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Autocad Layout Tutorial

By Kody Hackbusch, eHow Contributor
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An AutoCAD drawing consists of two working environments: model space and paper space. The model tab is a digital representation of the real world and objects are drawn to scale. For example, a 3-foot wide manhole would be visually proportionate to a 10-mile stretch of road. Paper space (the layout tab) is like a sheet of paper you've laid over your digital world. You can cut windows to display scaled (zoomed) sections of your model below then add a title-block or text and print the final product.

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Define paper options. Right-click the layout tab and select "page setup manager." From this dialog box Objects drawn in model space you can choose your sheet size (in inches) for example: 8.5 by 11 (ANSITitle-block A), 11 by 17 (ANSI-B), 24 by 36 (ANSI-C) or 30 by 42 (ANSI-D). Y ou can also choose the plotter you want use or "plot-to-file" (PDF.) Other options include: what will be plotted, extents, layout or window; whether you apply plot scaling or is the drawing 1 to 1. To ensure that your line weights plot correctly don't forget to select your pen settings from the dropdown list. Once your satisfied save your configuration under a recognizable name and apply it to your layout. Close the dialog box and you will see a dashed rectangular boundary representing your paper size and plotting limits.

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Display the contents of model space by creating a viewport. Type "mview" into the command line. The default setting is a two-point rectangle so select the upper left corner then the bottom right to cut the window. Double-click within your new viewport (or type "ms") to activate it then zoom in on the area you want to display. Double-click (or type "ps") to return to paper space. To set the scale, select the viewport itself and rightclick. Choose "properties" from the context menu. In this dialog box, locate the scale variable and set it to the appropriate value. For example 1/4 inch equals 1 foot in architectural units or 1 inch equals 10 feet in engineering units. Activate the viewport once more by double-clicking and use the "pan" command as necessary to get things just right. When you are happy with your viewport, open up the properties window and under "locked" choose "yes." This critical step will keep your scaling intact as you work. Establish layer controls. Open the AutoCAD layer manager by typing "layer" and create a new layer for your viewport. Take note of all of the options available for layers. Y ou can turn them on/off, freeze/thaw, lock/unlock or set individual line types and weights. Y ou can also prevent layers from plotting. Do this for your viewport layer by setting it to "no-plot." After you apply your changes and exit the layer manager then select your

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Autocad Layout Tutorial |

viewport and set it to the non-plot layer that you created.

Add a title-block. Y ou probably already have a customized title-block with your contact information or company logos but if not there are samples included in the AutoCAD program folders. Two common methods for adding a title-block to your layout are to "insert" it as a block or to "attach" it as an external reference. The only difference is that an external reference is dynamic. In other words it is not actually part of your current drawing but is only being referenced visually therefore if you make a change to the titleblock file it will be updated in your current sheet. If you choose to "insert" your titleblock then it will simply be a component within your current drawing. Choose a titleblock that matches your paper size and always use 0,0,0 as your base point. Done properly your title-block will show up within the limits of the dashed rectangle. Note that you may have to adjust your viewport a bit to accommodate. Send the sheet to the plotter to review your results. The plot settings were already defined and saved in the page setup manager so all you have to do is right-click the layout tab and select "plot" to bring up the dialog box. Just to be sure verify that the settings are correct. Y ou will see in the center of the dialog box a rectangle representing your sheet and the plot limits, anything that exceeds the boundary will be marked in red and requires your attention. Close the dialog box, make any necessary changes and then come back. Click the "plot preview" button for a more detailed view and if everything is within the paper size then right-click in the window and select "plot."

Tips & Warnings

Create one layout to your liking then copy it multiple times to achieve a template effect.

Use the Design Center to drag and drop layouts between sheets.

Sometimes you'll want to run a check plot on a letter-size sheet but your drawing is configured for ANSI-D so in the plot settings dialog box there is a an option for "scale to fit."

Viewports do not have to be rectangular, experiment with the "-mview" for circular or polygonal options.

You can control layers at a viewport level. For example, if you wanted to have a certain text layer on within the viewport but not visible in paper space. Consider using the SheetSet Manager for even more layout functionality including batch plotting and automated text fields.

Note that the layout tabs are no longer visible by default in AutoCAD version 2011 but can be revealed via a button in the status bar.

Do your best to avoid drawing text in Model space as it can become difficult to reconcile the scale with text in layouts.

Related Searches References

Ellen Finkelstein AutoCAD Tips and Tutorials: Create a Page Setup for Plotting Designerstoolbox: ANSI Paper Sizes Autodesk: AutoCAD User's Guide, Create and Modify Layout Viewports Autodesk AutoCAD Exchange: Deni Cox Tech Questions, Layout Tab

AutoCADcentral: Tutorials, Model Space and Paper Space Layout View



Autocad Layout Tutorial |

Autodesk: AutoCAD User's Guide, Plotting

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