Interface review and program settings

Autodesk Inventor is made as a parametric system of three-dimensional design intended for the creation of 3D models, their analysis and making 2D drafts.

You may ask: “Why should one create a 3d model if the final goal is a 2D draft?” Experienced users can answer this question.

The fact is by creating a 3D model, all the necessary projections and product sections require a third of the time compared to traditional technical drawings, while the probability of errors is greatly diminished. Moreover, Inventor allows making calculations of the mechanical properties of a product and its components, selecting most suitable materials, visualizing the product work, and many other things.

Now let’s examine the interface of Autodesk Inventor.

The main working space is tape:

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By default it is displayed in the top of the window. The functions of the tape are displayed when opening and creating a file.

Click “Open” and choose a project file in the dialog box:


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Open an assembly file. After the file has been opened the tape functions for this type of files become available.  They are different for assembly components and drafts.

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Tape is made as a tool palette with keys and controls used when working on beta-drafts, for 3D modeling, scrolling and visualizing.

The tape consists of a panel set placed in tabs. The tabs are named according to their purpose. Some tape panels have arrows of a dropdown menu. The arrow shows that there are command options available for this panel. To use the options click the arrow.

The tape may not display all the available panels. To show a hidden panel click right on the empty space of the tape and choose “Show panels”:

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To show a hidden panel, mark off the name of the panel.

There are expanding tooltips to many tape commands, which display information about command experience. Initially there is a name and short description of a command. But holding the mouse cursor above the command makes the tooltip expand and display additional information.

Some tooltips have numbers. There is also a hot key within brackets next to the command name, i.e. there is no need to use the tape for searching a command. One may just utilize the appropriate hot key for this command. For example, when pressing key Р, a dialog box for small component insertion will be opened.

If the tooltips are turned off, one may turn them on. Click “Options”, tooltip control is available in tab “General”:

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Main navigating elements are View Cube and Navigation Panel which by default are displayed in the upper-right corner:

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You can zoom in and out by scrolling the mouse-wheel.

View Cube is designed for switching between standard and isometric views of a model. Mousing over the View Cube makes it active. To switch between views click the arrows or corresponding faces of the View Cube. To rotate a view 90° click the arrows on the top right of the View Cube. Use the shortcut menu to build the View Cube. One may choose its size, position and other settings.

Control Panel:


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The main function is Pan, which moves the view in any direction planar to the screen. One may also click-drag the mouse scroll wheel to pan.

The next function is Zoom All. It fills the graphics window with all visible objects.

The next function is Free Orbit. It dynamically rotates the view around the screen axes or center based on cursor input.  To choose the rotation axe, mouse to the corresponding axe segment, to rotate freely hold the left mouse button. The cursor input determines the rotation center.

The next function is Look At, which positions a selected planar face parallel to the screen or a selected edge horizontal to the screen.


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Full Navigation Wheel contains all the functions listed above. They are located on just one panel with some adds.

To hide or to show View Cube or Control Panel go to tab “View”, panel “Windows” – “User Interface” and mark off the corresponding names.

There is a browser in the left part of the screen:


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It displays all the operations under product sequentially. Operation with browser will be examined later in details.

Let’s close this component part and make some settings of the application.

Open “Application Options” in “Tools” tab:

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Tab “General” except tooltips control provides an opportunity to indicate startup actions: to open certain files, to create a file or to insert username as well.

Tab “colors” allows choosing the program design, a background color or image, color theme or icons (grey or yellow).

To save the settings click “Apply”.

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