image image thumb5One of the greatest features of AutoCAD is how much you can tailor it to meet your individual needs. To me, what’s even better than the ability to customize your workspace, is the fact Autodesk makes it incredibly easy to get things back to the way they were if you happen to over customize your AutoCAD environment. The CUI (Customize User Interface) command is both your ticket to customization bliss, and also your interface defibrillator for when things get ugly.

For the purpose of this post we’ll assume you’ve over customized your AutoCAD workspace, and want to get things back to the way they used to be. Once again, our tool of choice will be the CUI command. There’s a couple ways you can get to the CUI command.

  • Command Line: Enter CUI at the command line.
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  • Status Bar: Click on the “Workspace” button, and then select “Customize”
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Both methods will take you to the Customize User Interface dialog. Those familiar with the CUI command know the dialog is split into two parts; left and right. In this post we’re going to focus on the top-left part of the dialog which has the heading Customizations in All Files.

The very top entry inside this part of the CUI dialog will list your main customization file. For people running normal AutoCAD, this will be ACAD, AutoCAD Architecture will be ACA, etc. Right-clicking on this entry will display a submenu that has the option to either “Restore ACAD.CUIX” or “Reset ACAD.CUIX”. If you’re like me reset and restore mean just about the same thing, so what’s the difference in this context?

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Restore your CUI

Restore will replace your current CUI (acad.cuix) with an incremental backup of your CUI file (acad.bak.cuix). Both the acad.cuix and acad.bak.cuix are stored in your local Application Data folder (Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Autodesk\product name\enu\Support). The relationship between these two files is much the same as the relationship between DWG files and BAK files. A BAK file is always one version behind the DWG file itself. Bottom line, restoring your CUI won’t take back to the out-of-the-box AutoCAD interface, but rather a previous version of your own customizations.

Reset your CUI

Depending on the circumstances, my preference is to try the restore method outlined above first, and if that doesn’t fix things proceed to resetting your CUI. The reset option will replace your current CUI file with the out-of-the-box version of the AutoCAD CUI. In case you’re curious, the original version of the CUI is stored in a hidden directory within the AutoCAD installation directory. The actual path is C:\Program Files\Product Name\UserDataCache\Support. Once again, I consider this option the “if all else fails method”, because it will reset the AutoCAD user interface back to the way it was when you first installed AutoCAD.