Whether you know it not, you have already used templates to begin a new drawing. AutoCAD uses a template every time it starts up. If you do not designate your own template, AutoCAD will use a default one.

A template is a drawing file that includes some of the following settings:

  • Unit type and precision (DDRMODES)
  • Drawing limits (LIMITS)
  • Snap, Grid, and Ortho settings (Status Bar)
  • Layer organization (LA)
  • Title blocks (Tutorial)
  • Dimension and text styles (DDIM, ST)
  • Linetypes (LT)
  • Common blocks (Tutorial)

In most cases, you do not want to set these things every time you begin a drawing. By having a template with all of these parameters pre-set, you can work more efficiently, faster and consistently. There is no difference between a template file (DWT) and regular DWG other than the extension.

Most CAD businesses use a company-wide template that is updated from time to time. Occasionally, you will use a client’s template. When you start a project, you will be told which template you are to use.

Creating a Template

To create a template drawing, you first have to set up any parameters that you feel you would need (see the list above) in a regular drawing. Once you have this, you can save your drawing as a template. Do to this, press CTRL+SHIFT+S to get the ‘Save As’ option.

You will see this dialog box:

Save as Template Dialog Box

You have to change the ‘Files of type’ setting from a DWG file to a DWT (template) file.

Once you’ve changed this, make sure you save it in the folder where you can load it later.

To use the template for a new drawing, type NEW to start a new file and select the template you want.