Input Devices and AutoCAD

Touch Screens

We are now seeing the wide scale adoption of the touch screen as an input device.  AutoCAD for Mac supports gestures when using the Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.  We even have a version of AutoCAD (WS) for many touch screen devices.  Who doesn’t love pinch to zoom on their smart phones?

Just imagine all the possibilities for input if you had multiple touch screens or unlimited flexibility to customize multiple Magic Trackpads.  Imagine using the same concept as this Braille keyboard on a touch screen for AutoCAD.  You could have more than enough commands at your fingertips in whatever position your hand feels comfortable in.  This could do wonders for RSI injury.

Keyboard Shortcuts

For now though, one of our best input devices is still the keyboard.  When I was younger, my family owned an Intel Pentium 60 computer, running Windows 95, complete with the infamous FPU bug.  One time, I had the privilege of using this computer with a broken mouse for a couple of weeks.  Without a functioning mouse, I discovered that it was possible to do practically everything with just the keyboard.  Not only was it possible, but it was faster for a lot of operations.

Even today, I’m still a keyboard shortcut addict.  Here is a simple example of a powerful keyboard shortcut in Map 3D Enterprise (Topobase).  When doing data entry on a form, you can press F5 to save the information.  The nice thing is that the F5 key’s location is 100% reliable, it never moves like the mouse cursor does.

AutoCAD and Revit have a ton of keyboard shortcuts.  Use the following in AutoCAD and Revit to access a list of them.

  • AutoCAD:  Type ALIASEDIT (express tool) in the command line
  • AutoCAD for Mac (from the Autodesk help document for AutoCAD for Mac PGP)
    • From the Finder menu bar, click Go Home.
    • In the Username window, double-click Library. Continue to navigate to Application Support/Autodesk/Roaming/AutoCAD 2011 for Mac/<version>/<language>/Support and double-click acad.pgp. If prompted for an application to use, select TextEdit.
  • Revit:  Type KS

If keyboard shortcuts are not your highest priority, that’s okay.  Drawing speed does not come only from the speed at which you can access commands.

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