Dynamic Input has been in AutoCAD for a long time. What I’ve found in my many journeys is that not everyone is using it or not using it efficiently…. why not? You should be. To me its one of the greatest enhancements to 2D drafting within AutoCAD in the past 10-years. If you’re not currently using it, here’s your opportunity to try it, not just kinda try it, but really try it. Make it work for you.
Dynamic Input is a Heads-Up Display (HUD) type mechanism that moves your focus from the command line to your cursor. All the action is happening at the cursor anyways, why not be a part of the dance instead of hanging out along the wall waiting for someone to ask you to dance? It prevents the bad tennis match that occurs… eyes to the drawing area, eyes to the command line, eyes to the drawing area, eyes to the command line, repeat, repeat, and repeat.
In the image below the line on the left is being created with Dynamic Input. Notice the onscreen command prompting (“Specify next point…”) and the visible dimensions. The line on the right is being created without Dynamic Input.
There are many aspects of Dynamic Input
- Command Prompting on the screen (Echoed to the command line)
- Coordinate Display at the Cursor
- Geometry Dimensions, on screen, adjustable, used to define the size of your objects
With Dynamic Input you don’t need to worry about proceeding your inputs with @, # or any other special character. You do not need to worry about your angles being measured clockwise or counterclockwise… why? You’ll see the values on the screen. Another bonus to using Dynamic Input is that you can set the default to Relative or Absolute. So if you are always working in Relative why be forced to proceed the dimensional inputs with an @
The key to using Dynamic Input is the Tab key. If you want to adjust the length of the line and the angle, enter in the value for the length of the line but press Tab, not Enter. Tab will bounce between the input boxes and you only press enter when satisfied with the inputs.
Like Object Snaps, Object Snap Tracking, Polar, Ortho, and all other Drafting Aids, it can be enabled and disabled. Use it when its needed it, disable it for the rare occasions it becomes annoying or gets in the way.
If Dynamic Input does not appear in your status bar with the other drafting aids you probably just need to turn it on…
Dynamic Input is configurable. You can adjust what appears on screen and what doesn’t. You can set the default to absolute or relative. You can adjust colours, transparency, and size. To access the config dialog right-click on the icon in the status bar and select Dynamic Input Settings… On the main part of the dialog you can enable or disable Pointer Input (on screen coordinates), Dimension Input (the on screen dimensions that appear when creating geometry), and whether you want the on screen command prompting.
Drafting Tooltip Appearance launches a dialog to manage the size, colour, and transparency of your Dynamic Input.
Use Pointer Input Settings to manage the display of coordinates with the Dynamic Input… when do they appear and in what format. My favorite part of this dialog? The option to set the default to Relative Coordinates!
In Conclusion… if you aren’t using Dynamic Input you are missing out. Here’s a video of Dynamic Input in action.