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What should Your CAD Standard Contain?

What should a CAD Standard cover?

Here is a brief list of the major topics that should be covered by every CAD Standard.

10 Essentials

The list below is what I consider the bottom line. These issues need to be fully defined and articulated. Go to whatever lengths to get these outlined completely to provide efficiency for your firm.

1. Standard Folders – names, locations, relationships, contents
2. Project Names – numbering, names
3. File Names – complete definition, how they are created, what folder they go in
4. Layer Names, Line styles, Pen Weights
5. Pen Tables – CTB, STB
6. Lettering Fonts and Sizes – when used, fonts, style names
7. Dimension Styles – exact names, all terms defined
8. Drafting Symbols – your basic symbology
9. Xref Usage – naming, content, attachment method
10. Layout tabs – names, format, page setup

A Fuller List

This list is a fuller definition of what may be included in your Standard. This reflects what may be found in a Standard for plain AutoCAD. If you have LDT, Civil 3D or Revit then a even larger list may be needed.

  1. Standard Folders
  2. Project Names
  3. File Names
  4. Standard Units
  6. Paper Space and Model Space
  7. Viewports
  8. Date stamping of plots
  9. Revision tracking of files
  10. Layer Names, Linestyles, Pen Weights
  11. Pen Tables
  12. Lettering Fonts and Sizes
  13. Annotative Text guidelines
  14. Dynamic Blocks
  15. Dimension Styles
  16. Drafting Symbols
  17. Graphic Symbols
  18. Xref Usage
  19. PDF Underlay Use
  20. Saved Views
  21. Title Blocks
  22. Layout tabs
  23. Detail Creation and use
  24. Menus
  25. Support Files
  26. Plotting
  27. Hardware Requirements
  28. Software Requirements
  29. Deliverables


  1. Standard Directory Structure (for Project Navigator)
  2. Project Names
  3. File Names
  4. Project Setup
  5. Standard Units
  7. Paper Space and Model Space Use
  8. Datestamp Drawing files
  9. Revision tracking of files
  10. Layer Names
  11. Pen Tables, Pen Weights (CTB, STB)
  12. Lettering, Fonts and Sizes
  13. Dimensioning
  14. Drafting Symbols – defined as common symbols used by all disciplines
  15. Graphic Symbols – defined as discipline specific symbols
  16. AEC Content
  17. Xref Usage
  18. Viewports
  19. Saved Views
  20. Spaces
  21. Tags and Schedules
  22. Sections
  23. Elevations
  24. Keynoting
  25. Title Blocks
  26. Layout tabs
  27. Detail Creation and use
  28. Custom Menus
  29. Support Files
  30. Plotting
  31. Hardware Requirements
  32. Software Requirements
  33. File Exchange
  34. Deliverables
  35. Project Closeout
  36. Archiving
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5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "What should Your CAD Standard Contain?"

#1 Comment By Brian On May 11, 2009 @ 5:08 AM

Would I follow the same guide lines for a standard for SolidWorks?

#2 Comment By Brian On May 11, 2009 @ 5:09 AM

Well maybe not the same but similar?

#3 Comment By CADDManager On May 11, 2009 @ 7:07 AM

I am not a SolidWorks user, but I imagine that there are similar issues that need to be covered for that product.

#4 Comment By Robin On March 4, 2010 @ 4:49 AM

Do you know if there is a “recognized” standard for all lettering (ie: Upper case/Lower case)? We work in the Metro Detroit Area, and it’s always been assumed/taught to be Upper Case in all detail drawings (cad or otherwise). We are dealing with European/Asian/Indian companies that do not follow this? Is this just a “presumed” detailing standard here in our area?
Thanks for any info you can provide. We’ve looked through our main customers standards, and there isn’t anything about CAD lettering/text on detail drawings/layouts, etc.

#5 Comment By Aeschylus Drax On May 13, 2011 @ 3:51 PM

the cad standard is latin, or cyrillic, or greek. . .or “single stroke gothic”

they teach you this in board drafting

just make all your letters like the latin words you see :p