AutoCad workshop

From TOI-Pedia


At the faculty of Archtitecture, we're currently using Autodesk AutoCA the faculty of archtecture. therefore we recommend you to tweak the inter face to more appropriate settings.

See: Starting with Autocad 2009.

Starting with Autodesk Map 3D covers how to change Autodesk Map 3D 2006 to a basic AutoCAD interface. This version of AutoCAD is also still being used by some students.

The AutoCAD interface (2009) looks something like this:

AutoCAD 2009 Interface.jpg

Organization of the work


One of the most important aspects of working with AutoCAD is the use of layers. Not only do Layers help to keep a clear overview of your drawing, but they are an important tool to make a correct drawing.

Layers are 'stacked' on top of each other. Each object is always placed in one of the layers in your drawing.

The Active Layer

The layer in which you're drawing (the active layer) is displayed in the upper left corner:


All objects you create are automatically added to the active layer. You can use the layer pulldown to change the active layer.

Layer 0

'Layer 0' is the standard layer; it's created by default in all autoCAD files. It's not recommended to use layer 0 for drawing objects.

Layer Manager

Layer properties manager icon.jpg Click on this icon to open the layers properties manager.

The following screen will appear:

Layer properties manager.jpg

Creating a new Layer

New layer icon.jpg Click on this icon to a new layer.

A new layer will appear:


It's recommended to give your layers a descriptive name, for instance 'facade'.

Layer settings

On off.jpg Turns the layer on or off

Freeze.jpg Freezes or toughs a layer

Lock.jpg Locks or unlocks a layer

Plot.jpg turns plot on or off. The layer will still be visible in AutoCAD but won't be printed.

It's recommended to use Freeze instead of On/Off if you want to hide a layer.

We can also change the color of the layer. This helps to distinguish layers, but can also be used to determine the line weight (and other properties). The latter is covered in the AutoCAD Page setup and Printing Basic tutorial.


By now you should be familiar with AutoCAD's main features. The next step will be making sure that your workflow and drawing setup is as efficient as possible.

In this chapter we'll teach you how to draw floor plans on top off each other. This might seem not be the most intuitive method of drawing at first, but it's recommended for a number of reasons:

  • If you need to changes something on each floor of your building, like the position of an elevator shaft, you can do this for each floor simultaneously by using a shared layer (or layers) for elements that are in a fixed position on each floor. If you hadn't drawn the floor plans on top off each other, you would have had to change the position of the elevator on each floor in different parts of your model space. Not only could this be tedious, it's also prone for errors.
  • You'll be certain that every floor is correctly aligned with the other floor. This greatly reduces the risk off mistakes when drawing things like vertical service shafts, elevator, pipes, façades, and so on.
  • Drawing floors on top off each other gives a clear overview off the changes per floor.


Many people tend to draw different floor plans next to each other:

Side by side.jpg

Although it gives you a nice overview of your plans, it's highly discouraged to setup your drawing in this way. There are several caveats:

  • Each floor has to be drawn from scratch
  • It's easy to make an error when aligning a vertical services shaft:

    Floor1 error.jpg Floor2 error.jpg

  • Even a small change in a drawing takes a lot off time, as each floor has to be adjusted individually:

    All floor move.jpg

  • It's hard to see which part of a floor plan is on top off another floor plan.

It's therefore highly recommended draw floor plans on top off (or over) each other.


Third floor ontop.jpg

This drawing contains the second and third floor off the faculty of architecture, but right now we're only seeing the third floor.

This is because the second floor as been drawing in different layers from the third floor, and those layers have been frozen right now (so they're not visible).

If we take a look at the layer properties manager will get a better understanding off the drawings setup:

Layer porperties manager ontop.jpg

In this case the layers can be subdivided into three groups:

  • Layers that start with an underscore (_)
  • Layers that start with a number
  • layers that don't start with any specific character

Layers that start with an underscore (_) like _draagconstructie: These layers contain the part off the drawing that is the same for each floor. In most buildings this will be the load bearing construction, installations like Elevators and vertical services shafts:

Always visible.jpg

Layers that start with a number, like 02_verdieping: These layers contain the part of the drawing that is unique for a specific floor:

Second Floor


Third Floor


And finally layers that don't start with a specific character: These layers can contain anything from notes to grid lines.



