Set Up AutoCAD Layout Templates and Viewport Scaling

Optimize your workflow with this guide on setting up AutoCAD layout templates and mastering viewport scaling using AutoCAD commands. Learn essential techniques to improve your architectural drawing presentations ensuring clarity and professionalism in your designs.

amnc • Updated July, 2024

Architectural Drawing Presentations

When creating your architectural presentation, aim to present drawings clearly, professionally, and informatively. This involves preparing a complete set of drawings, including floor plans, elevations, sections, 3d images, construction details and others. Accurate communication of the design intent to project team is crucial for translating concepts into reality. AutoCAD facilitates organized sheet drawing presentations through its layout and viewport options. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started.

Set up AutoCAD Layouts and Properties

Let’s begin by creating and configuring your layout using the following three steps:

1. Create a New Layout:

To create a new AutoCAD layout, start by accessing the layout tab at the bottom-left corner of the AutoCAD window.  Here, you’ll find tabs labeled ‘Model’ and ‘Layout’. Click on the ‘+’ icon next to the tabs to create a new layout. Then, click on the ‘Layout’ tab to switch to the layout view. See the image below for reference.

Shows how to create a new layout in AutoCAD. By clicking the layout tab in the bottom-left corner of the AutoCAD window. Locate the "Model" and "Layout" tabs.

2. Setup Layout Properties:

To configure the layout properties, access the Page Setup Manager. Locate the “Output” tab at the top of the AutoCAD window, as illustrated in the image below.

Shows how to access Page Setup Manager dialog box in AutoCAD, by clicking on the ribbon at the top of the AutoCAD window.

Modify Page Setup: In the Page Setup Manager, click “Modify” to open the Page Setup dialog box. Here, you can define settings such as paper size, plot area, plot scale, and plot style to ensure your layout is properly configured.

Shows the Page Setup Manager dialog box in AutoCAD, where you can define settings such as paper size, plot area, scale, and plot style

3. Layout Customization

Once you’ve set your paper size, personalize your layout by adding headings, blocks, and other elements tailored to your design. Next, create viewports where you can select and display portions of your drawings from the AutoCAD model. Properly scaling these viewports is important to maintain proportions during printing. The next section will guide you through creating and scaling your viewports properly.

Visual guide to AutoCAD layouts. The image provides a structured and organized way to present an architecture or interior design in a printed or plotted format.

Create and Scale AutoCAD Viewports

Viewports allow you to display different drawings, at various scales within a single layout, facilitating clear and comprehensive presentations. This section will guide you through the process of creating, configuring, and scaling viewports in AutoCAD, for your presentations.  

1. Create a Viewport:

To create a new viewport, go to the layout sub-menu at the top left of the AutoCAD window. Then choose the shape you want (Rectangular is the most used). Refer to the image below.

Now, activate the viewport by double-clicking inside it. Then, use the “ZOOM” and “PAN” commands to adjust the view to the desired scale and position. You can exit the model space by double-clicking outside the viewport or using the PSPACE command. To do so, type “PSPACE” or “PS” and press enter.  

Visual guide on how to custom scale a viewport in AutoCAD layouts. Using the command “zoom” and specifying a scale fact. It is useful in both cases metric and imperial system scale.

2. How to Scale Your Viewport Properly:

To assign a scale to your viewport, first select it. Then, locate the scale option at the bottom-right corner of the AutoCAD window, see the image below. Here, you can choose a preset scale value or enter a custom scale ratio that suits your drawing requirements.

Viewport scaling for metric units (mm):

To set up the proper scale for metric system viewport, you should dive 1 by the scale you want and the multiply by 1000 to get meters. For example, the Scale 1/50=0.02 X 1000, your custom scale is actually 20/1.

1/200      = 0.05    X 1000      5/1
1/100      = 0.01    X 1000     10/1
1/50        = 0.02    X 1000      20/1
1/25        = 0.02    X 1000      40/1

You can also use the command “ZOOM” inside the viewport to custom. To do so, double click to get inside your viewport then type “Z” or “ZOOM” and press enter. It will allow you to specify your scale factor.

Then for scale 1/50, type the following: “1000/50XP” and press enter (you can change the value 50 to your desire scale). Use the “PAN” command to adjust the view to the desired position without modifying the scale.  

For further information on organizing your drawing sheets, refer to the Autodesk article: “Managing Your Sheets with the AutoCAD Sheet Manager.” Additionally, check out my other post “AutoCAD Layers and Lineweights, explained” for more tips to improve your architectural presentations.

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