Over the past few releases of AutoCAD, the Start tab has been redesigned and has undergone significant changes. In addition to being user friendly and intuitive, it’s equipped with many useful features that help you to become more efficient with the software. When you launch the AutoCAD software, the Start window displays. It is a comprehensive place from where you can start new drawings, search and open existing drawings, access Autodesk Projects, and learn how to use the software, along with containing lots of other useful features and tools. In this blog, I will walk you through some of my go to features in the Start window with a focus on the new improvements that are included in the AutoCAD 2024 version of the software.
In the left-hand pane of the Start window are the buttons for opening existing drawings and creating new drawings. When you click on the New button, a blank drawing automatically opens using the most recently used template file. Until recently, it was very confusing figuring out which template should be used to create the new drawing. In AutoCAD 2024, when you hover your cursor over the New button, the template file that will be used to create the new drawing is now displayed as shown in the figure below. This is a very useful improvement that helps in deciding if you are using the correct template file or not.
If you want to use a different template file, you can open the drop-down list (click on the downward arrow with the New button) and select Browse templates, as shown in the figure below. It opens the Select template dialog box, where you can either select a template file from the ones provided with the AutoCAD software or use one of your own template files by navigating to the required location.
It’s very easy to open existing drawings from the Start window. Click on the Open button to display the Select File dialog box, where you can navigate to the folder and open the required drawing. You can also open a sheet set directly from here by selecting Open a sheet set in the Open drop-down list. It also has the option of opening the sample drawings that are provided with the software.
In the left-hand pane of the Start window is the Recent tab, which lists all the recently opened drawings in the right-hand pane. This lets you re-open any of the recently opened drawing files directly from here. Once you locate a file, you can simply click on it to open it or use the right-click menu to either open it, open it in read-only mode, or remove it from the list, as shown in the image below.
- The display of these drawings can either be in a text based list format ( List view) or thumbnail images format ( Grid view). I prefer it to be in the Grid view where I can see the image of the drawing along with its filename to easily locate and open the drawing.
- In AutoCAD 2024, the Search and Sort capabilities have been added to the Recent area. Sometimes while working on a drawing, I save the iterations of the drawing by adding a number or modification at the end, which makes finding the correct drawing so much easier. Enter the first few letters of the drawing name in the Search field (as shown in the figure below) to bring up all of its iterations. Then, in the Grid view, locate the correct file.
- You can also sort the recently opened drawings. In the Grid view, you can sort your files either by Name, where the files get listed alphabetically, or by Last Opened, where they are listed by time and date. The sort order can be reversed by using the arrow located with the Sort by feature in the Grid view, as shown in the figure below. The direction of the arrow indicates whether the sort is in ascending or descending order for the Name sort, or whether it is most recent to last or last to most recent order for the date and time sort.
- Similarly, you can sort your drawing files in the List view as well. Here the arrow is located with the Sort by feature. The direction of the arrow with the Name column indicates whether the sort is in ascending or descending order. The direction of the arrow with the Last Opened column indicates whether the sort is in most recent to last or last to most recent order.