Here at The Solo Architect, we offer digital assets for Architects, Interior Designers, other related professionals, freelancers, and students that could help them save time from their day-to-day project activities.

This post is part of a series of tutorials that provide practical tips to architects and CAD users while also serving as a support document for our store’s sheet packages and template products. The files and instructions herein refer to the “Template – Sheets for Working Drawings (With Paper & Title Block)” product. Still, the procedures also apply to the other templates

I derived step-by-step instructions from the software I use, Autodesk AutoCAD® LT 2023 for Windows. There are variations in the user interface on an earlier version of AutoCAD® LT and other CAD software, such as ZWCAD®, in which case you will need to do some workaround. It won’t be as complicated as you think, but you must be patient because this will be a long read.

Before anything else, you SHOULD create centralized storage for your drawing assets – a CAD library folder – that will contain blocks, templates, title blocks, and plot styles, among others – to manage them efficiently moving forward. You should place the CAD library folder on a partition outside the default location of the operating system. That way, you could prevent the files from virus attacks that may occur on your computer. Better yet, locate it into your network-attached storage (NAS) or cloud drive (OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc.), so you can access the files from any device at any time. Download the FREE pro forma CAD library folder here for reference (yeah, that’s how much I care about you, Architect).

Next, ensure that you have stored the sheet (paper with title block) files in your CAD library. Check them out here if you still don’t have them (20″ x 30″ISO A1ISO A3ISO A4ANSI A, and folio sheets). You will make each sheet an external reference to the template, so they are a pre-requisite. Those sheet files are included in the package when you purchase the product “Template – Sheets for Working Drawings (With Paper & Title Block). When your purchase is confirmed, you will receive an email with the download link(s) of the file(s). Alternatively, the link(s) will be available from the Downloads section of your account dashboard. Login to your account here. Proceed to the following steps after downloading.

Extract the files to the assigned folders

Important: Be certain that you already have the pro forma CAD library folder stored on your computer. You will extract the files to an assigned folder to it.

  1. Plot style (A1.ctb) to CAD Library/Plotters/Plot Style
  2. Sheet files (DWG files – 20 x 30 sheets, ISO A1 sheets, etc.) to CAD Library/Title Blocks/For Working Drawings
  3. Template file (Sheets for Working Drawings.dwt) to CAD Library/Templates
  4. Plotter configuration file (DWG to PDF.pc3 and DWG to PDF.pc5) to CAD Library/Plotters/ Plotter Configuration
  5. Font file (ARLRDBD.TTF) to CAD Library/Fonts

You should do some housekeeping before putting the template file into actual use. These tasks are necessary for the template to work as intended. Follow along.

Add the plot style to the CAD program

  1. Open any drawing in AutoCAD®
  2. From your computer, locate the A1.ctb (CAD Library/Plotters/Plot Style). Select the file and press CTRL+C to copy
  3. In AutoCAD®, command “stylesmanager”
  4. On the pop-up window “Plot Styles,” press CTRL+V to paste the A1.ctb into the Plot Styles folder
  5. Get back to AutoCAD® and command “re” to refresh
  6. At this point, the A1.ctb plot style should be visible in the Plot style table. To check, command “plot” or CTRL+P. You should see A1.ctb in the drop-down menu. Click OK to close the window
  7. Close the drawing

Add the plotter configuration file to the CAD program

  1. Open any drawing in AutoCAD®
  2. From your computer, locate the DWG to PDF.pc3 file (DWG to PDF.pc5 if you are using ZWCAD® or other CAD software). That should be on CAD Library/Plotters/Plotter Configuration. Select the file and press ENTER or double-click to open
  3. In the pop-up window “Plotter Configuration Editor – DWG To PDF.pc3,” go over the Device and Document Settings tab
  4. Select Custom Paper Sizes under User-defined Paper Sizes & Calibration drop-down menu
  5. You should see the four (4) custom paper sizes specifically made for this template:
    (i) Folio (8.5 x 13 inches)
    (ii) Folio (13 x 8.5 Inches)
    (iii) 20 x 30 Inches Portrait, and
    (iv) 20 x 30 Inches Landscape
  6. Click OK to close the window
  7. In AutoCAD®, command “plottermanager”
  8. On the pop-up window “Plotters”, press CTRL+V to overwrite the DWG to PDF.pc3 file
  9. Close the pop-up window and return to AutoCAD®
  10. Exit AutoCAD®

