AutoCAD 2012 – 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.

The most popular post on this blog, in terms of both hits and comments, is AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal”. This is followed by AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal”, with AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” not too far behind. As it seems many people find these posts useful, here’s an updated version for the latest release. Much of this post is based on older versions, but there are many additions and differences in this year’s “keep off my lawn” post.

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 2012 at least (unlike some Autodesk products), you do still have that choice. At least, you have a choice in most cases.

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision to put your environment back to AutoCAD 2008 or earlier; how do you do it? I’ve arranged these items in alphabetical order:

  • Aerial View. The DSVIEWER command appears to be gone, but it’s just hiding. It has been undefined. You can use REDEFINE DSVIEWER to turn it back on, or just enter .DSVIEWER (with a leading period). It may not work perfectly on all systems under all circumstances.
  • Array dialog box. The excellent new associative array features of AutoCAD 2012 have come at the cost of the Array dialog box. While you can use the Ribbon or the Properties palette to modify arrays, if you want to create one you have to go back to the future with a Release 14-style user interface. Using -Array doesn’t give you a dialog box, just the old-style command line. There’s nothing available in standard AutoCAD 2012 to give you a dialog box interface, which is why I created ClassicArray™. It also makes it easier to create non-associative arrays, if that’s what you prefer. This plug-in has the further fortunate side-effect of acting as a workaround for several of the new Array command’s various bugs, limitations and design issues.
    Edit: Applying SP1 to AutoCAD 2012 adds an ARRAYCLASSIC command that restores the previous dialog box. This does not provide access to any of the new features; you will still need ClassicArray for that.
  • Autocomplete. Old-timers may well find this feature useful, but if it’s getting in your way, turning it off is as simple as AUTOCOMPLETE OFF. There are a variety of settings you can selectively turn off individually if you prefer.
  • Blips. The BLIPMODE command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE BLIPMODE to turn it back on, or just enter .BLIPMODE (with a leading period).
  • 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 deprecated these commands in 2011 and 2012, 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. For 2012, Autodesk has removed the Group command’s dialog box interface. If you want the dialog box, you now need to use the ClassicGroup command instead.
  • 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.
  • 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 Ribbon 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 dialog 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. You may wish to put the Command line > Command line history background setting to white, too. When you’re done, pick Apply & Close, then OK.
  • Grid. I generally prefer the new line-based grid. If you use isometric snap and grid, you will find that AutoCAD 2012’s line-based isometric grid is still as broken as it was in earlier releases, so you’ll need to use dots. If that applies to you or you just don’t like the lines, right-click on the Grid status button and pick Settings…, which will take you into the Drafting Settings dialog 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.
  • 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).
  • Help. If you want your Help to work with adequate speed and reliability, or to work at all in some proxy server environments, you will want to turn off AutoCAD 2012’s online help. Go into Options > System, 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 AutoCAD Exchange interface for your Help. There is no sign yet of Autodesk coming to the rescue with a set of CHM-based Help files as was done for AutoCAD 2011, which is a real shame. The VLIDE Help is still partially broken, because Autodesk doesn’t care about customers who use LISP for development. While you’re in Options, 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.
  • Initial Setup. Don’t bother looking for this, it has been removed from the product. Can’t say I’m heartbroken about that.
  • Line Smoothing. If you don’t like the anti-aliasing feature that attempts to make your graphics look less jaggy, this is controlled by the LINESMOOTHING system variable. It’s also available via the GRAPHICSCONFIG command or Options > System > Graphics Performance.
  • 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)
  • Pull-down Menus. Enter MENUBAR 1 to turn pull-down menus on. To turn them off again, enter MENUBAR 0.
  • Ribbon. You can close the Ribbon with the RibbonClose command. If you ever want to turn it back on, enter Ribbon.
  • Screen menu. The SCREENMENU command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE SCREENMENU to turn it back on, or just enter .SCREENMENU (with a leading period). However, you can’t access the screen menu section in CUI any more, so if you want to maintain your screen menu you will need to do it in an earlier release.
  • Selection Cycling. Depending on your preference and/or system graphic performance, you may wish to turn off selection cycling (set SELECTIONCYCLING to 0), or at least the list that appears when selecting objects that lie on top of each other (set SELECTIONCYCLING to 1).
  • Selection Preview. This feature 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.
  • Snap. AutoCAD 2012’s snap no longer works while there is no command active. There is no setting available to turn this feature off. If you want to move your cursor around and see the cursor snapping to precise locations to see if objects line up (e.g. in schematic diagrams), you will need to invoke a command first (e.g. L [Enter]) and ignore the command as you’re moving around on screen.
    Edit: Applying SP1 to AutoCAD 2012 adds new system variable (SNAPGRIDLEGACY) that allows you to have your snap active at the command prompt.
  • Startup performance. You may have noticed that AutoCAD 2012’s Ribbon switching performance is finally as it should have been from the start; practically instantaneous. You may also have noticed that when you start AutoCAD, the cursor is sticky for a while after the Command prompt is available. These two items are not unrelated; AutoCAD is loading Ribbon components in the background. If you would prefer this not to happen, set the RIBBONBGLOAD system variable to 0.
  • 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.
  • Toolbars. In AutoCAD 2009, you could turn individual toolbars on and off by accessing a menu obtained by right-clicking on the QAT. Autodesk somewhat vindictively removed that option in 2010, and it’s still gone in 2012. That toolbar-toggling 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.
    If you’re like me, you may well discover that this is moot because AutoCAD 2012 automatically turns on a full set of toolbars, in addition to the Ribbon, the second time you run AutoCAD. This bug occurs when there’s another release already installed and you don’t use Migration. It’s easily fixed (that is if you want to fix it) by switching to the workspace of your choice (see below).
  • Tooltips. Excessively intrusive and oversized tooltips were a “feature” of AutoCAD 2009’s revamped UI design, and we’ve been plagued with them ever since. I’m glad to see that many of them have had their verbosity somewhat curtailed in 2012, but they still annoy the heck out of me, particularly by obscuring what I’m trying to see in dialog boxes. To kill them with fire, see Options > Display and start turning off toggles about half way down the left side.
  • Trace. The TRACE command has been undefined, but you can use REDEFINE TRACE to turn it back on, or just enter .TRACE (with a leading period).
  • 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.
  • Vertical variants’ AutoCAD profile. Apparently, some AutoCAD 2012 vertical variants don’t have a shortcut for running them as AutoCAD. If you want to make one, first check in Options > Profiles to see if there is a profile called “AutoCAD” or similar. If not, you will need to create one, reset it, and hope for the best. Sorry, I don’t have all the variants to check. Now, make a copy of your AutoCAD variant’s desktop shortcut and rename it as something like “AutoCAD 2012”. Then right-click on the copy and pick Properties. In the Target edit box, check to see if there is a /p switch followed by a profile name inside quotes. If there is, replace the existing profile name with “AutoCAD” or whatever the profile name is that you discovered or created in Options. If there isn’t a /p switch, add one. The end result should look something like this (there may be extra switches):
    "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\[product name]\acad.exe" /p "AutoCAD"
    Once you have ensured there’s a /p “AutoCAD” (or similar) on the end of the Target, pick OK. You should then be able to start your vertical variant as AutoCAD.
  • 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. The simplest way to remove it is by clicking the [-] button in the top left corner of the drawing area and tuening off the ViewCube toggle there. If you want more control, it’s handled 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.
  • 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 left 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. In either case, click on the Workspace control and pick the item called AutoCAD Classic. This will perform some of the steps described above, but not all of them, so I suggest you skim the whole lot to see what else you might want to do. If you’re using a vertical variant of AutoCAD 2012, this workspace may not be available, or it may only be available if you when using an “AutoCAD” profile (see above). If it’s not available at all, you’ll need to make your own classic workspace 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.
  • 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.
  • Zoom Animation. If you prefer your zooms to be instant rather than progressing from one view to another in an animated series of steps, you can turn off that feature using the VTOPTIONS command or the VTENABLE system variable.

