As I continue my journey through BricsCAD, I’ll take a closer look at familiar methods for launching a command. And, more importantly, I’ll introduce you to a powerful new method available only in BricsCAD! You don’t want to miss this!
Using the Command line
The Command line is, historically, the fastest and most efficient method for most users to launch commands and set system variables. Command names, aliases, and system variables are, in most cases, the same in BricsCAD and AutoCAD. If, as a former AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT user, you primarily use the Command line to launch commands, your transition to BricsCAD will be virtually seamless. So, jump in and get started!
If you enter a command or system variable that isn’t found, check out this document. It has valuable information for AutoCAD users transitioning to BricsCAD. At the end of the doc, you’ll find appendices for mapping commands and system variables.
Like AutoCAD, BricsCAD has more than 1700 commands and variables. That’s a lot to try and remember if you’re relatively new to either of these applications. So, although Command line access is fast and readily available, I’ll focus on the UI as I document my BricsCAD Journey. I won’t, however, address every UI access method. Instead, I’ll focus on what’s significantly different from AutoCAD.
Using menus, toolbars and the ribbon
The appearance and location of tools on the toolbars and ribbon varies slightly between AutoCAD and BricsCAD. But, not enough to warrant detailed blog posts. If you’re accustomed to working in a default AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT environment, I’m confident you can quickly find your favorite tools and easily adapt to the slight differences in BricsCAD. If you’re used to working in a custom environment, you’ll be happy to know the BricsCAD UI is fully customizable. I’ll talk more about that in a future post. But not until you’ve had a chance to experience the Quad!
Using the Quad
Before you get too attached to traditional user interface elements, I encourage you to step outside the box…. And into the Quad! The Quad is a cursor menu. Wait! Before you ask me how to turn it off, please continue reading!
What’s the Quad?
At first glance, you may think the Quad is simply a rollover tooltip because it displays basic entity properties like color and layer. But the Quad is so much more! It’s intelligent and contextual, offering relevant tools and information when you need them right at the cursor!
The first time I watched someone use the Quad, it blew my mind. He was editing so fast I couldn’t see him selecting objects or launching commands. It seemed like the software was reading his mind! Like magic!
Editing with the Quad
The Quad offers different information and editing tools based on your behavior. If, for example, you access the Quad, by hovering over or selecting an entity, it displays basic information about the entity, which you can edit. It also includes the most recently used *relevant* tool for editing that type of entity. You can select the tool, which is right by the cursor. Or, simply right-click on the entity to launch the command. You don’t even have to select the entity or the tool!
If the current tool isn’t what you want, hover the cursor over the tool to expand the Quad. Additional recently used *relevant* tools are displayed.
If the tool you want still isn’t accessible, pass your cursor over any of the tabs at the bottom of the Quad to expand the command groups and select a *relevant* tool.
Did you notice my repeated emphasis on *relevant*? BricsCAD software includes hundreds of commands but only the ones most relevant to your current context are displayed in the Quad. The relevant tools for editing a polyline, for example, are quite different from those for editing text. So, the type of entity you’re editing determines which tools are displayed in the Quad.
Drawing with the Quad
The Quad isn’t limited to editing existing entities. You can, for example, draw and insert new entities using the Quad. Simply right-click in a blank part of the drawing area with no entities selected. The Quad offers easy access to draw and insert tools as well as general ones such as Print and Settings.
Why the Quad?
The speed with which you can access commands using the Quad is a clear benefit. The Quad offers a robust set of drawing and editing tools right at the cursor, with minimal clicks. With all the necessary tools appearing as you need them, is there any reason to access toolbars? Menus? The ribbon? What about the command line?
Curiosity got the best of me. So, I turned off the menu and Command line and turned on CLEANSCREEN. Starting with a blank drawing, I drew my office. I created layers, drew a rectangle and arc. I exploded, offset, copied, mirrored, moved, trimmed, extended, dimensioned, and modified dimension properties. And, I did it all with the Quad! I only used the keyboard to enter values and deselect entities (ESC key).
Nearly everything I know about the Quad, I learned while writing this blog post. I could have drawn my office plan using the familiar Command line and keystrokes I’ve used for more than 30 years. But, even as a brand-new BricsCAD user, I did it faster with the Quad! I wish you could have watched me as I was drawing my floorplan. My dogs were here to observe but they just didn’t share my enthusiasm. The Quad is so Qool!!
Let’s make a deal
At the beginning of this section, I encouraged you to keep reading before asking me how to turn off the Quad. Thanks for indulging me! Now, how ‘bout we make a deal? I’ll tell you how to turn off the Quad if you promise to commit one lunch hour to drawing your office plan using nothing but the Quad? I’ll even share a few bonus tips that I learned while working with the Quad.
Tip 1: Contextual menus, similar to AutoCAD, are available if you select an object and then right-click and hold for a second before releasing. If you release too quick, it displays the Quad. I’m only sharing this to help you with your transition. I doubt you’ll need the right-click menu after you’re comfortable with the Quad.
Tip 2: When running with CLEANSCREEN on and the Command window off, look in the lower left corner of the drawing area. A prompt, command history and even suggestion list if you type a command, are subtly displayed without taking any screen space!
Tip 3: You can turn the Quad on or off using the status bar control. Right-click on it for additional controls. But, remember our deal!
Join me for the next stop on my BricsCAD journey as we explore the various software levels available in the BricsCAD Trial.
Want to read more?
Here is an overview of all the articles of Heidi’s journey: