How Do I Run a LISP Routine in AutoCAD?

Starting a LISP Routine in AutoCAD

AutoCAD is a powerful software that allows users to create and edit 2D and 3D designs. One of the most efficient ways to enhance your productivity in AutoCAD is by using LISP routines. In this article, we will explore how to run a LISP routine in AutoCAD and take advantage of its capabilities.

What is a LISP Routine?

A LISP routine is a series of instructions written in the LISP programming language. It allows you to automate repetitive tasks, create custom commands, and extend the functionality of AutoCAD. By running a LISP routine, you can save time and effort in your design process.

Accessing the Visual LISP Editor

To run a LISP routine in AutoCAD, you need to access the Visual LISP Editor. Follow these steps:

  1. Open AutoCAD: Launch AutoCAD on your computer.
  2. Type ‘VLIDE’ or ‘VBAIDE’ command: In the Command line, type ‘VLIDE’ (for newer versions) or ‘VBAIDE’ (for older versions) and press Enter.
  3. The Visual LISP Editor window will open: The Visual LISP Editor window will appear, providing you with an interface to write and edit your LISP routines.

Writing Your First LISP Routine

Now that you have accessed the Visual LISP Editor, let’s write our first simple LISP routine.

  1. Create a new file: Click on File > New or use the shortcut Ctrl + N to create a new file within the Visual LISP Editor.
  2. Start writing your LISP code: In the editor, you can start writing your LISP code. For example, let’s create a routine that draws a circle.

Here is an example of a simple LISP routine that draws a circle:

(defun c:drawcircle ()
  (command "circle" pause)

The above code defines a new AutoCAD command named ‘drawcircle’. When this command is executed, it uses the ‘circle’ command within AutoCAD and prompts the user to specify the center point and radius of the circle.

Loading and Running Your LISP Routine

Now that you have written your LISP routine, it’s time to load and run it in AutoCAD.

  1. Save your LISP routine: Click on File > Save or use the shortcut Ctrl + S to save your LISP routine with a ‘.lsp’ extension (e.g., myroutine.lsp).
  2. Load your LISP routine: In AutoCAD, type ‘APPLOAD’ in the Command line and press Enter. In the Load/Unload Applications window, click on ‘Load Application’, browse and select your saved LISP routine file, then click ‘Open’.
  3. Run your LISP routine: To run your LISP routine, simply type its defined command name (e., ‘drawcircle’) in the Command line and press Enter. Follow any additional prompts specific to your routine.

Incorporating Advanced Features

LISP routines can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. You can incorporate advanced features such as user input, error handling, and more. By leveraging the power of LISP, you can create custom tools that streamline your design workflow.


Running a LISP routine in AutoCAD allows you to automate tasks, improve efficiency, and expand the functionality of the software. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can start creating your own LISP routines and take your AutoCAD experience to the next level.