Tips & Tricks

To enhance your DraftSight experience, we have compiled a rich collection of informational and learning resources. Choose from the options below.


Tips & Tricks

Selection Set Options:

When you are prompted to "Specify Entities>>" you have quite a few options. However, by default these options do not appear in the command window. If you would like to see these options, type in a question mark (?), and hit enter. All of your selection set options will appear.

Options Toolbar:

If you would like to have an icon to click in order to invoke an option, you can add the Options Toolbar.  To add this, right-click any docked toolbar and select "Options Toolbar". This will display a toolbar above the Graphic Window, and whenever an option appears, a selectable icon will be displayed.

Freeze All Layers:

In DraftSight you cannot freeze the current layer, but you can freeze all of the remaining layers at once. Make sure the active layer is the one you want to remain. Simply select the first layer, and then scroll down until you see the last layer. Hold the Shift key down and select the last one. Then click the freeze icon on any of the layers in the layer manager. You will get a a warning that says  you cannot freeze the current layer. Click OK, and all of the layers will be frozen except the current layer.

Using Existing Drawing Settings:

You can bring in drawing settings from any existing file into your current file, such as Dimension Styles, Line Style, Blocks and even Layers. When you open a new file, simply insert the file that contains the settings into the new one as a block. Delete the geometry that shows in your graphics window, and what you have left is all the other settings from the inserted file. This will allow you to simply bring these settings into your new file without having to recreate them.

Polar Tracking:

Try using Polar Tracking instead of Ortho for drawing your horizontal and vertical lines. By using Polar Tracking, you will be able to draw lines at any point on your screen, however, your cursor will also Snap to a vertical or horizontal direction without having to use Ortho.  

Quick Zoom Fit:

There are a number of productivity tools to use within DraftSight, but by far the most popular tip is how to use the scroll wheel of the mouse to zoom the drawing to fit the screen. Simply "double-click" the scroll wheel in the active graphic window, and all the geometry will fit within the drawing window.

Hatch Boundaries:

You can have DraftSight create geometry for your hatch boundary. Once you've started the Hatch Command, click the "Additional Options" button. In this dialog, click the "Keep boundaries" box. The geometry can be either a PolyLine, or a Region.


With DraftSight, it is possible to edit a block in place, without having to explode the object. Use the EditComponent Command (Or click Modify>Component>Edit from the pull down menu). Once you make the change to the block, it will update all the instances of that block within your file. Use the SaveComponent Command in order tot get back to your drawing once you're done.  

Adding Scroll Bars to the Graphic Window:

If you prefer to use scroll bars to pan your graphic window, you can add them by clicking Tools>Options>System Options expand Display and check the box for "show scroll bars". Click Apply and you've added the scroll bars to you graphic window.

Named View Printing:

If you create a "Named View" in your file, you can now select the view from the Print Dialog an print just that view. Select the print icon. At the dialog, selected Named view in the Print range category. Choose the view you'd like to print and click OK. This is a great way to set up a multi-sheet drawing if you plan on printing from Model space.

Temporary Esnap Override:

When creating your geometry, there may be a need to use a  temporary esnap override. The easiest way to do this is to hold the SHIFT key down and press the right mouse button. This will bring up the menu of Esnap options. Choose the one that you need, and continue working.

Appending a Line Segment Tip:

To append a line segment to an existing line or arc: Click Draw > Line (or type Line). Press Enter. The appended continuation line attaches to the end of last Line or Arc that you drew. Click a point to define the appended line segment and press Enter.

Split Command Tip:

Use the Split command to erase part of an entity between two points. Use Split as a construction tool or to create a gap between two parts of an entity to place Text or a symbol. Use the command with Lines, Circles, Arcs, PolyLines, Ellipses, Splines, InfiniteLines, and Rays, but not with RichLines.

Mark Divisions Tip:

The MarkDivisions command places evenly spaced Points or Blocks along the length or perimeter of an entity. The command lets you "separate" Lines, PolyLines, Circles, and Arcs into segments of equal length by inserting construction Points or Blocks. The entity is not cut into different pieces but remains one entity. The size of the segments is determined by the length to divide and the number of construction points to insert. In contrast to the MarkLengths command, there is no remainder.

Match Layer Tip:

You can change entities to match a destination Layer. To match the Layer of entities to a destination Layer click Format > Layer Tools > Change Entity’s Layer (or type MatchLayer). In the graphics area select Entities with layer changes and press Enter, or select an entity on the destination Layer or specify the Layer Name option and select a Layer in the Choose New Layer dialog box.

What to do if you Move instead of Copy:

If you Move an object instead of Copying it, don’t panic. Use the Copy@ command and copy the object using 0,0 as a reference point. Then Undo your Move until the object is back in its original position. Use the Paste command with a reference point of 0,0 and you’ll have your copy and your original object.

Find and Replace Tip:

Use the Find command to find and replace text in your document. At the command prompt, type Find. Using the Find and Replace dialog, you can select the text to be replaced in your document. Find will even locate text within a block and modify the block to include the new text!

Delete Layer Tip:

The DeleteLayer command will delete all entities on a specified layer and remove the layer from the drawing. This is a quick way of removing unwanted layers and its associated geometry. Click Format>Layer Tools>Delete or type DeleteLayer at the command prompt. You can choose the layer by specifying an entity or by typing its name.

