30 October 2007
Layout (paper space) tutorial: Part 1          
Here is a quick guide on setting up a layout (or paper space) for plotting in AutoCAD 2000 and later. I used AutoCAD 2008 for these steps, and most of these steps should apply (except for the viewport locking) in all versions, 2000 and later. I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it's really easy. The best part is once you set up a layout, you never have to do it again. You can import this layout (or any other) into any other drawing.

Before starting, let me say there are many ways to do what I'm outlining here, this is simply one of them. There are also many options in AutoCAD that could cause one or more of these steps to be missing or could cause an extra step to appear. I'm using a stock copy of AutoCAD, right out of the box.


  • First, open up the OPTIONS dialog, and switch to the Display tab.
  • Under Layout Elements, make sure all the checkboxes are checked ON, except "Create Viewport in New Layouts".

  • Close OPTIONS

Set the plotting options

  • Right Click on Layout1, choose Rename
  • Give it a name like "MY TEST".
  • Now click on the MY TEST layout.
  • The Page Setup Manager will appear, and "MY TEST" will be highlighted in the list.

  • Click the modify button.
  • The dialog that opens looks a lot like the PLOT dialog.
  • Set your printer, paper size, plot style table, orientation, etc.
  • Leave "What to Plot" set to "Layout"
  • Make sure the scale is 1:1
  • Click Ok, then Close the Page Setup manager.

Create the Viewport

  • Create a Viewport
  • Type in the command MVIEW (or choose View, Viewports, 1 Viewport from the pull-down menus)
  • Pick a rectangle on your "paper"
  • The contents of model space will appear within this viewport. If you have objects spread out in MS, you may not see anything. Hang on, we'll fix this.
  • In the Status Bar of AutoCAD, find the PAPER button. Click it. It will change to MODEL. Now your cursor is restricted to the limits of the viewport. (If you do not have this PAPER button, use the type in command MSPACE to switch to Model Space)
  • Pan or zoom as desired. Notice how only the MS entities move. Layout entities stay put.
  • Now let's scale the model accurately. Type in ZOOM, the "C" for Center. Then pick a point roughly on the center of your model.
  • Now enter the scale factor. If the scale is 1"=50', enter 1/50XP. If the scale is 1"=20', enter 1/20XP. You can also use the viewport toolbar to set the scale, but you may get undesired results.
  • After you have set the scale, you can PAN without altering the zoom level.
  • Once you are satisfied, click the MODEL button in the status bar. It will change to PAPER.(If you do not have this MODEL button, use the type in command PSPACE to switch to Paper Space)
  • Click on the viewport to highlight the grips. Right click anywhere and choose Display Locked, Yes.

You are ready to go now. No more selecting the printer and paper size each time you want to print. It's ready to go. As mentioned before, you can import this layout into any other drawing. Here is how.

Importing this layout into another drawing

  • Save the drawing you have been working on.
  • Open a different drawing.
  • Right click on any layout tab.
  • Choose From Template

  • Change the files of Type from "DWT" to "DWG"
  • Find the DWG that you just saved and select it.
  • A new dialog will appear that contains the "MY TEST" layout. Select it and press OK.
  • The layout you created earlier has now been imported into the current drawing.

For best results, create the various layouts you need in your template drawings. Then they will always be there when you start a new drawing. You can add a sheet border and title block to the layout also.

Part 2 is here

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PermaLink       Posted 10/30/2007 08:52:00 PM     

Comment from: Anonymous Jose Guia
Date: November 10, 2007 at 9:45:00 AM CST  

You've been kicked (a good thing) - Trackback from

Comment from: Anonymous Anonymous
Date: February 5, 2008 at 10:41:00 AM CST  

Great paper space tutorial...clear and easy to follow. thanks

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