A9CAD - getting started

A9CAD is a free CADD program that has an interface very similar to AutoCAD.  If you become familiar with A9CAD you should have little difficulty adapting to AutoCAD in the future.


When you open a new drawing in A9CAD you will see an interface very similar to legacy versions of AutoCAD.

  • Menu Bar: standard Windows layout

  • Quick access Toolbar: Standard Save/Print/Cut/Paste/Zoom functions

  • Drawing Tools: Usual CADD stuff - lines, rectangles, arcs, Stretch, Mirror,etc.

  • Properties Window: Select an entity in the Drawing Space and its properties will appear here, allowing you to edit them

  • Command Window: Select an operation from the Drawing Tools and your basic instructions will appear here.

  • Drawing Space: Self-explanatory - This is where you put your creation

Setting up a New Drawing

After opening and naming a new drawing go to Draw on the Menu Bar and select Active Document Settings.

This is where you can do the initial set-up for style of text, Grid, and Snap increments, etc.


For your first several projects you will be using the settings shown to the left.

  • General Origin X, Origin Y: Shows the current coordinates of the center of the drawing area.
  • Snap: Sets the Snapping function of the cursor providing that the SNAP button is selected at the very bottom of the screen.  With the Grid set to 1 and the Snap set to .5, the cursor will snap to each grid as well as exactly in between.
  • Grid Space X and Space Y: Sets the distance between each grid dot on the screen, provided the GRID button is selected at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Lower X, Lower Y: Shows the coordinates where the lower left corner of grid dots will start.
  • Upper X, Upper Y: Shows the upper right corner of grid dots on the screen.  In essence, this sets the "working area" of your Drawing Space.

Click Apply to accept the settings.

Although it's difficult to see the white dots in the image above, if you go to  View   Zoom  All  you should be able to see a grid area as defined in your set up. If you don't see the Grid select the GRID button at the bottom of the screen. Turn on the SNAP button and you will be able to see the cursor snap to .5 increments. I find that it is usually best to begina new drawing with the SNAP function turned on.  It is easier to re-locate and orientate objects if there are some initial reference points.

Drawing a Border and Title Block


While zoomed out to see the entire grid display, select the Rectangle Tool and click once on the grid at the position shown.  Enter the following: @ 10, 7.5  The 10 and 7.5 are the distances from the original location where you clicked.  You should end up with a border that will show up on an 11 x 8.5" sheet of paper when printed on a standard printer.

The @ symbol tells the program to measure "relative" distances from your starting point. If you were to just type in 10, 7.5 the rectangle would end at a position 10 to the right and 7.5 up from zero, 0,0 on the Drawing Space, which is not the same as measuring from your first click.

This concept is described as "Relative" versus "Absolute" Coordinates.  We will be using both.  Another method would just be to click and drag until you ended up with the proper size rectangle.

Continue until you have a border and Title Strip that looks like this. 

To use the Line Tool click once on the beginning point of the line, again on the second point of the line, and Right-Click to complete the line. If you don't right-click you will end up with a poly-line.

To draw the Title Strip along the bottom you will have to go back to Draw on the Menu Bar and select Active Document Settings and change the SNAP to .25

Save this drawing as <template1_your_name.dwg>