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Up to this point, we've been referring to our distances as units. Now, are these units inches, millimeters, or feet? Let's take a second and discuss how we assign a real-world unit of measurement to our drawings. As you can see, I've just launched my AutoCAD 2011 and I'm currently sitting in the unsaved Drawing1 file. I'd like to start out by creating a line segment. So I'm going to launch the Line command. I'll pick a point on screen and I'll pull over to the right here a little bit. the angle isn't important right now. I'm just going to type a distance of 1 and I'll hit Enter.
And then I'll hit Esc to cancel out of the Line command. Let's zoom in a little bit. I'll center this line on screen. Now, this line segment is 1 unit long. My question is what does this unit represent? Is this line one mile, is it one millimeter, or is this line one foot? Well, this line represents whatever unit of measurement I want it to represent. All I have to do is tell AutoCAD the units I'd like to assign to this drawing. Let me show you where we go to do that. I'm going to open up the Application menu, then I'll come down to Drawing Utilities and I'll come up and select Units.
This brings up the Drawing Units dialog box and right here is where I can assign a unit of measurement for this drawing. As you can see, AutoCAD is defaulting to Inches so technically this line that I created is one inch long. Now, I do have other choices. If I open up this fly-out, it'll bring up a menu of other options. Most of the popular choices are at the top of the menu. For right now, I'm going to leave this set to Inches, and at this point, you maybe asking yourself, what unit of measurement should I be using for my drawings. Well, consider this rule of thumb.
If you're drawing something for your own personal usage, use whatever unit of measurement is most convenient for you. If you're doing production work, check with your CAD Manager or other people that work in your field to find out what the industry standards are for your type of work. I can tell you this. if you're an architect, your drawings will always be set up such that each unit equals an inch. If you're a surveyor or civil engineer, your drawings will always be set up such that each unit equals a foot. Now, that I've selected my units, take a look at this note right here. It says, Units to scale inserted content.
That means if my next door neighbor is using AutoCAD and he creates a drawing and his units are set to Millimeters, if he saves his file and gives it to me and I were to insert his drawing into mine, AutoCAD will scale his drawing such that it comes in at the proportionally correct size in my drawing. So AutoCAD will do the units conversion scaling for me. Let's take a look at the top of this dialog box. Up here I have two groups. Length and Angle. These settings control how AutoCAD lists my geometry. That means if I were to ask AutoCAD about this line segment, AutoCAD would give me its length in Decimal inches to a precision of four decimal spaces.
And I would see its angle given in Decimal Degrees to the even degree. Note that in both cases I can open up this Precision fly-out and I can run my Precision up to 8 spaces to the right of the decimal. I'm going to change my Angle Precision to two decimal spaces. I'm going to leave the Length at four. Let's click OK to close this dialog box and we'll test these settings. To list the properties of my line, I'm going to use the Property Changer. So I'll select my line and then I'll come over here. Now, my Property Changer is open in my interface.
If yours is not, you can always hit Ctrl+1 to bring your Property Changer up on screen. If I look right down here under the Geometry heading, I can see that the Length and Angle of this line are both being shown using decimals. The Length is being shown with a Precision of four decimal spaces and the Angle is being given to two. I'm going to move outside the palette. I'll let this collapse and then I'll hit Esc to deselect my line. Let's go back to the Units dialog box and we'll take a look at some of the other settings. Once again, I'll open up the Application menu. We'll come over to Drawing Utilities and then we'll select Units.
Currently, I can see that my Angle Type is set to Decimal Degrees. If I click this fly-out, we can see that there are some additional choices. The selection that I make here will depend on the type of work that I'm doing. By far, the most popular option is Decimal Degrees. If you have any questions regarding the other available options, simply press the F1 key and AutoCAD will give you more information. As you can see, my Length Type is currently set to Decimal. If I click this fly-out, we can see that there are additional choices. By far the most popular choices in this menu are Decimal and Architectural.
As an example, I'm going to set this to Architectural. If you have any questions regarding the other options, press F1 for more information. Notice that when I change the Length Type to Architectural, my Precision is now being shown using fractional units. This means that if I was to list my geometry now, it would be listed in feet and inches. In fact, if you're an architect, these settings are what you'll probably use for all of your drawings. Let's click OK to close the dialog box. I'd like to open a couple of real-world drawings so we can see how the units are set inside those files.
To do that, I'll move up to the Quick Access toolbar and click the Open icon. We'll look inside the chapter_04 folder, I'm going to start with this drawing called survey and I'll click Open. This drawing represents a plan of survey. This cyan line represents the property boundary. I'm going to zoom in a little bit on this line and we can see that it has a length of 122.18 feet. I'll select the line segment and I'll open up the Property Changer, and if I look right down here, I can see this line has a Length of 122.18.
So in this drawing, each unit must equal 1 foot. Let's verify that. I'll move through the menus here and we'll open up the Drawing Units dialog box. We can see right here in this drawing, each unit equals a foot. I'm going to close this dialog box. we'll close this drawing and let's open one more. Once again, I'll click Open. This time we'll open up the drawing called bracket. Now, this drawing was created using metric measurements. If I zoom in on this whole, I can see that it's dimensioned with a radius of 5 millimeters.
I'll select this circle, I'll come over to my Property Changer and I can see this circle has a radius of 5. So in this drawing, each unit must equal 1 millimeter. Let's verify that. We'll come back to the Drawing Units dialog box. We'll take a look at our Drawing Units and we can see that in this drawing each unit equals 1 Millimeter. AutoCAD by nature is flexible enough to allow you to draft using whatever unit of measurement is most convenient for you. And whether you like drafting in inches, feet, millimeters or something else entirely, you could always find whatever you need in the Units dialog box.
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