Basics for layout drawing in AutoCAD

This is the first post of a series of AutoCAD posts. In this post I will demonstrate how you can:

  • Adjust unit display settings in AutoCAD.
  • Understand model scales in AutoCAD.
  • Zoom and pan in AutoCAD.
  • Adjust overlapping of objects in AutoCAD.
  • Understand and use/adjust the user coordinate system in AutoCAD.
  • Enable and disable grid lines in AutoCAD.
  • Create a line object in your AutoCAD drawing.

Adjust unit display settings

What does the length of one unit represent? This is the unit setting.

For a drawing with imperial settings, choose a acad.dwt or acadlt.dwt drawing file.

For a drawing with metric settings, choose a acadiso.dwt or acadltiso.dwt drawing file.

You can also use the UNITS command in the command line. A window will pop up and ask you to specify:

  • Format (decimal, egineering, fractional, or scientific).
  • Precision (0 to 0.00000000).
  • Type of angles (decimal degrees, deg/min/sec, grads, radians, surveyor’s units).
  • Precision of angles (0 to 0.00000000).
  • Insertion scale (e.g. millimeters).
  • Units specifying intensity of lighting (international or American).

Understand model scales

Model is a term used for describing the geometry object of the design. A drawing file, i.e. a drawing, contains additional objects, such as e.g. dimensions.

When drawing your geometry object your should do so in 1:1 scale. This means full size scale.

When printing you can choose the scale your want to print your drawing in.

Zoom and pan

Zooming can be done with the wheel on your mouse. Roll the wheel to zoom in or out.

To pan a view you need to click and hold the mouse wheel while moving. Move the mouse to pan the view as your prefer.

User coordinate system

The user coordinate system indicates positive and negative x and y direction in your drawing.

User coordinate system in AutoCAD

You can click the user coordinate system.

Clicking the user coordinate system

You can then move and rotate it, to adjust the direction of your drawing.

User coordinate system has been rotated and moved, adjusting direction of drawing

Enable and disable gridlines

Gridlines can be helpful for drawing. They can be en- and disabled by pressing F7.

Adjust overlapping

When having several geometry objects in your drawing you can adjust overlapping by clikcing the overlapping symbol:

Adjusting overlapping settings for a geomtry object in AutoCAD

Another way is to enter the DRAWORDER command into the command line. Then e.g. choose the relevant object and select one of the options, e.g. BACK.

Entering the DRAWORDER command
Select relevant geometry object
Choose option, e.g. “Back” to place object in the back

Create a line in a drawing

You can create a simple line geometry by entering the LINE command into the command line. Having entered the LINE command, click twice, once for the starting point of the line and once for the end point of the line. Then click ESC. Unless you want to draw another line at the end of the first line, etc.

Single line with start and end point
Several lines added one after the other

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Leave a Reply


nickyan says:

Hello, how can I build UCS through Pyautocad?

Hi nickyan,

Thanks a lot for your question.

You can create a UCS using UniversalCoordinateSystems method with parameters like origin, x-axis, y-axis, and UCS name over the AutoCAD document object, and then set it as active UCS. Then you can play with its properties


ucs=acad.doc.UniversalCoordinateSystems.Add(origin_coordinates, x-cord, y-coord, name)

acad.doc.ActiveUCS = ucs

For more information, consulting or development support you can always reach out to me via the contact form.

Have a great day!

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