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2009, ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge

Chapter 1 Introduction to AutoCAD Architecture 1 - 1



Chapter 1:
Introduction to AutoCAD Architecture
In this chapter you learn how to:
Understand how AutoCAD Architecture functions.
Work with general drawing tools.
View in 3D.


2009, ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge
1 - 2 Learning AutoCAD Architecture 2010
Understanding AutoCAD Architecture

AutoCAD Architecture is useful for any residential or commercial
building project. Architects, structural engineers, facilities managers, and
interior designers, among others, can use it. It is also the basis for
AutoCAD MEP for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design.
The software is designed to work from first concept through to working
drawings and facilities maintenance. This training guide focuses on
Design Development tools for basic building modeling, adding interior
components, and construction documents. It also includes an introduction
to visualization for presentations.
AutoCAD Architecture is based on AutoCAD and all of the standard
AutoCAD tools are available, including ribbon tools, tool palettes,
Properties information, Polar & Object Snap tracking, Fields, Tables,
DesignCenter, and Sheet Sets.
In AutoCAD, you work with lines, arcs, and rectangles that you form
to look like walls, doors, etc. In AutoCAD Architecture, you work
with smart objects that know they are walls, windows, or doors. For
example, when you put a door in a wall, it automatically cuts out the
opening.
In AutoCAD Architecture, you work in 2D and 3D at the same time.
There is only one 3D model, but there are many different views of it
available in either 2D or 3D. For example, you can set up some views
showing 2D reflected ceiling or floor plan information, and others
showing all components in 3D. Views are controlled by Annotation
Scale and Display Configurations.
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Chapter 1 Introduction to AutoCAD Architecture 1 - 3
AutoCAD Architecture uses automatic layering; therefore, changing
layers manually is not necessary. You can choose the layering standard
when you install AutoCAD Architecture or you can change it later.
This training guide uses the AIA (American Institute of Architects)
layering standard.
Most objects in AutoCAD Architecture are defined by styles, such as
wall styles, door styles, and roof styles. AutoCAD Architecture comes
with sample styles, and you can also create your own.
It is a good idea to start new drawings using one of the templates that
come with AutoCAD Architecture. Many of the configuration options
are preset, enabling you to proceed with the job more quickly.
AutoCAD Architecture also includes an extensive Drawing
Management system that helps you create and manage projects. Most
plot sheets are created through this system.


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The User Interface

You can add and modify building elements in AutoCAD Architecture
using the Ribbon, Tool Palettes, Properties, grips, and the shortcut menus.
These methods remain the same, regardless of the type of object being
added or modified.
The Application menu button focuses on file related tasks as well as tools
related to the overall drawing.
There are no pull-down menus available in AutoCAD Architecture unless
the user adds them using the Customize User Interface.
Tooltips display information about an object when you roll your cursor
over it.





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Tool Palettes

The main way to add objects to your drawing is through the Tool Palettes
window. To use the Tool palettes, drag and drop the desired tool into the
drawing, or click on a tool to start a command.
The Design tab holds most of the building element tools. There are
separate tabs for wall, door, and window styles as well as space and
massing tools. FF&E stands for Fixtures, Furnishings, and
Equipment.
There are also separate Tool Palette groups for Document, Detailing,
and Visualization. You can open groups by right-clicking in the Tool
Palettes title bar and selecting a group.
To save space on your screen, you can hide the palettes. If it is
floating, click in the palette title bar to toggle Auto-hide on or off. If
it is docked, click in the upper right corner to hide it. If the palette
does not dock, right-click on the title bar and select Allow Docking
You can also right-click on the palette title bar and select Anchor Left
or Anchor Right to have the palette anchor to the side of the drawing
area.
If you have numerous palettes anchored to the same side, the easiest
way to see them is to change the visibility of the palettes to Icons only
as shown below.



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The Ribbon
The Ribbon in AutoCAD Architecture functions as it does in AutoCAD. It
provides quick access to tools and settings, and replaces the pull-down
menus which were used in previous versions of AutoCAD Architecture.
The Home tab includes all basic tools, including Building tools such as
Walls, Doors, and Ceiling Grids, and Basic Drawing and Modifying
Tools. Other tabs include Insert, Annotate, Render, View and Manage.
The Tool Palettes should be used for most tasks involving adding new
objects to the drawing. The default palettes contain far more choices of
styles for wall, doors and other object types than are available from the
Ribbon, which only lists the generic tools. As well, the Tool Palettes can
be customized to include the specific styles of objects which you require
for a project.
The Ribbon is used for modifying existing objects, as it has context
sensitive tabs which appear automatically when an existing object is
selected. The context sensitive tabs have a green tint to them to indicate
that they are related to the selected objects.

