AutoCAD 2013 The new Command Line

The command line is perhaps the most notable change in 2013 and I love it. It takes up less room on the screen and yet performs the same for those who don’t want change and yet performs very differently.

The rumors that you here about Autodesk planning to get rid of the command line are simply not true as demonstrated by the development of this new command line. If they were planning on getting rid of it, they certainly wouldn’t spend time on developing a new command line…

Below is a screen shot of the overall AutoCAD 2013 screen as it has been opened for the first time on my computer:

Here are some of the command line’s new features:

Command Line looks and acts like a toolbar:

Click on the command prompt icon to access recently used commands

As Shown below, when options of a command are available, these options are now made more obvious by the making the options colored blue.

If that isn’t cool enough, you’ll love this – The options in the command line are selectable:

There are now 2 ways of viewing the history of command window

1) is to bring up the command history that that will automatically collapse after a few moments by clicking the arrow that is located all the way to the right on the command line:

2) To bring up the actual command window (text window) is to use CTRL + F2. So no longer does the funtion key F2 bring up the command line’s text window:

Below are some of the options to customize the new command line. To get to this menu, you click on the wrench icon in the command line.

1) This is a personal preference but I think that most people will do this as well. By default, the AutoComplete > Auto Append function is turned on. This will fill in a command as you are typing it in. This is annoying because if you are entering a command alias that is only one or two letters, the Auto Append feature will fill in the a command that also starts with those one or two letters.

2) Customize the number of lines in the command line history. This number represents the lines that pop up and fade away above the command line.

3) Customize the transparency of the command line

The command line can be docked into its old position by simply dragging it to the bottom of the screen.

This tip applies to tool palettes and toolbars as well – If you hold the CTRL button while dragging the command line, it will prevent them from snapping or auto-docking to certain areas in the drawing area. This will allow to place the command line precisely where you want it.

You can specify the font of the command line.

Options dialog box [OP <enter>] > Display tab > Fonts button:


About AutoCAD Tips

This blog serves as a knowledge base for myself (and anyone else) so that I can reference tips & tricks that I have learned and also refer others to it as well. I hope that this blog helps you learn at least one tip to make your drafting/design experience better.
This entry was posted in AutoCAD 2013, BASICS, Customization, New In 2013, Settling In. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to AutoCAD 2013 The new Command Line

  1. Leanne says:

    I just installed AutoCad 2013. I am all set with all of the features but i want to lock the position of the command line. I drag it below the drawing window and it stays there while I am using AutoCad but when I close the program and reopen the command line has moved back to the origial location. Do you know how to lock the location of the command line?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Try the LOCKUI variable. It locks the position of your toolbars and palettes. Since the new command line acts like a toolbar, maybe this will help. I wasn’t able to reproduce what you are experiencing. I have my LOCKUI set to 0.

      • Brian Jackson says:

        I have a similar problem as Leanne, but mine is related to my profile. I can save my profile once I get everything configured the way I want it and then set it as current. I initiated the LOCKUI varibale and set it to 1 in order to lock the toolbars as you suggested above. However, when I close the program and reopen it, my profile is not set and LOCKUI is back at 0.

      • AutoCAD Tips says:

        Make sure to save the “Workspace” first. A workspace remembers what tools are open and their location on the screen. A “Profile” is more for remembering file search paths

    • Atif says:

      Hi, I was working on AutoCAD 2013 and for some reason the outcome text of my commands disappeared from the command line. For example, if I use the command area and select the object, I do not see the result on the bar above the command line, it’s totally blank? Can you help? Thank you,

      • AutoCAD Tips says:

        A couple of things pop into mind that might be able to help.
        1) Are there any lines that appear above the command line? Even with other commands? If not, this is controlled by clicking the wrench tool that is on the left side of the command line. Left click on it and then select “Line of prompt history” and then setting the number to 2 or 3. This can also be set using the AutoCAD system variable CLIPROMPTLINES and then setting the number of lines to be displayed.
        2) Is the Dynamic input turned on in the status bar? I have noticed some inconsistancy with having this turned on and then not seeing what i was expecting to see in either the command line and the dynamic input glyph that follows your cursor. Try turning this off and see if you see the correct display in the command line. See the following post to change the appearance of the icons in the status bar to be more easily read