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.

All of this advice is offered on an as-is, try-it-yourself-and see-what-happens basis. Unfortunately, I can’t check to see which parts of this post relate to AutoCAD for Mac (when the 2012 version arrives), AutoCAD LT (much of it will be the same), the various AutoCAD-based vertical variants (almost all of it should be the same). AutoCAD WS is, of course, nothing like real AutoCAD so none of this post will be relevant. Please comment to let me know if you find something you think I should modify or include.

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, and this record has been damaged slightly by 2012, but conservative users are still better off with new releases of AutoCAD than they are with, say, Microsoft Word.


  1. WOW!! That’s a lot of features to turn off or alter. If a user has to do this in order to use AutoCAD then they have waisted their time and money with updates. I understand making a few of these changes, I change some thing myself. How many of your readers make all of these changes? Maybe a better question is how many of these changes do each of us make? I typically change two items listed: Crosshairs to 100% and Xref Fading off.

  2. Mike Jones

    Migration is working much better this release. Still doesn’t bring over any extra fonts, but otherwise the custom ribbons and toolbars seemed to have migrated successfully.

  3. A very interesting article, which can discourage some … But each has its own habits and everyone will not do all of what is said. You rightly points out that Autodesk has always been cautious to make a transition to these new features with the option, very often, to return to the previous methods. Procedures rather designed for CAD managers and not for end users, despite the ease of manipulation.

  4. I wonder what percentage of those items are disabled by what percentage of users?

    Personally I wish more programming time was devoted to finishing and/or improving existing features and routines rather than towards fancy UI stuff that we turn off anyway.

    On that note, we do appreciate the fast ribbon tab switching now.

