As an Autocad trainer, I often get this question “How long does it take to learn Autocad? and my answer is always:
It depends …
First of all, you need to understand that you can’t just learn Autocad, definitely not the entire software unless you are planning to specialize in using it (like myself – yet, I still don’t know everything about the software).
There are levels of expertise when it comes to using Autocad.
Not only that, but there are also 2 main flavors of the Autocad software:
- Autocad LT
The Autocad LT version is essentially a 2D drawing software only. The other Autocad (the full version) has 2D drawing tools, 3D modeling tools, and visualization tools. A more detailed comparison is here
So the answer depends on what you want to do with it, and how detailed your work will be when you are using it.
If you are planning to use 2D tools mainly, go with Autocad LT for sure. No need to bother with the full version or pay its hefty price tag.
Now let’s talk about the levels of expertise – since I mainly use Autocad LT, I will be talking about levels of expertise in using it.
Level 1 – Autocad LT Essentials:
- Understanding the interface, navigation, selection, and Units setup.
- Learning basic drawing commands.
- Learning basic modifying commands.
- Drawing basic layouts (simple floor plan or elevations).
Level 2 – Introduction to Autocad LT:
- Understanding drafting settings such as Snap settings.
- Working with geometry grips (vertices).
- Creating basic blocks.
- Creating and using basic Layers.
- Using Annotation commands (Text, Dimension, Leader).
- Setting up a layout (paper space) with proper paper size & printing settings.
- Using a template file.
Level 3 – Advanced Autocad LT:
- Learning advanced drawing commands. (Hatch command).
- Learning advanced modifying commands. (Array command).
- Drawing complex layouts (reflected ceiling plans, sections, details).
- Creating Annotation styles (Text, Dimension, Leader)
- Creating complex blocks (with attributes).
- Using and creating a full list of layers.
- Creating a template file.
- Basic use of external references (images, pdfs, Dwg)
Level 4 – Expert Autocad LT:
- Creating Titleblocks.
- Creating dynamic blocks.
- Cross-referencing multiple drawings.
- Using Sheet Set Manager (Windows) or Project Manager (Mac).
- Setup proper project folders (Xrefs)
- Creating smart Tables (schedules)
- Knows all drawing commands.
- Knows all modifying commands.
- Knows all Layer settings for the same drawing and Xrefs.
Rule of thumb I personally use when it comes to learning anything is 20 hours – so 20 hours for each level = 80 hours to “learn to become” an Expert in Autocad LT.
Learning Autocad for 80 hours will not make you an expert if you don’t put as much time in practicing it, making mistakes, reading online, watching YouTube videos and asking your peers on how to use it when you run into problems.
For most designers (interior designers, architects), knowing the essentials and the introduction is important. Learning the advanced features will give you much more flexibility when designing and working with other professionals (engineers, kitchen & bath designers, specialty consultants & contractors).
Expert level features are more commonly learned by CAD managers & drafting specialists.
Are you an interior designer or an architect looking to learn Autocad or improve your existing skills? Look no further! I offer Autocad training for new learners & advanced users.
I offer flexible scheduling, bundle pricing, exercises, and best practices when it comes to using Autocad for either interior design or architecture.