  2. Greg Law says:

    Workspace Settings includes a choice of “Do not save changes to workspace” and “Automatically save workspace changes.” Most likely Leanne has the first setting selected. IMO, this is the better setting since you can easily restore your workspace to the one you probably spent a fair amount of time getting just right in the event a panel, toolbar, etc., get moved, turned off, etc., but it does require that the user to manually update the current workspace after making changes to it. This is done by clicking the Workspace Settings panel and selecting “Save Current Workspace…” Save it to the same workspace name you are currently using to update it or create a new workspace if desired.

  3. Leanne says:

    These are great tips. I am working on figuring it out now.

  4. D Wil says:

    Anyone know how to change the text prompt (“Type in a command”) to something custom?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I am unaware of any way to customize the prompt. The only custom prompts that I know of are in custom applications LISP, VBA, .NET applications.
      I am assuming that the default command prompt is not something that we have access to in the API either – but I could be wrong

  5. Dave Barraza says:

    When I typed a command, it used to appear in the drawing area in a pop-up. This went away, how do i get it back?

  6. Adol Emmons says:

    I’ve dragged the commandline to a posicon outside from the Acad Window, and I’m unable to see it!. How Can I select the CommandLine and return it to the bottom (or any other place) that make it visible?… I can’t see the commands I type.

  7. Tom says:

    have you noticed that floating command window is shrinking with every drawing open?
    How to fix that?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I have noticed that as well. It seems inconsistent in that for one stretch of drawings, it will shrink and then later on it is fine. One thing that i did notice when it was happening is that the command line would shrink when AutoCAD wasn’t maximized to full screen (the upper right controls).
      Sorry, that’s all I know about this issue.

  8. JE says:

    How do you get rid of that awful popup command prompt? I hate it. What the heck would you use it for if you had all of your shortcuts in keyboard shortcuts programmed in? It’s annoying as heck.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I think that you’re talking about the “Dynamic Input” setting that asks the same prompts that would appear in the command line now appear at your cursor. Is that correct?
      See the below link to turn on the text mode of the button in the status bar and then turn off DYN in the status bar.
      It is annoying when it is on all of the time but after playing with it that are a few great features. But one big annoyance is that when it is turned on I notice a lag in my computer. Simply moving the mouse in a large drawing with DYN turned on slows things way down…

  9. Shane says:

    When programming in Autolisp, I like to view the values set to my variables so you type an exclamation point followed by the variable name on the command line to have it display the value. My command line will not display the value. I have to hit the F2 key to bring up the text window to view it. Does anyone know how to get the command line to view this information? We have other computers that show it, but mine will not.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I think that this might be one of the draw backs to using the new command line in its floating state. You may need to dock it to the bottom of the screen so that it shows like the older versions of AutoCAD. Just drag it to the bottom of the screen.

      One other thing to remember about the new command line is that to bring up the text window that is a separate window is to use CTRL + F2. Using just F2 brings up an extended command line history as you are well aware of.
      Hope that helps

  10. gymnosperm says:

    I want the command line to quit making me type out the whole file tree to specify a save location. I like the windows panels. How do I get these back?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      There is a variable that probably got changed on your AutoCAD.
      try the following in the command line:
      FILEDIA then set it to 1 – This turns on the “File Dialog” boxes that let you navigate to various files… Setting it to zero turns off the dialogs so that you have to manually enter the path.

      Sometimes using a LISP routine or script sets this dialog box setting to be turned off…
      Another trick to know is that when this setting gets turned off and you are in the middle of using it and you want the dialog box back, you can use a “tilde” ~ when asked to specify the path. This will open the dialog box


  11. hassansafwat says:

    I have a problem in autocad 2013 command line, when undocked all of the text inside the command line justifies to the right side instead of the left, is there a solution to this problem?


