AutoCAD has a wide selection of tools and capabilities, and with this comes a variety of terms that you might not be familiar with. To help you along your AutoCAD journey, we’ve put together a small list of basic AutoCAD terminology. Don’t worry, you’ll be using these terms like a pro before you even know it! If you come across an unfamiliar term, you can check out the full AutoCAD glossary of terms.

  • Absolute coordinates: a method of inputting points based on the origin.
    • Acad.dwt: default template that loads when you start a new drawing.
    • Block: a pre-drawn image that you can insert into your drawing.
    • Extent: the outer boundaries of the objects you’ve drawn.
    • Grid: this can be used as a guide for drawings—you can toggle on/off with F7.
    • Linetype: objects are all drawn with a line type, e.g. solid or dashed.
    • Object: any item in the AutoCAD database, otherwise known as an entity.
    • Origin: this is the (0,0) point of your coordinate system.
    • Ortho Mode: a mode that only permits you to draw perpendicular lines—you can toggle on/off with F8.
    • Onsnap (Object Snap): the method of ‘snapping’ to precise points on an object.
    • Pan: to move around your drawing by dragging the drawing area.
    • Polar coordinates: a method of inputting points based on distance and angle.
    • Relative coordinates: a method of inputting points based on a start point.
    • Ribbon: the ribbon runs across the top of the drawing space and contains panels.
    • Snap: a drawing mode that lets you snap your cursor to precise points on a grid pattern.
    • User Coordinate System (UCS): a Cartesian coordinate system that establishes the XY work plane, horizontal and vertical directions.
    • Viewport: a window that lets you view your drawing—you can have multiple viewports to see different areas of a drawing.
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