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AutoCAD Basic Information Tutorial

This tutorial is the text complement of our introduction video AutoCAD tutorial available for download. The video tutorial is more comprehensive and covers some things that we don't cover here for lack of space.

In the screenshot below you can see the AutoCAD drawing area which is the black area in the middle of the AutoCAD screen. This is the area where you can see the objects that you create.
AutoCAD Drawing Area

In the bottom left-hand corner of the AutoCAD drawing area, there is a UCS icon which helps to keep you oriented while drawing objects. At times you may rotate the objects and look at them from different angles. This UCS icon tells you which direction things are oriented at. The X and Y represent the X,Y coordinate system.
AutoCAD UCS symbol

Below the drawing area, in the status bar area of the AutoCAD screen, you can see the coordinates that your mouse cursor is at when it is in the AutoCAD drawing area. As you move your mouse cursor around the screen, you can see these values changing. These three numbers are your X, Y, and Z. If you are only working with 2D models, then Z will be zero.
AutoCAD coordinate display

Between the drawing area and the status bar you can see the AutoCAD command line. From the command line you can tell AutoCAD to draw objects just like you can click on toolbar icons to draw objects. Watch the command line as you draw objects because it will frequently ask you questions to specify points, dimensions, and other attributes of the objects that you are working with.
AutoCAD Command Line

The above screenshot only shows the AutoCAD standard toolbar. When you are going to draw using AutoCAD, you will want to turn on the draw toolbar. To do this, right-click on the gray area next to the standard toolbar (just below the menu), then click on ACAD, then Draw.
AutoCAD Draw Toolbar
The toolbar will appear in the AutoCAD drawing area. It is called an undocked toolbar because it is just "floating" around the screen. You may click in the blue are and move the toolbar.
AutoCAD Draw Toolbar in the Drawing Area
Click in the blue area and move the toolbar to the right side of the screen. It will change shapes and merge with the side of the screen.
AutoCAD Draw Toolbar is Merged
You can now click on the double lines on the toolbar and drag it back to the drawing area. Then, you may move your mouse cursor to the side of the toolbar, click & drag, and you will be resizing the toolbar.
AutoCAD Draw Toolbar is Resized