How to Create a Template in AutoCAD 2014 - dummies

How to Create a Template in AutoCAD 2014

By Bill Fane, David Byrnes

You can create a template in AutoCAD 2014 from any DWG file by using the Save Drawing As dialog box. Follow these steps to save your drawing as a template:

  1. Click Save As on the Quick Access toolbar.

    The Save Drawing As dialog box appears.

    The Save Drawing As dialog box in AutoCAD.

  2. From the Files of Type drop-down list, choose AutoCAD Drawing Template (*.dwt) or AutoCAD LT Drawing Template (*.dwt).

  3. Navigate to the folder where you want to store the drawing template.

    The AutoCAD 2014 default folder for drawing templates is buried deep in the bowels of your Windows user profile, which by default isn’t visible in Windows Explorer. Save your templates there if you want them to appear in AutoCAD’s Select Template list. You can save your templates in another folder, but if you want to use them later, you have to navigate to that folder to use them.

  4. Enter a name for the drawing template in the File Name text box and then click Save.

    A dialog box for the template description and units appears.

  5. Specify the template’s measurement units (English or Metric) from the drop-down list.

    Enter the key info now; you can’t do it later unless you save the template to a different name. Don’t bother filling in the Description field; AutoCAD doesn’t display it in the Select Template dialog box. Don’t worry about the New Layer Notification.

  6. Click OK to save the file.

    The Template Options dialog box closes, and the template is saved to your hard drive.

  7. To save your drawing as a regular drawing, click Save As on the Quick Access toolbar.

    The Save Drawing As dialog box appears again.

  8. From the Files of Type drop-down list, choose AutoCAD 2013 Drawing (*.dwg).

    Choose the AutoCAD LT equivalent, if that’s your version. AutoCAD 2014 uses the same file format as 2013 that can’t be opened by earlier releases. Choose a previous DWG file format if you want to be able to open your drawing in AutoCAD 2012 or earlier, but note that some features introduced in later releases may not translate properly to earlier ones.

  9. Navigate to the folder where you want to store the drawing.

    Use a different folder from the one with your template drawings.

  10. Enter the name of the drawing in the File Name text box and click Save.

    The file is saved. Now, when you save it in the future, the regular file — not the template file — is updated.

Okay, do you want to know the real secret behind template files? One letter. That’s right, the only difference is that a drawing file has the extension DWG, and a template’s extension is DWT. You can convert a drawing to a template just by using Windows Explorer to change the extension.

The further secret to this is that a DWT can hold any information that you can put in a DWG. For example, you may often need to produce a drawing of a new machine shaft. All details are the same as previous shafts except for the length. Draw it once and convert it to a template.

The QNEW (Quick NEW) command, when properly configured, can bypass the Select Template dialog box and create a new drawing from your favorite template. The first button on the Quick Access toolbar — the button with the plain white sheet of paper — runs the newer QNEW command instead of the older NEW command.

To put the Quick into QNEW, though, you have to tell AutoCAD which default template to use:

  1. Click the Application button and then click the Options button at the lower-right corner of the Application menu.

  2. On the Files tab, choose Template Settings and then Default Template File Name for QNEW.

    The QNEW default file name setting is None, which causes QNEW to act just like NEW (that is, QNEW opens the Select Template dialog box). Specify the name of your favorite template here, and you get a new drawing file based on it every time you click QNEW.

AutoCAD 2014 stores drawing templates and many other support files under your Windows user folder. To discover where your template folder is hiding, open the Options dialog box. On the Files tab, choose Template Settings and then Drawing Template File Location.

AutoCAD's Options dialog box.

You don’t have to keep your template files where that bossy Mister Gates tells you. Create a folder that you can find easily (for example, C:Acad-templates or F:Acad-customtemplates on a network drive), put the templates that you actually use there, and change the Drawing Template File Location setting so that it points to your new template folder.

In an office environment in particular, the template folder should live on a network drive so that everyone starts from the same templates.