If desired, individual panels can be pulled off the Ribbon into the main
drawing area so that their tools are always accessible. When done, click
the Return Panels to Ribbon button.

By right-clicking on a Ribbon tab or panel, you also have the option of
turning off entire tabs or specific panels within the current tab.

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Properties

As you add objects to your drawing, you can adjust the options through
the Properties palette. You can also use Properties to modify selected
objects, such as changing the style or height of a wall.
Double-clicking on a building element in AutoCAD Architecture
typically opens the Properties palette. You can also open it from most
of the shortcut menus, or by pressing <Ctrl> + 1.
Each type of object has different properties, but they are typically
divided into Design and Extended Data, with sub-categories as needed.
Select an option in Properties to see a description of it at the bottom of
the palette.
It is a good idea to leave Properties open at all times and to set it to
Auto-hide.
The Display tab holds properties that apply to the display of the
selected object.
The Extended Data tab holds non-graphical data about objects that is
used by tags and schedules.


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Grips

Grips are more powerful in AutoCAD Architecture than in AutoCAD.
They provide extra ways of modifying objects without having to start a
command. The various grip options for each object type are discussed
during the training guide.
There are different types of grips in AutoCAD Architecture, including
grip tips that explain the uses of each grip. Move your cursor over a grip
to see the tip about using it.
Shortcut Menus

Use the right mouse button extensively. You can access tools related to the
selected object from the shortcut menus. For example, if you select a wall
and right-click, you find the many modification tools related to walls.
The shortcut menu typically includes the Basic Modify Tools such as
Erase and Move, Clipboard tools, some annotation tools, and access to
Properties.

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The Quick Access toolbar, located just to the right of the Application
Menu button, gives quick access to common tools. It can be
customized to add more tool icons. Simply right-click on an icon on
the Ribbon and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar. To remove an
icon from the toolbar, right-click on the tool button and select Remove
from Quick Access Toolbar.
You rarely need to type in AutoCAD Architecture command names.
They are very long (for example: aeccolumngridadd). Instead, use tool
palettes and the shortcut menus.
Status Bars

The standard Status Bar in AutoCAD Architecture includes many drawing
aids, such as object snaps and polar tracking, as well as access to Paper
Space layouts. It also includes several basic viewing tools and access to
workspaces.
The Drawing Status Bar
The Drawing Status Bar located just above the Command Line contains
Project information, Annotation Scale, current Display Configuration, Cut
Plane, and several tools.
If a project is loaded, information about it displays on the left side of the
Drawing Status Bar.

Annotation Scaling

Annotation Scale in Model Space Viewport Scale in a Layout
In the middle of the Drawing Status Bar, you see information about the
Annotation scale. If you are in Model Space, you can select the Annotation
Scale from a list. In a layout with a viewport selected, you can set the
Viewport Scale, which also sets the annotation scale, as well as locks the
viewport.
The other buttons control how annotation objects are displayed.
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Display Configuration

Using a Display Configuration enables you to see only the types of
components needed for a particular view. The Model tab can only have
one display configuration. However, each viewport in a layout can have a
different display configuration.
The Display Configuration can be linked to the drawing scale. Check
with your CAD Manager to see how it is set up in your office.
Workspaces
When you open AutoCAD Architecture, you are in a workspace, which
consists of a specific set of palettes and Ribbon panels arranged on your
screen. AutoCAD Architecture has one default workspace. While you can
also create your own, the focus on the Ribbon and the lack of toolbars in
AutoCAD Architecture means that using workspaces has little advantage.
To switch workspaces, click on the Status Bar.
To create your own custom workspaces, set up the screen the way you
want, click Save Current As from the Workspace menu, and save
the workspace with a new name.

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Viewing in 3D

As you begin to work in AutoCAD Architecture, you need to know how to
move between 2D and 3D views. There are a number of preset views and
easy orbiting techniques you can use to move around the drawing. You
can also use Visual styles to change the shading status of the objects in the
drawing.
The quickest way to switch to a 3D view or from a 3D view back to a
2D view is to select a preset view from the View panel on the Home
tab. This panel by default floats on the right side of the drawing area to
give quick access to the navigation features.
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Once in 3D, you can use the orbiting commands to change the view
and to switch between parallel and perspective projections.


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Visual Styles

When you first change to a 3D view, it could be hard to visualize the
building because it displays in a wireframe view. Visual styles are ways of
hiding and shading 3D objects to help you get a better understanding of
the design. Several visual styles are available in the Appearance panel on
the View tab. They can also be accessed from the drop-down list in the
View panel on the right side of the drawing area. You can create
additional ones. You can add and modify objects and change the view in
any visual styles.

