AutoCAD Tips: Faster Design and Better Drawings

Photo of author

By BenjaminBeck

This tweet was intended to provide simple actions that can immediately improve the quality of your drawings in AutoCAD as well as other CAD platforms. I use Civil 3D most of the time and find the same principles to be applicable.

Use this template to get you started:

It is a good idea to begin each new drawing with a template. It is best to have one that contains all your personal/company text styles, layers and dims. You can also standardize your drawings by using one of the templates.

In Model Space, draw actual scale (1 to 1)

This one is pretty obvious. This is a good practice and habit to have when you draw in model space. You can create objects and designs at full scale (1:1) and any scaling or sizing of drawings/sheets can all be done in layout space by using viewports at particular scales.

Layers (properly referred to):

There are few things more frustrating than an CAD drafting services that has the majority of objects/text on layer 0 or other generic layers. Your drawings’ future users and, more importantly, your co-workers who may be working on the project in the future will not be disturbed. Use a standard layer name system.

Make blocks for common objects:

This is a time-saving and productivity issue. If you find yourself copying and recreating the same object multiple times in one project or over several projects, this is a sign of productivity and time savings. To ensure consistency in your drawings and save time, it’s a good idea to create a block.

Use annotative text/Dims

Drawing at 1:1 scale in model space is the same as drawing at real scale. It’s a good idea to include Annotative Text and Dimensioning in your drawings. You can quickly create multiple viewports using Annotative objects that all show the same information, regardless of what scale you are showing.

Not excessively large dimensions

This tip is more general in drafting. Drawings should be easy to read and provide all the information needed to design, build, or construct the object. It is easy to be too detailed and annotate drawings in a way that makes it difficult to understand. However, there are ways to keep the drawing helpful without making it confusing.

It might be worth spending some time to eliminate redundant dimensions or notes from your drawing if it feels too cluttered. Splitting the drawing on two sheets might be a better option to make sure you have enough space to communicate all the information.

Keep your Dwgs Organized with XRefs

Xrefs (External Refers) are an excellent way to make your drawings more manageable and to make it easier to work with. They can also be used to reduce file size as we can easily separate large amounts of background data and details from the base data. We can then only refer to them in drawings/sheets that are required.

If we have to refer to a base such as a floor plan, we can reference it in the drawing and add any necessary information, for example, electrical linework. You can also make modifications and update the floorplan. The changes will be reflected on the drawings that reference the floor plan Xref.

When you are done, purge:

I like to think about Purging and other cleanup orders the same as cleaning up after cooking. It would be logical to dispose of any dishes or extra ingredients that have been used in the creation/cooking of our meal.

Once we have finished our design, the layout/drawing will be similar. Make sure to tidy up your drawing file and workspace. It will be available for the next person to use or you can return to it clean and uncluttered.