Autocad 2011 – Where do I start?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums TECHNOLOGY Autocad 2011 – Where do I start?

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    Claudia Chalfa

    Ok, so I am trying to learn Autocad 2011 on my own.  I have used CAD briefly in the past, I think it was the 2008 version, but then I just modified an existing drawing.  So I know a few of the basic commands but after that I am hopeless.  It is very overwhelming, and I need a little help knowing where to begin.  How do I create a title block?  How do I make everything scaled and accurate in relation to that huge blank screen?  I am very savvy with Adobe CS and can’t figure out why CAD is so hard for me.  Why are there so many buttons that appear to have no function whatsoever? 


    My real question is – what is the best, and cheapest, tutorial out there for someone who just needs to get started…I can’t afford to throw out $100 for a dvd or book or online tutorial and have it not be the right one. 

    Jared Chase

    I recently taught myself to use Autocad and here is what helped me. Start here, .  The tutorials are a basic overview of the program and will help you get familiar with the program.  They also have a message board if you have any questions.  There are also many other CAD sites on the internet.  Some that helped me are: ,


    In my opinion, the best tutorial you can buy are the videos from  You can even pay a monthly membership to view tutorials for many different kinds of software.  I used them and they were the most helpful by far.  I have a book called the Autocad Bible and it was good but not nearly as helpful as the videos from


    Google is also going to be your best friend.  If you have an issue, just type it in as a questions into Google and you’ll likely find an answer.


    I know exactly why you feel overwhelmed because I felt the same way when I started  but I think that Autocad is really pretty easy if you use the resources that are out there.

    Claudia Chalfa

    I saw that Lynda site, and it did look pretty good, but I was afraid to register and pay a bunch of money just in case it wasn’t as great as it appeared.  Maybe I will try it for a month or so and see how it goes.


    There are some good free tutorial sites out there, and youtube, but they all seem to be more advanced, rather than what I need, which is sort of a basic explanation of how it all works. 


    Thanks for the advice! 

    Claudia Chalfa

    Thanks!  I’ve used sketchup before, it’s very intuitive and easy to grasp.  (Unlike Autocad!)  I’ll have a look at your site too.

    Claudia Chalfa

    Thank you everyone!  At the moment I am working as a planner so I don’t get to use CAD at work, and if I want to become a licensed LA I know I will need to learn it.  As several have pointed out, it’s really hard to just sit down and learn it without someone else there to answer questions every 5 minutes.  But I shall persevere!

    Claudia Chalfa

    I really think what I need most is a series of simple exercises. Get me started, help me create a few simple shapes and deal with the basic drawing tools and layout, and then I can build on that with other tutorials. None of the tutorials I have seen so far does that, really. Can anyone think of a site that does?

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Autocad is taught in a lot of local adult ed programs at night in high schools, community colleges and such. I see it here on Cape Cod where there is not a greater compelling need to teach/learn it than any other community across the country. I think you’ll find one close by for “normal” night school adult ed rates.

    You get so much more out of learning it in a class with other students and a teacher to interact with, not to mention the support you can continue to get from others you meet in class when it’s all over.


    You can also access, download and use all the Lynda programs for Autocad without paying for them.

    Yes, this is a torrent site, so you know exactly what your doing, at least I did. But I downloaded every AutoCAD tutorial program from Lynda and VTC, and at no cost.

    You need a torrent downloader program like BitTorrent or BitComet.

    With this site, depending if it i open to new accounts, you may be able to register and gain access. If you do, type in a search for Lynda and AutoCAD and off you go. These are large files and will take hours to download. But they even come with the program files.



    If this does not work, try this site.



    Pick Torrent is wide open and just do the same kind of search.


    Hope this helps. It has helped me immensely



    Pascu Andreea


    I know most of the people out there are used to AutoCad but if you’re a beginner then why don’t you try ArchiCAD I think it’s a LOT more helpful for us.  AutoCad can be used for basic stuff or objects..  I only used it related to GIS or other kind of things, never for my projects. But that’s just me 🙂

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    The difference is that if you go to ASLA Joblink right now and look at the first 20 jobs, 16 of them have “autocad” in them. Two of the four that don’t are for academic positions. One is for plant procurement and the last is for construction oversight. None mention “ArchiCAD”.



    Claudia Chalfa

    I actually looked at my local tech school website awhile back, and they did have a CAD class but it was offered during the day unfortunately.  I will look again though.

    Claudia Chalfa

    I do know there are other programs out there, that are modified CAD LT programs.  But like Andrew says, I want to be competitive so I need to know the real deal.

    Jordan Lockman

    At my local tech school they put together a CAD class after multiple people had talked to them about it. It would not hurt to contact the instructor for the daytime class and see if they would be willing to do an evening class. Maybe see if you can find others in your situation. Also try the library for books or other information it is free and quite often you can get what  you need.


    close all the tabs, toolbars, windows and buttons that the default 2011 interface throws at you. All you need is the command line and model/paper space tabs.


    Cad is actually pretty intuitive when you forget about all the junk toolbars and use the command line. If you want to make a line, type “L” for line..Polyline..”PL”..trim, offset, arc, circle, etc…Learn the command keys and you’ll be all set.


    I’m sold.

    I learned years ago that there might be “better” programs than AutoCAD, but it seems like it all begins and ends with Autodesk. I don’t like it, but that’s just the way it is.

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