  12. doozie says:

    Nuisances are all that Autocad is about it seems to me. I cannot get the damn command line to stay where i put it. Every time i reopen a file, the command line moves idiotically to the middle of my screen. It’s driving me nuts at this point and none of the suggestions here have stopped it from ignoring my workspace settings. What can be done to stop this?!

  13. doozie says:

    I have docked and locked the command line, it seems extremely hit or miss. I opened it this morning just to test it and it stayed docked, but last time I tested it it undocked itself when reopening the program.

    For the time being I guess keeping it undocked is just out of the question for me.

    Thanks for the suggestions though!

    • Burningeko says:

      have you tried changing the workspace setting? where it says at the top of your screen drafting & annotation next to the little cog. If you make a change to the workspace like docking or undocking the command line then save it, every time you open CAD it will go back to the position you saved it in. To fix this, set up your workspace as you’d like (docking the command line, turning the view cube off etc) then click on the workspace dropdown and put “save current as…” save it as the same name that you usually use and when it asks you do you want to replace say yes (alternativley make a new workspace named something unique). Also in the same drop down go to workspace settings and make sure “my workspace =” is set to that workspace and “when switching workspaces” is set to “DO NOT save changes to workspace”. I haven’t encountered any bugs with this yet so I’m thinking that probably your problem.

  14. Burningeko says:

    Anyone know how to get rid of the Ctrl+F2 window for good?
    I’m trying to run a script with the -units command (which I used to be able to do in 2012 and before) but now the text window pops up and interrupts the script.

    • Paula says:

      Hopefully you found an answer at some point in the last three years, but just in case… I just found that if you add the command GRAPHSCR to your script, it will close the window again. So I guess do your -units command, then GRAPHSCR on the next line before the rest of your script should do it.

  15. Brent says:

    Autodesk screws it up worse every single time they come out with a new version. God, I hate it! I can’t even find my command bar. It seems new releases should make things more intuitive and user-friendly instead of making everything unfamiliar and intensely frustrating… hear that, Autodesk?

    • Chastua Dubua says:

      In their efforts to make the software idiot proof for beginners, they have made it much more difficult to use for those of who have years of experience.

  16. Joe says:

    How can I open my back up files. With a bak file extension. Anytime I open it I can’t see the drawing

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      are you opening it after you have changed the extension from .bak to .dwg?
      Try changing the file extension to .dwg and then open a separate drawing and use the RECOVER command. Then navigate to the drawing that had the extension name changed and let it try to recover that drawing

  17. Pawan ramnani says:

    Plz help me… When i draw the line in autocad 2013… Its saying point or option keyword required… Plz tell me wats the problem…

  18. stalone says:

    i am not able to get the dimensions automatically displayed in the autocad 2013. Can anyone help me?

  19. Brad says:

    Hi there, I’ve just started using 2013 at my work and I don’t seem to be able to use my old standby approaches to standard commands. ie: Using the “L”ine command, I want to draw a line 20′ long along the X-axis. I click my startpoint, then I key in what I’ve always done: @20′,0′. It won’t let me do this. I can’t even use the Offset command to offset a line by 4”. What am I missing or doing wrong? Thank you

  20. Arthur Lichtenberger says:

    I have Autocad 2013 for Apple (so all bets are off; there are so many pernicious differences between autocad for PC and Apple that it must make for split personalities in the engineering division). But in any case, my problem is that the command window size is constantly changing. I use the upside down v to maximize, then pull by the corners to size the window to my desired size… and a few commands later it pops back to full size/or to two lines-size. Besides not having a Layer Manager in the apple Autocad, this drives me the most crazy. I have tried the LOCKUI command to 1- to no avail. Seems like a pretty obvious window setting / to be able to fix.

  21. lakshmanan says:

    how to get the old command line. in 2013 i entered l and enter button it is not go to line command. it shows unknown command. so how to get the command line like 2010 or 2007

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      If the Command line has disappeared, you can bring it back to the window by referring to the following post:
      After the command line has been restored to the window, use the draggable portion of the command line located at the far left and slowly drag it to the bottom of the AutoCAD window (not the bottom of the screen). It should pop into place like the “old” style command line. After that, save or update your workspace so that it saves this change.