Flip Command Tip:

Use the Flip command to create a mirror copy of entities, deleting the source entities.  The command contrasts to the Mirror command in that entities do not remain in their original positions when they move across the mirror axis. Instead they maintain the same relative position to the symmetry axis, but flip about the specified mirror axis. Instead they maintain the same relative position to the symmetry axis, but flip about the specified mirror axis. You can define the reflection axis freely by specifying two points. Use ortho mode to force the mirror line to be parallel to the X- or Y-axis of the coordinate system.  To Flip entities type Flip at the command prompt.

Copy@ Tip:

Use the Copy@ command to copy selected entities and a reference point from the drawing onto the Windows clipboard. From the clipboard, you can paste the entities into open drawings using the Paste and PasteAsBlock commands. The entities selected with Copy@ remain on the clipboard until you place new entities on the clipboard.

Note: The Copy command copies entities in the drawing from a specified base point to target points within the drawing, but not to the clipboard. To Copy the clipboard with a reference point: Click Edit>Copy with Reference Point (or type Copy@).

Disabling Entity's from getting highlighted:

To disable "entity" getting highlighted when hovering the cursor over it, from the menu, select Tools > Options > User Preferences > Drafting Options > Entity Selection > Pre-selected highlighting > uncheck the option of "Between commands."

Command Window Display:

Pressing Ctrl + 9 will toggle the Command Window Display on and off.

To Draw Center lines between parallel lines:

To draw a center line exactly between two other parallel lines, type L (or line). When prompted to "Specify start point," press Shift+Right-mouse click in the graphics area. Then, select the "Mid between two points" option. Next, select the two endpoints of the original parallel lines. Repeat method for the other endpoint of the line. When drawn, select the new Line and change its LineStyle to Center or Dashdot.

SpellCheck Tip:

You can check the spelling inside your DraftSight Drawing. Type SpellCheck at the command prompt. In the graphics area, select the Text entities to check and press <Enter>. The SpellCheck dialog box appears if DraftSight finds a spelling mistake. You can choose to Ignore, Ignore All, Change, Change All and even Look Up a word to find Synonyms.

Opening and Replacing Drawings:

The ReplaceOpen and ReplaceNew commands replace the current drawing with a new one. In effect, these commands close the current drawing, and then display a dialog box for opening another drawing. If necessary, you are prompted to save the drawing being closed.

Save All Drawings at Once:

Use the SaveAll command to save the drawing in the current window and all other open drawings.

To save all open drawings:

  • Type SaveAll
  • Opened drawings are saved under the location, name, and file type specified when they were opened.
  • If a drawing is unnamed, the Save File dialog box opens so you can set the location, name, and file type.

Error Check and Clean:

Are you opening a dxf file or using a dwg file that you did not create? If you are, it is good practice to perform a Check and Clean. The Check command is a diagnostic tool for examining the current drawing and correcting errors. For any errors detected, a description is provided in the command window. The Clean command removes unused References from the drawing.

Mouse Navigations:

Use your mouse to easily navigate around in your drawing. Double-click middle-mouse button (MMB) to do a Zoom > Extents (works ViewPoints on Layouts, too). Press and hold the MMB to start the Pan command. If you have a wheel mouse, use it to zoom in and out and center the zoom at the same time (DraftSight will use your cursor for the center of the zoom). And lastly, click and hold Shift+MMB to start the RollView command.

Export Drawing:

Use the ExportDrawing command to create a DWG file from a Block. Go to File>Export>Export Drawing. In the dialog select Block as the source and from the drop down list, select the Block that you want to export. Use the Browse button to select where you want to the new DWG file created. You can also export any entities in a drawing to a new DWG file using the ExportDrawing command.

Scalable Vector Graphics:

If you need to bring the contents of a drawing into a graphics program (like Corel Paint Shop Pro) and you need the image to be scalable, use the Print command to create an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). Since SVG files are XML-based, many graphics programs support this format.

GetArea Tip:

You can use the GetArea for perimeter information, too. If you have several closed polygonal shapes, and you need the combined length of the perimeters, use GetArea. Type GETAREA > A > select shapes > press Enter. If you can't see the results in the Command window, press F2 to launch the text screen.

Layer Tool:

To activate a layer by selecting an entity, type ACTLAY then select an entity on a layer that you want to be the Active Layer.


To see the list of available toolbars that can be toggled on or off, type TOOLBARS. To create your own toolbar, type TOOLBAR and the Customization window will open to allow you to create custom toolbars or change existing ones.

Line Weights:

By default, LineWeights will not appear to change in your Graphics Window. If you want to see the LineWeights appear, type LineWeight at the command prompt and select "Display weight in graphics area".

Switching ViewPorts:

If you have multiple ViewPorts on your sheet, you can cycle through them by pressing CRTL+R once you have one active.

Properties Pallet Icon Labels:

Have you ever wondered what those icons are in the Properties Pallet? You can hover your cursor over the icon and see the tooltip, but did you know you can show the labels for these icons? Right-click your mouse while your cursor is in the Properties Pallet and choose “Display Icons and labels”. This will add the descriptions to all of the icons in the pallet.

Function Keys:

Often overlooked is the use of Function Keys in DraftSight. Using the Function Keys, or “hot keys” allows you to quickly activate a command in DraftSight.

Here is a list of standard Function Key settings: F1 – Help, F2 – Command Window, F3 – Esnap Toggle, F5 – Isoplane Toggle, F7 – Grid Toggle, F8 – Ortho Toggle, F9 – Snap Toggle, F10 – Polar Toggle and F11 – Etrack Toggle.

Remember, the Function Keys are at the top of your keyboard, and you simply need to press the key to activate.