As much as I love the enhancements to the ribbon inside AutoCAD 2010, I have a slight confession to make. I hardly click buttons, navigate menus, or even browse the ribbon to launch many of my most used commands. Instead I revert to a simpler time before such user interface enhancements - the keyboard. Call it archaic, but with minimal effort, you too can become an AutoCAD keyboard warrior! How you ask? To find the answer you need to look no further than the beloved Express Tools.
Looking to the old Express menu, the lesser known Command Alias Editor is tucked away under Express > Tools > Command Alias Editor. Users of AutoCAD 2010 do not have to look far at all as the Command Alias Editor is the biggest button on the Tools ribbon panel on the Express Tools ribbon tab. As you may have guessed, the Command Alias Editor is the secret to configuring your keyboard like an AutoCAD pro!
AutoCAD veterans are probably familiar with modifying the acad.pgp file. For the uninitiated, the acad.pgp is really just a text file containing all of the command aliases used within AutoCAD. For instance, there’s no L command inside AutoCAD, but you’ve probably used it to draw a line at one point or another. The entering L at the command line lets you draw a line is because the alias L is mapped to the LINE command. While AutoCAD ships with L mapped to the LINE command, with the help of the acad.pgp file you’re free to change it to anything you want.
Making things even easier (by putting a graphical interface on the acad.pgp file) is the Command Alias Editor Express Tool. With just a few clicks you can add, remove, or edit any of your command aliases.
To Edit an existing alias
Let’s say you want to remap the LA alias (LAYER command by default) to CLASSICLAYER.
- Launch the Command Alias Editor from the Tools panel within the Express Tools ribbon tab.
- Find the LA alias from the Command Alias Editor, and click the [Edit] button
- From the Edit Command Alias dialog, enter CLASSICLAYER into the AutoCAD Command textbox, and press [Ok]
- The following warning will display. Press [Yes] if you’re ok with the edit you just made.
- The following dialog will display to confirm the change.
Add a new Alias
Let’s say you want to create an alias LLI to launch the LAYISO command.
- Click the [Add] button to create a new alias.
- From the New Command Alias dialog, enter LLI as your alias, and LAYISO as your AutoCAD command (see illustration)
- After pressing [Ok], you will see the command listed inside the Command Alias Editor.
Save Command Aliases
Once you have made the desired changes within the Command Alias Editor…
- Click the [Ok] button
- You will be asked to confirm overwriting your current acad.pgp file.
- A confirmation, letting you know the aliases you just modified have been saved, and made available to your current AutoCAD session.
And that’s it! With a little imagination you can quickly conjure up all sorts of two and three character shortcuts to your most common commands.