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How to Zoom in AutoCAD 2014

By Bill Fane, David Byrnes

Because zooming is a frequent activity in AutoCAD 2014, you should know about all the ways you can zoom. In addition to the Zoom button on the Navigation bar, you’ll find tool buttons for all the Zoom options in the Navigate 2D panel on the View tab. Click the down arrow beside the magnifying-glass button, and a menu with the other options opens.


The Zoom command has 11 different options; the most important ones are described in this list:

  • Extents and All: The Zoom Extents button zooms out just far enough to show all objects in the current drawing. The Zoom All button does almost the same thing: It zooms to show the rectangular area defined by the drawing limits set with the LIMITS command, or it zooms to show the extents — whichever is larger.

    These two options are especially useful when you zoom in too close or pan off into empty space and want to see the entire drawing again.

    Use Zoom All or Zoom Extents, and then save the drawing before you close it, to ensure that

    • The next person who opens the drawing can see the full drawing as soon as she starts working.

    • Any objects that you accidentally copied beyond the drawing limits show up so that you can delete or move them.

    • The drawing preview that appears in the Select File dialog box displays the full drawing rather than a tiny, unidentifiable corner of it.

  • Window: This option, which is useful for zooming in quickly and precisely, zooms to a section of the drawing that you specify by clicking two points. The two points define the diagonal of a window around the area you want to see.

    The Zoom command’s Window option is not a click-and-drag operation, unlike in other Windows programs and — confusingly — unlike in the Zoom/Pan Realtime Zoom Window option. To use the Zoom command’s Window option, you click one corner, release the mouse button, and then click the other corner.

  • Realtime: Enables you to zoom in and out by starting a realtime zoom and then dragging the magnifying-glass cursor up (to zoom in) or down (to zoom out).

  • Previous: Use this option to undo the last zoom or pan sequence (or both), returning to where you started. You can repeat this option to step through previous views, even if you create or edit objects after changing the view.

  • Object: This option zooms in close enough to show selected objects as large as they can be displayed onscreen. Using Zoom Object is similar to examining selected objects under the AutoCAD microscope.

Entering the command sequences Z A, Z P, or Z W (note the mandatory space between the letters) is usually faster than trying to find the corresponding zoom tools on the ribbon or various toolbars. Z is the command alias for the Zoom command, while A, P, and W start the All, Previous, and Window options, respectively.

These three command sequences, in combination with the wheel mouse, typically account for more than 99 percent of your panning and zooming needs.