Reaching for AutoCAD Help - dummies

By Lee Ambrosius

Part of AutoCAD 2009 & AutoCAD LT 2009 All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

There will be times when you want to go to the source of all that is AutoCAD to find answers to your questions about using the program. Here are some ways of accessing AutoCAD’s Help system:

  • At a blank command prompt, enter ?

  • From the Help menu, choose Help

  • Press the F1 function key at any time

  • From the command prompt, type HELP

Using built-in Help

Most of the time, AutoCAD’s Help system is context sensitive. If you’re in the LINE command and press F1 (or choose Help→Help), the Help system will launch and take you to information about the LINE command.

You can get context-sensitive help at the command line, too, by entering an apostrophe and then a question mark (that is, ?).


Tooltips are by far one of the most basic methods of getting help from a software program. AutoCAD is no different; tooltips are used throughout the user interface and provide information about a command button on a toolbar, an object in a drawing, or a control in a dialog box. To display a tooltip, you simply point the cursor at the command button on a toolbar or almost any other object and let the cursor hover over the object for a moment. After a brief period, a small box appears with text that explains what the object is or does in the case of a command button or control if it is clicked.

When a tooltip is displayed, and Press F1 for More Help is displayed in the tooltip; do as it asks and press F1 to find out more about the user interface element. The online Help system opens and displays a topic related to the object associated with the tooltip.


InfoCenter replaces what was called the Info Palette and combines the functionality of the Communication Center in one place. The InfoCenter is located in the upper-right corner of AutoCAD on the title bar and allows you to search for information in the online Help system as well as get information from your favorite blogs or websites that post content in an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file format. If you find a specific topic or entry of interest, you can flag it as a favorite, which allows you to easily go back to the topic at a later date.