Autocad Tutorial 13: Viewports

A beginner’s guide on viewports in AutoCAD 2007.

Like many other 3D graphic programs, AutoCAD has viewports. What are viewports? Think of them as cameras, so far we have been working with only one viewport and there’s nothing wrong with working with one, but with large and detailed models it may be easier to work with more than one viewport.

For example I have a model that looks like this (this is just an example, nothing too flash):

Here I have set up 4 viewports, one monitoring each corner of the model. By doing so, when I want to work on another part of the model I don’t have to keep adjusting my view to see, I already have a viewport monitoring that area. Of course, you can edit the model in any of the viewports making it very convenient. The only downside of multiple viewports is that the ports are smaller than having just one ort (of course):

Now let’s see how we can enable multiple viewports. Click on View > Viewports. Here you have the option of selecting multiple viewports from 1 – 4. If you select 2 or 3 viewports, AutoCAD will prompt you to select an alignment option. For example if you selected 2 viewports, AutoCAD will ask you if you want them horizontal or vertical. Once you made your choice, AutoCAD will create the viewports according to your choice:

Right now, I have chosen to have 4 viewports:

Each viewports currently is identical. In order to edit a viewport, you must select it by clicking it. You can tell which one is selected by the highlighted outline of the viewport. Here I have created a box in the top left viewport:

As you can see, all 4 ports have the same box. Here I have adjusted the views of each viewport to face a different corner of the box by using the constraint orbit tool as you would normally:

Now here I have created a sphere on one of the corners of the box:

As you can see, each viewport displays the sphere in its own perspective. Another neat thing is that you can zoom in with viewports:

Another feature of viewports: You can split a viewport into more viewports. To do so, simply select the viewport you want to be split and create more viewports as I showed you above:

Each of these smaller viewports could be used for displaying certain features of that particular area. You can further split these smaller viewports into even smaller viewports. You can have a LOT of viewports, here I have 64 viewports. (sorry for the counting fail) That is 64 views of a single model:

Here are the main points if you were too bored to read through my tutorial. Sorry if this tutorial seems a bit vague and hard to understand:

  • Viewports are mainly useful for LARGE and VERY detailed drawings where you would be very time consuming to keep adjusting views to edit the model.
  • You can have more than 4 viewports.
  • You can only make changes to the model in the viewport that is currently active.
  • You can adjust the view in each viewport.
  • More viewports result in smaller viewports.
  • To create viewports, go to View > Viewports.
  • To join 2 viewports and create one, go to View > Viewports > Join. Then you select the 2 viewports you want to join.
  • You can only join viewports that are beside each other and not diagonal.
  • For a small and simple model, it would be best to use just one viewport.
Jethro Tull

In the final screen shot there are 64 viewports, not 32. A typo worth correcting


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