The VariCAD window is divided into three parts. The largest part is the 2D drawing / 3D modeling area. The part above the modeling area contains the Menu Bar. Below the modeling area is the Status Bar. Toolbars are docked in various places on the screen, and toolbars can be undocked to become floating windows.
This area contains the 2D or 3D objects you create. You can switch between 2D and 3D at any time, and menus and toolbars will change accordingly.
For functions that do not require a window for input, all messages and prompts are displayed in the Status Bar. The following items are displayed on the right side of the Status Bar:
Cursor coordinates in 2D or dragging distance in 3D is also displayed near the cursor by default.
Toolbars can be docked to sit above, below, or to the side of the drawing area, or they can be used as floating windows. Toolbars typically contain groups of icons for related functions, such as drawing functions, basic solids, dimensioning, etc. We recommend not removing the following toolbars:
You can right-click on any toolbar to invoke a menu enabling you to add, delete, or reconfigure toolbars. You can also manage toolbars by using the following function:
Toolbar Settings - TLBS
Configuration of toolbars for small icons is different than configuration of toolbars for large icons.
Optionally, VariCAD windows may contain buttons for “Cancel” and “Back.” Then the “Cancel” button cancels the current function completely. By default, only “Cancel” button without “Back” button is used. Then the “Cancel” button performs a step back.
Right-click while the cursor is inside the window is equivalent to click OK.
For both 2D and 3D, the default mouse settings are as follows:
Mostly, the middle mouse button and mouse wheel is the same. Within a selection or location input, you can press Ctrl + Right button to obtain a pop-up menu with currently available options.
See Tips and Tricks for more information.
To invoke a function, you can:
Some functions always behave as the embedded ones – current function is interrupted temporarily regardless the method of embedded command calling. For instance, you can change a view or measure distances without the necessity of finishing the current command. Measuring distances is especially convenient. You can “Cut and Paste” results – use them as input for any values.
For a list of all embedded functions, see Embedded Functions
You can configure the usage of hot-keys. It is possible to re-assign commands to selected hot-keys. Run command “CFG” to maintain the settings.
Many VariCAD functions are “continuous.” For example, when drawing a line, you define two endpoints. After the line is finished, you can begin creating a new line. To end and exit a function, you can:
If you exit a function, the Status Bar displays “Ready.” If the cursor is still within the drawing area, you can right-click an empty space to invoke the previous function from pop-up menu containing a list of commands history.
Functions are typically performed in steps. For instance, when drawing a line, Step 1 is to define the first point, and Step 2 is to define the second point. To go one step back, you can:
Stepping back enables you to repeat or correct previous input without having to exit the function. Using Undo and Redo does not have the same effect; these functions actually change the 2D/3D object database. See Undo and Redo
You can also select objects between functions (commands) and after the right-click, select a function from the pop-up menu. You can also right-click an object and then select a function from the pop-up menu. The offer of functions is, however, limited. Mostly editing functions are available.
You can use these additional methods to select objects between commands:
If you once selected solids, you cannot continue selecting edges or drawing planes until you deselect everything. Similarly, if you have selected edges, you cannot continue selecting solids. On the other side, you can combine selection of complete solids and selection of solid parts. Some edit functions support such combined selection.
To deselect all objects completely, press ESC. To change selection method, you can also right-click an empty location and change selection method from pop-up menu.
Many functions provide additional, temporary options. If you need to select an object or define a location, toolbars will appear with options relevant to the current situation. For example, when creating dimensions you have the option of changing the dimension text or style while defining the dimension position.
All additional or standard options can be reached either by clicking corresponding icon or by pressing Ctrl + Right click (by default). The second method opens a pop-up menu with options.
Example of standard 2D selection toolbar
Example of 2D toolbar available for selection of single objects, and additional option icons
For a list of all functions and commands, see List of All VariCAD Functions.
For a list of all hotkeys, see Hotkeys
Create a New File – DOP, Ctrl + N
VariCAD always starts with a new, empty file. This file has the default file parameters, and is assigned a preliminary name of “NONAME” plus new file’s serial number (for instance NONAME 1). In order to save this file, you must assign a valid filename. If you want to create another new file, you can confirm or change its parameters. Defined parameters of new file are:
New file creation window
Current File Attributes as Default - DEF
This function enables you to set the defaults for all new files. The dialog is similar to the creation of a new file (see the previous function).
The mode (3D/2D), units (millimeters or inches), sheet border format, scale and 2D grid distance can be defined in a window. Predefined 2D layers, 2D default line attributes (current layer, color and line style) and angles of the construction lines are copied from the current file.
