Learning AutoCAD

Now that you have installed PVCAD Mega, you’re almost ready to get started with solar project design. Let’s take a moment to make sure you know your way around AutoCAD. Since PVCAD Mega functions as an extension on the AutoCAD platform, our users must have a working knowledge of AutoCAD to create solar project plan sets.

 

If you’re not familiar with AutoCAD or you need to brush up on the essentials, check out The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD Basics, a handy resource that gives you a simple, self-directed tour of the most important AutoCAD concepts. Published by Autodesk, the developer of AutoCAD, the guide includes 12 sections. Click the link in the paragraph above to read the text. Or click the section headers below to access the same information in a series of short videos. (links)

 

Once you have covered the essential steps in AutoCAD, familiarize yourself with the one-key shortcuts and keyboard commands to toggle features, manage screens and perform various actions within the AutoCAD environment. Knowledge of these commands will help you efficiently manage workflow as you begin solar project design with PVCAD Mega.

 

AutoCAD Shortcuts

AutoCAD General Documentation 

  • Basics — Introducing the AutoCAD user interface and basic file commands

  • Viewing — How to pan and zoom in a drawing and control the order of overlapping objects

  • Geometry — Draw lines, circles and other geometric objects

  • Precision — Specify grid points, angles and distances for accurate, mistake-free models

  • Layers — Group objects by function or purpose to keep complex drawings organized. PVCAD Mega generates two dozen solar project-specific layers, including system components, setbacks, shadows, wind zones and much more. Create additional layers of your own as needed.

  • Properties — Use colors, linetypes and other settings to differentiate between objects and layers

  • Modifying Part 1 & Part 2 — Edit objects and groups of objects using commands such as erase, move, trim, copy and more

  • Blocks — Combine objects to easily store them and insert them into your designs

  • Layouts — Create scaled views of a model on a two-dimensional drawing sheet

  • Notes & Labels — Insert text and leader lines and save settings in your drawing template files

  • Dimensions — Create and modify dimensions for your objects and save settings for later use

  • Printing — Output a drawing layout to a printer, plotter or digital file