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AutoCAD Essentials is a multi-part series that takes a more modular approach to this massive program, used for everything from 2D and 3D CAD design, drafting, and modeling to architectural drawing and engineering projects. In this installment, author Jeff Bartels concentrates on the particulars of creating basic geometry in AutoCAD, including assigning imperial or metric units of measurement, using object snaps to control accuracy, and drawing and transforming basic lines and shapes. The last chapter in the course tests your newfound skills in a short project.
On my screen, I have an example of a metric drawing. If I open the Units dialog box, you can see that this drawing was created such that each unit represents a millimeter. Based on what we know now, you may think that working in metric is as simple as choosing Metric units from this list. It actually goes a little bit beyond that. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to configure AutoCAD to work in a metric environment. I'm going to close this drawing. I won't save changes. And I'd like to create a new drawing. I'll do that by clicking the New icon. And I'm going to select the ACAD.dwt template. This is the default template that's used each time we launch AutoCAD.
It's important to understand that this template represents an imperial working environment. Sure, I could jump out here to my Units dialog box and I could set this to millimeters; however, this doesn't convert the entire drawing. As an example--I'm going to accept this change-- I'll launch my Plot command, and you can see that my paper size is still defaulting to imperial measurements. Likewise, this drawing is also using a line type file that is scaled for imperial units. If you are committed to working in a metric environment, you need to start your drawings from a metric template. As an example, I'm going to launch the New command again. This time I'll select the ACAD ISO template file. This template is set up for metric usage. If I check the Units dialog box, you can see that this guy is defaulting to millimeters. Likewise, if I launch the Plot command, you can see that my paper sizes are defaulting to metric measurements. And you'll have to take my word for it, the line type file associated with this drawing is scaled for metric measurement.
So, this is truly a metric environment. Now in the event you're someone who frequently does design work in metric, you may be wondering if it's possible to set the ACAD ISO template to be the default each time you launch AutoCAD. And the answer is, yes, you can. All we have to do is edit the user preferences. To do that, I'll open the application menu and I'll come down and select Options. I will then select the Files tab. This is where we choose the paths where AutoCAD should look for things. I'm going to come down and click to open Template Settings. And then I'll open Default Template Filename for QNEW.
I'll click to Select The Setting and then I'll come up and click Browse. This takes me right to the Template Folder where I can select the ACAD ISO template. I'll click Open. I'll click Apply and OK. From now on, the next time I launch AutoCAD, it will open using the metric template. Let's test that. I'll close the application. I'm not going to save changes to these drawings. I will then relaunch AutoCAD. And as a quick example, I'll launch the Plot command, and you can see my paper sizes are listed in millimeters. In fact, each time I click the New button from now on, it will create a new drawing based on the ACAD ISO template. If the time comes when you'd like to put things back the way they were and return AutoCAD to an imperial environment, simply return to Options, select the Files tab, Open Template Settings, and Default Template File Name for QNEW, choose the Path, and select Remove, then click Apply and OK. Since no path was given, AutoCAD has no choice but to return to the original setting of None. So, AutoCAD is once again defaulting to an imperial drafting environment. In the event you're someone who likes to work in metric now and then, it's nice to know that AutoCAD has a pre-made template ready to go. If you're a hardcore metric user, simply assign this template as your default and you will always be working in a metric environment.
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