Space & Layout (Paper) Space
There are two drawing areas within an Autocad drawing, model
space and paper space. When Autocad is loaded, the drawing
area which we see is known as model space. All drawing or
'modeling' done within Autocad is drawn in model space.
The Autocad screen tells us we are in model space in the
two following locations:
left hand model tab has two default tabs next to it named
'Layout1' and 'Layout2'. These are shortcuts to the two
default paper space views 'Layout1' and 'Layout2'.
By double clicking the right hand model button shown above,
this will take us to the default paper space view Layout1.
What is Paper space?
Many beginners to Autocad get confused about paper space,
so we'll try and make it as painless as possible! The concept
is in fact very simple!
By now you should be familiar with model space, and what
it is. To summarise; model space is the main drawing area
Paper space is an area used in Autocad to plot (print) the
drawing created in model space. Paper space is a lot more
powerful than simply letting us plot the entire model space
drawing, we can set up views called Viewports within the
paper space area to separately show different areas of the
model space drawing.
Paper space is actually a blank sheet, the separate viewports
showing different views of the model are what creates a
The screen shot above shows a paper space
layout created named 'A4 Layout view - Paper space 1'. Notice
how earlier where the screen showed us that we were in model
space, it now says paper to indicate paper space.
A rectangle measuring 275x200mm was drawn in paper space,
so that it would fit nicely on an A4 sized sheet of paper.
All Autocad commands
that are used in model space can be used in paper space,
however everything in paper space should be drawn at 1:1
(full size) in millimetres if the drawing is to be printed
rectangle drawn is simply a frame which will provide a border
to the drawing, when plotted.
Notice how each of the three views of the guitar head are
bordered by a black rectangle, these are in fact separate
viewports - each looking at the same 3D model in model space,
but looking from different angles.
of paper space as the piece of paper you wish to print on
to, with holes cut away where you want different parts of
the model space drawing to be shown. The model can be moved
closer or further away from the hole, and also panned around.
The view of the model in one view port is totally independent
from the view in another, and zooming into one viewport
will not affect the view of other viewports within the paper
- Using Paper space Viewports
Download the Autocad drawing file lesson10.dwg, which
is the above drawing of a Gibson Les Paul guitar head. The
A4 paper space layout has already been created for you.
(Autocad 2000 File)
r14.dwg (Autocad R14 File)
1) The drawing will open in model space, with
the guitar head centred within the screen.
2) Click the tab next to the 'model' tab which
says 'A4 Layout View - Paper
space 1'. This will take us out of model
space and into paper space.
The A4 sized rectangle frame with a title
block is shown. This was drawn directly onto paper space,
just like as if we were drawing in model space. Zoom out
a little, notice the white box - this is the edge of the
A4 sheet when plotted. In paper space, provided your plotter
is set to the correct paper size setting, what you see is
what you get. Generally, what is shown on paper space is
what will be plotted.
Currently, there are no views of the model.
We must add a viewport to be able to 'see through' the paper
space and into model space.
4) Under the 'view' drop down menu, go to
viewports -> 1 viewport.
Drawing a viewport is exactly the same as drawing a rectangle,
simply two opposite corners have to be specified.
Draw a viewport roughly in the centre of the A4 frame, as
Notice how the model is zoomed extents to
the viewport. We have now created a viewport within paper
space, ready for plotting.
Working with Viewports
Once a viewport is created, it itself can be modified, and
so can its view. To activate a viewport, double click within
the viewport window. The cross hair movement is now restricted
to the viewport window. The bottom status bar will now indicate
that we have entered model space, although we are still
in paper space. Effectively, we are in model space, but
working in model space through paper space. To exit out
of the viewport, simply double click out of the viewport
(or double click the status bar at the bottom of the screen
to toggle between model/paper space).
Once a viewport is created, its contents can be changed
by activating it, and zooming/panning throughout the drawing
to change the view. We can even work on the model through
paper space, as all the usual commands are still active
.A viewport can be moved around in paper space using the
move command, however a viewport cannot be rotated. To change
the size of a viewport, select it while in paper space,
and change its size by dragging the blue grips at each corner
of the viewport.
