Mechanical drafter Maria Tzanetakou describes the steps she took to get accustomed to the ribbon interface.
"I have been working with AutoCAD since v10 in DOS — 16 years, more or less. Where I work, we had an update from AutoCAD 2006 to AutoCAD 2009, which was the first time that I saw the ribbon. I immediately changed the workspace settings to AutoCAD Classic. Eventually, an update for AutoCAD 2012 arrived. In the meantime, I became acquainted with Revit.
"Then it struck me — the ribbon is here to stay. I realized I had two choices: ignore the ribbon or try to work with it. I decided to work with the ribbon and customize my menus.
"In the menubar, I select the View menu, then the Toolbars submenu. Then I choose AutoCAD or Express and click next to the toolbar I want to see. Having these toolbars on is very helpful if you are trying to get used to the ribbon. Remember to save these changes, using the Save Current As command, which appears in the Workspace settings. This will help you to keep your menus if a colleague uses your AutoCAD and messes with your menus by mistake.
"Another thing that helped me is this: Click the A (the Application Menu) on the upper-left of the screen, and a drop-down menu appears. In the left side of the menu, there is a white space with a magnifying glass. Type a whole or partial command in this search space, and the program will show you where in the ribbon you can find this command, and help you decide which command you are looking for. In addition, if you click the command, the command will be activated."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton: Change is difficult, especially for CAD users. This is funny because CAD changes very quickly. Regardless, with every release of AutoCAD (and other software), something new is included, something old is missing, and many things look different than they did before. It’s a hassle to deal with, but we must.
The ribbon was a big interface change when it was first introduced in AutoCAD 2009. It was slow to respond, slow to switch between tabs, and it was very different. Autodesk wisely kept the old toolbars and menubar available to users. They are still there, even in release 2012. If you have just started using a version with the ribbon, don’t worry. Make any changes to the UI that you need, but keep the ribbon there and try to use it. After all, what if Autodesk decides to take away toolbars or the menubar in the next release?