  5. w64bit

    In addition to all these I use:

    3DOSMODE 1
    APBOX 0
    OSMODE 179

  6. Bill Schmid

    There really should be one place where all your preferences are stored so they can be transferred from version to version. We’ve tried the various utilities for transfers and export this and import that and none of it work. This time we tried copying the entire enu directory from an older version. It initially appeared to work but it may have done more harm than good.

  7. Mike

    I find the new “spap”less feature very frustrating. Unless I am missing something you cannot break a line using snap for the first pick. After initiating the break command snap is not active until you make the first pick. How stupid!!

  8. Frank Daughtry

    My back to normal question is more nostalgic than most. I’m using 2007 and for me back to normal is using Ctrl-C to cancel a command or the equivalent of what has morphed into the Escape key. Can someone help me turn back the clock on my new 2007 install for this ole touch typist?

    1. Frank, the last time Ctrl-C for cancel was the default was Release 13 for DOS! There used to be a toggle for this: Options > User Preferences > Windows standard accelerator keys, but AutoCAD 2005 was the last release with that option. I’ve written a separate post about how to do it using CUI.

  9. Robert

    I have a weird problem with acad 2012 using mouse’s Right-click for command, input,… confirmation, that I didn’t have with acad 2011.

    For instance:
    With 2011 I put command, confirmed it with right mouse button. While in command I selected objects and confirmed selection with right mouse button,… It worked flawlessly even when I was inputing, selecting and confirming very, very fast.

    Now, with 2012, I have all kind of problems when working fast. With command writen in command-line, I click right mouse button and complitely different ”tools” appear.
    There must be some new shortcut commands for mouse ”gestures” or something similar?!??!

    PS: I put every acad from 2008,… 2012 back to normal as much as your site proposed.

    Any help would be grately greatly appreciated.

      1. Glen

        I have this problem also. I have turned off every dynamic input, viewcube, tracking variable etc. that I can think of that would be slowing the input down, I have played around with the various combinations of right-click customisations and the time-sensitive options, I have set the ‘pickdrag’ variable to 0 but there is still a delay between typing the command and using the right click as enter. I have tried different mouses… everything I can think of, but as far as AutoCAD is concerned, I am pressing it too early and just end up having to press it again once the computer has caught up. Very frustrating as I still believe the fastest way of drawing is using quick keys, but not if I have to enter them twice! Do you have any suggestions?

  10. Robert

    I have ”time-sensitive right-click” disabled.

    It seems to me that somethimes I press right and left mouse buttons together, when I’m in a hurry. That must trigger some command in acad 2012 ?!

    I managed to improve this situation with enabling ‘Shortcut Menu’ for ”Default Mode” and ‘Repeat Last Command’ for ”Edit Mode”. For ”Command Mode” I selected ”ENTER”.

  11. Robert

    I’m confirming that pressing mouse button 1 and 2 (left and right) together and making move while they are pressed triggers command!

    Now, where on earth do I disable this useless feature or BUG?!?
    Probabily best way to solve this issue is to conntact Acutodesk support.

  12. Hi Steve
    Just a quick question , I have been trying to solve.
    my layout number has stopped auto updating in 2012.
    I have checked fieldeval is 31
    and demandload is set to 3
    I remember fixing this before but i forgot and am getting impatient with this .
    Please any help would be highly appreciated


  13. Manfred

    Hello Steve,

    Is it still possible to make toolbars show their name above the toolbar buttons, similar to what is shown in the “Toolbar Priview” in de “Customise User Interface” dialog box?

    1. There’s an array button on my 2012 Ribbon, in the Modify panel of the Home tab in the Drafting & Annotation tab. Well, it’s the ArrayRect command actually, but the Path and Polar array variants are also available using the down-arrow.

      Would you care to expand on the nature of the problem you’re seeing?

  14. Matt Parks

    I would like to close the ribbon permanently in ACAD 2012 but it won’t let me, every time I start a new ACAD session the ribbon appears and I type in ‘ribbonclose’ and it goes away while I’m working in that session but if I close ACAD and re-open it, the ribbon comes back and I have to type ‘ribbonclose’ again and again… You get the picture. Is there a command or setting that allows me to turn it off for good? I don’t like it and won’t use it.

    Thanks, Matt

    1. Dan

      Close the ribbon, you’ll probably want to turn on the menubar (MENUBAR –> 1) and save the current workspace with either the same name or a new name. (WSSAVE, or the Workspace menu at upper left, or the workspace tool on the status bar with the gear image).

  15. Steve

    When I purge a drawing, the history window expands and stays expanded until I use another command but will not go away when using the plot command. Is there a way to stop the history window from expanding?

  16. axel

    Anyone know how to get the “enter key” to function on the numeric keypad? I was a little distraught to notice that after I enter a dimension numerically and press enter nothing happens.

  17. Jess

    does anyone know how to get my shortcut commands back? I have lost the ability to simply type “m” for move or “tr” for trim. Not sure what happened or if I need to reload my cuix files from somewhere??

