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CCAD's AutoCAD Tutorials

Managing Units and Measurements

“Prior to starting my drawing, I set the units to feet in the decimal format. I would just like to have the "feet" symbol in all of my dimensions, but do not know how to do it. I tried switching to engineering mode and it converted everything to inches.”

- question from Nick S.

There are a couple of common misconceptions related to the UNITS command. First of all, the list of measurement types is used to manage the scale (size) of an inserted block properly when the current drawing and inserted block are set to different units of measure. It does not change the size of any objects you draw or that already exist in the drawing. Secondly, the UNITS command has no effect on the numbers that appear in dimensions.


Let's say the current drawing (a site plan) is set to Feet and a block (flower pot) to be inserted is set to inches. When the flower pot is inserted, it will be scaled 0.0833333 (1 divided by 12). Say the flower pot is 12 inches in diameter. When the flower pot is inserted it will be scaled by 0.0833333 making the diameter of the flower pot 1. Since the site plan drawing is set to a unit of measure of “feet”, the flower pot diameter is 1 foot.

To add a unit symbol or any characters following a dimension use the DIMSTYLE command. In this example, a new dimension style will be created.

Create New Dimension Style dialog box Begin the DIMSTYLE command.
Select the New button.

Choose a name for the DIMSTYLE.
Make sure Use for is set to All dimensions.
Click the Continue button.
Click the OK button.


Create New Dimension Style dialog boxSelect the New button.
Make sure Use for is set to Linear dimensions.
Click the Continue button.


Selecting the Primary Units tab
Select the Primary Units tab.
In the Suffix edit box, add the desired symbol. In this example it is an apostrophe.
Click the OK button.


This will add an apostrophe to linear dimensions created with the Foot Symbol dimension style.

If your drawing contains diameter, radius or ordinate dimensions, create additional dimension styles and add the desired symbol.

To apply the new dimension style to future dimensions in the current drawing, highlight the dimension style in the list and click the Set Current button.

When you are finished creating dimension styles, click the Close button.

To change existing dimensions to the new dimension style, select the dimensions, right-click, choose Dim Style from the menu, then the name of the desire dimension style.