Converting AutoCAD to metric measure

Setting up AutoCAD for metric, instead of imperial, measure. February 28, 2001

How do you set up AutoCAD for metric instead of imperial?

Forum Responses
When you start a new drawing, you should get a dialogue box, in which there is a check button for imperial or metric.

Brian Personett, forum technical advisor

You can select metric units when you start a new drawing. This will set a lot of defaults automatically for you, such as line type scales and how coordinates are displayed and entered.

Look up "Units" in the help index. You can draw in any units you want. AutoCAD doesnít care if itís miles, feet, inches, meters, millimeters, or beans. They are all units. How you display these units is all controlled in the dimension style manager.

I use millimeters for all the graphics I produce to make G-code for our CNC router because that is the unit that our machine reads. Most of our engineering drawings are done in centimeters, so I have to scale everything up to a factor of 10. I think there is software that converts data to the units your machine recognizes automatically when it is processed to code.

You may want to use a template. When you start a new drawing you can select the template instead of starting from scratch. Start out with a new sheet, set everything up the way you want it, then save as a template file, .DWT.

Brian Personett, forum technical advisor

To choose metric using AutoCAD, click the settings button, then scroll down the list to the units control button. Select units control and choose decimal. Your drawing will be done in metric. It is not really metric unless you want it to be but all measurements are done in units of 10, which is really the same thing.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I also use ACAD to program a CNC nachine that requires metric units. I prefer to draw in Ft/In. After my drawing is complete, I simply scale it up by a factor of 25.4 and send it to the machine.

Comment from contributor B:
The best (fastest) way to draw in metric (decimal) is to go to the "format" pull down, to "units" and select "decimal" from the drop down menu. This is for ACAD 2000. You can change your dimension style from foot/inch to decimal by making the change under "format" / dimension style / modify / primary units / ok / set current / close.