Using AutoCAD Navigation Tools

The next first thing you should get familiar when first time learning AutoCAD is using navigation tools. You will want to see your drawing closer, move it to see another part of your drawing, see your model from different angle (for 3D), etc.

There are several methods to do it in AutoCAD:

Using Mouse

This is probably the most common way in many applications. You can zoom in/zoom out your drawing by scrolling your scroll button. The drawing will be zoomed in/out about your pointer position.

You can pan by click the mid button, hold it, and move your mouse.

Using Navigation Tools in Ribbon Bar

AutoCAD Navigate Panel

You can find the navigation tools in view tab, navigate panel. There are pan button, orbit (we will not discuss this until 3D tutorial), and zoom. There are several zoom tools you can use. The tool name should self explain what it’s for. But you might want to try them by yourself. Click the tool you want to use, then use it by hold your left mouse button. [Enter] to end the tool.

Using Steering Wheel

AutoCAD Steering Wheel

Steering wheel is the navigation tool that stick to your mouse. You can find the navigation tools here, like: zoom, pan, and rewind. If you want to try the navigation tools other than those three, try in 3D model. You can show/hide the steering wheel by pressing [shift]+W. Or click the steering wheel button on the try, right side of your status bar. (see animation below)

Typing in Command Line/Dynamic Input

Zoom options

This is probably the fastest way. You can type Z then [enter] to activate zoom tools. Press [enter] again will activate zoom real time. You have other zoom options if necessary. Refer to previous tutorial how to change the option.

Command: Z
Specify corner of window, enter a scale factor (nX or nXP), or
[All/Center/Dynamic/Extents/Previous/Scale/Window/Object] <real time>: W
Specify opposite corner:

Play this animation to see how it works. You can play it by right click and choose play from contextual menu.

Try to open sample files to do this exercise. You can find AutoCAD sample files in AutoCAD folder: C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2010\Sample\Sheet Sets

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  1. Pat says

    Yesterday I was able to select objects by clicking them… something happened and now I have to hold the shift key down to select more than one item. If I don't the first item is unselected.

  2. PJ says

    I use catia v5 at work and the most beautiful thing about is is the view manipulation from mouse.


    hold middle to pan

    click middle to fix rotation point of model

    hold middle and then click leftb to enter zoom mode

    hold middle and then hold leftb to rotate about rotation point above

    It is probably the best use of mouse buttons I have ever come across in any application on the planet

    it must increase cad productivity 10fold

    it should be a world wide standard

    yet not even the other cad companies adopt it

    or am I wrong? i am eager to use auocad inventor for a small personal project at home but the thought of having to click an icon to rotate the model just makes me sick

    is there anyway to have catia controls in autocad???

    • says

      AutoCAD and Inventor does have similar navigation tools, but they are actually different applications. In Inventor, you can hold [F4] button and using your mouse to rotate the view. In AutoCAD you can hold [shift] and your mid button. You can use keyboard and mouse combinations, and you can customize it as you preferred. But as far as I know, you can't use two mouse buttons at once.
      I know CATIA. I don't think any other application are using the same navigation controls.

  3. Luiz Carlos Cardoso says

    Hi, Edwin Prakoso…

    Dear colleague in Revit, AutoCAD and other CAD tools. I copied some of its other parameters worked for by the way is an excellent contribution and sharing your content site has a comfortable and well organized., Continue with your contract. "The less is more"

    A big hug. We find on facebook.


    Luiz Carlos Cardoso

    Projects HVAC AutoCad and Revit MEP.