Quick and dirty clicks and drags in AutoCAD

I’m sure most of you draw your objects with great precision. But sometimes even the most precise among us may want to make a quick and dirty move or copy of some drawing objects and are not too bothered about the exact place they end up. Text, for example.

As always in AutoCAD, there are many ways of doing this. Long-termers like me may automatically gravitate towards the short-form commands for Move and Copy, but there are various alternatives.

In this post I’m going to cover the click-and-drag method. This isn’t grip editing; although you will see grips appear when you select the objects, you’re not going to use them. To move an object this way requires just two clicks and no commands. Admittedly, one of the clicks is a long one and you also need to move the mouse and then release one of the clicks, but it’s still pretty efficient.

1. Left-click the objects to preselect them.
2. Long left-click on one of the selected objects (not on a grip) to initiate the drag process.
3. Move the cursor to the desired location and release the left button to drop the objects there.

1. Left-click the objects to preselect them.
2. Long left-click on one of the selected objects (not on a grip) to initiate the drag process.
3. Once you have the little rectangle glyph on the cursor, hold down Ctrl to change the mode from move to copy. A little [+] symbol will be added to the cursor.
4. Move the cursor to the desired location and release the left button to drop the objects there. Release the Ctrl key.

Alternative method
1. Left-click the objects to preselect them.
2. Long right-click on one of the selected objects (not on a grip) to initiate the drag process.
3. Move the cursor to the desired location and release the right button to drop the objects there.
4. Left-click Copy here or Move here on the cursor menu that appears.

This method works in all recent AutoCAD releases and vertical variants. The above description assumes that your AutoCAD settings have been left in their default state.


  1. Steve, since last week your posts are truncated in my RSS feed. Did you change something unintentionally?

  2. No, I changed something intentionally. 🙂 The change was triggered by this post and subsequent discussions:


    Is this a problem for you?

  3. Great tips but “click-and-drag” combined with shift (and AutoCAD Architecture Display system) caught me out recently.

    Shameless blog plug:)

    PS: I read both, but prefer full, feeds but know that some oppose partial feeds and won’t subscribe to them

  4. It is a problem for me. I love RSS because I can aggregate my chosen content and skim through it quickly. I generally ignore posts that require extra effort to read — unless the title is very enticing. For example, I used to read every one of Kean Walmsley’s posts, even if the subject didn’t sound particularly interesting. Since he started truncating his feed, I’ve probably read 3 or 4 of his posts. Likewise, I generally read all of your posts; but if you make it more difficult, I’ll pobably skip most of them.

  5. I don’t like truncated RSS feeds, and tend to not bother going to the site to read the rest of the post — except in the rare case when it sounds really interesting. (My RSS feeds are full.)

    But I also understand Steve’s desire to frustrate blog scrapers.

  6. I like truncated feeds, Steve. My choice of reader allows me to click the title for the entire post without leaving the reader pane. On sites that have a lot of posts it’s easier to scroll through the titles and just click the ones I want to read.

  7. Back on topic I’ve used the long-click and drag for as long as I can remember but I keep wishing would constrain orthogonally

  8. I’m with Rick Moore. I have my feed truncated for the reasons mentioned above, and I don’t mind reading others this way. But I can see the points mentioned by others. Someday, we’ll say this debate is as old as “pull-down menus vs. the Ribbon” 🙂

  9. I have seen the same stuff with some of my blog posts. Doing a search for MY stuff gets me a link to THEIR website.

    The way it was done at that time, it just sort of did an excerpt with a “more” link that didn’t work.

    I wouldn’t mind too much, because at this stage I don’t have many readers. I’ll take all the exposure I can get. But it DIDN’T WORK RIGHT and that could reflect badly on me, even though it is their error.

    Also, the “more” link, done by somebody with an ounce of integrity, should be a jump to the article ON my blog, not to a frame on their site, enclosed within their logos and advertising. Nor should ANY of it be done without asking explicit permission first. Nobody has my permission to make a buck off my stuff without asking. ‘Specially w/out spotting me a beer at AU! (And it doesn’t count if the Desk actually paid for it!)

    My blog is young, and somewhat unknown, but I don’t do it for money. I do it because I like sharing what I have learned, and I like the occasional recognition as “knowing my stuff”. I like to feel like I’m a part of it all, and contributing in some small way.

    {{{You sir, are welcome to reference me anytime you think I actually said something worthwhile. I have no doubts about your integrity – certainly more than an ounce, and maybe even two! 😉 Even Shaan Hurley would say that – but maybe through gritted teeth at the grudging admission. }}}

    And thanks for the tip – I might hit my users with that one next week!

  10. I’m very dependent on the ability to move & copy as suggested by this post but after my Autocad crashed recently, I couldn’t drag selected objects unless I grabbed the nodes/grips…. can anyone help to fix this?

    please email me at: ranjit_ji@yahoo.ca

    & Thank you in advance!


  11. Hi,

    What about dragging the object off the screen limits? It seemed that clicking and dragging work only within the limit of the actual available screen and that scrolling while moving/copying using this method is impossible. Is it?

    Thank you in advanced for replying.



  12. Yes, that is true. Middle-button pan won’t initiate while another mouse button is held down.

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