    Any suggestions would be great!

    1. Jess

      figured it out. they are command alias’ and you just need to type: Re-init, and insert the value 16 which will reload your alias commands. geez – what a drag that was.

  18. lina

    I have been using AutoCAD for years but the last version I used was CAD 2004 and unfortunately I havent had access to CAD for two years since then. I got my hands on a 2012 trial version so that I could catch up and I find the whole thing extremely frustrating!

    my biggest issue is i can no longer move an object that is snapped to another object(or wall) without that other object being dragged as well, whats up with that? is there any way to turn this off???

      1. lina

        Hi Steve,

        Sorry I didnt see your reply before, I have no idea, I thought it was plain autocad, but it could be architecture… i missed so many upgrades i wouldnt know the difference…

  19. Marta M

    I have a problem with the interface: when I’m trying to click on an icon or tab, I just can’t. Nothing happens, e.g. when I’m trying to change tab from home to annotate, I’m clicking annotate but the tab “home” stays visible. BUT. When I’m restoring down the window and than maximize, the ‘annotate’ tab is visible. I don’t know what’s going on.

      1. Marta M

        I was considering that issue, but hopefully I’ve asked to get another answer, because maybe I did something wrong.
        Later I wanted to reinstall driver, but I have a problem with that. Apparently I have to contact with the service, especially that my PC is totally new.

  20. stan

    hi steve johnson,

    i like to remove the “share with autodesk seek” and “seek design center” in the right-click menu when selecting a block.its not in the _cui shortcut menu, do you have any idea how to remove these? thanks!

    1. I don’t see those right-click menu items on my AutoCAD 2012, but I disabled the various online access options during the installation process. I didn’t turn off Autodesk Seek as a feature to install, though. I suspect they’re hardwired in if the Enable DesignCenter (DC) Online option is turned on at installation time, but that’s a guess.

  21. Michael Meio

    Hello there..

    I have a similar issue as described by Martha M.: “…when I’m trying to click on an icon or tab, I just can’t. Nothing happens,…” As my icons won’t work at all, the interface seems to have navigation ability but as I hover over icons, nothing. Now, if I activate the infamous ribbon and close it back, if I’m lucky, everything becomes normal.. This issue is recent and I haven’t tried downgrading the GPU driver or any.
    Now, this happens when I use the 3D Orbit feature. As soon as I get out of orbit, everything looks normal but doesn’t work. Just wanted to know if you think it’s a driver issue or there is some trigger to it..

    Thanks in advance for your attention.

  22. Jonas

    When selecting an object before clicking/typing the command the object stays selected when the command is finished. When clicking the command before selecting the object, it gets deselected when the command is finished.

    Ive been selecting before clicking for more than 10 years and now I constantly mess my drawings up when i forget to deselect objects manually, accidentally deleting them, moving them, copying them, or whatever i do.

    Is there anyway to change this back to the way it was? I just cant make myself change the way I work.

    (Using autocad architecture 2012)

  23. A wise man once told me not to muck about putting it “back to normal” but to just get on and learn it.
    Stop being lazy, learn to change and keep up.

    You will be using wheels when I have my hover car – because you “had to have it back to normal”

    Never change it and you will never have to change it.

  24. JBush

    I have accidentally cut on some function in autocad that I can’t figure out how to cut it off. Now when I select an object, it has a UCS icon (red arrow & green arrow) in the center of the object and you can stretch the object by using the arrow or the box in the middle. Anyone know how to fix this?


  26. Aaron Hagan

    I’ve had issues in AutoCAD 2012 that when I’m 3d modeling & when I go to use orbit, autocad crashes. I had this issue in the 2004 version, it went away in the 2008 version, & now it does it again in the 2012 version! Also I have issues with when I try to pick a line, I have to click on it several times just to get it selected, is there a sensitivity adjustment that I don’t know about? My last issue is whenever AutoCAD 2012 crashes it resets the toolbars to the default so I have to open & close toolbars to my preference every time. Any advice? Thanks.

    1. Aaron, 3DOrbit has indeed been the trigger for instability in various releases over the years. While I don’t have a definitive answer, I would suggest checking your graphics card driver version against Autodesk’s list, try different driver versions (including older ones) and see if turning on/off hardware acceleration makes a difference.

      To help with the environment resetting, make sure you save a workspace when you have things the way you want them.

  27. CV

    Is there any way of getting rid of all the graphics (the little tripod and pole) that follow you around when drawing lines by bearing for example. These graphics prevent me from seeing the lines I’m drawing, VERY ANNOYING!