  22. Stephen says:

    I am trying to load the Command Aliases to Civil 3D 2013, however when I open the Command Alias editor the aliases will not save. How can I fix this?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      A couple of things to try:
      1) after you exit the alias editor, you may need to use the command REINIT to “Re-Initiate” autocad and then choose the .pgp file from the pop up box.

      Question: is there an error popping up when you try to edit the aliases?

      2) You can manually change the aliases in the support folder in the file called “acad.pgp”
      It is located in the folder …\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2011\R18.1\enu\support (i am using AutoCAD 2011 currently so that is the path to my support folder)
      simply try to adjust the aliases in the format shown in that file.
      After you change the aliases in the acad.pgp file, you may need to restart AutoCAD or use the REINIT command

      If you cannot see the appdata folder in order to get to the support folder, use this link to display “hidden” folders


  23. Liz says:

    Hi there,
    My white dimension boxes have disappeared from when I type ‘REC’ for the Rectangle command. Usually upon drawing a rectangle, two white boxes would appear asking me to type out the width and the height of the shape. Now, no boxes appear at all and only an annoying array of questions along the command bar below. It asks me to confirm Chamfer, Elevation, Fillet, Thickness & Width. Then it asks me to confirm Area, Dimensions or Rotation.

    My question is, what did I turn off to not be able to see those white boxes anymore and how do I get them back? :( Please help!

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I wonder if this post might help.
      I believe that it has to do with turning on “Dynamic Input” in the drafting settings…

      • Liz says:

        Thank you Greg! I didn’t know what the feature was called so after a bit more research and clicking around, I found out how to turn it on and off. It’s literally as simple as hitting F12 on your keyboard. Craziness! haha

        Thanks again,

  24. jose says:

    How can we change the quick properties window box wideness? Its too narrow…

  25. Nate Hathaway says:

    I am accustomed to entering a single letter for prompting a command at the command line. With ACAD 2013, the autocomplete and auto append function is turned on. These can be turned off. I also see “>_” to view recent commands. Is there a way to get the one command back? It is convienent to select “e” for erase or “l’ for line for example.



    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Other than turning off the features that you already mentioned, you can try making the “delay time” longer. By default, it is set to 3 seconds. You can bump it up to something like 10 seconds.

  26. Dan Hamilton says:

    Is there a way to change how long the recent commands stay floating above the command line before they fade away? I like them there, but I only want them there for a second or so.

  27. Rick says:

    I’m inordinately concerned with something Ive never seen before. I REALLY don’t appreciate the fact that the command line blocks the drawing region behind it. Ie. When I “zoom extents” I cannot see the entities lowest in the drawing. Does anyone have a solution to this annoying property???
    –Much thanks.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      If the command line is annoying you, you can dock it so that it displays like it did in previous version of AutoCAD. Simply drag it to the lower portion of the screen until it “docks” itself. Then don’t forget to save or update your workspace so that it will stay in place.

  28. shashank barve says:

    after reinstalled I can’t see any tools and command on my AutoCAD. what can I do now. :-(

  29. Dan Abbott says:

    The biggest annoyance with the floating command line results from turning off dynamic input. When you try to acquire a tracking point and use it with direct distance entry, the track line disappears when you enter a value and the result is not accurate. This astonishing behavior goes away when dynamic input is turned back on. If you’re lucky, you’ll notice it immediately, and if not, you’ll have an error in your drawing that comes from using one of the most fundamental features in AutoCAD.

    If you turn dynamic input off (which most old-timers do) than make a point to dock the command line.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Wow – you are correct, something so fundamental shouldn’t behave this way and makes me wonder what I have created while using tracking that isn’t accurate.

      Thanks for the heads up Dan.

