image_thumb.pngAs illustrated by my blogging frequency, the last several weeks have been incredibly busy. During that time I had the chance to speak with a large number of AutoCAD (and its many vertical flavors like Civil 3D) users, and answer some of their burning questions. As you might imagine, I fielded a diverse range of questions, many of which I intend to use as inspiration for a number of upcoming blog posts. Certainly one of my most asked questions was some derivative of “Where can I find ___ command in AutoCAD 2010?”

My answer certainly wasn’t earth shattering, but it was certainly a huge time saver for many of the users I spoke with. The Application Menu (the big “A” icon in the upper left corner of the screen, or “C” for Civil 3D users) has an incredibly useful search feature. Let’s assume for a moment you’re having a hard time locating the OFFSET command. The tooltips in AutoCAD are certainly good enough that you could hover over a seemingly infinite number of icons to figure out which each one does. On the other hand you can earn yourself another coffee break by using the Application Menu’s search function.

  1. Click on the Application Menu
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  2. Enter “Offset” in the search box atop the Application Menu.
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  3. Matches for your query display within the Application Menu.  Clicking on a match will launch the respective command.  Since you probably won’t want to search for the OFFSET command every time you need to use it, pay attention to the result itself.  On the left you’ll find the same icon used within the ribbon itself displayed.  With that knowledge, you can use the text on the right to make a mental note of where the OFFSET command is located.  In this case the OFFSET command can be found on the Home tab within the Modify panel.
    image
    Note: You can use this procedure to locate commands within vertical applications such as Civil 3D, but the results won’t always guide you to the correct ribbon. For help on finding the location of Civil 3D commands on the ribbon, use the “Where is my Command?” tool found in the Civil 3D help file.

22 thoughts on “Easily find Ribbon Commands

  1. I just had Acad 11 loaded. Now I cannot modify my ribbon, add commands, the apply tab remains greyed…would this be a rights issue or is there something else that I am missing

    • The configuration of the Ribbon (which tools, panels, etc) is controlled from the CUI (Customize User Interface) command. It’s interface will allow you to make any of the customizations you mentioned. As you customize your user interface it’s also important to understand the concept of workspaces. To summarize, workspaces are a collection of tools, and store just about everything related to the user interface.

      Hope that helps!

      Donnie

  2. I have found the ribbon in Microsoft products actually improved my productivity whereas the ribbon in AutoCAD reduces productivity by requiring multiple clicks where one click used to be enough. I was reverting to typing in commands. On top of that it takes up too much screen space.

    It was a relief to find that I could reinstate my familiar toolbars.

    Why is it that Autodesk finds it necessary to change the icons? I think this is at least the third iteration of redesigned icons. As a simple example, the pan icon.

    • Sometimes the “lost” productivity comes from a unwilliness too accept new tech. I am what most would call a novice when it comes to AutoCAD with only 2000 hours under my belt I haven’t developed the deep ruts that most veterans seem to have. Advancement requires change, and no one seems to want to accept change. I for one did find the ribbons frustrating when I was trying to locate commands and took up alot of screen space (esp. when I switch from my 22″ widescreen at work to my 15″ screen at home on my laptop :S) But instead of spining my wheels and cursing Autodesk for do a massive facelift (biggest since they went from text window to toolbars….how many of you hated that?) i decided i would be accepting of this new interface cause…..hate to break it to ya…..its here to stay. Know to quench this feeling of dispare of having to totaly relearning my most used software I used GOOGLE did you know there is a whole world of knowledge out there. I typed in sumtin simple like AutoCAD 2010 tips and tricks, and you wouldn’t belive the wealth of knowledge that spewed into my lap. the biggest and best thing that i discovered was that you don’t have to have the big and obnoxious ribbon across the top of your screen (how to do that and more–> http://www.cad-notes.com/2009/11/maximize-your-screen-and-speed-up-with.html) at the same time i discovered that the ribbons acctauly ADD MORE, yea more keyboard shorcuts, thus making me fast at my job! now i have a 3 letter shorcut to get the lay manager up, now you try to tell me that reduces your productivity. open your eyes people, and please don’t fear sumtin new. be more accepting and you’ll be suprised the things you will learn….and thats my rant for the day. Sorry if it seemed to be directed at you, Dairobi Paul its more directed to all the veterans who panic when they see teh ribbons and switch to classic

  3. I have found the ribbon in Microsoft products actually improved my productivity whereas the ribbon in AutoCAD reduces productivity by requiring multiple clicks where one click used to be enough. I was reverting to typing in commands. On top of that it takes up too much screen space.

    It was a relief to find that I could reinstate my familiar toolbars.

    Why is it that Autodesk finds it necessary to change the icons? I think this is at least the third iteration of redesigned icons. As a simple example, the pan icon.

