In Search of ETs — AutoCAD Express Tools: Tuesday Tips With Frank

Learning

By Frank Mayfield

AutoCAD Express Tools (ETs) used to be a nice little bonus to the regular setup; in fact, they were originally called Bonus Tools. Today, they’re often an indispensable part of our workflows. Just click on the Express Tools tab of the Ribbon, and there they are: 49 of the coolest commands AutoCAD has to offer.

Tuesday Tips: AutoCAD Express Tools

Who could ask for more? Well, you could… and you should! Because there are more! Let’s continue to explore AutoCAD’s Express Tools and see if we can find a few more rare jewels.

Digging Deeper

Our journey starts with the old-style Menu Bar. Turn it on with either the drop-down widget, or by typing in MENUBAR and setting it to 1. Click Express on the far right side, and it will expand to show 10 categories of tools. We’re on to something here, as there are only 8 panels in the Ribbon. I’ll save you the effort of expanding each and counting them, but there are 65 Express Tools here. Below is an example. The Ribbon has 6 Modify tools, but the pulldown has 8.

Tuesday Tips: AutoCAD Express Tools

So far, with just a few clicks, we’ve found 16 extra Express Tools! “Not bad,” you think —  but I say we should dig even deeper. From the Menu Bar pulldown, click on About Express Tools at the bottom. The Help window will appear, along with some points of interest, which is fine, but we’re on the hunt for productivity! So, with that in mind, click on the Express Tools Reference link, and finally, there it is: The Holy Grail of Express Tools. The whole list. The mother lode. Feel free to count them — or take the easy way out by taking my word for it — there are 85.

Tuesday Tips: AutoCAD Express Tools

Summing Up

I’ll leave it to you to click through them. Some may be branded obsolete (usually subsumed into a modern command) but they all still work. Perhaps you’ll even find one that addresses a specific need you’ve had. Most ETs are written in LISP, so if you’re just beginning to program in AutoCAD, you might be struck with a great new idea.

So, however you decide to use your newly found Express Tools, don’t be afraid to dig around in AutoCAD… you just might find a diamond in the rough.

More Tuesday Tips

Check out our whole Tuesday Tips series for ideas on how to make AutoCAD work for you. Do you have any favorite AutoCAD tips? Tell us in the comments!

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1 comment

  1. KBMcLeod

    NEED express tools for LT!

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