      • Dan Abbott says:

        I reported this several releases ago (when the floating command line first appeared). No change since. I think most people miss this because they either use both floating command line and dynamic input, or they use neither. It’s the mixing that causes problems. Maybe a few more reports would help, since you should not be alone in worrying about inaccurate geometry. The only saving grace is that usually the error is large enough to be obvious.

  30. mack says:

    hello can you please tell me how i can resize the icons below the command bar ?

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      These are not able to be resized.

      The only settings that you can universally make larger are making toolbars use larger icon from OPTIONS>Display>”Use large buttons for toolbars”


  31. Paul I. says:

    I recently learned how to use autocad and there is one thing that bugs me. I got used to drawing one way, then I pressed something (I don’t know what) and changed my drawing settings.
    Let me explain: When i select an object then enter a command (let’s say copy command) usually it automatically apply the copy command on that object. Now that feature is disabled. I select the object, enter a command and deselects the object, asking me to select an object.
    This thing bugs me a lot and slows my drafting speed. Do you know anything about that? I tried everything i know (with my limited knowledge).

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      It sounds like the system variable PICKFIRST was changed to zero.
      in the command line:

      Here is a description from the system variable editor in AutoCAD:
      Controls whether you select objects before (noun-verb selection) or after you issue a command.

      0 Turns off PICKFIRST; you select objects after you issue a command
      1 Turns on PICKFIRST; you select objects before you issue a command

      • Paul I. says:

        Yes, that’s the problem… I don’t know how I changed that value. Thank you so much. You saved me from going crazy :)

  32. madhu says:

    I have an issue with autocad 2013. I have created my own set of shortcut keys for the basic commands by editing the pgp file. For “EX” is explode command. Whenever I type EX fast , for some reason , autocad picks only E (which is still erase for me), and lands up erasing the objects I picked. I have to repeat the command several times , thus slowing me down. I wonder whether I am typing the keys too fast or to lightly or my keyboard is faulty. I changed my key board twice, but the same results. This problem is for all commands where I need to put in two or more keys. e.g. when I add a value say for distance ” 200″ , it will only pick “20”. This is very annoying . I am not that fast in drafting , so why this problem. It has started from autocad 2013 versions onwards.

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      Take a look at this post:
      Scroll down way down in the post there is a snap shot of opening the command line settings and turning off “Auto Append”

    • Rick says:

      You first may need to find the proper directory for the PGP file in use. Look in: “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2013\UserDataCache\en-us\Support” for the copy you should edit. And be sure to enter “reninit” at the command line whenever you change the file. As far as the limitation on the number of characters you can type, thats bizarre: is it just value numbers, or text as well???

    • Rick says:

      You first may need to find the proper directory for the PGP file in use. Look in: “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2013\UserDataCache\en-us\Support” for the copy you should edit. And be sure to enter “reninit” at the command line whenever you change the file. As far as the limitation on the number of characters you can type, thats bizarre: is it just value numbers, or text as well???

  33. Tucker says:

    I’ve been using CAD since 1993. I CANNOT stand the new command line. I want to use it docked, but then I can only see two lines of previous commands. I want to see 5 or 6 six lines of previous commands while docked. Any ideas???

  34. mubachar khan says:

    please help me for …. i give the command eg. L enter. on first click command does not work. i have to click again to apply the command. can you help me how i can from two times click to single click.
    i have autocad 2013 and windows8
    i have checked my mouse settings. all is well. but i am not sure about autocad setting. please help me.

    Best Regards
    M Khan

  35. Asinati Andrew says:

    I’m working in Microstation V8i for an IDOT job because they want to see their line types in their drawings. How do I import the IDOT line types into my Civil 3D drawing?

  36. silvercloak50 says:

    If you know how to keep the commandline docked on the bottom of the screen permanently rather than returning to the floating little window on the bottom everytime I open up autocad… I would greatly appreciate your input.

  37. ahd says:

    Hi, Is there a way to type a one-liner command. I just want to draw a line without typing first L then the command line prompts me to another input. Instead, in one line, for example, L>(123 ,456,55).
    Could that be possible

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