How To Scale In AutoCAD

Whether you’re drafting or designing for a project, AutoCAD is a great tool for achieving technical accuracy. Using this technology also helps to reduce the risk of human error which is a huge benefit that draws many clients in.

Many functions will need to be carried out simultaneously while using AutoCAD, so your computer must be up-to-scratch and able to handle such complex software. Plus, you’ll need a high storage capacity to safely secure your designs.

How To Scale In AutoCAD

However, like learning anything new, it will likely take you some time to officially learn the ins and outs of this software. But as long as you have the patience, determination, and motivation to understand each step of the AutoCAD process, you’ll be set in no time at all.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, feel free to read our guide!

What Is Scale?

Scale is an important part of any design process. It provides a visual representation of what a real object will look like against its surroundings. Without considering the scale in every single component, the models may be inaccurate.

In terms of external references, the drawing in AutoCAD (using plots), blocks, and text are all vital components. If your drawings aren’t scaled correctly using these components then it can result in visual inaccuracy.

What Is AutoCAD?

Developed by the company Autodesk, AutoCAD is a computer-aided software that helps you to draw and edit 2D and 3D designs in quick succession. It is much faster than manually designing drawings and is also highly secure.

The files you create using the digital software are easily saved and stored, and can be accessed whenever you need them.

How To Scale In AutoCAD

There are many practical elements that you need to learn about AutoCAD before you begin to use it. From scaling drawings to text, you must be proficient in a variety of functions before you can begin to use the software.

Below, we have outlined some of the most important ways that you can scale in AutoCAD.

1. Scale a Drawing

Plotting your drawing onto viewports in paper space is a vital part of presenting visual cues to an audience. It also highlights what needs to be built, and what components need to be installed.

But if your preferred drawing scale isn’t available, there is another way around it:

  • Select “Custom…” from the list of available scales in the status bar located in the lower part of the AutoCAD interface.
  • Then, open “Edit Drawing Scales.” This will allow you to add custom drawing scales to the list. You’ll then be able to use them to scale in AutoCAD.

2. Scale Blocks

Some firms may use many blocks within the AutoCAD program. Thankfully there are many ways to demonstrate a variation in the appearance of scale.

Type “Insert.” This will help you to add a single block to your AutoCAD work. In this prompt, you will then be provided with several options for rotation, insertion, and scale.

For blocks that don’t scale evenly, you can give specifics for the scale of X, Y, and Z block aspects.

To practice this you can change the X scale to 3 and leave Y and Z as they are (at 1). You should note that the X-axis of the circle will change into a shape that resembles an oval. 

3. Scale Text 

It’s essential that your drawing features readable text, regardless of the scale to which you are planning to plot your drawing. That’s why annotation is vital.

Easily legible font size for longer body text as used in magazines and books usually ranges between 8 and 12 points. To narrow down further, you have to know which font is used to make a reliable statement.

Reduce Text Height

To alter the height of your text, you should follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the “Drafting tab.” Then find “Style” which can be located under the “Text panel.”
  • In the relevant dialog box, click on the text style that you want to modify, and enter the text height into the box.
  • Click “Apply” to update the text that uses this existing style. Click “Close” to shut the window down.

4. Scale Dimensions

  • Click “Home”, “Annotation panel” and then “Dimension Style.” Then Find.
  • Under the “Dimension Style Manager”, click on the style that you would like to change. Click “Modify.”
  • In the dialog box for “Modify Dimension Style,” you need to select the Fit tab under the “Scale for Dimension Features.” Then, you need to choose the “Overall Scale Of” option, and then enter a value.
  • Click “OK” and then “Close” to exit this manager.

5. Plot to Scale

Plot to Scale

When you create a drawing in model space, you draw to its fullest size. But to portray that accurately, you will also need to specify a plot scale. This allows you to specify how to portray your design, considering the size of paper that you are planning to plot to.

So, when setting a scale using AutoCAD, you are working with two elements: the drawing scale (usually 1:1 based on paper size), and the viewport scale that showcases the model. This represents a ratio of the paper size to the model size in the viewports.

You also have the opportunity to plot from model space. Here, you’ll want to compare and adjust the plot scale that you used to initially draw the model to match your circumstances.

6. Change Scale Using the Scale Command

Objects in your drawing can be scaled by factors by using the SCALE command located in the AutoCAD software. Here, you can change the automated 1:1 scale by using the inbuilt scale factor.

This will show you how to change the scale without having to alter the dimension, making the experience much easier for you.

Up  – Using window select to highlight the necessary object, type “SCALE”, and then specify a number above 1. Click “Enter” and the size will scale up by that amount.

Down – Using window select to highlight the necessary object, type “SCALE”, and then specify a number anywhere from 0 and 1. Click “Enter” and the size will scale down by that amount.

Yes, it is that simple!

7. Scale With Reference in AutoCAD

Knowing how to scale an image, PDFs, and drawings in AutoCAD will have a great impact on the success of your model.

On many occasions, drawing files (including PDFs and images) are given to designers as a basis on which they can create their drawings in AutoCAD. These items can be attached at any scale by using an XREF window.

You can use the “ALIGN” command to confirm the dimensions of these external drawing references.

  1. Look for a scale reference dimension. This could be a given dimension on the plans, but if no dimensions are available, you could assume any external figures. Here, you need to find a few dimensions between the main points of a drawing. You can temporarily draw lines as references.
  2. Then you should draw a line that matches the dimension of the external reference that you’re trying to check. If the dimension reference is 2 ft then you should draw a line in AutoCAD model space at 2 ft.
  3. Click the “ALIGN” command and pick the first point of where you are referencing on the plans to the first point of the drawn line. Be sure to also match up the last point of reference on the plan to the last point of the line. Simply, match up the start and end points.
  4. Click “Enter” and watch as AutoCAD technology scales your drawing file either up or down to match the line you have just drawn.
  5. Repeat the steps to confirm with a different dimension. This helps to verify your results. It’s a helpful step to make as sometimes dimensions may have been overwritten somehow.


Overall, it isn’t extremely difficult to scale in AutoCAD if you have the right tools and knowledge.

We aren’t saying that this is an easy process because AutoCAD is a very difficult piece of software to use and understand, but it is made a little easier by following official advice.

But we do hope our guide has helped to show you the ropes. If you have any other queries, there are plenty of additional tutorials available online for you to browse through.

Mark Andrews
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