Setting a Grid in AutoCAD 2007

By David Byrnes, Mark Middlebrook

AutoCAD’s grid is a set of evenly spaced, visible dots that serve as a visual distance reference. The grid (by default) also indicates how far the drawing limits extend. AutoCAD’s snap feature creates a set of evenly spaced, invisible hot spots, which make the crosshairs move in even increments. Both grid and snap are like the intersection points of the lines on a piece of grid paper, but grid is simply a visual reference, whereas snap constrains the points that you can pick with the mouse. You can, and usually will, set the grid and snap spacing to different distances.

Set the grid and the snap intervals in the Drafting Settings dialog box with these steps:

1. Right-click the Snap or Grid button in the status bar and choose Settings.

The Drafting Settings dialog box appears with the Snap And Grid tab selected.

The Snap And Grid tab has five parts, but the Snap and Grid sections are all you need to worry about for most 2D drafting work.

2. Select the Snap On check box to turn on snap.

This action creates default snaps half a unit apart.

3. Enter the Snap X Spacing for the snap interval in the accompanying text box.

If Equal X And Y Spacing is checked, the Y spacing automatically changes to equal the X spacing, which is almost always what you want.

4. Select the Grid On check box to turn on the grid.

5. Enter the Grid X Spacing for the grid in the accompanying text box.

If Equal X And Y Spacing is checked, the Y spacing automatically changes to equal the X spacing. As with the snap spacing, you usually want to leave it that way.

X measures horizontal distance; Y measures vertical distance. The AutoCAD drawing area normally shows an X and Y icon in case you forget.

The Snap And Grid tab has been reorganized and added to in AutoCAD 2007. Checking Equal X And Y Spacing forces X and Y spacing to be equal for both Snap and Grid. The new adaptive grid changes its apparent density as you zoom in and out. And you can choose to display the grid within the defined limits only, or over the entire graphics display.

6. Select Adaptive Grid to control grid density while zooming in and out.

If the adaptive grid is enabled, AutoCAD lowers the density or spacing of the grid dots as you zoom in and out. The spacing won’t go lower than what you’ve set, but it may go higher if you’re zoomed a long way out of your drawing. (If it didn’t, you couldn’t see your drawing for the grid dots!)

7. Select Display Grid Beyond Limits to control the area over which the grid displays.

Selecting this check box makes AutoCAD behave the way it’s always behaved — that is, the grid is displayed only in the area defined by the drawing limits. Clearing this check box allows the grid to display over the entire graphics area, no matter how far you’re zoomed out.

8. Click OK to close the Drafting Settings dialog box.

You can also click the SNAP button on the status bar to toggle snap on and off; the same goes for the GRID button and the grid setting.