Starting a new drawing in AutoCAD

Seems too simple, right? Who doesn't know how to create a new drawing in AutoCAD? You click the NEW button in the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), or choose NEW from the Application Menu, or type in NEW at the command line....right?

Do you really know what each of those do though? The NEW button in the QAT actually executes the command named QNEW. If you choose NEW from the Application Menu or type in NEW at the command line, you are executing the NEW command. You may have other UI elements such as toolbar buttons that call one or both of these commands. What is the difference?

  • NEW - The NEW command will always present you with a file selection dialog, from where you can select a template file. You can also choose to not use a template by selecting the drop-down menu next to the OPEN button and choose "Open with no template" (Imperial or Metric).
  • QNEW - This command will launch a new drawing using the preassigned template file specified in OPTIONS. If there is no template file specified, this command behaves like the NEW command. (Note that if the system variable STARTUP = 2, in the zero-document state after starting up AutoCAD, the QNEW command will behave like NEW)

So if you have a template that you use most of the time, you can specify it in Options to be used with QNEW. This saves you the time of selecting a template when you start a new drawing.

So why have more than one template anyway? There are dozens of settings that are saved in the drawing, and without a template you would have to reset them each time you start a new drawing. If you work on multiple drawing types, you may want a different template for each one. Within each template, you can set up layers, styles, system variables, etc., as required. You can set up the layouts, create named views, create blocks, anything you can do in a regular drawing.

Other than the above, if you are not sure what settings get saved in a drawing file, browse the Options dialog. Anything with a DWG icon next to it (see below) is a drawing saved setting. Other system variables are documented as to how they are saved (drawing, registry, or not at all).

So in summary, make use of the QNEW command by specifying your most used template in Options, but don't forget about creating other templates for your other types of drawings. Set up things once, not over and over.



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