    • Sometimes the “lost” productivity comes from a unwilliness too accept new tech. I am what most would call a novice when it comes to AutoCAD with only 2000 hours under my belt I haven’t developed the deep ruts that most veterans seem to have. Advancement requires change, and no one seems to want to accept change. I for one did find the ribbons frustrating when I was trying to locate commands and took up alot of screen space (esp. when I switch from my 22″ widescreen at work to my 15″ screen at home on my laptop :S) But instead of spining my wheels and cursing Autodesk for do a massive facelift (biggest since they went from text window to toolbars….how many of you hated that?) i decided i would be accepting of this new interface cause…..hate to break it to ya…..its here to stay. Know to quench this feeling of dispare of having to totaly relearning my most used software I used GOOGLE did you know there is a whole world of knowledge out there. I typed in sumtin simple like AutoCAD 2010 tips and tricks, and you wouldn’t belive the wealth of knowledge that spewed into my lap. the biggest and best thing that i discovered was that you don’t have to have the big and obnoxious ribbon across the top of your screen (how to do that and more–> http://www.cad-notes.com/2009/11/maximize-your-screen-and-speed-up-with.html) at the same time i discovered that the ribbons acctauly ADD MORE, yea more keyboard shorcuts, thus making me fast at my job! now i have a 3 letter shorcut to get the lay manager up, now you try to tell me that reduces your productivity. open your eyes people, and please don’t fear sumtin new. be more accepting and you’ll be suprised the things you will learn….and thats my rant for the day. Sorry if it seemed to be directed at you, Dairobi Paul its more directed to all the veterans who panic when they see teh ribbons and switch to classic

  4. Donnie, I certainly wasn’t knocking your post here. I hope it didn’t come across like that. I’ve got people now (on 2008) that will sit there and hunt and peck for a command on the menus or toolbars for half a minute when they could have just typed it in. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when we introduce the Ribbon…

    You are right about ability to revert to “classic” mode. There is no way they could have forced the Ribbon on everyone – that would have been PR suicide for them…

    Do you think they will keep the pull-downs and toolbars up to date with new commands in the future, or are these now considered “legacy”…

    • Certainly didn’t get the impression that you were knocking my post. There’s no two ways about it – selling the ribbon to veteran users is tough. I do think the contextual ribbon in 2010 has helped make the sell easier, but bottom line – it’s change many users question the purpose of.

      As for when Autodesk will stop updating the menus. For Civil 3D at least, the answer to that is this release. If you enable menus inside Civil 3D 2010, you will not find things like the new intersection tool.

  5. Donnie, I certainly wasn’t knocking your post here. I hope it didn’t come across like that. I’ve got people now (on 2008) that will sit there and hunt and peck for a command on the menus or toolbars for half a minute when they could have just typed it in. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when we introduce the Ribbon…

    You are right about ability to revert to “classic” mode. There is no way they could have forced the Ribbon on everyone – that would have been PR suicide for them…

    Do you think they will keep the pull-downs and toolbars up to date with new commands in the future, or are these now considered “legacy”…

    • Certainly didn’t get the impression that you were knocking my post. There’s no two ways about it – selling the ribbon to veteran users is tough. I do think the contextual ribbon in 2010 has helped make the sell easier, but bottom line – it’s change many users question the purpose of.

      As for when Autodesk will stop updating the menus. For Civil 3D at least, the answer to that is this release. If you enable menus inside Civil 3D 2010, you will not find things like the new intersection tool.

  6. My initial gut reaction is just to scream at Autodesk. By the time you do all that, you could have just typed “offset” at the command line and saved another 10 seconds….

    I know, sometimes the command name is not the same as what you might be searching for, in which case the search is a valuable tool — but I guess what gets me is that users shouldn’t ever be “having a hard time locating the (fill in the blank) command”…

    • Indeed, the OFFSET command probably wasn’t the greatest example of a command users have a hard time locating. As for the notion users shouldn’t feel lost to begin with; I have mixed feelings on that one. Prior to 2010 the AutoCAD Architecture interface was completely different from the Revit Architecture interface. With more users using a broader range of products, I can side with Autodesk on the need to unify the user interfaces between products. That change does of course mean veteran users like you and I are sorta’ left out in the cold, trying to re-learn the stuff we have known for years. Still, unlike Microsoft when they went to the ribbon in Office 2007, at least Autodesk gave us the option to go back to the “Classic” interface.

  7. My initial gut reaction is just to scream at Autodesk. By the time you do all that, you could have just typed “offset” at the command line and saved another 10 seconds….

    I know, sometimes the command name is not the same as what you might be searching for, in which case the search is a valuable tool — but I guess what gets me is that users shouldn’t ever be “having a hard time locating the (fill in the blank) command”…

    • Indeed, the OFFSET command probably wasn’t the greatest example of a command users have a hard time locating. As for the notion users shouldn’t feel lost to begin with; I have mixed feelings on that one. Prior to 2010 the AutoCAD Architecture interface was completely different from the Revit Architecture interface. With more users using a broader range of products, I can side with Autodesk on the need to unify the user interfaces between products. That change does of course mean veteran users like you and I are sorta’ left out in the cold, trying to re-learn the stuff we have known for years. Still, unlike Microsoft when they went to the ribbon in Office 2007, at least Autodesk gave us the option to go back to the “Classic” interface.

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