To hide the rectangular frame of a viewport,
simply create a new layer, turn the layer off then add the
viewport to the layer. The viewport frame will then become
invisible, although the viewport still functions. Of course,
when you want to move/resize the viewport, don't forget
to turn the layer back on!
Plotting to Scale
To be able to plot an Autocad drawing to scale, we need
to set the zoom factor within the viewport. Setting the
zoom factor enables us to fix the scale of the viewport
when plotting from paper space at 1:1 (NOT scale to fit!).
To set a viewport to a scale is a simple procedure, we simply
need to recognise if within model space we decided to draw
in metres or millimetres i.e does one Autocad unit represent
1mm or 1m?
The zoom factor of a drawing is known as its XP value, and
the xp value is determined as below (if one Autocad unit
XP Value (m) = 1000/scale req'd
Viewport scale required = 1:200
XP Value = 1000/200 = 5
Zoom Factor = 5xp
If the model is drawn that 1 Autocad unit
represents 1mm, then the above formula applies, but the
zoom factor must then be divided by 1000.
XP Value (mm) = ( 1000/scale req'd ) / 1000
Viewport scale required = 1:200
XP Value = ( 1000/200 ) /
1000 = 5/1000 = 0.005
Zoom Factor = 0.005xp
The table below summarises the XP zoom scale factors for
the common scales:
that within paper space, we can have as many viewports as
we like (although the more viewports active, the more PC
memory is used which can affect your system's performance).
Now that we know how to set up a paper space
view with scaled viewports, we simply have to plot it to
a printer for a true scale, paper copy of the drawing.
Printing from Autocad is simple, we just have to ensure
that a few settings are correct.
To open the plot menu, click the plot
on the standard toolbar, or select 'plot'
from the file drop down menu. The
plot dialogue box will appear:
First of all, click the 'plot
device' tab to select the printer you wish
to plot to:
The printer can be selected from the drop
down list, the properties of the printer can also be selected
to change print quality e.t.c.
Plot style is where we can choose the colour of the plot,
based on the on-screen colours. For example, every red line
within Autocad can be set to print red, or could be set
to print out black. This setting can be left as none for
is where we can preview the print, but only after we have
chosen our plot setup in 'plot settings'.
provides a simplified preview of the drawing, useful for
previewing large drawings which would take a while to regenerate
all the viewports for the preview.
Back to the 'Plot settings'
- select the paper size of the print out (This will usually
be the size of the frame drawn in paper space. In the case
of the lesson10.dwg tutorial file, this should be set to
- Simply landscape or portrait. For this example set it
to landscape, to match the paper space layout.
- This is where the entire paper space scale is set. Remember
earlier when we said that everything in paper space should
be drawing in millimetres at 1:1 full size? For the print
to plot to scale, plot scale MUST be set to 1:1.
If a quick 'not to scale' plot is required of a drawing
(or part of a drawing - see plot area below) the plot scale
can be set to 'scaled to fit' to fill the paper with the
selected print area.
- We must select which part of the drawing we wish to plot.
In this case, we wish to plot the entire A4 frame in paper
Layout - this
will plot the current layout.
Similar to zoom extents. The extents of the paper space
area will be plotted.
The current screen display will be plotted.
Window - This
is the most useful tool to select the plot area. Similar
to zoom window, plot window allows us to select the exact
area to be plotted by selecting a rectangle around the required
Select the Window
radio button, then click the 'window<
' box to select the window area. Choose the top left then
bottom right corners of the blue A4 frame in paper space.
- This enables us to select the position of the plot on
the paper. For best results, select 'centre
the plot' to plot the drawing central to
the paper sheet.
- these settings can be left as they are.
Now that we have defined our plot settings, go back to the
tab and select 'full preview'
to see a preview of the print job. It should be similar
to the screen shot below:
to exit the preview, right
click and select exit.
This takes us back to the plot dialogue box. Go back to
the 'plot settings'
tab and select the 'plot'
button to send the drawing to the printer.
any errors/omissions to
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