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Overview of Layout

May 20, 2011

       A layout represents a plotted page on which one or more model views are displayed. ZWCAD provides two collateral working environments as Model tab and Layout tab. You can create thematic models on Model tab. Multiple snapshots of the model can be set in Layout tab.

  •      Enable unlimited drawing area on Model tab. You can draw a picture at the scale of 1:1, and define which unit to be used as the measurement units of the drawing (here Inch is for brackets and metric is for bridges).

  •      Virtual drawing paper is accessible in Layout tab. When setting layouts, the drawing can be displayed as the paper size. A layout represents a plotted page which is so-called paper space.

       You can get the objects created in model space displayed on paper space by creating multiple viewports. And you can create dimensions as well as other geometric objects in layouts. Each viewport are capable of displaying objects in model space in specified proportion.

      System provides two layouts by default, called layout 1 and layout 2. You can create as many layouts as you want, with various page setup and size for each layout. If you are working with a template file, default layout configuration may be different.

       When you create a drawing, you do most of your work on the Model tab. Each drawing that you create can contain numerous layouts that simulate the paper on which you will print a copy of the drawing. Each of these layouts is created on a Layout tab. You can prepare a separate layout for each way you want to print your drawing. The layout allows you to organize different views to control which portion of your drawing prints and at what scale.

Use these general steps to prepare your drawing for printing multiple layouts:

  1.   On the Model tab, create your drawing.

  2.   Create a new layout. You can use an existing Layout1 or Layout2 tab, or you can create a new Layout tab.

  3.   Create at least one layout viewport on the Layout tab. Use each viewport to help control which portion of the drawing prints and at what scale.

  4.   Specify additional settings for the layout, such as the scale of the drawing, print area, print style tables, and more.

  5.   Print or plot your drawing.

You can right click on Layout tab and select New to create new layout, and also import layout from template.

Options on Shortcut menu are listed as follows:

  •      New: Creates new layouts

  •      Delete: Removes specified layouts

  •      Rename: Renames a layout

  •      Copy and Move: Creates copies of the selected layout and rearrange the layouts on layout tab.

  •      From Template: Imports layout from template file.

Work with Model Space and Paper Space

      Model space is generally used for designing drawings, creating and editing drawings. Preparations for plotting is usually working on paper space for the drawings on layouts is close to the plotting effects.

      When you start a drawing session, your initial working area is called model space. Model space is an area in which you create two dimensional and three dimensional objects based on either the World Coordinate System (WCS) or a user coordinate system (UCS). You view and work in model space while using the Model tab.

       Your view of this area is a single viewport that fills the screen. You can create additional views on the Model tab, called viewports, which can show the same or different two dimensional or three dimensional views, all of which are displayed in a tiled manner. You can work in only one of these viewports at a time on the Model tab, and you can print only the current viewport.

      ZWCAD provides an additional work area, called paper space. The contents of paper space represent the paper layout of your drawing. In this work area, you cancreate and arrange different views of your model similar to the way you arrange detail drawings or orthogonal views of a model on a sheet of paper.

     You view and work in paper space while using a Layout tab. Each view, or layout viewport, that you create in paper space provides a window of your drawing in model space. You can create one layout viewport or several. You can place layout viewports anywhere on the screen; their edges can be touching or not; and you can print them all at the same time.

You do not need to use paper space to print your drawing, but it offers several advantages:

  • Print the same drawing with different print settings that you save with each layout, for example, printer configuration files, print style tables, lineweight settings, drawing scale, and more.

  • For a single layout, create multiple layout viewports that print the model at different views and scales.

      You can toggle the Model space and Paper space by clicking on the tabs, and create viewports on current layout tab to obtain model space for further manipulations. If the drawing is not required to plot multiple viewports, you can plot the drawing directly from Model space.

      Layout tab is enabled to make relevant plot settings. Paper space is provided in each layout options, allow to create viewports and specify page setup such as paper size, orientation and location that can be saved together with the layout.

      You can save and name the page setup and apply it to other layouts when setting pages. You can also create new layouts using existing layout template file ( DWT or DWG).

       Click on the Model tab, you can view and edit objects in model space. Cross hairs is activated in the whole drawing. Shown as follows:


View and edit objects in model space from the MODEL tab.


To view and edit objects of model space in viewport created in layout tab, you can double click layout viewport. The cross hairs and mark will be highlighted in current viewport.


To change the current viewport for another one, click on the desired viewport and press CTRL+R to iterate all viewports.

  • Create a model of your subject on the Model tab.

  • Click a layout tab.

  • Specify layout page settings such as plotting device, paper size, plot area, plot scale, and drawing orientation.

  • Create a new layer to be used for layout viewports.

  • Create layout viewports and position them on the layout.

  • Set the orientation, scale, and layer visibility of the view in each layout viewport.

  • Turn off the layer containing the layout viewports.

  • Plot your layout.

Commands Reference

LAYOUT: Creates and modifies drawing layout tabs

MSPACE: Switches from paper space to a model space viewport

MVIEW: Creates and controls layout viewports

PSPACE: Switches from a model space viewport to paper space

VPORTS: Creates multiple viewports

VPLAYER: Sets layer visibility within viewports

System Variables Reference

CTAB: Returns the name of the current (model or layout) tab in the drawing

CVPORT: Sets the identification number of the current viewport

MAXACTVP: Sets the maximum number of viewports that can be active at one time in a layout

PLOTROTMODE: Controls the orientation of plots


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