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AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting and design program that is the industry standard for a wide variety of 2D and 3D work. AutoCAD 2008 features several improvements over previous versions, but the core functionality and workflows have remained consistent for years. Users who have any of the more recent editions of the software will find AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training to be a valuable resource. Instructor Jeff Bartels has taught and used AutoCAD for a decade, and in this course he focuses on the difficult to master concepts that matter most to professional AutoCAD users. Exercise files accompany the course.
We are ready to create a viewport such that we can see our part and set it to a measurable scale. Now you maybe asking yourself where is our part drawing in relation to this Layout tab? Let's take a look. If I go back to Model space, I can do that by clicking the Model tab, we can see our drawing. This is where we create our geometry and our dimensions. Let me click back on my Layout tab. Now the layout sits on top of Model space. That means if I want to see my geometry, I have to cut a hole in this layout. Now AutoCAD calls this hole a viewport and we are going to create a viewport using the Viewport toolbar.
So I'm going to turn on a toolbar, let me move over an existing tool and right-click. And in the toolbar list, I'm going to come down and select my Viewports toolbar and when I click, that guy pops up on screen. I'm going to dock him at the top of my interface. So let me click and hold in the blue area and we'll drag him up to the top of the interface and I will release. Now good form says that we should cut our viewports on their own layer.
Notice I have already created a layer, I have called it viewport and I have set it current so I'm practicing good form. Now I can cut the viewport or the hole in my layout by using this button. I'm going to come up and click the single Viewport icon and when I click, AutoCAD wants me to specify one corner. I will click one corner and then I will come down and I will click another corner. Basically, I'm just making a rectangle. Now be careful, I happen to have running Object Snap set so be careful where you click, you might end up grabbing part of your title block. I'm just going to click in space here.
When I do, AutoCAD cuts a hole in my layout and I can now see my part. This viewport is like a window into Model space. Watch this. As I move my cursor on screen, my cursor is moving around on top of my paper. If I move over my viewport and double-click, I jumped into the viewport. That means if I hold down my wheel and pan, I'm panning the contents of this viewport inside my layout. I can also zoom if I wish. In fact zooming is how we will set the scale because the paper is always going to stay the same size, it's the contents of the viewport that we're going to adjust such that it plots to a measurable scale.
Let me click outside the viewport to get back on to my paper and let's set this viewport to a measurable scale. I can do that by clicking on the viewport edge to highlight it and then I'm going to come down to the very bottom of my screen where it says VP Scale, let me click the dropdown. Once again AutoCAD shows me a list of my standard scales. Now if you are drawing a setup for architectural units, you will be using the architectural scales. Since this drawing is setup for decimal inches, I will be using the scales above. Let's select a one-to-one scale and see if our drawing will fit on this paper. Yes, it will.
Alright now that I have set the scale of my viewport, I'm going to protect myself, I'm going to come down and click my Lock button. This will prevent the viewport scale from changing. If I do wish to change this viewport in the future, all I have to do is highlight it, come down here and unlock it and then I can change the scale. Let me hit my Escape key to clear the grips and let's address one more thing. You may be wondering why we should put a viewport on a layer of its own. That's because when I plot this drawing, I don't want to plot the edge of my viewport. If the viewport is on its own layer, I can turn that layer off and this little rectangle won't show.
Let's try that. I'm going to go to my Layer Properties Manager. Let's set a different layer current, I'm going to set layer 0 current and I'm going to come down and turn off my viewport layer. Let me click OK and notice that viewport no longer shows up. Let's address one more thing. All of my geometry is still being represented in color. Let's fix that. I'm going to come down and right-click on my Layout tab and I'm going to select Page Setup Manager. From here, I'm going to come over and click Modify and in my Page Setup dialog, I'm going to come up and set my pens.
Remember that as a beginner, we are going to select the monochrome pens. Here's one of the benefits of using a layout. Notice I have got a button that says Display plot styles. Let me check this button. We will click OK and we will click Close. Notice when I zoom in on my geometry, my geometry on my screen looks like my pen table. In fact we can take it up one more notch. If I come down and click my LWT mode, AutoCAD will even show me the line weights. LWT stands for Line Weights.
So now I'm truly working in a plot preview. Now since we just turned on our LWT mode, let me show you something that's interesting. I'm going to go to Model space. When your LWT is turned on, unfortunately we can also see the pen weights in Model space. This can be annoying because no matter what your zoom factor is, the line weight always stays the same. If that becomes a problem, you can always come down and turn this off. It will always plot correct no matter which way it's set. So doesn't look so good in Model space, looks great on your Layout tab.
Let's return to the Layout tab. I want to do one more thing before we send our plot, let's rename this layout. That's kind of a generic name, Layout 1. If I want to rename the layout, I'm going to double-click on it and I'm going to call this 11x17 and I will hit Enter and let's send this plot. One of the benefits of setting up your layout ahead of time is that your drawings are very easy to print. If I want to send this to my printer, all I have to do is right-click on the tab, select Plot and click OK.
I don't have to touch any of those settings because I have already filled out the dialog box. Now once again since I'm printing to a PDF, I am saving a file. If you are printing directly to your printer, your paper is probably already coming out. Let me click Save to finish my print. And here is an image of my finished plot. Layouts are the most powerful way of creating plots in AutoCAD. Their benefits even go beyond the viewports, plot preview and naming features we have seen here. If we can incorporate layouts into our workflow, we have taken the first step towards using even more powerful features like sheet sets, page setups and publishing.
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