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Model Space vs Paper space

Model Space vs Paper space

Model Space vs Paper space


I am new to AutoCAD, and the version I am using the learn AutoCAD is version 2000. I am using Windows XP Home Editon SP2.

About Model Space

Many books say ALL drawing is done is model space FULL SCALE. One unit in Model Space is equal to one unit in real world. So if I have to draw a pipe that is 10000 feet long, I need to use LIMITS command to expand the drawing area in Model Space, so it could be AT LEAST 10000 feet in width, assuming I draw the pipe horizontally?

I wonder if this "FULL SCALE" thing is a preference many people adopt, or is it really how AutoCAD works? If it is the way AutoCAD works I really cannot appreciate how this could be convenient. If I were to draw some huge, wouldn't most of my time be wasted navigating through the mess?

About paper space

I have no idea what this is. Is it just used to show how the plot will look like on paper before actually starting to print stuff? I know you can do something called viewports, I am talking about the big picture here.

Anyone please enlighten me. This is the most difficult concept I encounter since I started teaching myself AutoCAD.


RE: Model Space vs Paper space

Yes you really should draw full size in model space.  No problem with large units, just as easy to navigate.  Get used to zoom commands.  Regardless of LIMITS you can draw/zoom out to nearly infinity.  Limits just controls the "zoom" "limits" which is rarely useful/necessary.

A few tutorials, there are lots:




RE: Model Space vs Paper space

Thanks, CarlAK.

Having looked at the links you provided, and some other articles I googled, I feel there are two different kinds of interpretation of being "full scale."

First one

Using the same example I mentioned in my post, which is drawing a 10000-foot pipe.

The length of pipe drawn in the Model Space, if you use a ruler, would be exactly 10000 feet long. This is my first understanding of drawing full scale or full size.

Second one

Users need to choose what ONE drawing unit in model space stands for. If the user chooses to let one drawing unit represent 100 feet, then the so called full size /full scale drawing would only use 100 drawing units.

I am not quite sure which one is the correct concept used in AutoCAD, not both are wrong.


Never cease learning.

RE: Model Space vs Paper space

Maybe a better term to use for drawing in Model space is "real world" rather than "full scale".  Do this, then you don't have to perform a scale calculation for everything you draw.  And you can queery the drawing and get "real world" dimensions.   The drawing "scale" only has meaning relative to plotting/prnting.  This is what paper space/layout mode is deigned for.  Units there should generally be your paper size units, so usually inches or millimeters.  Drawing scale is set by the "zoom scale" of the viewport, which is a "view" of model space.

I believe this is the general CAD recommended practice, & should really make sense once you get familiar with it.

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