AutoCAD tutorial 03: Mastering the LINE command in AutoCAD

In the two previous AutoCAD tutorial, we have seen a couple of different ways to draw a line in AutoCAD. Before I start today, I would like to mention something I forgot to mention in the beginning.

This might not make sense to you but I noticed many people are forgetting their fingers on the click when drawing a line after the first click, thinking in AutoCAD you draw a line the same way you do in Microsoft Paint, if you fall in this category, you need to forget this habit while drawing in AutoCAD.

There are very very few actions in AutoCAD that force you to click and hold. We don’t click and hold here except for this selecting technique which we will look more into later.

So as a quick reminder, do not click and hold while drawing a line.

That being said, we can dive into today agenda.


Drawing a line with a dimension in AutoCAD

We need to talk about the ORTHO mode before anything else here.

The ORTHO mode

The ORTHO mode constrains the cursor to horizontal and vertical movement, which helps you draw straight horizontal and straight vertical line easily.

Every time I need to draw an either vertical or horizontal straight line, I will make sure the ORTHO mode is activated.

The ORTHO icon is located in the Status Bar


How do you know it is activated or not?

Pay attention to the information box that pops up when you hover on the icon. You can also use colors to know, Blue ORTHOMODE icon for ON and White ORTHOMODE icon for OFF.


How do you activate the ORTHO mode?

Just click on the icon to toggle it. If it was OFF before your click, it would turn ON and vise versa

Now that we know what ORTHO is and how to operate it, we need to make use of it.

Vertical line of 50 units of length.

To draw a line with 50 units:

1 – Click on the LINE icon


2 – Click one time in the drawing area (Don’t hold your click)

3 – Activate the ORTHO mode if it is not activated

4 – Move the cursor away from the first point in the direction your want the line to have. Since we are drawing a vertical line, you can only go either upward or downward

5 – Type 50 on your keyboard and hit ENTER

To draw an horizontal line, just change the direction in step 4 to either left or right.

Practice exercise

Using what you have just learned, you must be able to complete the following exercise.


I don’t expect you to be able to draw the figure with dimensions, it is only there for information purpose.

Polar tracking

This feature helps track specific angles when you are drawing in AutoCAD. By default this is set to 90, 180, 270, 360.

How to access this?

Right click on the Polar tracking icon like shown on the image below


What can I use this for?

You can use it to draw the following 2D image.


How did we get these?

Remember earlier in this article when we used ORTHO? We were only able to draw vertical and horizontal lines, now we can also track direction with specific angles. The process is the same with what we did when drawing the square above, but now we need to set the polar tracking to 45, 90, 135, 180… , draw the base line as we did with the square, and use the polar tracking to know you are at 45 degrees before drawing the 90 unit line.


You can set these tracking angles to be whatever you want. Using the Tracking settings, you can enter your angle of preference.


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  • M.

    This doesn’t work. The program will not let me type in 50.

  • means, you are doing something wrong!

  • M.

    You think!

  • M.

    I downloaded something now sure what it was, but it seemed to fix the problem of being able to enter the numbers on the command line. Now If I could just find a tutorial that starts at the beginning for us real dummies….. like “before you start set up your space to drawn in”…

  • shadowwraith

    As mod answers go, maybe this could use a little more constructive direction. Others, who may have the same question look to whomever is responding for answers, not reiterating what is already apparent. The correct way, I believe to modify the numbers in polar tracking is to
    1. right click on the icon
    2. select “Settings”
    3. check the box Additional angles
    4. click “New”
    5. Enter angles you wish to add to the default increment.
    so for example if u have it set to 90º, and add 40º.
    that will insert one extra angle to the list that it snaps to 0,40,90,180,270,360.

    When it comes to drawing a line at an angle, there are several ways to accomplish this…

    Using polar coordinates which consist of a starting point, a distance and direction specified locally as @distance<angle

    i.e. starting at point 0,0 with a distance of 10units at an angle of 45 degrees would be input thusly: Line

    enter first point: 0,0

    next point:@10<45


    Another way to do it is create the line then rotate it

    so from the command prompt or selected from the tool pallet, Line
    specify a starting point and end point
    key in the rotate command
    then select the object, key enter
    then enter the vertex you want to rotate from
    and enter the angle in reference to the current line.

    These are by no means complete instructions, but they at least offer direction that might help some users.

  • Tutorial45

    Thanks for your input

  • Thanks for your input