2009, ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge
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Orbiting in 3D

Once you select a preset view and a visual style, you can view the drawing
from many angles by orbiting around the building. The best tool for
viewing in 3D is temporary orbiting. Hold down the <Shift> key and the
scroll wheel of your mouse to orbit around the model. The cursor changes
to the icon. The target stays stationary but the camera moves.
If you are in a 3D visual style, you also see the ViewCube in the upper
right corner. You can click on various parts of the cube and related
elements to move to specific views. You can also click and drag it to
rotate the drawing.
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The icon in the upper left corner of the cube is the Home button.
Click this to return to the default Home view. To create a Home view,
set up the view you want, right-click on the ViewCube, and select Set
Current View as Home.
You may also see the SteeringWheel in the lower left corner of the
screen. You cover this in the visualization section of the class.
Practice - Introduction to the AutoCAD
Architecture Interface

In this practice you review important features in the AutoCAD
Architecture interface. Estimated time for completion: 10 minutes.
Task 1 Explore the Interface
1. Start AutoCAD Architecture.
2. Open the drawing Office Space-10.dwg.
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3. Look at the various tabs in the Tool Palettes window. Pause the cursor
over several tools in the Design tab to see the available design
components. Try the visual styles from the drop-down list in the View
panel on the Home tab or in the Appearance panel on the View tab.
4. Practice moving, docking, and hiding the palettes. Set up the screen in
the way you are most comfortable. In the Workspace icon on the
Status Bar, select Save Current As... in the pull-down menu and give
the new workspace a name. This is the main way to customize a
workspace to your needs.
Task 2 Review User Interface Tools
1. Right-click in the drawing window without any objects selected.
Notice the commands in the menu.
2. Select a wall and notice the variety of grips. Right-click and notice the
additional commands in the menu. Notice that a contextual Wall tab
has appeared on the Ribbon. Select Deselect All.
3. Select a window and right-click. Notice the window-specific tools.
Note again that the Ribbon is showing a contextual tab. Clear all
objects from selection.
4. On the Home tab in the Ribbon, click the Wall icon in the Build panel.
Look at the Properties panel. These properties can be set for a wall.
Press <Esc> to cancel the command.
5. In the Tool Palettes window, click the Wall icon in the Design tab.
Look at the Properties palette. Note that the Style parameter has
Standard listed beside it. These properties can be set for a wall. Press
<Esc> to cancel the command.
6. In the Tool Palettes window, select the Walls tab. Note the different
styles of walls available here. Look at the Properties palette. Note that
the Style parameter has the name of the specific wall style you selected
from the Tool Palette. Press <Esc> to cancel the command.
7. Repeat the process with the Window tool.
8. Zoom in on the Elevators.
9. In the Drawing Status Bar, change the Display Configuration to Low
Detail. Notice that the hatching is automatically modified.
10. Change the Display Configuration to High Detail and then to
Presentation and others.
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11. Finally, change the configuration back to Medium Detail.
Task 3 View in 3D
1. Use the View Presets to change to an Isometric view.
2. Hold down the <Shift> key and scroll with the middle mouse button.
Notice that you can quickly move the orbit around the building
without starting a command.
3. Try the visual styles from the drop-down list in the View panel.
4. Use the ViewCube to change to several different views.
5. Switch back to the Top view.
6. Close the drawing. Do not save changes.

2009, ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge
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Command Summary
Icon Command Location


Tool Palettes Ribbon: Home tab > Build panel > Tools
drop-down > Design Tools
Shortcut: Ctrl + 1

Properties Ribbon: Home tab > Build panel > Tools
drop-down > Properties


Annotation Scale Drawing Status Bar

Viewport Scale Drawing Status Bar (in a Layout)

Lock/ Unlock
(viewports)
Drawing Status Bar (in a Layout)

Display Configuration Drawing Status Bar

3D Orbit Ribbon: View tab > Navigate panel >
Orbit drop-down list
Ribbon: Home tab > View panel > View
Direction pull-down (often located at
right of screen)
Shortcut: Hold down <Shift> and the
scroll wheel on the mouse

View Presets Ribbon: View tab > Appearance panel >
View Appearance box
Ribbon: Home tab > View panel > View
Direction drop-down (often located at
right of screen)

Visual Styles Ribbon: View tab > Appearance panel >
Visual Styles pull-down
Ribbon: Home tab > View panel > Visual
Styles pull-down (often located at right of
screen)

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Chapter Review
1. List some of the object types found in AutoCAD Architecture.
2. What is the quickest way to start a drawing command in AutoCAD
Architecture? What is the quickest way to start a modification
command?
3. If you are in a 3D view and want to display the objects by removing
hidden lines, what do you do?
4. If you are in a 3D view and want to return to a plan view, what do you
do?




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