Open an existing file – DAD, Ctrl + O
Opens an existing file. You can also open an existing file by pressing Tab, if the previous function is finished and “Ready” is displayed in the Status Bar.
Open Recent Files
This function allows you to open a file from the list of recently used files rather than from the standard file dialog.
Close – CLO, Ctrl + F4
Closes the current file. Next current file is the file which was active previously. If only one file is open, you are asked whether to exit the session or to create another new file with the default parameters.
When viewing a list of VariCAD files, a 2D or 3D component of the file is displayed in the preview window. You can select whether the 2D or 3D will be displayed. By default, the component that was active when the file was saved will be displayed.
List 2D/3D Files - DRV
This function lists file content in a window larger than standard preview window of the file dialog.
Save – DSV, Ctrl + S
Saves the current file. If the file was created as new or copied to new document window, you must define a valid filename.
Save As – SVA
Saves the current file. You can select a different filename or different file type, like STEP, DWG etc.
Save Only Selected Objects - DPS
Select objects first. Then define a filename. You can save selected objects to any other supported file type.
Insert Objects From File - DPO
Inserts all objects from the selected file to the current file. If you are in 2D, only 2D objects are inserted. If you are in 3D, only 3D objects are inserted.
Selection of 2D objects is described at Selecting, 2D Objects. Selection of 3D solids is described at Selecting Solids. 2D objects from another file are inserted similarly as 2D blocks – see Insert Block. 3D objects from another file are inserted the same way as the solids are transformed and copied – see Transforming and Copying Solids.
Backup saves 2D/3D files after a specified number of changes. If the session ends unintentionally, you can recover your backup data the next time you use VariCAD. To turn safety backups on/off, run “CFG” command.
To change the current (active) file, you can always use pull-down menu “Windows” and select the file to be active from the list. The list of open files is limited to 10 items. If the number of open files is greater, use the following function instead:
Windows – WIN, Ctrl + 3
This function offers you a clearly arranged list of the open files. You can save or close any selected file or activate selected file from the list.
Previous Document Window – SWD, Ctrl + TAB
Activates a previously active file. Repeatedly used, this function allows you to easily switch between the two files.
Save All Changed – SVALL
Saves all changed open files to VariCAD native format. If the file is created as new or copied to a new document window, you must always define its real name. If the file is imported from another format, you must confirm or redefine the file name. If the current files are all from the native format, no dialog is displayed.
New Document from Current Document - NDW
Creates a new file, copies all objects from the current file and activates this file.
You can set working with multiple files from command “CFG”. Available options are:
VariCAD works with separate clipboards for 2D objects and for 3D objects. During work with VariCAD, you can store objects to a corresponding clipboard and whenever insert them to any open file.
Copy – CPY, Ctrl + C
Stores selected objects to the clipboard.
Paste – PAS, Ctrl + V
Insert objects from the clipboard to the current file.
Switch to 2D - 2D, Alt + 2
Switch to 3D - 3D, Alt + 3
You can switch between 2D and 3D at any time. To switch, you can:
Switching between 2D and 3D also changes the available toolbars and menus. There is no direct link between 2D and 3D data, but you can update 2D views after making changes in 3D by using 3D View Exports.
2D Drawing Projected into 3D Space
You can draw in 3D, using standard drawing and editing functions. This possibility allows you to prepare a profile and then extrude, rotate or loft it. Profiles may be prepared also in 2D area.
Undo – UND, Ctrl + Z
Redo – RED, Ctrl + Y
When creating 2D or 3D data, you can use Undo to return backward step-by-step to previous states of your 2D/3D objects. You can also return to where you began work, or to the point at which the file was loaded. Once Undo has been used, Redo can be used to step forward. Undo/Redo history is separate for 2D and 3D objects. When working with assembly connections, this history is lost after parts are reloaded into the assembly after changes have been made. If this occurs, you will receive a message informing you of the problem.
Many 2D functions, and some methods of 3D transformation, use dragging. In command “CFG” you can choose between two methods of dragging. In both methods the cursor defines the position of the reference point or insertion point.
Information – INFO
Lists directories currently used by VariCAD.
This section contains a comparison of 2D and 3D. For more detailed descriptions of specific functions, see 2D Drawing or 3D Modeling.
When starting a new design project, you need to decide whether to work in 2D or 3D. While there are advantages to both methods, 3D modeling is usually more efficient.
Working in 3D allows you to: