Mastering Paper Space in AutoCAD: A Comprehensive Guide

by David Watson


AutoCAD’s Paper Space mode is like having a scrapbook page where you can arrange and plot various views of your drawing. In this article, we will explore how to create an A3 drawing sheet in Paper Space, add floating viewports, and discuss important considerations such as plotting to scale and managing layer display. Let’s dive in!

Overview of Paper Space

To begin creating a paper space page, set the tilemode variable to 0. You can do this by double-clicking on “TILE” on the status bar. Once in paper space, you can draw an A3 drawing sheet by creating a new layer called “SHEET” and drawing a rectangular outline measuring 420 x 297 drawing units. The Zoom Extents command helps you center the rectangle on your screen.

Next, you can create one or more model space viewports using the MVIEW command. These viewports act like any other AutoCAD entity and can be moved, scaled, copied, and stretched. It’s important to note that the viewport border is drawn on the current layer, so if you don’t want the border to plot, create a separate layer specifically for the viewports.

Moving to model space allows you to work within each viewport as if it were the normal drawing area. You can easily switch between viewports, and any changes made in one viewport are automatically reflected in the others. To make adjustments to viewports or the drawing sheet, simply switch back to paper space using the PSPACE command.

Creating a Drawing Sheet in Paper Space

Follow these steps to create your own A3 drawing sheet in Paper Space and add viewports to showcase your drawing:

Setting up the Drawing Sheet

  1. Open the 3D Tree drawing you previously created or any other 3D drawing.
  2. Move to paper space by double-clicking on the status bar or using the Paper Space command.
  3. Create a new layer called “SHEET” and make it the current layer.
  4. Draw an A3 sheet outline by using the RECTANG command and specifying the points (0,0) and (420,297).
  5. Zoom to drawing extents to view the entire sheet.
  6. Design your personal title block, including your name, the drawing name, scale, and any other relevant information. Remember to create new layers for text, lines, etc.

Creating the Viewports

  1. Create a new layer called “VIEWPORTS”.
  2. Make “VIEWPORTS” the current layer and create your viewport(s) using the Viewport command.
  3. Arrange your viewports on the sheet, taking advantage of the flexibility they offer.
  4. Move to model space by using the ViewModel Space command.
  5. Modify the view within each viewport using the ZOOM and DDVPOINT commands. Customize the views to showcase your drawing effectively.
  6. To remove viewport borders, turn off the “VIEWPORTS” layer temporarily and review the layout.

Your drawing is now complete and ready for plotting!

Plotting from Paper Space

When plotting from Paper Space, keep two important considerations in mind. Firstly, since the drawing sheet is created at full size in millimeters, the plot scale is always 1=1. Secondly, if you want to remove hidden lines when plotting 3D objects from Paper Space, use the Hideplot option of the MVIEW command or the ViewFloating ViewportsHideplot tool. Remember to select the viewports for which you want the hidden lines removed before starting the plotting process.

Other Paper Space Considerations

Let’s explore two additional important considerations:


Plotting drawings at a particular scale in Paper Space is possible despite the default scale of 1=1. The scale of a viewport is determined by its zoom factor. Use the XP option of the ZOOM command to scale your viewports relative to Paper Space. For example, if you want to zoom a viewport to 1:200, use the zoom factor 1XP (or 0.005). If your drawing units are meters, multiply the XP factor by 1000. For instance, to plot at a 1:200 scale with drawing units in meters, the XP factor would be 5.


To freeze specific layers in the current viewport while keeping them visible in others, use the DDLMODES command or the FormatLayer tool. Simply click on the layer icon in the dialogue box. For more information, refer to the “Layers in Viewports” section in the Object Properties tutorial.

The Finished Drawing

In the example above, we have showcased a sheet layout featuring paper space viewports. These viewports depict different views of the same drawing. Notice how the middle viewport overlaps the others, and the viewport borders have been suppressed by turning off the layer on which they were created.

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