    1. CV, you mean the dynamic input stuff? If so, that’s easily turned off using the Dynamic Input button (the + with a rectangle next to it) in the status line at the bottom. It’s also configurable if you right-click that button and pick Settings…

  28. CV

    Thank you for the reply Steve. I have disabled the dynamic input stuff so apparently (AutoCAD C3D 2010) uses these graphics as a permanent part of their routines? When drawing a ‘line by angle’ or ‘line by bearing’ for example, lines representing quadrants extend from my pick box and an instrument on a tripod and a ‘staking rod’ appear and are obviously intended to be ‘aides’ in executing the commands. When I am plotting a land description, I am often ‘zoomed out’ to a point where I can see the entire figure as I draw and close it. With C3D2010, these graphics are blocking the view of many of the ‘legs’ as I plot them. I don’t think this is a feature that can be disabled? Just ‘Old dog – new tricks’ on my part.

    1. By default, 2012 will display the in-place text editor when you double-click on text. You can get it to use a dialog box instead if you set TEXTED to 1. It is possible that you have inadvertently changed the double-click setting in CUI. I have seen advice given out about how to restore hatch double-click editing that would, if followed, cause this kind of problem.

      1. Thanks for the reply Steve. I kind of got it fixed this is what happened as soon as i installed 2012 I loaded my custom menu – this changed some parameter (which I still havent figured out). So what I did was realoaded a fresh version of acad.cui (after loading my menu) which overwrote this mystery parameter value and fixed the single click problem, I can finally edit the text with one click. I checked on my collegues computer and yes you were right by default 2012 will let you edit single text with a double click.

  29. Edgar

    Before in Acad2007 plot dialog box if is selected, click on “Window<", it would show a screen with a dark
    grey background and any previously selected portion of the drawing would be in black background. How to get this back in Acad2010?

  30. wildcatherder

    With update 2 of AutoCAD 2012 for Mac, it does not seem to be possible to either REDEFINE DSVIEWER or use .DSVIEWER to get the aerial view. Horizontal and vertical scrollbars are also not shown, making it harder to get from one end of a large drawing to another.

  31. Eddie H

    I somewhere somehow figured out how to change the right click pop up menu to be the same as older releases. I am using 2012. Can you tell me what file it was that I changed to do this? I hae others in my company that would like this same feature

    1. Dan

      customize tab>
      top left pane>
      “Shortcut Menus”>
      “Default Menu”>
      now drag all of the sub-items under “Clipboard” to be above “Clipboard”
      then delete Clipboard>

  32. Oussama Alzein

    I need some help, I need to create 3d objects but in the same time i do not want to create 3d mesh from lines on drawings, everytime i pick up an object , all the lines under it come 3d surfaces, is there a command to stop this ( i am using autocad 2012, but since cad 2006 there was no problem, from 2007 this problems happens)

  33. T. Sippel

    I used more than half of these tips. It made the transition so much easier. I’ve been using AutoCAD since v2.01 – hence, a ton of customization. We jumped from 2004 to 2011 (wow) Thanks for your posts.

  34. Bekah

    We are currently using AutoCAD 2012 in our office, and both a coworker & I went through the step-by-step tutorial of changing the double click hatch back to hatch edit. In the CUI interface, it still says that double clicking a hatch entity will invoke the hatch edit command but when we actually double click the hatch it brings up the quick properties box. Has anyone else had this problem & know of a solution?

  35. Sandra

    1.I cannot write short function straight after selecting object, I need to move coursor some where else, but not on the object line! Its realy annoying! On previous versions just select and put short comand and done!
    2.Hate adding hatch! Before I just selected what I want and after short command H (hatch) and it was already selected those areas where I want hatch! Now at first H and then select! Can not deal with this!
    3. Hach edit small changing window is also bad idea! Better big window as starting to ad hatch!

  36. Lody


    I’m missing a few sub-menu’s.
    When I go to the pagesetup, normally I can edit the page setup (layout).
    The only thing happens, that it’s seems opening in the background and disappear.
    It also happens to the _insert command.

    Acad 2012 MAC
    OS lion



  37. robin

    I just installed 2012 and can’t get it to read feet or inches (spelled or with symbol). When I enter a line (or circle or whatever) and get the prompt for next point, if I enter 4, I get a four inch line. But if I enter 4′ or 4″ I get nothing just another specify next point prompt.

    Please help!

    I migrated settings from 2011. I’m on the student version and set up as Classic.


  38. Steve, thankyou to a man after my own heart and for putting together such a ‘priceless’ article. I’ve been using AutoCAD since ver 2.6 and while great improvements have been made in line with hardware performance over the years; many features have been destroyed and even abandoned, though some have re-surfaced after feedback to Autodesk from users. The interface now steals so much drawing area, I have spent an age on removing unnecessary ‘clutter’ and finding out how to put things ‘right’ again. New users likely will not find the interface a problem?, but Autodesk have generally forgotten how many old hands there are out there (possibly). To add to the groans, dropping Mechanical Desktop had me miffed… One of the great appeals of AutoCAD is the ability to design / layout, detail, calculate, render, output to a wide variety of formats and produce great artwork within the same package. The rendering for example has been improved over the years though has one serious flaw… what happened to the mapping! SETUV used to let you place mapping coordinates precisely on geometry… now it’s guesswork / unreliable unless I’m completely missing something. Up to version 2010 this was still the case.

