Help With Plotting in AutoCAD

Advice for plotting a building floor plan. February 25, 2005

I have been using various versions of Acad for years, but probably not properly. We have 2002 here at work, and I am trying to plot a scaled drawing of our new building for equipment layout on our roll feed 36" plotter. I want to plot it with borders and a title box, so it looks reasonably professional. I have tried using the pre-made templates, but for the life of me, cannot get my full size drawing in model space to be to scale in the layout or template screen. Can someone walk me through plotting a 40' x 60' square in 1/4"=1' scale, maybe using a built-in Acad template? Any help would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(CAD Forum)
If you're in paper space, create a viewport. Then double click in your viewport - zoom, center, (click) enter .020833333xp for 1/4"=1'-0" (.25"/12") scale, then click back to paper space. That should make it easier to plot. Then you can put your viewport on a layer to turn off.

As stated, you'll want to work with the viewport. When you first click on "layout" from model, after you bypass the plot and page settings, you should see some of your drawing already in a single viewport. Based on your plotting device and the page setting you selected, you'll see a dashed line around the perimeter of your paper source. You'll want to draw a rectangle with a new layer called, say, "Border" that is on that dashed line. Then offset that line inside about 1/8". You can now delete that first rectangle. That line you just inset 1/8" will be your border and will be inset 1/8" from the printable/plottable area on the paper. By clicking on that rectangle and bringing up the properties, you can change the width - "global width" to 1/16" or however thick you wish to make the border.

Now you'll want to create another layer called "viewport." Around the image that has been plotted already, or should have been, there is a line. Click on that and change the layer to viewport. Now click on your viewport again, and by dragging the grips, you can resize the viewport to just within the border you created. With grips on the viewport again, go up to your toolbars (hold the icon over any of the tool icons) and right click and a menu with all your toolbars will drop down. Click "viewport" and a pop-up toolbar appears. Click on the dropdown and you'll have a number of scale options (ie, 1/4" = 1', etc.). Select the one that works best for you and you should have it. By double clicking in the viewport, you are able to pan in and out, or zoom real time to fit the plan better. When done, go to your layers and freeze viewport and the viewport window disappears and you just see your plan inside the original border you created. To create your table, use lines in paper mode to draft a grid for your text in the lower right corner, or wherever your preference.

The best way to accomplish what you are trying to do is to set up a template drawing with the layouts that you frequently use in your drawings. If you are plotting to a D Size sheet, create a layout for D Size scaled 1:1 or full size. In paper space, draw (or copy and paste, if you already have your title block designed in a drawing) into the paper space layout and stay within the dashed lines (or right up to them). Create a new viewport to fit your title block drawing area. I usually create a viewport layer and then freeze the layer after I am done. You can set up variables that frequently change as block attributes so that when you click on them, a dialog box opens, allowing you to enter things like the client's name, location, page numbers, etc. After you create your title block, double click on the viewport to change to model space and type zoom - 1/48xp for quarter scale, 1/24xp for half scale, etc. I save this drawing as a .dwt file in the template directory and then in the program setup dialog window, set this file at the default drawing template. You can copy and resize the template if you require several layouts of different scales. I use an A sized plot with half and quarter scale set to a laser printer and a D sized plot set to quarter scale for full sized plans. To make the title block look professional, I use various layers set with different colors and each color set to different line weights

As a previous poster indicated, once you create your drawing in model space, switch to the layout you wish to plot, and move the drawing to the center of your sheet, or viewport, and if you have changed the zoom, always make sure to repeat the zoom 1/48xp or whatever scale you are using in model space, then change back to paper space to plot. Your drawings will then be to accurate scale. Additionally, you can create multiple viewports on one layout for plotting elevations or walls and foundations on a single sheet.

From the original questioner:

Thanks. With all the help it has just clicked. My basic problem was not toggling paper space and model while on my layout page. I have not mastered anything yet, but I now am plotting to scale! I will work on a more simplified title block to fit my needs. It's funny - I have read and re-read in one of my books about this subject and it just wouldn't take.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor S:
There are easier ways to set the scale of viewports, depending on the
version of AutoCAD. In version 2002 to 2004 the method is this: while in the paper space tab (and already having at least one viewport created) double click on the viewport frame. Or right click and click "properties". This brings up the properties box, if you don't have it always in view. In the list is a "standard scale" tab. This allows you to quickly change the scale without having to know the zoom XP factors. Before I learned this method, I set up a custom toolbar with the most often used scales, but I had to use the "Z" "XP" factors in my buttons.

In version 2005 and 2006 the method is this: In the paper space tab, single click on the viewport border. This pops up a tab at the lower right corner, below the sheet tabs that has the same "standard scale" listing. Click on the scale you want.