2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models

11 Mar, 2012 By: Lynn Allen

Circles and Lines Tutorial: New AutoCAD 2012 tools make documentation easy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the Winter 2012 issue of Cadalyst magazine.

As each new release of AutoCAD arrives, so do more 3D features. Although it has become easier for us to build our 3D models in AutoCAD, it's still quite a challenge to create the 2D drawing views from those models. And let's face it: We get paid to create those 2D drawings, so they're pretty darn important! AutoCAD 2012 to the rescue — finally!

Having worked with Autodesk Inventor for years, I was envious that it is so easy to create linked 2D views from an Inventor 3D model. With a linked view, whenever the model is changed (not that your designs ever change), the drawing views update accordingly. I am happy to report that AutoCAD 2012 uses a very similar technique! No more fighting with mviews and scale factors; this new method is just so much easier.

Time to View

For my example, I'll use a 3D model of a dental chair that I downloaded from My model is complete, and now I need to create my 2D drawing views. Select the Layout tab and remove any existing viewports you have on the page.

Select the Annotate tab on either the 2D or 3D ribbon and you’ll find the magical Drawing Views panel on the far right.

You can find the Drawing Views panel under the Annotate tab.

Next, select Base View from the panel and you should see a view of your model — probably the front. Drop it into place and you can use the various options to change the scale factor, orientation, style (wireframe or shaded), visibility of edges, and more.

Use Base View to begin placing the projected views from your model.

Once you’re happy with your base view, press Enter and you'll see that AutoCAD is ready to place the projected views from your model. Simply move your cursor in the direction of each view and AutoCAD intelligently includes additional drawing views. You just point and click; it doesn't get any easier than that!

It's simple to add drawing views using the Base View command.

AutoCAD 2012 also knows that these drawing views must stay lined up, so if you move one of the views over or up, the other views follow. This is so much easier than mviews.

Parents and Kids

The first view you place on the drawing becomes the parent view, and those that come later become child views. If you do something to the parent view, the others follow suit. For example, if I select Edit View (the ViewEdit command) from my panel and change the scale factor of the base view, all views update. That doesn't mean you can't edit a child view individually. To do so, just select that specific view.

You can use Edit View to change the view style, scale factor, visibility, and other settings for existing drawing views.

You can also easily edit existing drawing views from the ribbon.

You can also create additional projected views from any existing views.

Users in manufacturing will find some valuable settings in the Drafting Standard dialog box, accessible from the Drawing Views panel. Here you can control the projection type, thread style, and more.

Use the Drafting Standard dialog box to control
various settings.


Dimensioning is a piece of cake with these new drawing views. Simply set your dimension style to match the size and settings you want to display in paper space and you are good to go. The dimension value reflects the real size of the part; no more dealing with annotation scale factors, viewport scale factors, etc.

Linked Drawings

So, what if your design changes? No problem! These drawing views are linked to the model. A simple change to my dental chair could mean a big change to my drawing views and loads of tedious updating. With the new model documentation capabilities, however, you'll find that AutoCAD highlights any out-of-date drawing views in red, and a simple click updates them all to reflect the changes.

If any drawing views are out of date, AutoCAD 2012 highlights them in red.

What if you have dimensions associated to your drawing views? What happens to them? AutoCAD does its best to reassociate any dimensions, but you might find yourself doing a little updating here and there. To help you, AutoCAD runs the DimReassociate command.

Model documentation is my favorite new feature in AutoCAD 2012. I see these new tools as one more nudge to help users move to the 3D world. Give them a whirl. You won't believe how easy it is.

Until next time, Happy AutoCAD-ing!

Add comment


Re: 2D Views Now Linked to 3D Models
by: Mark gurump
March 23, 2014 - 6:20pm
Can this be done with the classic setup instead of the ribbon?
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