Converting a Civil 3D Imperial Template to Metric

Let’s say you work for a company that has a well-defined template with all the layers properly defined, the blocks are available, fonts included, etc.  Creating a template from that document into a different unit of measure is as simple as changing a couple of settings and saving the file as a new template file.

Step 1: Start a new Drawing File with the Existing Template

If your template files are blank drawings with nothing in the Model space, start a new file from your base template like you normally would (e.g. Application Menu>New>Drawing as shown below.)


Once this file is open, we next must alter the base unit of measure to the one that we want.

Step 2: Changing the Base Unit of Measure and Coordinate System.

Click on the Application Menu (the AutoCAD symbol at the top-left of the Civil 3D window), then click Drawing Utilities and Drawing Settings.


In the drawing settings windows, you need to change two things: the drawing units and the current coordinate system (if set).  In my example, the template drawing units was in feet and the coordinate system was in Minnesota State Plane Central – US Survey Feet.  I will now change both to Meters, as shown below.


Step 3: Editing Custom Scales and Saving.

This last step is a bit more complicated topic depending on your familiarity with AutoCAD scaling and working with Layouts.  We have other posts and videos available which cover this topic more in depth.  Suffice it to say, you cannot print a Metric drawing from an Imperial Template.

Take a look at the image below of a basic Ansi D Imperial Title Block.  You can see from the annotation that the paper size is set to inches.  This makes sense when working in imperial units, but it makes very little sense when working in Metric.  In this case, if we set the scale of our viewport to 1:1 we would actually get 1 Meter = 1 Inch.  In this case, we would need to create a new title block and layout based upon an ISO paper size so that 1 Meter of the model space equals 1 Millimeter on the layout.

04Step 4: Save File as Template.

Once all of the changes have been made, click the application menu>Save As>Drawing Template to save this new file as a template for future use.


About the Author

Randy McCollum

Civil Solutions Applications Expert<br><br>As a professionally licensed civil engineer Randy provides training, process optimization, and technical support in water resource and site designs. His involvements include a wide range of product types including AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Map 3D, Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Analysis, Raster Design, and Infraworks.

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