DraftSight, Model Space, Sheet Space and Viewports

One of the hardest concepts for new users to grasp in DraftSight is the Model Space / Sheet Space concept.

I’ll be honest, it confused me for a while when I first came across it many years ago! But I was lucky, I had a good teacher and pretty soon, it was second nature to me.

The simplest explanation I was given was in the Model Space, you draw everything full size. From the smallest bolts on your steel beam to the largest girder spanning the width of your building, everything is drawn at a scale of 1:1. In Model Space, your drawing space is practically limitless. Below you’ll see a drawing of a simple frame structure in Model Space. You can see varous different text heights for notes and dimensions.

Drawing in Model Space

The Sheet Space was described to me as being the frame to your drawing. I was trained to believe that the only drawing entities that needed to be in Sheet Space are the title block, viewports and any notes relevant to the drawing. In Sheet Space, you would generally set the drawing space to the size of your title block. In the drawing below, you see the same information, but using viewports, I can highlight certain areas and make details out of them. I also added in a Title Sheet and arranged the drawing to make it look neat.

Drawing showing 4 separate viewports in Sheet Space

I mentioned viewports above. Some of you may be wondering just what a viewport is. It can best be described as a window on to the Model Space world. You can move that window around to see different areas, make that window bigger to see more of your drawing or move the windows closer to see more detail.

Not only can you create different viewports on the one drawing showing different areas of the project, you can also control what is displayed in each viewport. In the example below, each detail is a separate viewport showing an enlarged view of the circled areas on the elevations. Basically, this means that I can use the one main drawing as your base and simply assigning different layers to different elements, I can create detailed drawings with relative ease.


Close of of Elevation Viewport


Close up of Detail A viewport

That’s a very simple introduction to using Model Space, Sheet Space and Viewports.  It can be a little difficult to get your head around the concept at first, but as always, the DraftSight help file has extensive notes on how to create and use viewports in your drawing. You can also download the free DraftSight Getting Started Guide for free from here. Its lessons contain some good tips on viewports also!

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MJ Smyth
The first time I used CAD, it was on a DOS PC with an 8088 processor, 640K of memory and a Hercules Mono Graphics Card... That, well that was a long long time ago. I switched to DraftSight the day it was released and haven't looked back!
MJ Smyth

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