Fourteen system variables to improve AutoCAD performance

To improve AutoCAD performance you can tweak some settings related to the operating system and your hardware. But apart from making these changes, there are also some default settings which can be changed using system variables to visibly enhance the performance of AutoCAD. In this article, I have listed fourteen such system variables.

ZOOMFACTOR

This variable will change the speed with which scroll wheel of the mouse will zoom the drawing area.

If you are a beginner then try to change the ZOOMFACTOR variable to 30 range which would be easy for you. The Default value is set on 60 which will be suitable for most of the cases but if you want more speed you can change this variable to 100.

WHIPTHREAD

This variable specifies how AutoCAD will use additional processors on the machine. If there is only a single processor then this variable will not have any effect. The default value of WHIPTHREAD system variable is 1 but you can change it to other values as well.

0 – No multithreading used

1 – Regeneration only is carried out by multiple processors

2 – Redraw only is performed by multiple processors

3 – Regeneration and redraw carried out

AutoCAD can use that extra processor to improve the speed of operations such as zoom which redraws or regenerates the drawing. There will be a slight acceleration when you are working with large drawings if you set this variable to 3.

But you should not expect a drastic improvement in the performance just by changing this system variable.

TOOLTIPS

This variable is set to 1 as default which will show tooltips when you hover your cursor over a tool. To improve the performance you can turn off these tooltips by changing TOOLTIPS system variable value to 0.

Hatch command tooltip

ROLLOVERTIPS

If the ROLLOVERTIPS system variable is set to 1 and you hover your cursor over an object in the drawing area then a tooltip will appear which will show a small list of the object properties. Make this variable 0 to increase speed when working with large drawings.

Tooltip on circle

EXPERT

The EXPERT system variable will suppress certain prompts and instead it will take the default value YES as the input. The default value of this system variable is 0 but you change it as per your requirement.

0 – No suppression of prompts

1 – Suppresses “About to regen, proceed?” and “Really want to turn the current layer off?” prompts

2 – Suppresses prompts of variable 1, “Block already defined. Redefine it?” and “A drawing with this name already exists. Overwrite it?” prompts.

3 – Suppresses prompts of variables 1, 2 and prompts issued by LINETYPE command.

4 – Suppresses prompts of variables 1, 2, 3 and prompts issued by UCS save and VPORTS save options.

5 – Suppresses prompts of variables 1,2,3,4 and “That name is already in Use, redefine it?” prompt.

When a prompt is suppressed by Expert option the prompt will automatically take your input as Yes.

PEDITACCEPT

The default value of PEDITACCEPT system variable is set to 0 which allows Polyline Edit command to return a prompt as shown in the image below.

If the value of this system variable is changed to 1 then the default value “Y” will be accepted and this prompt will be suppressed.

LAYOUTREGENCTL

Changing this variable can improve the performance of AutoCAD by modifying the way drawing view is regenerated on changing tabs. The default value of LAYOUTREGENCTL system variable is 2 but you can change it to 0 or 1 as well to improve its performance.

0 – The drawing is regenerated each time you switch tabs. (Maximum Performance)

1 – For the Model tab and the last layout made current, the display list is saved to memory and regenerations are suppressed when you switch between the two tabs. For all other layouts, regenerations still occur when you switch to those tabs.

2 – The drawing is regenerated the first time you switch to each tab. For the remainder of the drawing session, the display list is saved to memory and regenerations are suppressed when you switch to those tabs.

REGENMODE

When working with large drawings it is better to make the value of REGENMODE system variable to 0 to improve the performance by avoiding unnecessary automatic regenerations. The default value is set to 1 which allows unnecessary regeneration in drawings thereby deteriorating performance.

SELECTIONPREVIEW

By default, the value of SELECTIONPREVIEW system variable is set to 3, which allows a preview of the object under selection when you hover your cursor over the object in the drawing. You can change this value to 0 to avoid any object selection preview thereby improving the performance of AutoCAD.

System variable value 3 for the first circle and 0 for the second circle

In the image above the value of the system variable was set to 3 for the first circle and 0 for the second one.

DRAWORDERCTL

This system variable controls the display behavior of overlapping drawing objects when they are modified. The default value of DRAWORDERCTL system variable is 3 which tends to slow the drawing editing process as it displays full draw order.

You can turn this off by changing its system variable to 0 thereby enhancing the performance of AutoCAD. You can also select other DRAWORDERCTL system variable modes as mentioned below.

0 – Turns off the default draw order of overlapping objects

1- Turns on the default draw order of objects

2 – Turns on draw order inheritance

3 – Turn on full draw order display

ISAVEPERCENT

This is one of the most underappreciated system variables in AutoCAD. The ISAVEPERCENT system variable controls the amount of empty space in drawing when save operation is performed.

The default value of this system variable is 50 but you can increase the value of this system variable to speed up the drawing save operation. A Large value of this system variable will increase empty space in the drawing resulting in the larger drawing file.

You can also decrease the value of this system variable or make it 0 to decrease the amount of empty space in the drawing but it will also increase the time taken in save operation.

But decreasing the value of this system variable has its own advantages like it will improve compatibility of DWG files with other DWG compatible applications, it will reduce the size of DWG files due to less empty space and it will also avoid data loss caused by some antivirus programs that do not allow partial saves.

PALETTEOPAQUE

This system variable controls the transparency of palettes, to improve performance keep the transparency off or set the value of PALETTEOPAQUE system variable to 1. The default value of this system variable is 0.

HPQUICKPREVIEW

When working with large drawings the automatic preview of hatches can cause performance issues. You can turn off automatic preview of hatches by changing the value of HPQUICKPREVIEW system variable to 0. The default value of this system variable is 1.

