AutoCAD for Dummies: How to Draw an Ellipse

Again, this lesson is the continuation of the two previous lessons, the ‘how to draw a straight line’ and ‘how to draw a circle’. Those two are more simple than drawing the ellipse because a circle only need a diameter or the radius dimension to create a circle. A straight line is also simple because it only needs distance dimension to create a line. Although it’s not that hard to draw an ellipse, where the shape is just an oblong or an oval, the orientation is confusing if you will not first know where is the major or the minor axis. Just to illustrate, see below (Fig. 1):



Fig. 1Parts of an ellipse

By looking at the illustration above , you see the components of an ellipse. The Major Axis, Minor Axis and the distance which is half the Minor Axis. The ‘distance’ in the illustration is only half the measurement of the Minor axis and will only serve as a guide for drawing an ellipse using AutoCAD.

So to start with, we will draw your first ellipse. First, point your cursor on the left side panel and select the ellipse icon. (see Fig. 2).


Fig. 2

Then after clicking the icon, the command prompt will say: Specify axis endpoint of ellipse or [Arc/Center]: . AutoCAD is just asking you to pick a point on the screen as your starting point to create the first part of the ellipse which is the Major axis (See Fig 3). Then pick a point on a screen, for example, the lower part of the left screen. Then the command prompt will say: Specify other endpoint of axis: which means you have to drag your cursor upwards and click your left mouse button again(See Fig 3).


Fig. 3


After clicking you will notice a circle is created but once you drag your mouse or cursor, the circle begins to change its shape. The more you drag it, the shape becomes an ellipse with no exact shape(See Fig. 4). Then the command prompt will say: Specify distance to other axis or [Rotation]: Which AutoCAD is simply telling that you should choose the other axis to specify the distance. We started on the vertical axis, then after your select the second point, move your cursor on the horizontal axis. (See Fig. 5)



Fig. 4


After you moved your cursor on the horizontal axis, drag it left or right as you can see on the below drawing and click your mouse. (Whew!) That wasn’t hard isn’t it? now you have drawn an ellipse!


Fig. 5

There are more options on creating an ellipse but for of simplicity we will just use the default setting as you have done so when clicking the ellipse icon (See Fig. 2). The other option I’m talking about is in the menu bar by selecting:

Option#1: Draw >Ellipse>Center

Option#2: Draw >Ellipse>Axis,End

Option#3: Draw >Ellipse>Arc

Which we will explore on my coming posts.


#1 aneess on 01.04.10 at 3:10 pm

Thanks 🙂

#2 Onwukwe on 03.15.10 at 3:06 pm

I want to know the difference between a group of lines drawwith the line command and that drawn with the polyline command

#3 Lito on 03.16.10 at 10:08 am

Hello, the difference between a polyline and line command is that the polyline is a series of lines connected with each other and considered as one object. Whereas the line command is separate from each other if you draw a series of line. For example, if you draw a rectangle using a line command, the four lines you have drawn has four objects because the lines, even when connected with each other is four individual objects. When using the polyline, even though you have drawn four lines is considered as one object.

#4 ram on 03.24.10 at 5:34 pm

Industrial application for Arc and Ellipse

#5 fhaye on 07.27.10 at 12:45 am

auto cad is really an exciting world

#6 fhaye on 07.27.10 at 12:47 am

I want to know more about the auto snap, object snap,and dynamic input.

#7 iMan on 09.25.10 at 10:38 pm

Do u know how to draw an ellipse having its 2 canonical centers?

#8 mark francisco on 07.17.12 at 8:03 am

i need more instruction for autoCad….. thankz and Godbless…. this is a very big help for the students like me…

#9 Belle on 02.28.16 at 12:20 pm

how can I dimension an ellipse in AutoCAD 2015? Please answer ASAP. Thanks 🙂

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