Add the font file (.TTF) to the operating system

  1. From your computer, locate the ARLRDBD.TTF (CAD Library/Fonts)
  2. Select the file and press ENTER or double-click to open
  3. On the pop-up window, click “Install”
  4. Close the window when done

Customize the sheet files

Next, you will modify the sheets’ design and contents to match your office standards. What needs to be changed is totally up to you – text style, placeholders, line color, or the overall design. For this tutorial, we will limit the editing to the company and the professional’s details.


Suppose your CAD software is not compatible with the 2013 version DWG files (all DWG files in our store is 2013 version), download and install Autodesk’s DWG TrueView to your computer and convert the DWG file to your version of CAD. Afterward, you SHOULD diligently evaluate the drawing’s properties when you add the file into your library and overwrite its layer name, color, line type, and text style, among others, to match your drawing standards. You can copy the original files to the Superseded subfolder in your CAD library to have a backup. 
  1. From your computer, locate and open ISO A1 Landscape_Horz Tblk.dwg (CAD Library/Title Blocks/For Working Drawings)
  2. Input your details to the following:
    (i) company logo and details
    (ii) name of the professional and all details under it, and
    (iii) company name in the RA 9266 block (in case you are practicing in the Philippines)
  3. Leave all other texts as is
  4. Press CTRL+S to save
  5. Open and modify the remaining sheet files
  6. Save your work

Specify a new path for the external references on the template file

  1. In AutoCAD®, command CTRL+O to open the template file
  2. In the “Files of type” under Select File dialog box, select Drawing Template (*.dwt)
  3. Locate and open the Sheets for Working Drawings.dwt (CAD Library/Templates)
  4. Upon opening, you will see the “References – Not Found Files” dialog box. Select “Ignore unresolved reference files”
  5. In the drawing, point your cursor to the 20 x 30 Landscape Horz Tblk layout tab, then click it to activate the paper space
  6. Command “xr”
  7. In the External References tab, select 20 x 30 Landscape_Horz Tblk under “File References”
  8. Select the text opposite the “Saved Path” under “Details”
  9. Click the ellipsis to the far right to specify a new path
  10. In the pop-up window “Select new path,” locate the 20 x 30 Landscape_Horz Tblk.dwg on your computer (CAD Library/Title Blocks/For Working Drawings), then click “Open.” You should see the sheet file displayed in the 20 x 30 Landscape Horz Tblk layout tab
  11. Save your work
  12. Go over to the next layout tab (20 x 30 Landscape Vert Tblk)
  13. Repeat steps 6-7
  14. Do the same to the remaining layout tabs
  15. Save your work and exit AutoCAD®

Use the template to automatically create a sheet into the Layout tab (paper space)

With the housekeeping out of the way, we can finally go to the actual usage of the template. I assume that you are well-versed or at least familiar with the ins and outs of the external reference in AutoCAD®. You’ll need that knowledge when using the template. My workflow, where I derived the products in The Solo Architect store, relies heavily on the functionality of external references. I create the base drawing (plan, elevation, and section) separate from annotations (labels and symbols), then place both of them on the model space wherein the base drawing is an external reference. On the other hand, the sheet is placed in the paper space (Layout) together with the variable details such as view title, sheet contents, revision details, checked, drawn, issue name, and sheet number. The sheet file for a particular project is stored and modified from the folder created for that project (project folder) and then made as an external reference to all drawings related to that project. The sheet file in the project folder will contain project-specific details – project title, location, owner, and project number. Conversely, the sheet files in the CAD library contain only the details that will likely remain the same for the duration of the professional practice – company details and the professional’s name and details – which can be updated anytime when the need arises. Straightforwardly, the sheet files or any other file in the CAD library are general or “pro forma” documents that are copied into the project folder and then modified afterward to fit the requirements of the project at hand. Makes sense?