AutoCAD Layered Drawing ('over elkaar tekenen') is a step-by-step tutorial for drawing on top of each other (over elkaar tekenen in Dutch).

Drawing Lines

All AutoCAD drawings are composed of lines, which can either be straight or curved (arcs).

Straight lines

AutoCAD has 4 main types of straight lines:

  • Line.jpg Line (l) a single line.
  • Polyline.jpg Polyline (pl) a line that consist of multiple segments.
  • Construction line.jpg Construction line (xl) an infinite line
  • Rectangle.jpg Rectangle (rec) a closed Polyline

At first glance, using the Line tool and the Polyline tool might seem to yield the same results. There is an important difference between the two however: the line tool creates separate objects (line) between each point, opposed to the Polyline tool which creates one object consisting of multiple points (and segments). Even though this might seem like a small difference, it's important to use Polylines where possible in your drawing, as it helps you to keep a clear overview of your drawing (no confusing individual lines) and makes it easier to export you drawing to other programs.

Always use Polyline.jpg Polylines instead of Line.jpg single lines.

You can try each line tool by clicking the point in the model space. A little further down, we'll see how you can draw lines accurately using coordinates and snap options.

Curved lines

There are 3 main types of Curved lines:

  • Circle.jpg Circle (c)
  • Arc.jpg Arc (a)
  • Ellipse.jpg ellipse (el)

You can use these tools in the same way as you would the straight lines. The difference being, that these tools might prompt you to select a center point instead of a starting point.

Modifying drawings


While working with AutoCAD, you'll quickly run into situations that requere you to use modify tools. As the name sugestes, modify tools are used to modify existing lines and objects.

Modify overzicht.jpg

AutoCAD has a whole range of modify tools; this chapter will explain the most commonly used.


Offset.png Offset (o)

Create a duplicate object parallel with the original object. If this object is a Polyline or a Circle, the duplicate shape will be transformed inwards or outwards. This option can be useful to make closed steel profiles.

To offset: First select the offset distance; [enter]; select the original object; specify on which side you want to offset.

Modify offset1.jpg Modify offset2.jpg Modify offset3.jpg


Trim.png Trim (tr)

With the trim option objects can be shortened or lengthened with the edges of other objects. Objects can exactly be fitted between these objects.

To trim an object: Type tr in the command line; optionally select the line(s) you want to trim (otherwise all objects are used, which is fine in most cases); [enter]; select the objects to trim.

To trim multiple objects at once you can drag a selection window.

Modify trim1 ok.jpg Modify trim2.jpg Modify trim3.jpg

Modify trim fence4.jpg Modify trim fence5.jpg Modify trim fence6.jpg

You might want to take a look at the fence (fe) selection option. This allows you to quickly select the lines you want to trim, by drawing a line across them. Every line that is crossed by the line you draw, will be selected and trimmed.


Extend.png Extend (ex)

With the extend option you can shorten or lengthen objects to meet the edges of other objects. For example a line can be exactly fitted between objects. Extending a object works in the same way as trimming.

To extend: Click the Extend command; optionally select the object you want to extend to; select the line(s) you want to extend.

Modify extend1.jpg Modify extend3.jpg Modify extend4.jpg


Move.png Move (m)

Moves one or more objects:

Select the objects and specify the base point.

The base point is essentially the point where you 'grab' the objects. So if you input coordinates, the base point is the point where the coordinates relate to.

Moving an object can either be done with the aid of object snap, or by using relative coordinates.

Modify move1.jpg Modify move2.jpg Modify move3.jpg


Rotate.png Rotate (ro)

You can rotate objects with an absolute or relative angle. When using an absolute angle: Specify the base point and then specify the rotation angle.

