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Tutorials:Dimension in paper space

Dimensioning in paper space has several advantages:

  • You don’t have to worry about the size of the dimension arrowheads, text, etc. Everything is full size and you plot at 1:1 scale.
  • You can place the dimensions outside the border of the viewport, giving you more room.
  • You can easily dimension some parts of the model in one viewport and other parts in another. You don’t have to create separate layers and freeze some of them.
  • If you have a 3D model, you’ll be showing it at different angles in the viewports and you can dimension appropriately. It’s almost impossible to properly dimension a 3D object in model space.

If you’ve been dimensioning in model space, give it a try. Here are the steps:

  • If you haven’t already done so, create a text style.
  • Create a dimension style in the Dimension Style Manager.
  • On the Fit tab, choose the Scale Dimension to Layout option.
  • Create a layer for your dimensions in paper space.

The Trans-Spatial dimensioning feature (since Release 2002) automatically adjusts dimension measurements for the scale of the viewport. You can just go to your layout and dimension as you would in model space.

If you move the viewport, or pan the view, use DIMREGEN to get your dimension back to its proper location. Occasionally, you may need to use DIMREASSOCIATE to reassociate the dimensions to their objects.

Ellen Finkelstein

15 comments to Tutorials:Dimension in paper space

  • christina woolgar

    Hello Can you tell me how I add a window or should I say cut out a wall to add a window?

  • Christina,

    Your method I have used for years successfully however, in straight AutoCAD 2012 this method does not work, if the dimension is assoc. it’s value changes when you move the PS viewport, and it should not change!

  • Gary

    (Acad 2009)Dimensioning in Paper Space is cumbersome due to having to increase your Model View window in order to view the dimensions accordingly. The problem to increasing the Moedl View Window “Border” beyond the model space part shown,interfers with placing text, section arrows, notes, etc on the Paper Space plane of the drawing area. It is very difficult to find the proper information to accomplish the correct application to prevent loss of proficiency (down time) playing with Autodesk changes. Just edit your Paper Space dimensions upon placement “M” and insert manually the dimension info as needed. Thanks Autodesk for tweaking your platforms over the years!!

  • […] Tutorial: Dimension in paper spaceYour method I have used for years successfully however, in straight AutoCAD 2012 this method does not work, if the dimension is assoc. it’s value changes … […]

  • Ian

    Preferably, dimensioning should be done in Model Space, and most of draftsmen use this method. If you find it impossible, or difficult try this:
    1. in Model Space keep all models in 1:1

    2. attach dimensions to all models

    3. rescale each model’s dimension/s in Model Space thru command DIMSCALE and appropriate nr relative to Paper scale views, ie if your use DIMSCALE for some model to fit 1:100 viewport, use DIMSCALE for the another model to fit 1:25 viewport. This derives from 100/25 = 1:0.25 relationship.

    4. next, use DIM(enter) UPDATE (enter)

    5. You will notice that arrows of those dimensions rescale 0.25 in size. In some stations, also TEXT rescale to 0.25, if it doesn’t, use text dialog and imput quarter of the text size of what you had in that dialog that is if usual text size is 3.5 mm, change the value to 0.875 (= 3.5/4)

    6. Do this routine to all models separately.

    7. In Paper Space, in viewports, after using Z (enter) 1/25xp (enter) and similar will produce all dimensions and texts in ONE SIZE while models are rescaled to xp scales. The Paper Space is ready now for printing.

    8. remember always that the DIMSCALE change is local not global; using DIM (enter) UPDATE (enter) in Model Space makes the change local not global. After rescalling dimensions, revert global scale to original with DIMSCALE command

  • NJH

    I’ve worked in hundreds of drawing offices and nobody ever dimensioned in paper space, model space seems to be the more accepted route, and easy to set up anyway really.

  • mark trehy

    Iam a trying to dimension a drawing and everytime i put in a new dimension the existing dimensions change to that .

  • Brian

    I apologize for bringing up this topic again years after the last reply but I am having an issue. I would like to dimension in paperspace (since dimensions in model space would clutter the actual working model) but the dimensions are not visible when placed and do not print. Here is a synopsis of my actions:

    1. Create a 3D Model in Model Space (A simple rectangular box for instance). Draw rectangle then extrude.
    2. Insert Title Block into paperspace.
    3. Create viewport in paperspace that directly references the model space.
    4. Making sure that I am not “IN” the viewport. Meaning I am in paperspace and I am not “doubleclicked” into any viewports. I “dimlinear” an edge.
    5. The dimension exists because I can highlight over it and it turns into a hidden line dimension so I know it is there and it can also be selected. But when I “Escape” or click away from it, the dimension disappears. Any ideas?

    Please let me know if you need any other clarifications. Thank you very much for your time.


  • Chris

    I have been searching for a few hours and many hours more try all that and finally I found it!
    Basically what I did was:
    “Type DIMASSOC in the command line. Make sure value is set to 2.”
    Set scale factor and over all scale factor both to 1.
    When I change the scale of the viewport the dimensions change with it.
    I did those three things and everything worked perfect, easy as pie.
    Here is link to pdf I found it on.

    Cheers 🙂

  • While I understand what you’re saying I still always advise students to dimension in the Model space. Its the proper and recommended way and you aren’t setting yourself up for potential dimension errors when based on scaling.

  • Mario

    how to add express tool at autocad 2015 lt expecially the arctext.
    thank you.

  • Cecilia

    Hello There, I’m using paper space to dimension and the values of my dimensions keep changing to a larger values.. HO can I fix this?
    Help please..

    Thanks Cecilia

  • scott allan

    I’ve been dimensioning in paperspace since 1998 without any problems, how else do you think you’d dimension a 3d model.

  • Pat G

    I’ve always been trained to dim in model space. * when using a 2d orthographic representation. When modeling it seems to be easier to create a base view in layout tab and dimension there. Now I know that convention is to dim in model space. So the question is. How do you dimension a 3D model in model space and have the demensions show up correctly and correct scale in the layout tab on your base and projected views?…? Using AutoCAD 2016.

  • David HULSE

    Hi guys reading all your posts on dimensions. Model space v Paper space.
    I progressed for learning to draw on a board and progressed into Autocad FLOPPY DISC period. Everybody did dims in model space it was the natural thing.
    You did your drawing full size import your border and scaled up to envelope your drawing, then you had to sort out the dim scale etc I knew no different.
    About 6 years ago I started at a company that insisted your Dimionsions and Texted are in Paper space. I objected but was willing to listen to the benefits. It was hard to sink in the Paper Space scenario but I persisted and now would not have it any other way.
    Set your Dimassoc to 2 and it does’n’t matter what scale your viewport image or part it will dimension in the format that you set (each companies have different line, text and dim sizes)
    This is now just like working on a board (except the visual perception is still difficult).

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