Now let’s simulate a scenario where you will use the template. First, create and name a folder for your project, then create a subfolder where you will store the project sheet file that you will make as an external reference. Suppose the project folder name is MAPT, assuming that the project title acronym is “MAPT.” From your computer, create the following folder structure:


You will store the project sheet file in the 01-TBLK subfolder later (TBLK is the acronym I assigned for “title block”).


Aside from the CAD library, having a structured folder for your projects is equally important. It will help you organize every document created, including coordination files. You should also set a file naming convention for uniformity across all documents in your office.

You’re preparing a floor plan for printing, and you want to print it on an A1 sheet. Automatically create a new sheet using the template by following these steps:        

  1. Open the floor plan drawing (or any other drawing) you are working on in AutoCAD®
  2. From your computer, locate the Title Blocks subfolder in your CAD library (CAD Library/Title Blocks/For Working Drawings) and choose an A1 sheet. Let’s choose ISO A1 Landscape_Horz Tblk.dwg for this scenario. Click it then press CTRL+C to copy
  3. Locate the external reference subfolder in your project folder where you will paste the sheet file(MAPT/01-CAD/01-MODEL/00-GEN/01-TBLK). Press CTRL+V to paste the file in there, then open it in AutoCAD®
  4. Modify the contents in the title block
    (ii) OWNER, and
    (iii) PROJ. NO.
  5. Save your work
  6. Go back to the floor plan drawing you are working on
  7. Point your cursor to any layout tab. Press the right click, then select “From Template…”
  8. From the pop-up window, locate the Sheets for Working Drawings.dwt (CAD library/Templates), then click “Open”
  9. From the pop-up dialog box “Insert Layout(s),” select the layout name that corresponds to the sheet file we chose in step 2. For this instance, select ISO A1 Landscape Horz Tblk, then click OK
    At this point, you were able to create a layout tab named ISO A1 Landscape Horz Tblk with an overlayed sheet, BUT notice that the sheet is the one found in your CAD library with no project-specific details. You need to re-path the sheet file to the sheet you created for the project located in MAPT/01-CAD/01-MODEL/00-GEN/01-TBLK
  10. Point your cursor to the newly created layout tab ISO A1 Landscape Horz Tblk, then click it to activate the paper space
  11. Command “xr”
  12. In the External Reference tab, select the reference name ISO A1 Landscape_Horz Tblk under the “File References”
  13. Select the text opposite the “Saved Path” under “Details”
  14. Click the ellipsis to the far right to specify a new path
  15. In the pop-up window “Select new path,” locate the ISO A1 Landscape_Horz Tblk.dwg in your project folder (the one with project-specific details, see steps 3-5), that should be in MAPT/01-CAD/01-MODEL/00-GEN/01-TBLK, then click “Open.” You should see the sheet changed from the one from your CAD library (without project-specific details) to the one you created specifically for the project. Next is to edit the layout tab name and the remaining variables 
  16. Point your cursor to the ISO A1 Landscape Horz Tblk layout tab. Double click to edit. Enter preferred sheet number. Let’s say this is sheet A1-01. Enter A1-01
  17. Select the View title dynamic block. Double click or command “ed,” then select the block to enter the enhanced attribute editor. The View Title dynamic block comes FREE with any template product in our store.
  18. In the VIEW_NO. tag, replace X with 2 (assuming this is view no. 2)
  19. In the SHEET_WHERE_DRAWN tag, replace XX-XX with A1-01 (assuming this is sheet no. A1-01)
  20. In the VIEW_TITLE tag, click the ellipsis on the far right to enter text formatting mode. Replace VIEW TITLE with SECOND FLOOR PLAN (assuming the drawing you are working on is the second floor plan)
  21. In the METRIC_SCALE tag, enter 1:100M (assuming that the scale to be selected for the viewport is 1:100M)
  22. Click OK or press CTRL+ENTER to close the enhanced attribute editor
  23. Notice that the line below the view title (SECOND FLOOR PLAN) became shorter than the view title itself. To make it longer, select the block, click the stretch grip at the tail end then drag it to your preferred length
  24. Move the metric scale text. Select the block, click the point grip in the metric scale text then drag it to the position you want
  25. Save your work
  26. In the SHEET NO., replace XX-XX with A1-01 (because this is the sheet number we assigned in step 17)
  28. In the revision details (MARK, DATE, and DESCRIPTION) replace the texts with a dash symbol (assuming that this drawing has no revisions as of the moment)
  29. In the CHECKED, replace XXXX with the initials of the person who will check the drawing. For this instance, enter MFS
  30. In the DRAWN, replace XXXX with the initials of the person who made the drawing. For this instance, enter MFS
  31. Leave the text as is on the opposite side of PLOT DATE. It is a PlotDate Field that will automatically populate itself with the date when the sheet is plotted, in DD-Mmm-YY format
  32. In the ISSUE, replace XXXX with FOR PERMIT (assuming that this drawing will be issued for permit application)
  33. Command “z” then “e” for zoom extents
  34. Save your work

