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CCAD's AutoCAD Tutorials

Changing the Default Settings for New Drawings

When you begin a new AutoCAD drawing, the new file is based on a template file. Basically a template file is an AutoCAD drawing file (.dwg) with a dwt extension. Even if you don't consciously select a template when you begin a new drawing, one is selected for you. The default new drawing template is acad.dwt. The template file provides the initial values for drawing based settings.

The AutoCAD drawing environment consists of application based settings and drawing based settings. Application based settings are independent of the current drawing, meaning that all the drawings you open will use the same application settings. Examples of application settings are the background color, command window appearance and behavior, Object Snap settings and Dynamic Input settings. Drawing based settings are dependent on the current drawing. While drawing based settings might be the same in many or all drawings, changing a drawing based setting will not affect any drawing except the current one. Examples of drawing based settings are the grid and snap settings, unit settings (decimal, fractional, architectural, etc.) and available layers, text styles and dimensions styles.

To change the initial drawing based settings used when you begin a new drawing you will need to identify the template file and modify its settings.

Choosing the Drawing Template

Start by selecting the OPEN command. At the bottom of the Select File window, pick the ▼ at the end of the Files of type item and choose Drawing Template (*.dwt).

Select the Template File

The contents of the Template folder is then displayed. The figure above shows the default templates for AutoCAD 2014. At this point double-click the file you typically use to begin new drawings. Remember, if you don't specify a template file when beginning a new drawing, the default is acad.dwt (aclt.dwt for AutoCAD LT).

Once the template file is open change any of the desired drawing based settings. For instance, you might turn off the grid (F7), change the number format to Architectural (UNITS), create layers, add dimension styles, create layouts or add Page Setups.

Remember that changes you make will only be present in any new drawings created with the template. Hint: Set the current layer, text style and dimension style to the property you typically use first.

After making the desired changes use the QSAVE command to update the template file to the new settings or the SAVESAS command to create a new template.

The Files tab of OPTION command includes settings related to the location and default template.

Changing the Template Settings

If the Default Template File Name for QNEW is None, the acad.dwt file is automatically used to begin new files.

You can use the techniques outlined in this tutorial to create new template files with typical properties to save time and encourage consistency in drawing files.