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Making the most of your trial

Message 1 of 4
495 Views, 3 Replies

Making the most of your trial

Trials periods can be frustrating. Not only are you attempting to learn something new, but the clock is ticking! It's unfortunate, but we just have to "cooperate with the inevitable".


Here's a few thoughts to help make the most of your trial period.


  • You're Not Gonna Break It
    • Relax! For the most part, you can't break AutoCAD. Chances are, the commands you'll be learning early on are low risk anyway. You might "break" a drawing, but the application itself should be pretty bullet-proof.
    • With that assurance, try stuff! Explore. Try to break it! Try those "I wonder what would happen if..." scenarios. It's the "fail fast/learn fast" concept.
  • Let AutoCAD Help
    AutoCAD has made great improvements in how it helps new users. Frankly, these can be frustrating to us old-timers, but they can be very beneficial when getting started. 
    • Command suggestions - As you type a command, AutoCAD will suggest commands that match (or are related) to what you type. So you don't have to know the exact command name. It can even interpret and translate what it thinks you mean, even though you don't know the exact command. For example, in AutoCAD, the OPTIONS command is used to manage various application settings. Other applications might refer to this as "Settings" or "Preferences". So, if you type SETTINGS or PREFERENCES, AutoCAD will simply open the Options dialog box for you!
    • Watch the Command line - Most applications these days are driven solely by icons or a ribbon. AutoCAD is unique in that it still has a "command line". This is where AutoCAD communicates to you, by prompting you to select an object, type in a value,  pick a point, etc. So, keep an eye on the command line. If AutoCAD appears to be stalled or waiting, see if it's providing you some direction on the command line.
    • Don't fear the keyboard -  Even with the fancy interfaces, most users (and gamers) know that to master an application (or game), keyboard shortcuts are key. And so it is with AutoCAD. Get familiar with list of built-in "command aliases" and "keyboard shortcuts" to save you time. 
    • Pay attention to the My Insights and Have You Tried articles that are suggested. These are personally curated for you by Autodesk. Check these and other Learning resources on the Start Tab.
  • Proceed with Caution
    • Make a copy - Don't try something new on your only copy of a file. If you want to explore a concept, do yourself a favor and try it on a copy of the file, just in case. 
    • Save first - If you're going to try something new that you think might be questionable, save your drawing first. If things go wonky, then just close your drawing (without saving) and re-open the drawing. You'll be right back where you were before.
    • UNDO and OOPS - If you don't want to close & reopen the drawing, perhaps just "undoing" the previous command will work. Just like in other applications, the Ctrl-Z will perform an undo. On a similar note, if you want to retrieve something you erased, typing OPPS will restore it. Even if you had done other draw or edit command since that ERASE!
      Note: UNDO will undo multiple commands, OOPS only restores the most recently erased objects.
  • The Pause that Teaches
    Going too fast is probably not going to be an issue when you're getting started with AutoCAD. There is, however, some advantage to not moving too quickly. A slight pause initially can pay benefits later.
    • Object Info - By default, if you hover your cursor over an object, AutoCAD will display a "rollover tip" menu with info about the object (what it is, its later, color, etc).
    • Toolbar Tooltips - On the toolbar, if you hover over an icon, it will display a related tooltip. But wait! If you hover a little longer, it will expand to show additional info of how the command works in the form of a image or video.
    • File & Layout tabs - hovering over any of the tabs will display a thumbnail of its contents (the drawing or the layout tab).
    • For more on tooltips, check out "Tiptoe through the Tooltips".

Hope this helps! I look forward to reading other "getting started" suggestions in the comments! 


Enjoy the journey.

Please use the Accept as Solution or Kudo buttons when appropriate

Chris Lindner
CAD Technology Consultant @ onebuttoncad.com
AUGI Board of Directors

Message 2 of 4
in reply to: clindner

Thanks @clindner 


Great to see your initiative in starting this thread. I love your watch the "command line" guidance. It was always my first golden role when training new users to AutoCAD back when I was in the reseller channel. "If in doubt, check the command line" 😂


Jonathan Hand

Industry Community Manager | AEC (Architecture & Building)

Message 3 of 4

Great getting started advice Chris! Thanks for sharing!

Chris Coumbe
Director of Community Practice
Message 4 of 4
in reply to: clindner

Trial periods can be frustrating, but they are an inevitable part of learning new software. Here are some tips to make the most of your AutoCAD trial period:

  1. You're Not Gonna Break It: Relax and explore! AutoCAD is robust, so experiment without fear. Trying different commands can help you learn faster.

  2. Let AutoCAD Help: Utilize command suggestions and the command line. AutoCAD often suggests related commands, making it easier to find what you need even if you don't know the exact name. Watch the command line for prompts and use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your workflow.

  3. Proceed with Caution: Always make a copy of your drawing before trying something new. Save frequently, and use the UNDO (Ctrl-Z) and OOPS commands to reverse mistakes.

  4. The Pause that Teaches: Hover over objects and icons to see tooltips and additional information. This can provide valuable insights into the tools and features of AutoCAD.

I hope these tips help you make the most of your trial period! Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments.


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