IN THIS CHAPTER
Touring the AutoCAD screens
Going bar-hopping: Title bars and the status bar
Unraveling the Ribbon
Practicing with palettes
Discovering the drawing area
Using online help
Over the years, AutoCAD’s interface has undergone many changes, ranging from a simple text menu down the right side (still the second-fastest way of using AutoCAD) to drop-down menus, toolbars, the Dashboard (which only survived two releases — 2007 and 2008), tool palettes, and, for now, the Ribbon menu.
Like the rest of this book, this chapter is written for someone who has used other Windows programs but has little or no experience with AutoCAD. Here and throughout the rest of the book, I show you how to do things by using AutoCAD’s implementation of Microsoft’s flavor of the year of its Fluent User Interface (or FUI; pronounced “foo-ey”). AutoCAD has always been big on backward compatibility, and this includes the interface. You can always shift between earlier and newer versions of the user interface.
When you first open AutoCAD, you encounter the Start screen. I can already hear your plaintive cry: “Where do I draw? The screen is full!” No problem. The Start screen (shown in Figure 2-1) is just a menu of available actions. It should be quite obvious as to what each item does. For now, just click the big Start Drawing icon.