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AutoCAD Tutorial: Calculate scale and sheet size

This tutorial is unusual, because you don’t need AutoCAD to do it.

You draw full size in AutoCAD. But before long, you may need to set the scale of text, dimensions, and other objects that need to be the right size after you plot on a sheet of paper. In a large drawing, such as a drawing of a house, you obviously need to scale down to fit it on a sheet of paper. For small objects, you might scale up.

You can add text and dimensions in paper space and avoid scaling. You can also use annotative text and dimensions, but you still need to choose a scale.

Let’s say you have a drawing of a house. The drawing is 175 feet wide by 120 feet high. Some typical scales for an architectural drawing of a house in the United States are 1/4″=1′ and 1/8″=1′.

Follow these steps:

  1. Calculate the plotted size of the width at 1/4″=1′. 175′ x 1/4 = 43-1/4″.
  2. Calculate the plotted size of the height at the same scale. 120′ x 1/4 = 30″.
  3. Test this size on a size D sheet (34″x22″). It’s too small. Test it on a size E sheet (44″x34″). It would just fit, but allowing for a title block and margin would make it too tight.
  4. Recalculate the width at 1/8″=1′. 175′ x 1/8 = 21-7/8″.
  5. Recalculate the height at 1/8″=1′. 120′ x 1/8 = 15″.
  6. A size C sheet (22″x17″) is close but you might have problems with the margins. If you can move some objects in the drawing to make it slightly narrower, you’ll do fine. Otherwise, you’ll need a size D sheet.
  7. Sometimes, you need the scale factor, which is just how many times bigger the full size is compared to the plotted size. For a 1/8″=1′ scale. multiply both sides of the equation by 8 to get 1″=8′. Then convert to inches. 8″ x 12 = 96.

6 comments to AutoCAD Tutorial: Calculate scale and sheet size

  • Eric Brumble

    What about DIMSCALE? I use this command to enlarge or reduce all of the properties of dimensions so that they are always relative to the printed size of the titleblock. In this way, there is no calculation involved (other than the ratio of what the current dimscale is and what i want the new value to be)and no scale to worry about. It all comes down to presentation and legibility. I haven’t searched your site completely so i don’t know if you have covered this topic but it is worth looking into.

  • raj

    please send me all the shortcuts in cad and also some tutorials please

  • sawnaymin

    Thank You for all.

  • Nagaraja M

    please send me the details of making a scale

  • Najib

    Salam Every on i hv need Auto Scale Ant Text Size . And Arrow Size. i m working i m meter so i need in meter if i got it in Excel Sheet so i will be very thank full to u

  • Salah

    Can you give this example in metric units .

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