Installation and User Interface


Download and install the appropriate software for the course you’re completing. Go to and locate the software to download.

If you’re not sure what to download and install, contact the CAD International support team so they can assist you.

Be sure you have a suitable computer to run the software. Check the ‘System Requirements’ section related to the program you’re downloading from the web.

Once you have downloaded the installer file you will need to run the installer. On PC the file will typically be found in your ‘downloads’ folder. On a Mac you may have to locate it using ‘finder’ and depending on what Mac version you are using you may have to provide a series of permissions.

If you get stuck, contact for assistance.

Once installed, Start the program – This dialog box will appear each time you run the software until you validate your license using a license KEY and your email address.

You can get a permanent KEY by purchasing a license or a temporary KEY by requesting one from

You can also run the software without a Key – Press the ‘Trial Mode’ button. Trial mode works the same as a fully licensed version but will not allow you to save files with more than 100 entities. You can complete the majority of this course in trial mode.


To ensure your software’s settings are the same as the ones we used when creating this course, you will need to do the following…

  1. Select Options > System from the dropdown menu or the cog icon from the Quick menu.

  1. Set the values in the dialog box to those shown below. Then click on Set as System Defaults to save those settings.

After several seconds a small dialog will appear

  1. Select OK and then read on…

Units of Measure

This tutorial has been written using metric (millimeter) measurements.

If you’re in the USA and using inches or feet and inches, complete the course using millimeters and switch to your desired units (using the System Options dialog) after completing the course.

Use the following table as a guide to the different ways of entering lengths in non-metric units

USA paper sizes are supported by the software and can be chosen during the printing exercises.

Non-metric drawing scales are also supported.

Eg.  1” = 1’ (= 1:12),         1” = 1yd (=1:36),             ¼” = 1’ (=1:48)   1” = 1mile (=1:63360)    etc.

The CAD software you will be using throughout this course allows you to switch from any unit of measure at any time during drawing so it is possible to convert a drawing from one system of measurement to another without redrawing or losing scale.

The Mouse

Because you will be drawing and editing the model as well as manipulating the view you’re working on at the same time, touch-pads and Apple Magic Mice are neither efficient nor easy to use. In fact, they are almost impossible to work with.

This course assumes you’re using a mouse that has a left and right button and a scroll wheel that not only rolls back and forth but can also be clicked down as a middle button.

The mouse is the primary input device and provides an array of intuitive and fast ways to work with your drawings. If you’re not used to using all the buttons on your mouse it will take a few hours of practice to no longer think about which button you’re pressing.

Actions such as zooming, panning, dragging, snapping and selecting are all achieved using the mouse.

You may also find that you’ll need to press a key on your keyboard whilst using your mouse to modify a command.

If you have a disability that prevents you from using traditional input devices you may be able to work with specialised equipment aids.

Top Tip

A good quality, comfortable mouse is well worth the investment. Get one that feels good to hold and moves easily and positively. Keep the mouse clean so it doesn’t drag on the table. You’d be surprised how important this is. Be sure your seating and screen position is also well placed. Stay relaxed and upright and remember to get up from your chair and stretch every hour!


The look and ‘feel’ of any software you interact with is known by computer geeks as the GUI. GUI is an acronym for Graphical User Interface and it’s important to familiarise yourself with the layout of the screen and the names of the menus as we’ll be referring back to them.

The toolbars can be positioned almost anywhere and we’ll typically refer to the layout shown below however you may find your Prompt, Coordinates Bar and General Properties Bar feel more natural to you at the bottom of your screen. Perhaps your Quick Toolbar can sit at the top, it is up to you.

Title Bar Shows the name of the software and the name of the current file. ‘Untitled’ will appear if no named file is currently open. (in middle on Mac)

It also displays the active parameters such as current colour, layer, style, weight and grid settings

Dropdown Menu contains commands that are either not available as an Icon or are convenient to have as both an icon and text-based menus.

Entities Toolbar contains the commands for inserting entities (Drawing).

Assistant Toolbar contains commands that assist the user with additional functions such as zooming or locating a specific position in the drawing.

Coordinates Bar is where the user enters values such as distance and angle or x, y and z coordinates using the keyboard to make the entry of accurate data easy.

Prompt lets you know what the software is expecting of you. Look at the prompt often as it helps you to know what to do next.

View Bar shows the name of the view, the zoom value and expected scale for printing that view.

Application Menu shows tools for plug-ins such as landscape, architecture, civil engineering, surveying, electrical etc.

Workplane indicates which direction the active X, Y and Z axis are facing. Work-planes are used to assist drawing in the correct direction and on the correct face in 3D space.

Crosshair indicates the current position and status of your cursor.

General Properties Bar is where you set or change colour, layer style and weight.

Quick Toolbar provides access to often used tools like Delete, Undo, Redo and the Grid.

Image above shows an alternate layout of the menus with several view windows open.

Parent & Child Relationship

The top row of icons in the Entities and Assistant toolbars are known as the Parent icons. They do not activate a command but simply display a row of Child icon commands underneath.

This menu method takes up very little space and is very easy to understand.

Click the Parent to display the menu underneath then click the Child for the desired command.

Menus can be moved and docked in different locations around your screen but it is recommended to leave them as they are for this tutorial so you don’t struggle to find the command you need.

Hold your cursor over an icon command for short time and a helpful tooltip for that command will be displayed next to your cursor. It shows the command name a short description.

The Prompt

The Prompt is super important for beginners. It lets you know what the software is expecting of you. It changes as you use different commands and shows the command name as you hover over an icon command.

Look at the prompt often. It may be your best way of knowing what to do next. Here are a few examples of what the prompt might say…

When the prompt says, Select Command or Entities. There is no command active. This is a neutral state where the only choice you have is to select a command or select an object in your drawing.

To return the prompt to this neutral state simply press the Esc (Escape) key or right mouse button a few times.

A chameleon has the ability to look in two places at once and change its colour. Be sure to look at the prompt regularly whilst you’re learning and working on your drawing.