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Select objects: prompt secrets

When you start an editing command, you see the Select objects: prompt. But AutoCAD doesn’t explicitly tell you how to select those objects. In fact, this prompt has hidden options that you should know.

AutoCAD tips-Select objects prompt secretsHere’s a list of some of the most useful.


One that I use often is Last. It selects the most recently created object. It’s so common to create an object and then need to move or copy it. So I just start the editing command, type l and press Enter at the Select objects: prompt, press Enter again to end selection and continue.


Type p at the Select objects: prompt to select the same objects that you selected in the previous editing operation.


The All option selects all objects on thawed and unlocked layers in the drawing. It only selects objects in your current space (model or paper). It’s really helpful for making mass changes. Just type all and press Enter. You can’t just type a, because that’s the Add option, which I explain in the next section.

Remove and Add

Sometimes you select too many objects and want to remove an object or objects from the selection set without starting over. You can type r and press Enter, then start selecting objects to remove. If you then need to add objects to the selection set, type a and press Enter.

However, pressing Shift and selecting an object has the same effect as the Remove option and I find that simpler.

You can also remove the last object you added to the selection set with the Undo option. (But if the last action you took was removing an object from the selection set, Undo adds it!)

What are your hidden selection tips?


Ellen Finkelstein

7 comments to Select objects: prompt secrets

  • Hi,
    Actually you CAN press Shift and make a window to remove objects from a selection.

  • Ellen

    Thanks, Brice, you’re right! I fixed the post.

  • Tuomo

    You can still filter your selection with an old, transparent ‘filter – option. Type it to your selection prompt. Very efficient and handy.

  • Soopida

    To cycle through objects for selection

    ***At the Select Objects prompt, hold down SHIFT + SPACEBAR. Click as near as possible to the object you want.
    ***Keep clicking until the object you want is highlighted.
    ***Press ENTER to select the object.

  • What about the CP and WP options.
    Instead of a rectangled Window or Crossing selection you can select by a polygon.

    Or what about using a litte bit of lisp to make entless selection sets.

    Type on the command line:

    Command: (setq a (ssget))

    Make your selection.

    Use this selection in any command you need this selection.

    Command: Move
    Command: Select objects: !a
    (use the ! mark before the variable for use)
    You can fill any variable you want with a selection set.

    (setq b (ssget))
    (setq c2 (ssget))
    (setq selection1 (ssget))
    (setq selection2 (ssget))
    (setq all_circles (ssget))

    note: The selection sets are gone after leaving the drawing.

  • Krushert

    Don’t forget the “Previous” option [P]. It will select the group of objects that were edited by the previous command. Whereas the “Last” option will only the last single object that was edited.

  • Matt Hamby

    F for fence – selects objects with a line or several line segments, useful for tight spaces!

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