HIGHLIGHT

This system variable controls whether the selected object will be highlighted or not. The default value of HIGHLIGHT system variable is 1 which allows objects to remain highlighted when selected. You can change this system variable to 0 to stop highlighting objects when selected.

Value of system variable set to 1 for the first circle and 0 for the second

In the image above the value of HIGHLIGHT system variable was set to 1 in the first case whereas it was set to 0 in the second case.

Apart from using these system variables, you can also avoid some AutoCAD bad practices to ensure smooth performance of AutoCAD.

Do you have questions related to the article? Let us know in the comments below.

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2018-09-25T03:38:32+00:00

About the Author:

Vinay is a Mechanical Engineer with expertise in a broad range of softwares such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD Raster Design, AutoCAD MEP, Revit MEP, Pro-E (Creo Elements), Solid Works Pro, Inventor Professional and HAP. He has worked as an ATC instructor for more than 1 year. He is currently working as a Mechanical Engineer at a Private Firm in UAE. He is Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit MEP certified professional. In his part time, he trains CAD students and he also loves to write CAD related articles.

26 Comments

  1. bhaskar August 28, 2018 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Hai Vinay ,

    This is bhaskar we r using autocad 2016 while saving and opening a file its gets slow, my operating system win7 with 4 gb ram i3 processor . can give suggested.

  2. Alicia June 26, 2018 at 2:02 am - Reply

    very good tips!
    thanks, Vinay!

  3. Vanja February 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Hello from Austria!
    Vinay, I have a problem with my AutoCAD 2016: When I zoom quite far in – and I want to draw a line -> the line ending (my cursor) moves in the grid pattern – but the gridmode (F7 is off). It jumps and doesnt move smooth like it normally does. Is there a variable fpr this?
    Thank you!
    All the best

  4. Murray Clack September 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    One trick that really speeds up AutoCAD (et. al.) is when you turn off the Layer Palette. Either use CLASSICLAYER, or, set LAYERDLGMODE to a value of 0

  5. rahul April 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    informative !

    • Jaiprakash Pandey April 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rahul

  6. winmod March 14, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    When setting the “PEDITACCEPT” system variable to “1” (on), the “MPEDIT” (multiple polyline edit) command is disabled, meaning – if you want to convert multiple lines to polylines, only one (last one picked?) is actually converted to a polyline.

    • Vinay Vijayakumaran March 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Yes, for MPEDIT if the PEDITACCEPT is set to it will only convert one entity (the last one picked).
      But you can use the pedit>m sub command for multiple(pe>m) to do the work. It will work even if PEDITACCEPT mode is set to .

  7. Bill DeShawn February 10, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I work with BricsCAD. My architect works with AutoCAD. Saves for him are super long on my drawings. I have also used DWG Trueview’s DWGCONVERT to fix that saving problem. But I think I’ll talk to him about me writing a FULLSAVE LISP function that he can use when he exits a drawing so I can set his ISAVEPERCENT at a higher number so that when he saves while working, he’s not going to have to wait for an annoying 1 to 2 minutes for the save command to do its job. He does not like to do anything different or new, so I’m not sure how much he’ll even like the idea. How high do you recommend I go with the ISAVEPERCENT value?

    • Vinay Vijayakumaruman February 10, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Bill

      Try using isavepercent to maximum hundred. If it’s still slow check whether there are any unreferenced xref files present in the drawing. Detach all unreferenced files. Try overkill command to remove duplicated objects if any.

      Cheers!

  8. Sweeney February 9, 2017 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Hi,
    Really good tips, especially for me who has just come back to autocad after I been using Inventor for the past eight years.
    I am working on Autocad 2017 Lt now, I have set up a template and some company specific pallets that work a treat but wear do I save them to and how to I configure all the other PC’s to see the template and pallets.

    I know it’s in options file paths but which one?

    Be most grateful if you could cover this?

    Sweeney

  9. rex February 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Love the articles, but I can’t seem to print your articles without all the https://www.thesourcecad.com/improve-autocad-performance/ info on the top of each page??

    • Jaiprakash Pandey February 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      Try Evernote web clipper or Pocket for saving content or printing without useless clutters.

  10. Pathrose February 8, 2017 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Vinay,

    Good job. Share the same in future.

  11. hussain February 8, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    hi vinay

    your tips helping great. keep going your work.

    i have a problem in autocad when i save in meter and then save and close.after open again autocad same thing was happened to me in inches. how to solve it this problem.it would be appreciate.

    best regards

    hussain

    • Vinay Vijayakumaran February 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the review. Good to know it helped.

      Regarding the problem have you checked the Units before saving. Type -DWGUNITS then enter the value for every input. Unit for length (change it for meters), Display drawing format (for decimal, then all other inputs for changing it back to meters.
      Or you can change the variable INSUNITS to meters as default.

      • hussain February 15, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

        hi vinay

        i could not get it. same problem coming

        best regards

        hussain

        • Vinay Vijayakumaran February 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm - Reply

          Hi Hussain,

          Are you using the same variable (-DWGUNITS) when drawing or you are setting units anywhere else? Please let me know the command you are using?

  12. shashikiran February 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    all your videos are helping me out, thank you.
    please keep uploading.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey February 7, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Welcome Shashikiran

  13. cadintentions February 7, 2017 at 1:15 am - Reply

    Great tips! Always good to find some new ways to help keep autocad running quick and smoothly

    Cheers!

  14. Anonymous February 6, 2017 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you fpr reminding us of some of these and what they can do for us.

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