  39. Meredith

    I’ve somehow lost my “Layers” panel in the “Home” palette of the ribbon in Acad 2012. I’ve selected all possible tabs/panels/palettes to “show” yet nothing has worked. I had the layers panel floating since I use it regularly and didn’t want to have to toggle through the different palettes on the ribbon and must have x-ed out of it accidentally. Any help would be appreciated.

  40. Michael

    Thank you. That is a useful compilation. Here is a shortcut Menu question. We have added OSNAP commands to a custom shortcut menu and made that active with a right click. When a command is active, right click and then mouse over to the required OSNAP. This works fine. AND it is also true that when this menu is up, there are single key shortcut to these commnads. Thus with a command open, if I right click to pop up the menu and type “P” I get the OSNAP “perp”. ALL GOOD except, I want to change some of those keyboard abbreviations that are modal at that time. Specifically, then the shortcut box is up and I type “N” I get the _non OSNAP rather than the “nearest” OSnap. Having this work mans that you do not have to go click on the pop-up to select the required OSNAP. For some of us this is huge. I’d love some help if you know- thanks for the good work-

  41. i switched over to autocad 2012 last week & have been struggling to get things set back to a format i can use. i tweeked my alias’s in the pgp file for simple little things like, ‘ci’ for circle and ‘c’ for copy. i didn’t change anything major. but i can’t for the life of me get things like ‘draworder’, ‘layfrz’, ‘polygon’ to work. the buttons at the top don’t work, the keyboard commands aren’t working. there are a few others that i can’t think of but when i go to use them and they’re ‘not recognized’ its incredibly frustrating. ‘Unknown command “LAYFRZ”. Press F1 for help. is all i get and F1 is NO HELP!
    do you have any advice?

  42. chris

    Thanks for all the suggestions! now I have a problem though. I turned off the ribbon and enabled the menubar. Now autocad 2011 starts but seems to lock up. The last command on the command line before it locks is “RIBBON”. Seems like somethings not working. Any ideas?

  43. Kelly

    Thanks for the help “putting things back to normal”. I was a few release’s behind on my upgrades (went from 2009 to 2012). I was having a time getting some of my “old” dialog boxes to work. Found your blog here and solved my problems in a couple of paragraphs. Now I can get to work like “normal” and figure out all the “new and improved” things at my leisure.

  44. Tom G

    I have used AutoCAD for 20 years.
    Can’t get over Autodesk dis-abled SNAP while a command is not used. I am using an AutoDESK vertical product. There is no SP1 release for it yet. The AutoCAD SP1 will not install. So I have no running snap. Who on earth thought this was a good idea? I am being pushed towards a more simple and cheap AutoCAD competitor which writes to DWG with every new release of AutoCAD. Every year there are more of these and they do not cost £4k or anything like it, and they are quick and simple to use. Like AutoCAD used to be!

  45. Maurizio D

    Hello, i use Autocad since version 9,10,11,12,2000… Now there is a problem since several versions. I work with very large plans (several kilometers), and when I must select many objects which are on the same horizontal line, I make a zoom to click somewhere precisely; I make a back zoom, I move another side of the plan, I zoom again to click somewhere precisely, and unfortunately only the objects which are in the visible window are selected (as if the programm forgets the spot of the first click). Why? Could someone answer me, thank you for your assistance

  46. Mark Ouellette

    I have a user, AutoCad LT 2004, who is missing Modify in the Toolbars menu (View>Toolbars).
    Modify II is there but Modify is now missing. I’m not a user, just IT support and I can’t
    figure out where it went or how to get it back. Any help would be much appreciated.

  47. reimerken

    hello. im having a problem about saving my work in autocad 2011. i want to restore all the setting here but i dont know how. please teach me how to restore settings. waiting for your reply. thanks alot 🙂

  48. Kelly Canon

    OMG… I have just upgraded to acad/ATD 2012… I went round and round with the dang SNAP thingy!! I thought my install had a bug! It really alarmed me that NONE of the commands worked – not until you have an active command? WTF? That’s a crazy so-called “improvement”! Thank GOD for this site!! I’ve been googling all of my upgrade “issues”, and this site is by far the best I’ve run across! THANK YOU!

  49. Kasia

    Hi, I have a problem with my space key. I have a Mac and whenever Im trying to enter a distance or a text or anything for that matter when i press SPACE key it deletes everything I entered and is not working. I cannot function without space key:(

  50. joe

    I have a problem every time i draw a line copy or move it takes forever, also the hatch and the highlight command is gone I have to change it all ways, what can i do to solve this problem.

