This section covers the basic AutoCAD web app controls.

Getting Started

First, go to in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge (Chromium based) on Windows or Mac. Sign in using your Autodesk account, or create an account if you don't already have one.

Once you're signed in, you'll see the Homepage, also known as the file manager. Click New Drawing to begin a new drawing.


Give the drawing a name and choose whether you want to use the Metric or Imperial drawing template, then click Open to launch the AutoCAD web app.

The Command Palette

In the bottom left of the screen, you'll see a list of the most commonly used AutoCAD tools, or "commands" which is what they're called in the AutoCAD universe. These tools are sorted into Draw, Annotate, and Modify groupings.


The Command Line

At the heart of AutoCAD is the Command line, which is docked at the bottom left of the drawing area. Here you'll see prompts, options, and messages.


You can enter commands directly in the Command line instead of clicking them in the command palette. Many long-time AutoCAD users prefer this method. Notice that you don't need to click in the Command line to enter a command. If you simply start typing, the characters you type will display here.

Also notice that as you start to type a command, it completes automatically. So if you start the LINE command, you can simply type 'L' and then press Enter.

When several possibilities are available such as in the example below, you can make your choice by clicking it or using the arrow keys and then pressing Enter or the Spacebar.


Command Prompts

When a command is active, command prompts tell you what to do next. Or, if there are multiple options, those options can be selected by clicking the option you want within the prompt.


The Mouse

Most people use a mouse as their pointing device, but other devices have equivalent controls.



The easiest way to change your view is by using the wheel on your mouse.

Tip: When you zoom in or out, the location of the cursor is important. Think of your cursor as a magnifying glass. For example, if you position the cursor in the upper-right area of the floor plan as shown below, rolling the mouse wheel magnifies that area without shifting it.



After you start a new drawing, you'll first decide what the length of one unit represents—an inch, a foot, a centimeter, a kilometer, or some other unit of length. For example, the objects below could represent two buildings that are each 125 feet long, or they could represent a section from a mechanical part that is measured in millimeters.


Unit Display Settings

Click Settings alt on the right side of the header, and go to the Units tab. Here you can control several unit display settings including the following:

If you plan to work in feet and inches, set the unit type to Architectural, and then when you create objects, specify their lengths in inches, or by using (') for feet and (") for inches. If you plan to use metric units, leave the unit type set to Decimal. Changing the unit format and precision does not affect the internal precision of your drawing. It affects only how lengths, angles, and coordinates are displayed in the user interface.

Reminders and Recommendations

Table of Contents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to AutoCAD on the Web

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