Modify rotate1.jpg Modify rotate2.jpg Modify rotate3.jpg Modify rotate4.jpg


Copy.png Copy (co)

Copy's one or more objects.


Select objects, press copy and specify a base point (in a similar fasion as with the move tool)

Now you can position the object in the same way as you would with a starting point of a line.

Modify copy1.jpg Modify copy2.jpg Modify copy3.jpg


Array.png Array (ar)

Create copies of objects in a rectangular or polar pattern. This is especially useful when you need to duplicate several objects at the same distance from each other (columns in a parking garage for instance).

After clicking on the array button the following screen will appear:

Modify array menu.jpg

In this screen we need to input the number of Rows (horizontal direction) and Columns (vertical direction) and their respective offset.

For example:

We're going to create a grid of I-beams, lets first input the number of rows and columns (in this case 3 and 4). Now input the row and column offset: 30 units to the right and 20 units upward.

AutoCAD automatically shows a preview of the array operation in the white square, try experimenting with different values (for instance a negative value instead of a positive one) to see what happens.

When you're satisfied with the settings, select the object to use in the row operation, by first clicking on the 'Select Objects' button and then on the objects themselves.

Finish the selection by pressing [space] or [enter]

Modify array1.jpg

When the array window reappears, select either Preview or OK to execute the array command.

Modify array2.jpg

In the same manner it's possible to create a polar array:

Modify array menu2.jpg

The polar array rotates around the center point which you can select by clicking on the center point button in the array window.

Modify array4.jpg


Mirror.png Mirror (mi)

Create a mirror image of a object. It is useful for creating symmetrical objects because you can quickly draw half the object and then mirror it instead of drawing the entire object.

You flip the object about an axis called a mirror line to create a mirror image. First select the object. To specify the temporary mirror line, you enter two points. You can choose whether to delete [y] or retain the original [n] object.

Modify mirror1.jpg Modify mirror2.jpg Modify mirror3.jpg Modify mirror4.jpg


Scale.png Scale (sc)

To scale an object you can specify a base point and a length, which will give a scale factor. A scale factor greater than 1 enlarges the object. It is also possible to scale an object using a reference object. This method scales the object equally in all directions.

Scaling using a scale factor: Select the object; type sc in the command line; scale factor; [enter]

Scaling using a reference: Select the object; type sc in the command line; specify base point; choose r to use reference; specify the reference length of the original object; specify the new length of the original object.

Modify scale1.jpg Modify scale2.jpg Modify scale3.jpg

Modify scale4.jpg Modify scale5.jpg Modify scale6.jpg

Modify scale7.jpg


Fillet.png Fillet (f)

You can use the fillet tool to connect two objects with an arc with a specified radius. The inside corner is called a fillet and an outside corner is called a round.

To fillet: type f in the command line; type R for the radius (optional); specify the radius; [enter]; select the first line; select the second line.

Modify fillet1 ok.jpg Modify fillet2 ok.jpg Modify fillet3 ok.jpg Modify fillet5.jpg

Chamfer is almost identical, but it will will make a straight line instead of an arc.


Join.png Join (j)

You can use the join option to combine similar objects into one single object. It is also possible to create complete circles from arcs.

The object you want to join is called the source object. And the objects you want to join have to be located in the same plane.

To join: Type j in the command line; select the source object; select the lines to join to the source object.

Modify join1.jpg Modify join2.jpg Modify join3.jpg


Explode.png Explode (ex)

Polylines, hatches or blockes can be converted into individual elements with the explode option.

If you explode a polyline every segment will become a separate line.

To Explode a block: First select the block; type ex; [enter].

Modify explode1a.jpg Modify explode1.jpg Modify explode3.jpg Modify explode2.jpg


Paper space

Printing in AutoCAD is called plotting. This is a general introduction to plotting and will teach you how to print a simple drawing on an A3-sized paper. But the same procedure applies to plotting on a large-format plotter (A1, A0)

Plot layout1.jpg

AutoCAD makes a difference between the model in which you're working and the layout you want to plot. To switch to the layout screen, click the layout 1 tab:


A white screen displaying your drawing appears. This is the page we are going to plot. First step is to setup the weight of the lines being printed and their print color. This is done using plot styles.

