Customizing the ribbon is similar to customizing a toolbar, but you need to be aware of the special structure of the ribbon.
If you’re interested in creating custom commands, also see “Tutorial: Create a custom command.” This tutorial builds on those skills, but is complete in itself.
- Choose Tools tab> Customization panel> User Interface, or just type cui on the command line.
Tip: If you display the tab you want to work on and type cui on the command line, you can see that tab as you work– just move the Customize User Interface dialog box. In fact, if you click the title of the panel you want to work on and click the Pin icon, you can keep even the bottom section open as you work. (Unfortunately, the bottom section collapses when you click Apply.)
- In the Customization in All CUI Files pane, expand the Ribbon Panels item.
- Expand the panel where you want to add your command. You’ll see several rows. Expand one or more rows that you might want to look at. Here you see the Draw-2D panel open with several of its rows. To the left, you can see the expanded panel itself.
Note: One new concept is the sub-panel. Sub-panels are a way of compartmentalizing commands for layout purposes. On the Draw-2D panel, there’s a sub-panel after the LINE command to separate that command from the rest. Also, each panel comes with a panel separator. Rows below the panel separator don’t show until you click the panel name; they’re in the lower, expanded section.
Caution: Remember to back up your original menu file in case you make a mistake! The file is acad.cui or acad.cuix (depending on which release of AutoCAD you’re using). The location may vary, so use the OPTIONS command and click the Files tab. Open the Customization Files item to find the location. When you find the file, use Windows Explorer to back it up. Another option is to use Windows Explorer to make a copy first, rename the copy, and load the copy. Use the CUILOAD command to first unload the main acad.cui file, then browse to your copy and load that.
- Decide which changes you want to make. I added a custom command and moved existing commands around to better suit how often I use them. Don’t make the panel too wide, because you need to leave room for the rest of the panels. If you make a panel too wide, others will be condensed and you won’t see all of their contents.
- To move existing commands, drag them from one location to another. (Sometimes this doesn’t always seem to work on the first try; try another location, or delete the command and drag it from the Command List to the new location.) To delete a command, right-click and choose Remove.
- To add a different or custom command, locate it in the Command List at the lower-left corner of the dialog box. Then drag it to the desired location.
- To delete a sub-panel, drag its contents to another location, right-click it, and choose Delete. Sub-panels do a nice job of setting off buttons, but they create blank space that you might want to use.
- When you’ve made a few changes and want to see how they look, click the Apply button and wait while AutoCAD reloads the menu.
Note: The panel preview at the upper-left corner of the dialog box isn’t completely accurate, so don’t rely on it completely. For example, my preview showed the LINE command with a large icon, but it shows as a standard-sized icon on my ribbon. You can set the size in the Properties panel.
- When you’re done, click OK. Here you can see my new menu. I’ve added a custom 1LINE command (line \\;) which ends the LINE command after one line. I’ve also moved the existing buttons around and banished some to below the panel separator.
Originally done in AutoCAD 2009.