Paper space tables

30 Jun, 2000 By: Mark Middlebrook Cadalyst

Paper space pros and cons
Reasons for and against using paper space
  • Paper space guarantees 1=1 plotting (you can achieve the same result using xrefs and model and plot sheet drawing file separation, which you may want to do anyway for other reasons).
  • Paper space can reduce the number of DWG files on a project.
  • You probably need to use it on some types of drawings, so why not make it standard operating procedure in the interest of drawing setup and plotting consistency?
  • In some industries and companies, paper space is standard operating procedure. Why not go with the industry flow?
  • AutoCAD 2000 pushes paper space front and center. Autodesk's Desktop applications (such as Architectural Desktop) rely on paper space to display and plot different views of a model. Why not go with the software flow?
  • Paper space is conceptually and operationally complicated. It slows down drawing setup even for experienced users.
  • Drawing exchange with users of other CAD programs, none of which include AutoCAD's paper space feature, can be a problem.
  • Paper space adds significant memory demands and performance overhead to some kinds of drawings.
  • You can use simpler methods (for example, xref clipping and using xrefs with a model/sheet file division) to solve many of the presentation problems that paper space solves.


Paper space uses and alternatives
Paper space useModel space alternativeComments
Show the same 3D model from different points of view.No real alternative (other than drawing each view separately).Paper space really shines in this situation.
Create plot sheets with consistent 1=1 plot scale (figure 1a).Use xrefs with a model/sheet file division (figure 1b) 1=1 plotting is a common justification for making paper space standard operating procedure, but I question the validity of this justification.
Arrange many details of different scales on a plot sheet (figure 2a).Xref pasteup of discrete detail DWG files (figure 2b).In my opinion, this is the weirdest and least appropriate use of paper space.
Show different areas of the same model (figures 3a or 3c).Xrefs plus xref clipping (figure 3b).
Warning: AutoCAD LT can view but not create xref clipping boundaries.
This is a common use of paper space in building drafting. The xref clipping approach is simpler and more flexible, but you can't do it in AutoCAD LT.
Show the same model at different scales.Draw each view separately.In principle this is a great application for paper space. In practice it's tricky to do efficiently because of text, dimensions, and other scale-dependent entities.
Draw all annotations in paper space at plotted size.Draw annotations in model space at plotted size times drawing scale factor.I much prefer to keep annotations in the same space as the objects that they annotate.
Show different arrangements of layers in the same model. Xrefs plus VISRETAIN=1. 
Plot same model in different ways with AutoCAD 2000 page setups.No real alternative. 


About the Author: Mark Middlebrook

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