LT On-line: Lesson 5

30 Apr, 2000 By: Mark Middlebrook

Drawing setup: paper space

Page 1: Introduction to Paper space

In the first two AutoCAD LT On-line tutorials, I promised to cover drawing setup in paper space. Several readers also wrote to ask for a paper space tutorial, so by popular demand, here it is. Make sure that you've read "Drawing setup, part 1 and "Drawing setup, part 2 before you read this one.

The conceptual information in this article applies to AutoCAD LT 98 and 2000 as well as to AutoCAD Release 14 and 2000. The tutorial procedures are for AutoCAD and LT 2000, but you can e-mail me if you'd like the procedures for AutoCAD LT 98 and AutoCAD Release 14. After several request for the AutoCAD R14/LT98 version of paper space setup procedure, I posted it on my website.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Figure 1.

Why paper space?
Before we delve into paper space setup procedures, you might be wondering what the heck paper space is and why you need it (or don't).

Paper space is a separate "space" in each drawing for composing a plotted version of your drawing. You create the drawing itself, called the model, in model space. Although you may not realize it, you've been drawing in model space all along. The paper space plotted version usually contains, in addition to a particular view of the model, a title block and perhaps a few other annotations. Figure 1 shows a floor plan in model space, and figure 2 shows the same plan in a paper space layout with a title block.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image
Figure 2.
(By default AutoCAD LT 2000 shows the model space drawing background in white and the paper space background as black, while AutoCAD 2000 does exactly the reverse.)

In AutoCAD LT 98, every drawing has a single model space and a single paper space. In AutoCAD LT 2000, every drawing still has a single model space plus one or more paper space layouts. The idea is that you can use multiple layouts to create different plotted views. Although most drawings don't require this kind of flexibility, it's there if you need it.

"But wait a minute," you exclaim, "didn't you show us how to add a title block in model space in "Drawing setup, part 2"? Why do I need paper space to compose a plotted version of my drawing?" The truth is that, for many drawings, you don't need paper space. Autodesk is pushing paper space as standard operating procedure in AutoCAD LT 2000, and many AutoCAD users have become inordinately fond of it, even Release 14 users. But that doesn't mean that you have to go along with the paper space-loving herd.

It's not that paper space is a bad thing, but it does complicate drawing setup procedures somewhat (as if they weren't complicated enough!). On the positive side, paper space can simplify plotting, because it eliminates the question of what scale to plot at. Plotting the paper space portion of a properly setup drawing with a scale factor of 1=1 always results in a properly scaled plot.

Beyond the modest plotting advantage, paper space buys you something in the following situations:

  • When you need to show different views of a 3D model. This is where paperspace really shines. Of course, most AutoCAD users and almost all AutoCAD LT users draw in 2D, so this paper space advantage may not apply to your work.

  • When you need to clip out and show different areas of the same model (building plans with match lines). This is the most common reason to use paper space for drafting building plans.
  • When you need to show the same model with different layers visible such as a floor plan and reflected ceiling plan drawn together in model space.
  • When you want to show the same model at different scales (i.e., a 1/8" = 1'-0" plan and 1/4" = 1'-0" detail of part of the plan). Although this is a desirable paper space capability, in practice it's tricky to do efficiently because of text, dimensions, and other scale-dependent entities.
  • You want to use the new AutoCAD LT 2000 page setups feature to store different ways of plotting the same model.
  • Thus, you'll find it useful to understand how to use paper space, both to use it when it might be beneficial to you and to handle paper space drawings that other people send you.

    The basic paper space setup procedures aren't difficult, and they're covered here. My book AutoCAD LT 2000 for Dummies addresses some of the additional intricacies of paper space layouts in AutoCAD LT 2000, including new plotting options for layouts. See for a brief description of the book and ordering link.

    Drawing setup: paper space
      Page 1: Introduction to paper space
      Page 2: Paper space set up in LT 2000

    About the Author: Mark Middlebrook

    More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

    For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

    For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!