoCAD to force the automatic recreation of the .mnr files.

      Where are these .mnr files? It varies, but in C3D 2011 in XP you might want to start with this:

      C:Documents and Settings[your login ID]Application DataAutodeskC3D 2011enuSupportacad.mnr

      You can get to the right folder by starting Explorer and entering this address:

      %appdata%AutodeskC3D 2011enuSupport

  61. Saj5212

    Hello all,
    I’m coming across another glitch I’m hoping someone can help me with. I have a OLE object in my title blocks. It prints fine within the original drawing but when it is -ref’d into another drawing it will only print in a grainy b/w. No color. I can put it in as a raster image but then I have to worry about sending an image file along with my drawings. Does anyone have any solutions for me. I’ve checked the Autodesk help and there are other people having the same problem but no solutions that I could find.


  62. Bob

    I have been away from AutoCAD for a few short years, but it’s just like riding a bike. However, I have a small problem with copying that I cannot figure out. I am using 2011: I can pick a line, press Ctrl-C to copy, pick a point, and then drag the copy to another spot and plant it. It does not allow me do this when I select a group of objects. I have tried everything I can think of. With previous versions I was able to copy anything and everything using this method.

    Now, If I select my object and press Ctrl-C, the objects stay selected but will not let me pick a point. If I press Ctrl-C and then window around the objects, it sends a copy to the clipboard and deselects my objects. Has this feature gone away or am I missing something?

    Help, please.

  63. shweta

    AutoCAD 2011’s UI is sufficiently comparable to earlier forms that latest AutoCAD clients should feel great with the new increases following a couple of minutes of investigation.

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