  51. DeanB

    I’m a 2D guy and thought the ViewCube was so cool was considering leaving it on. So I made it smaller, less opaque… after playing around with it and returning to “top” true type fonts look fuzzy. 🙁

    I take it back ViewCube sucks ;->

    ps I went back to my notes and used dview, , POints, “0,0,0” “0,0,1” to fix the fuzzy TTFs.
    pss TTF also require width=0, elev=0

    Bye,Bye ViewCube.

  52. Richard Trujillo

    I’m a CAD-MECH detailer and I’m havaing issues when I hover over something the name no longer pops up. Is there a command that will bring this back?

    Ex: If I hover over the frezze layer button, it does not tell me what that button does.I only know through memory.

  53. Gary McGinnis

    Vault issues with Inventor.
    Created a model “iam” and subsequent “idw” and when i opened the “idw” later it is no longer linked to the model. Can this be fixed? What causes this?

    During the process of working on iam and an idw and saving the status window changes to “not the current iam and will not save the work gives a message that “previous version has been saved by gary and must do a save as”.
    If i do not do a save as the changes are not saved. Is this operator error, memory capacity problem or fault in vault?


  54. Andres

    Is there any way to disable AutoCAD’s themes (the dark and light one that were forced from 2009) and switch back to a non-overlayed GUI (as in the Windows Classic themes like Win98 or XP Classic, i.e. the theme that was possible until ACAD 2008)? I am using XP Classic theme and I have a feeling that the themed GUI makes AutoCAD slower and less responsive, and it is uncomfortable to use.

      1. Andres

        Thank you! Very interesting! But it seems that QuikPik still uses some kind of overlay: AutoCAD itself is loaded with its own overlay “skin” and then this is replaced by the Classic Theme from QuikPik – but only on the titlebar and only as long as at least one file is open.

        So, the interface gets nicer but probably not faster. I will have to think if I want to buy QuikPik or not. It is very sad that there seems to be no native way to just turn off AutoCAD’s dark/light skinning.

  55. Matt

    running windows 7 and ACA 2012, how do you make the underlined menu letters (on say, a ctrl+RC osnap menu) re-appear?
    Pressing Alt turns all the main menubar underlines on, but all RC menu underlines arent turned on…

    having upgraded from XP pro, win7 seems far more rustrating for ACA!

  56. josh

    Everytime i go to file open it asks me to type the file i want to open instead of the box coming up and i can search and see what im looking at. Any ideas how to get it back to normal?

  57. Larry

    Wow, what change. After starting with Version 9 back in the 80’s without a mouse, I went to Version 12 then to 2000. Going to 2000 was a big jump having to get rid of my digitizer. All those pull down menus were a real pain(back then). Took me about a year to finally use 2000 full time, as I still had my old computer with 12 on it.

    Now I have to make the jump from 2000 to 2012 LT and I’m lost again. It is such a major changeover to what I’ve been used to the last 12 yrs, I don’t know where to start. So many changes in how things function, it is hard to figure out what to do to make it work?

  58. Lorima

    I just recently installed autocad 2012 and it seemed to be working fine, but after shutting down I tried to start it back up. The program starts loading and then this error massage comes up saying something about the soft lock security manager. After which I close the program then try to start it back up all it does is come on for a few millisecs and it crashes

  59. Lorima

    can you help me me with this problem I’m a a relative baby when it comes to autocad drawing, but babies need access to learn that of which I don’t have. any help will be highly appreciated thanks

  60. kalyan

    dear sir,
    i have auto cadd 2010 software but in this short cut command co,paste del,ro,erase not easy working when we enter command name after selecting why this problem can y suggetion

  61. Debberdee

    Thank you for the goldmine of info! After almost 30 years as a small business owner and AutoCAD user, I am weary of Autodesk’s so-called upgrades. It’s bad enough being forced to pay the upgrade cost for features I don’t want or use, but worse yet, I have to spend a week or 2 getting back to “normal” and up to speed. You have saved me much time and frustration.

  62. KELS

    hi there, I’m learning atuocad fast but am still a little green. I’m trying to get the standard toolbars at the top of my Drawing as to replicate what we see on Autocad PC’s at school. I’ve followed your advice on my auto cad 2012 mac but all commands are being rejected. Any other tips?

  63. Ell

    My version of Autocad has been recently upgraded to 2012 – most times when I copy a line of text I am unable to edit,erase or do anything with it. When it seems to have disappeared from the model, it shows up again in layout – what am I missing?

  64. Sandra

    Still trying to fix – can not write short function straight after selecting object, I need to move cursor some where else, but not on the object line which is selected! On previous versions just select and put short comand with left hand and no moving mouse in right hand! Is This problem also in version 2013?

  65. lauren

    Thank you so much for this blog- I am a student learning to use autocad. I have spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out how to fix something on my screen and all of this information was very helpful!

