Written by Darrel Ronald

Postcardware: The Ultimate AutoCad Shortcuts

Postcardware: The Ultimate AutoCad Shortcuts by Darrel Ronald

Maxwan ACAD Shortcuts

ACAD Options Interface – Notice the Shortcuts folder is at the top.

As we always try to make the world a better place, we bring you the ultimate Autocad shortcuts. Maxwan a+u (the office where Thomas and I work at) are notorious in the Dutch architecture scene for efficiency. The shortcut scripts have been developed since 1992 and have spread around dutch offices using Autocad. Started for Autocad 10 (when you still had to type ‘LINE’ to start drawing one) by Paul Hogendijk and Rients Dijkstra at OMA the shortcuts are at the moment developed by Harm te Velde over the past years.

Shortcut file link: ftp://ftp.maxwan.nl/pub
PDF of the shortcut list link: Acad 2008 maxwan shortcuts
An Excel file is included which gives a clear overview of the customized shortcuts. This is a helpful cheat sheet for memorizing the new command-line functions.


– Install the “Express Tools” when installing Autocad!
– (quick ‘n dirty): Select all files and drag them to the “_local user AutoCAD profile” Windows Shortcut, overwriting any existing files.


– Extract the archive, add the path to the folder containing the shortcuts in the “Options > Files > Support File Search Path” and move it to the top of the list.

This is Postcardware! Send us a postcard with your email address and we will tell you how to remove this message. Feel free to pass on these shortcuts, as long as this message is included.

Be aware, that the speed of using these shortcuts is also dependent on disciplined layer naming system. Using short, numerical layer names means that you can bullet through turning on and off layers, fill layers, block layers and so forth. For example, you can name all layers with solid fills as ” -s ” layers so that you can quickly turn off and on the solid fills in a drawing.

3 – 3D Orbit
Cc – Copy to layer
G – Get layer/color/linetype
Pb – Polyline build
Spl2Pl – convert spline to polyline
bo – boundary
h – hatch
sf – solidfill (select objects to fill with solid – without the menu)
bf – boundary fill (pick point version of previous)

Layer Operations:
OE – Off layer except selected
LNA – Layer On All
LOS – Layer Off All (with “s” as the last letter – for “solid fill” layers)
LP – Layer previous
LM – make layer

It will take some time to learn at the start, but then you can never look back.



  Comments ( 12 )

  1. For all of you who also like Rhinoceros 3D by McNeel – http://www.rhino3d.com/ – I am working on a new Alias list. I have started from scratch in version 4.0, and it is taking a lot of time as I go systematically through the software and using it day-in and day-out. But if this interests you, or if you have already started this, please let me know!

  2. somewhere there’s a cartoon floating around about “autocad standards are important, that’s why i wrote my own”.

    it’s useless to try to develop a “most efficient” set of autocad key commands. there is only “most efficient for yourself”, because it depends on the amount of brain power required to remember the commands, which often depends on the similarity to key commands in other applications (photoshop, form-z, etc.)

  3. @adam
    You are right in some ways, but not all the way. I have never understood how Autocad handles localisation, changing the shortcuts along with the interface language. I had just learned the shortcuts (in german) when I started out with Acad at university, then I worked in Spain: -bang- all different shortcuts. Only to return to Germany to work in an office which used an english Acad version: start from scratch, again. Which is also why using the english acad, or at least install the english shortcuts, is the only way to go. Standards are important.

    But then, if you are’nt a casual user of Acad (and I doubt there are any casual users…), you can give operating system conventions a friendly nod (CTRL-C, CTRL-V, CTRL-P…) and go for efficiency. The way autocad handles shortcuts, by typing in short acronyms followed by a right-click or space-bar tap, is unique anyhow.

    Also consider the ergonomy research which went into the design. E.g. al the most-used commands are located in the left half of the keyboard, to minimise movements of the left hand, and to leave the mousing hand where it belongs. Note that the shortcuts are additions, not substitutes. So “DD” brings up the layer dialogue (left hand only), but you can still use “LA” – the standards are kept intact.

    The shortcut system gets even more powerful, as soon as the layer naming scheme going with it is applied (this might be even more difficult for many users, as they’re already tied to industry standards, office best practices, or bad habits). Then layer management becomes very powerful: “LOX” to switch off all XREF’s, “LNS” to switch on all hatches, etc. (I will try to find time to append some text about that in the above article.)

    Finally, it appears – from my non-representative point of view – that the this shortcut meme is spreading in the dutch architecture habitat, mostly with offices who are tied in one way or another linked to OMA or maxwan. So it seems to be worth the learning trouble – at least for the professional user.

  4. […] type SPL2PL to run! … powercadd.designcommunity.com/topic-5766.html – Pages similaires 9. Postcardware: The Ultimate AutoCad Shortcuts at dysturb.net … Spl2Pl – convert spline to polyline bo – boundary h – hatch … The way autocad handles shortcuts, […]

  5. @ Darrel
    that shortcutlist for Rhino sounds good. I assume you’ll make them match the Autocad Shortcuts, right. That would be amazing! Keep me posted on the progress.

  6. Please contact us directly to obtain the layer structure template which is important to make the layer shortcuts work properly.

  7. AutoCAD 2011 BETA shortcuts are posted on our ftp site. All shortcuts work as in ACAD2010, but the final version will have new and improved 2011 features added.

    Great new 2011 2D features are (right click shortcut):
    – select similar
    – edit, add, remove vertex in pline
    – join and edit splines

    get the shortcuts @ http://ftp.maxwan.com/public/AutoCAD/

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