Save Clicks with the Marking Menu in Autodesk Inventor

December 5, 2019

There are hundreds, if not thousands of commands in Autodesk Inventor. Some are used on a daily basis, others rarely. Although Inventor’s ribbon menus are very well organized, they are massive, sometimes requiring four or more clicks to access an uncommon command. To mitigate this, the marking menu was incorporated.

The Marking Menu is a context-sensitive tool pallet allowing easy tool selection while minimizing mouse movement. The marking menu is tied to the right-mouse button, appearing above the context menu, and consists of eight buttons appearing radially around the cursor. There are three ways to pick a tool from the context menu. Right-clicking and releasing allows the user to take note of the tools available and select the desired tool by left-clicking the corresponding button. A quicker method involves holding down the right mouse button and moving the cursor over the desired tool, which will activate when the right mouse key is released. Finally, the user can right-click and drag in the general direction of a menu button and release in a single continuous motion. This method is the fastest but requires prior knowledge of the context sensitive behavior of the menu, and which tools it will present.


The behavior of the menu depends on the type of object selected before accessing it. Clicking in space will show most commonly used commands such as Sketch or Extrude. Selecting an edge will show the Fillet tool and selecting a face will offer the option to “Look At” the corresponding plane. Regardless of context, general commands such as Measure, or Undo will always be accessible through the marking menu.


The Marking Menu is also fully customizable, by using the “Customize User Commands” dialog. By selecting an environment (Part, Assembly, Drawing, etc.) and a sub-environment, you may customize each button of the menu for each specific scenario. For example, if you commonly use the Spline command while sketching in the Part environment, select Part, then Sketch, and assign the Spline tool to the top button of the marking menu. Now the Spline command can be accessed with a single click and hardly any mouse movement. Used to its full potential, the Marking Menu can save hours of clicking through ribbon tabs and significantly improve productivity.


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