Six Productivity Tips for Designing in Fusion


In today’s world, learning CAD software is the first step towards any product design journey. Once you start using software, it becomes imperative to learn productivity tools so that you can ace the usage and focus more on design rather than on tools. Here are my favorite tips and tricks for beginners in Autodesk Fusion.


1. Add a keyboard shortcut key

Here's how to do it:

  • Locate the command: Find the command in the ribbon menu that you want to assign a shortcut to.

  • Access the shortcut menu: Hover over the command icon and wait for a moment. A small icon with three vertical dots (...) will appear on the right side. Click on these dots.

  • Assign the shortcut: In the menu that opens, select "Change Keyboard Shortcut...".


  • Press your desired key combination: Now, press the keys you want to use as the new shortcut. You can use single keys or combinations with modifier keys like Ctrl, Shift, Alt (Option on Mac).

  • Confirm and save: Click "OK" to save your new keyboard shortcut.


2. Pin a tool to Toolbar

This method allows you to keep specific tools readily accessible within the interface itself. Here's how:

  • Locate the tool: Find the tool you want to pin in the ribbon menu or the existing toolbar panels.

  • Access the "More" menu: Hover over the tool icon and a small icon with three vertical dots (...) will appear on the right side. Click on these dots.

  • Pin to Toolbar: In the menu that opens, select "Pin to Toolbar". This will add the tool as a permanent icon on the current toolbar panel.

  • Choose the desired location: To place the tool in a specific location within the toolbar, drag and drop it before releasing the mouse click.


3. Quickly access last used tool

Here's how to quickly access your most recently used tool:

  • Right-click anywhere in the workspace.

  • Look for the option "Repeat [Last Command]" near the top of the menu.

  • This option dynamically changes based on the last used command, allowing you to repeat it directly without searching.


4. Search for a tool

You sometimes might be wasting time searching for a tool you used last time. If you work with multiple software, it might be even more challenging to figure out the location of a tool. Here’s a way:

  • Press the "S" key: This brings up a search bar within the toolbar.

  • Type the tool name or partial name and select it from the list.

  •  This method is faster than navigating through menus but requires remembering the tool name.


5. Not all parts have to be designed from scratch

There are two main ways to add standard parts from a library in Fusion.

A. Using McMaster-Carr: Fusion integrates directly with the McMaster-Carr online catalog, which offers a vast collection of standard parts. Here's how to use it:

  • Go to Insert > "Insert McMaster-Carr Component".

  • In the dialog box, search by keyword, category, or part number.

  • Filter results: Use the filters on the left to refine your search.

  • Select the desired part: Click on the part number to view its details.

  • Check compatibility: Ensure the selected part is available in the desired format (e.g., STEP or SAT).

  • Click "Insert" to import the part into your design.

  • Adjust parameters: Some parts allow you to modify parameters like size, material, etc., before importing.

B. Importing from other libraries: You can also import standard parts from other sources like manufacturer websites or local libraries. Here's how:

  • Locate the part file: Ensure the file format is compatible with Fusion (e.g., STEP, IGES, SAT). Then, download the part files.

  • For STL, go to Insert > "Insert Mesh"

  • Select the file and choose the appropriate import options.

  • The imported part will appear in your design.

  • Alternatively, go to File > Open and bring the component to workspace.


6. Use tools from Solid Works

If you have been working with another CAD software and struggling with changes in Navigation tools, Fusion has got you covered. Here's how:

  • Go to Preferences
  • Under General > "Pan, Zoom, Orbit shortcuts," choose your previous software from the drop-down. Using the same navigation tools helps in saving time!