The workspace of Autocad 2d includes two working environments which work hand in hand. These can be viewed in the Status bar at the bottom of your screen under the Model and Layout tabs. By default we have two layouts but you can create up to 100 in a single drawing. Usually two or three is all you need.
We always create our drawings in Model space. In contrast the Layout tabs represent our Paper sheets, that is, how the drawing will be displayed when printed. To this we usually add a title block with drawing and company details. We may also arrange multiple views of the model, for drawing details, for example. These could be shown at different scales.
By default the drawing opens in Model space and we inspect the various layouts by double-clicking on their respective tabs. The majority of the drafting work takes place within the Model space, and we switch to the paper layouts when we are ready to print. The model space is three-dimensional and infinite in space, but you would only use the vertical z-axis if you were working on a 3D model; in most drafting cases we use only the x and y-axes. We can think of this as if we are looking down the z-axis at a drawing placed on the floor.
Each paper space layout represents a sheet of paper as it will be printed (Autocad calls this plotting). For example we can set up paper sheets for A4, A3, A2 sizes, etc. And in each Layout we could create a few Viewport windows, displaying the objects we’ve created in our Model space. We generally draw to real-world scale; that is 1:1. We can think of these viewports as windows looking into our Model space, and it’s these viewport windows that we scale, not the actual objects themselves. We can create a new viewport window by typing MV (for Make View) into the Command line or at the cursor, if we have Dynamic Input activated.
Each new drawing has two layout tabs by default, named Layout 1 and Layout 2. If we start drawing using a template drawing, however, these default layouts may differ. We can create as many layouts as needed by simply just right-clicking on the Layout tab, and selecting an option. Users of the Macintosh version of Autocad need to go to the top Insert menu, and select Layout and Layout from Template. Or Insert, Layout, and Layout Wizard.
We usually add our dimensions in the Model space, and in Paper space we add borders, title blocks and company logos and details. We also tend to print from the Paper space by right-clicking on a Layout tab to enter the Page Setup Manager. Doing so will open up a dialog box where we may select our printer and paper size, or create a PDF. The scale in this dialog box is usually kept to 1:1. To set up our required paper size, etc, we click the Modify button. These may also be accessed in the top left Application button (PC), and choose Plot. We may also click the Preview button to view how the drawing will look as a PDF, and make final Offset adjustments to the window position.
As can be seen, working with layouts is a crucial part of the Autocad 2D workflow, almost as important as the drawing itself.
Tom Gillan has been training Autocad 2D to corporate clients in Sydney for over seven years. Visit our website for more information at Design Workshop Sydney.