Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules

Image for Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules showing Standards

Do you have Standards?

Ok – this one is a Rant…

Daily I deal with AutoCAD drawings from drafting ‘professionals’ that seem to still not understand some Basic AutoCAD 101 Rules – (fundamentals).  If you are an architect or architectural draftsperson – think of your electronic drawing audience – i.e. your consultants. Your drawings need to be easy to use for everyone, not just you. Following some basics adds very little time to your work and in many situations will actually save you time.

A few basics..

Color = Bylayer
Linetype = Bylayer

Use Paperspace:

Draw to scale and use Annotative Scaling



Do NOT use the out of the box “STANDARD” styles for Text, Dimensions, Multi-leaders etc… If you love them, copy and rename to something original.

Use Xreference files – NOT blocks when assembling plan drawings.
– i.e. Do NOT create a floor plan and then start a new drawing for a ceiling plan and block in the Floor Plan. With proper Xref management, you can put all this in one drawing.

Do NOT put drawing components in Paperspace – Draw in Model space and create viewports in Paperspace.


Use attributed blocks for Tags, Plan and detail titles – NOT Dtext in circles and squares and lines for underlines, etc…

When doing text, use justification – there are more options than TopLeft.

Use blocks for drawing plan items. If you are going through the trouble to draw something that you plan on copying or even ever using again – in ANY future, make it a block. Dont’ worry about it being perfect – you can tweak it as you learn more or choose to add more detail. You can even save it into a master library. Examples:

For downlights – draw your circle on layer “0” and save as a block called “Downlight” – 5 seconds! Copy this around your drawing and if you want it to look different or change size, just tpe BEDIT and change the block.

Other plan items: All kinds of ceiling or wall mounted light fixtures, furniture, plants, doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc…

Elevation items: Windows, Doors, Light fixtures, signage, plants, etc…


Be descriptive and use more rather than less.

– If you are drawing walls for New, Demo and Future – create them on different layers, NOT on one and change the linetype.
– For a ceiling plan, do not put all lights, diffusers, speakers and sprinklers on the same layer as your grid. Place them on differnt layers – different consultants use them diferently.

Do NOT use Layer “0” for drawing anything but blocks.

Do NOT use Defpoints to draw items you do not want to plot. Make a seperate Non-Plot layer.


Once you draw a plan and send it out – do NOT move it from it’s original location!

Do these basics and the world will be a better place – atleast for me… If you don’t know how – ask me.

Here are some links to some previous posts that may help:

101 Series on the what, why, and how of Blocks

External References – Basics

External References – Details and Commands

Dear Mr./Mrs Architect – another request for assistance


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