AutoCAD Selection Effect

Disable the Glowing Line Highlighting Effect inside AutoCAD

By default, when you select objects in AutoCAD, a blue glowing effect displays to indicate the selected state of an object. The glowing visual effect has been the default for many years now, but some AutoCAD veterans might recall the former dashed effect used to indicate when objects are selected. Although many have come to appreciate, or at least accept the glowing effect, others still prefer the dashed effect from yesteryear. The good news when using AutoCAD is that most things like this are customizable, and the selection effect is no exception. In fact, there are technically two ways to enable the dashed line effect should that be your preference.

The first is a byproduct of understanding what allows the glowing effect in the first place. AutoCAD only displays the glowing effect when running with a graphics card capable of hardware acceleration. So if you don’t see the glowing effect, and never turned it off, there’s a good chance the answer as to why rests with your hardware. Of course, if you see the glowing effect and would prefer to disable it, you can technically do so by disabling hardware acceleration. I say technically since, while it does enable the dashed line selection effect, it prevents you from taking advantage of the many other benefits of hardware acceleration. Put simply; this is not the method I recommend if the dashed effect is what you’re after.

So what should you do if you wish to disable the glowing effect? The answer rests in the SELECTIONEFFECT system variable. The glowing effect displays when this variable is set to its default value of 1. Changing the SELECTIONEFFECT variable to 0 will disable the glowing effect, instead of displaying the dashed line effect. Best of all, the SELECTIONEFFECT variable has no effect on hardware acceleration. That means you can enable the dashed line effect while keeping all the advantages of hardware acceleration.

What is your preferred setting for the SELECTIONEFFECT system variable? Likewise, what other settings are you interested in switching inside AutoCAD? Let us know in the comments below.

Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.


  1. When I started AutoCad (only a few weeks ago) I had the blue highlight effect and now for some unknown reason the select is showing as dashed. I prefer the blue highlight and cant seem to work out how to switch it back? All the forums and tutorials seem to be instructing the reverse, ie. how to disable the blue highlight back to dashed.

    Can anyone help be go from a dashed select to the blue highlight I originally had?

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