  66. Mohammad Riyadh

    Thanks so much
    very helpful
    hatch edit menu disapured in autocad 2012 but thanks to you i have got it back
    and i applied the hatch edit tip too and it was so helpful
    and still so much to learn from this amazing site

    Thanks again

  67. MO


  68. enteecee

    The necessity of articles like this for each successive version is a testament to how broken AutoCAD is, and how poorly AutoDesk supports it. Of course, the other great testament to those things is how many of us run into such problems that we have to seek such articles out in order to stay productive. If only they’d spend ONE rev actually cleaning up the damn thing: streamlining and doing a cohesive UI analysis & update instead of adding more tweaks and features that the vast majority of their users never asked for and will never use.
    Been locked into AutoCAD by various employers since 1999. Ugh.

    1. There are various drawing-specific things that can cause your crosshairs to display at an angle. The current UCS could be at an angle, the view of the drawing could be at an angle, or the snap angle could be set to a non-0 value. The following command sequence should sort all of them out; you may need one or more of them. Depending on how the drawing has been set up, this could affect how the drawing displays.

      SNAPANG 0
      _.UCS _World
      _.PLAN _World

  69. Thank you SO much for having written this down for me to find long after the fact. I am so happy to end my week on this by having a slightly faster and less anoying ACAD application now. My co-workers will appreciate the less frequent complaining coming from my desk, as well as a few of the features I’ve told them about. Great article!

  70. Dan

    I have a right-click issue since I upgraded to 2012. Nothing happens when I right-click on anything at any time. I used to be able to right-click and get a short cut menu. Or shift+right-click and get a snap menu. I have changed every relevant setting I can find. Been through the CUI and the Options and nothing works. Is there some basic setting I’m missing?

  71. DRAQCE

    I have made the leap from AutoCAD LT 2004 to AutoCAD LT 2012. I do not see the “Select” toolbar in the tollbar list. Can anyone tell me if and how to get it back? THANKS!

  72. joma

    Any way to turn off control vertices in 2012? In my work, I modify a lot of submitted .dxf’s which include splines. Now that I switched over to 2012, any splines in a drawing that I open are distorted because of the control vertices. 2011 didn’t include this problem. Any tips?

  73. tomc43


    I’m curently using Acad Mechanical 2012 and somehow got “power dimensioning” turned on. I would very much like to get back to being able to use dimlinear by accessing it from the dimensioning toolbar & not having to type in the command. I can’t seem to find any settings or preferences that I can use. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,


  74. B-rad

    Steve, I really appreciate the time you have taken not only in finding and publishing each tip/setting but your patience with each individual! Kudos. I can’t let you rest on your laurels without a question that I have not found an answer to as of yet! Using Autocad Map 3d 2012 recently upgraded from 2007, When autocad is in paper space there is a faint Neon Green Highlighting effect around my Layout Tool menu that I would like to turn off. Do you know of such a setting? Thx

  75. I’m a newbie, just finished level 3, 3D exams and am now considered a fully qualified CADmonkey! I started learning on 2008, went to 2011 (and downloaded the student version to my laptop) and then changed collage and commpleted the course on 2012…few problems (apart from all the usuall graphics card fails and crashes of course!), but as I prepare to leave collage and head out into the great wide younder I do have a problem which might be relevant to this thread…

    My first tutor showed us a simple way of saving the template WITH the prefered toolbar settings so that you could open the template on another machine from a dongle or copied .dwg file. When I open the latest ‘most happy with’ template on my laptop it only opens with the default settings (a couple of lines of basic toolbars), and when I open the workspace drop-down and find the version I want – clicking on it has no effect?

    Is this because I’m trying to open a 2012 template in 2011 or is it because I’m using the student version?

    When I moved collage I really tried to get to grips with ‘Ribbon’, and tried ‘Pallets’, but I couldn’t get my head round either really, so have well-customised toolbars with nearly everthing visable, and arranged in the order my Aspergic head likes them, with all the duplications removed, so would be very greatful if someone could tell me how to import/open this template with it’s prefered workspace (which has been saved with a new name), anyone got an idea?

    I’m thinking of putting the laptop next to the studio PC and spending a few hours copying the layout one icon at a time, but it would take many hours as I’ve been tweaking my toolbars weekly if not – initially – daily for 14 months!

    Thanks, Hugh (UK)

  76. Rob

    Hey Steve,

    Each time I enter a command I have to click twice to get it to work in cad 2012 and 2013. When using earlier versions (2010 and earlier), once the command was entered I was ready to start moving onward through the operation.

    What setting is there to get using the command right away with double clicking the left button on the mouse?

    Trust there is a reasonable solution for this.


  77. abhilash

    Hi I using autocad 2012 version (autocad classic) . Since last two days I can select object and texts , but I cannot able to edit or delete the selected object.
    Please help me for solving this problem.

    Thanks ,

  78. Brent Couch

    I’m having a problem fairly often when I’m quickly moving around, dragging things, etc I get stuck a RT Pan. All I can do is pan around. I can right
    click and the exit box comes up. I select exit but it still stays stuck in pan mode. I found I can click the middle wheel to get out of this but why does it keep happening?

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