Plot Styles

Since AutoCAD 2000 there are two main types: the color dependent plot style and the named plot style. Named plot styles are relatively new, the color dependent plot styles have been used before AutoCAD 2000, so most existing drawings are color dependent. This page covers the color dependent color tables (ctb).

Before we can start plotting, we first need to load a color table. A color table tells AutoCAD which color relates to which line weight. You can find a basic example on the TOI website, which uses the same values as we've learned in Organizing your Autocad work.

Save the file on a location you can remember, and unzip it.

Now go to AutoCAD -> File -> Plot Style Manger (or Command: STYLESMANAGER)

Select plot style manager.jpg

In the window that appears copy-paste the 'zwart-wit.ctb' file.

Plot style.jpg

If your drawing is set to used named plot styles and you want to convert it to use color dependent plot styles, use the command:


Enter this command on the command line. It will convert your drawing to use color dependent plot styles instead of named plot styles.

Now that the right color has been imported, we have to change the page size and settings:

Page options.jpg

Right click on Layout 1 -> Page Setup Manager, or go to File -> Page Setup Manager

Page setup manager.jpg

Select layout 1 -> Modify

Page Setup

After clicking on modify, the Page Setup will appear:

Plot page setup.jpg

Now we can set the printer, this can either be a printer (or plotter) at the faculty, or an Adobe PDF printer.

For our purposes we'll select the Adobe PDF printer.

Next up is the Paper size: 'A3' and Drawing orientation: 'Landscape'.

The plot scale needs to be set to 1:1 and millimetres. If this is not done correctly the scale of the drawing will be off.

Plot scale.jpg

Finally, the right color table has to be set by clicking on the drop down window:

Dropdown plot style.jpg

Select the appropriate color table (in this example: zwart-wit.ctb).

The Page Setup should now look like this:

Page setup done.jpg

Press OK to close

After pressing OK in the Page Setup the layout will change, it will now look similar to this:

Page overview.jpg

The layout now represents the A3 we are going to print. The dotted line is the page border, and shows us which part of the page can be printed (everything inside the rectangle).


We can also see a viewport; this is essentially a 'window' into the model. A layout page can have multiple viewports, but for now, we will keep it at one.

In the layout there is a difference between 'model space' and 'paper space', in model space we can move and scale the viewports. In model space, the scale of the model can be adjusted.

Let's go to paper space by clicking on the MODEL button, it should now change to PAPER:

Paper space.jpg

Now scale the viewport to a bigger size by first clicking on the viewport itself and then on the upper right corner

Viewport scale.jpg

Right now, the viewport has the correct size, but the model has the wrong scale (in this case its to small, but it could also be to big.)

To correct this, click on the PAPER button, which then changes to MODEL.

Model space.jpg

We can now zoom and pan in the view port, but we still want to set a correct scale.

Now pres 'z' to activate the ZOOM command:


we can now input the desired scale, a scale of 1:500 for instance, should be typed like: 1/500xp


Execute by pressing [space] or [enter]

AutoCAD zooms to the correct scale, and we've just got to position the drawing with the middle mouse button (be careful not to scroll, as this changes the scale!!)

Return to paper space, by changing the MODEL button to PAPER, the layout should now be ready for plotting:

Ready to plot.jpg


Check your settings one more time and then go to File -> Plot

The Plot screen appears with the correct settings:

Plot screen.jpg

Press OK to plot.

Because we've selected an Adobe PDF printer, we've got to select a location somewhere on the D:\ drive to save the PDF file, like the My Documents map.

But if you selected a regular printer instead of an Adobe PDF printer, you should now be running toward the printer to eagerly await your very first AutoCAD plot!

-Meerdere viewports

-Standard layout (naam schaal etc.)

-Lijndikte preview

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