Using the “Find” command to replace or edit similar texts faster

There is a technique to edit the Sheet Number on the title block and View Title even faster. Command “u” to undo the changes up to the point when the view title is on its original texts, then do the following:

  1. Command “find”
  2. In the pop-up dialog, enter XX-XX in “Find what”
  3. Enter your preferred sheet number in “Replace With.” Say A1-01
  4. Go over “Find where” drop-down menu. Select “Current space/layout,” then click “Replace All”
  5. A dialog box will pop up confirming the replacement of two (2) instances of XX-XX (that should be the XX-XX text in the View Title and Sheet Number in the title block). Click OK, then click Done. You should see A1-01 in the Sheet Number of the View Title and title block
  6. Command “z” then “e” for zoom extents
  7. Save your work

Adding a new layout tab for new drawing sheets

If you want to create another sheet on the same drawing file, you do not have to repeat the steps all over again. Do the following instead:

  1. Still on the drawing you are working on, point your cursor to the A1-01 layout tab
  2. Press right click, then select “Move or Copy”
  3. In the dialog box “Move or Copy,” select “(move to end)” first, followed by checking the “Create a copy,” then click OK
  4. You should see A1-01(2) layout tab being created. It is a duplicate of the A1-01 sheet with all the elements copied to the new layout
  5. Rename the new layout to A1-02 (assuming this is sheet A1-02). Point your cursor to it, then double click to edit
  6. Populate the sheet with new drawings (viewports) then edit the corresponding variables (view title, sheet number, sheet content, etc.)

Well done! You now know how to use the template and your CAD software’s automatic sheet creation. Continue populating the paper space with drawings, and then when you’re ready to print, command “plot” then click “Preview” or “OK” to print the sheet to PDF. There is no need to specify the page setup name, printer, paper size, plot style, plot area, scale, and drawing orientation because they were already set on the template beforehand.


There are tools made accessible to us Architects and CAD users so we can be more efficient in our work, but they can only be helpful when we put them to use. Yeah, I know that there are multiple ways to do one thing, but it wouldn’t hurt if you could do that same thing faster and more efficiently. I use these tools, at least the ones that I came to learn, and share them here in The Solo Architect for everyone to know. Have you tried using the Tool Palettes? Dynamic blocks? Custom commands? I suggest that you learn them. The good thing is we offer them too! We took the guesswork and the procrastination off your busy schedule and made them available in our store.

Go ahead and try your newly-acquired knowledge. You’ll never go back to your old ways once you apply them. While you’re at it, check out our store for other products. I am sure you’ll find something there that will be useful to your practice. Use them as a foundation, then tailor-fit them according to your needs. I made and used all of them, so I attest to their quality. Still got questions? Leave a comment or send an email to [email protected]. Glad to be of help, Architect.    

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