There are many ways to get help when you have problems with you CAD software. You can try to Google it to quickly find an answer. But sometimes you don’t know what to search or you tried to search but can’t find the answer. Asking your colleagues would be another way. If you are on subscription, you can create a case and ask Autodesk support.
But if none of the options are available for you, asking in a forum is the next best place. There are many experts who can help you. In Autodesk forum, several technical support also follows the topic and can help you. Please forgive me for referring to Autodesk forum, it’s because that is the forum I follow the most. I’m not an Autodesk employee, but I use their products. That’s why I participate in their forum.
I see many times that people don’t get help right away because they don’t ask their problem clearly or don’t provide enough data. This is a tip how you can quickly get an answer and the help that you need.
You may not have to do them all, it depends on your question. But if you see below tip can be applied to your question, provide them.
Ask in the Right Place
Most forums have categories and sub-forums. This will help people following a topic. Autodesk has many products, so they divided the forums to specific products. Check this Autodesk forum and you will see which product that you need help with. After you click the product, you will see more sub categories.
Choose the most appropriate forum to ask your question. It will help the right people to see your post.
Make Your Title Clear
Make sure your post title clear. It will not help if you just type “Please help”. Try to describe your problem there. If someone has similar problem before or know the solution, they can quickly jump in and try to answer your question.
Do not Give Sensitive Information
You need to remember that most forums are a public forum. Autodesk forum for example, it is run and moderated by Autodesk. But people can read your posts and see information that you give. Do not provide serial number, your account login, and other sensitive information.
Unless an Autodesk employee responded and ask you for details via private messaging, do not provide them in your posts. In Autodesk forum, the employee are clearly shown in their profile badges. It’s next to their name.
Give as Many Details as You Can
Different software version, different Operating System (OS) may need different solution. When you ask for AutoCAD problem, mention what version that you use. If you think it might be related to OS, mention what is your OS. Is it AutoCAD for Mac? Does it run on Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 10?
If you have performance issue, what is your computer configuration? How much RAM do you have? What is the graphic card? Provide any details that you think necessary to solve the problem.
Provide the Screenshot
A picture speaks a thousand words. Sometimes we are just not sure if our description is clear enough. You can capture any strange behavior, warning message, and error message and provide the screenshot. Or maybe a part of the interface that we don’t know how to call it.
Capture the screen, and upload it with your post. If you are not familiar with making screenshot, you can see how to do it here.
Provide the Steps to Reproduce the Problem
Sometimes to answer your question, we need to reproduce the error on our machine. If the problem is a bug or error in your drawing, we can find a solution or workaround by following your steps and see what it’s about. Mention what you do until you see the error, step by step.
And it would be a good idea if you can record your screen so we all can see how the problem happens. You can use a free recording tool from Autodesk: Autodesk Screencast.
Provide a Sample File
If the problem is a file specific, you may need to provide a sample file. A file specific problem only occur when you work with a particular file. It doesn’t happen when you work with other file.
If the file contains sensitive information, you can delete most part of the drawing and leave objects with that problem. If there’s a problem with a particular block, you can delete everything except for the block. Make sure the problem persists after you delete the other part of the drawing.
Provide the Installation Log File
If you have problem with installation, it would be easier for us to find the problem if we can see the installation log file. Find the installation log file and attach it in your post. It would be better to just attach it, not copy the content and paste it in your post.
Most forum, including Autodesk forum is a public forum. The people who will answer you, mostly are also customers and users. They are not Autodesk employee. They are people who want to help the others.
I understand that sometimes we come to the forum feeling frustrated and angry. But our rants will not help.
Ask politely because people who will answer you are willing to spend their precious time. And they don’t get paid for it.
A discussion forum is a great place to ask people for help or discussion. You can have real human interaction in those forum. Using search engine can be faster to get common answer, but sometimes we can’t get answer from it. I don’t mind people asking me question directly, but there are more people on the forum. Many of them know the products better than I do. That’s why I always ask the readers to ask in forum for faster answer.
If we want to have a better answer, we need to ask a better question. So try to make your question clear.
Here are some forums that you might want to bookmark, for your future reference:
- Autodesk forum. If you use Autodesk products, this would be a good place to start. This forum is provided and moderated by Autodesk. Sometimes their employee also join the forum and try to help you.
- CADTutor forum. This is a very friendly forum for AutoCAD users. It’s not affiliated with Autodesk, but the users are veterans. Many of them have used AutoCAD when computers still use 5 1/4″ disk.
- Revit Forum. This is also an independent forum. A good place if you want to discuss about using Revit.
There are many other forums, but those are the forums I frequently visit. Feel free to recommend other forums in the comment section.