What input device(s) do you use?

I'm trying to reduce the time that I spend typing commands into AutoCAD Mechanical 2009, but this really applies to any software.

What keyboard/mouse/input pad/tablet/etc. do you use and why?

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14 Answers

Well for autocad I know a lot of the comands can be done with just a few letters. Ex: L = line. c = copy, m = move, o = offset etc....... I believe there is a section in the help feature that tells you what letters and combo of letters gives you what commands. I would assume its the same for other programs but I'm not gonna say anything for sure.

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regard SW2011 - I really like mouse gestures (in the right-to left ... on the diagonal! different functions). I use a 4-button mouse Logitech G3 - I'm just delighted with it! keyboard use only - esc and ctrl. well zaprgrammirovanaya keyboard speeds up:)

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Mouse or Bamboo tablet or Connexion 3d mouse

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3D Connexion Space Pilot Pro, and Logitech MX Wireless mouse using 8 mouse gestures in SW2011+. The combination (once you get used to it) make sketching and mating assemblies in particular extremely fast and effortless. 3D sketching as well once you reconfigure one of the buttons on the space pilot to use 'Tab' (plane switching).

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Inventor 2012 makes use of the new Marking Menus. This can greatly reduce the use of the keyboard. I don't imagine AutoCAD 2012 has these yet? I've not yet upgraded.

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Razer Deathadder, disabled mouse acceleration. makes for very consistent mouse movements, after a certain amount of time motions become the back of my hand, but i also type a lot of commands as well.

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If you really want to do not type @ all I would try something like
Dragon software - I don't know if it will work with CAD software but I
see no reason it shouldn't? It is worth doing a little bit of research on it.
(maybe this will help - maybe it will not?)
good luck


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do you have any commands programmed to the buttons yet?

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The keyboard is the fastest, but you have to set up custom shortcut keys. Acad is very good in that you can have 2 or 3 letter shortcut keys. You have all your basic most used commands on 1 letter shortcuts, then when you've used up all the keys you go to 2 letters and then 3.

You also need a 5 button mouse so you can put ctrl and alt on the thumb buttons. You should also have the right mouse key set to "enter"

Basically you are hitting 1 key on the keyboard and then the other part of the command with the mouse. So one hand followed very quickly by the other. Like L for line, then right mouse button "enter"

You should already know your windows shortcuts which mostly start with ctrl. ctrl-c, ctrl-v, ctrl-s. Again you hit one key with the left hand then ctrl with the right thumb button on the mouse.

Just do a little experiment. Strike the desk twice as fast as you can. First try it with one finger, then try it with one finger on each hand. Which is faster?

You should also have the mouse wheel set to zoom, and 3D rotate should be on a one key letter shortcut. Also lock the vertical axis on 3D rotate, it saves time.

I find it's better to make your own shortcut keys rather than the defaults because then you can do something that you remember because you made it up. Also the default shortcuts may not apply to what you're doing. Do you use "move" more than you use "mirror"? Then you want "M" for move and maybe "MM" for mirror. That brings up another point. The 2nd fastest command after a 1 letter keystroke is a 2 letter keystroke with the same letter. Move and Mirror are a good example, you need both a lot but they both start with the same letter, so move goes to M and Mirror goes to MM, because it's quicker to hit MM than it is Mi which would be the way you would normally do a 2 letter mirror.

Like break is B and block is BB

like copy is C and circle is CC

like distance is D and dimlinear is DD

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Wacom tablet. Most useful for Autocad with all the commands and my lisp-routines on the tablet-menu. Next to that it makes very precise selecting possible, therefor I do not need to zoom in and out very often.

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For me it's a combination of different tools, no one tool has the monopoly. I like the freedom to work in different ways, and let the project dictate the input device. I use the 3D Connexion Space Pilot Pro, Wacom tablet and a box standard Microsoft mouse.

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use short keys of keyboard instead of using mouse to save your time.
like for line=l
for polyline=pl

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I use a lot of keyboard commands and the razer naga gaming mouse, it has 17 buttons, with 12 of them operated by your thumb, i have the first row mapped to the enter, esc and del key, i have the rest mapped to enter commands such as "co{enter}" which is copy with basepoint "m{enter} for move etc. i use my left hand for copy, past and undo as it can reach them easily on its own. having the esc key on the mouse is so usefull as i don't have to reach across my keyboard for it.

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