Pre-set Drawing Parameters
The "Template" Drawing

When you begin a drawing using AutoCAD, you will be drawing in an environment which has pre-set variables setup by Autodesk, the software manufacturer, for what they consider to be the most common use. However, the settings which come with the software "out of the box" are not good for architectural or interior design type drawings, and they must be changed by you to be useful.

The easiest way to make these changes permanent is to begin a new drawing, set the drawing variables correctly, and then save the drawing for reuse later. This new drawing will have no "entities" in it (lines, arcs, or circles), but it will include many important variables such as a list of layers, linetypes, dimensioning variables, and text styles which you will not have to set up again for future drawings. You simply use this drawing to begin a new drawing. This drawing is known as your "Template." Exercise Number 1 in this book will take you through the process of creating a prototype drawing specific to architectural or interior design purposes.

How to use a template drawing in a new drawing

Once you have created the "perfect" template drawing, you can reuse it in two ways:

Method 1: You can open the template drawing (bring it up on the screen) and then immediately save it to a new name, using the "Save As" command under the "File" pull-down menu. When you "Save As" a drawing which is on the screen, you will be prompted for a new name. You should not use the template drawing name, but give it a new name to reflect the new project you are working on. For instance, if your template drawing is named "FEH1," when you are prompted for a new name, type in "FEH2." When you do this, AutoCAD "puts away" the FEH1 drawing and preserves it intact. It then makes a duplicate of FEH1 but names it FEH2.

Method 2: After you have finished your template drawing, save it to a drawing file name (such as "FEH"), then while it is still on the screen, use the "Save As" command under the "File" pull-down menu. On the bottom line of the "Save Drawing As" dialogue box, there is a drop-down box named "Save as Type:" If you click the mouse within this box, you can select the choice to save the drawing as a "Drawing Template File (*.dwt). After you have done this, note that the previous name you gave to the drawing ("FEH.dwg") will be changed to FEH.dwt. Simply click on the SAVE button on this dialogue box and you will have created a so-called "Template" file for reuse in the future.

To use the template file to begin a new drawing, select "File" from the pull-down menu, then "New." A "Use a Template" dialogue box will open up as shown in the following illustration:

Select your template file (FEH1.dwt) from the list and pick "OK." Now save the drawing to any name you want using the "Save" command.