How do I create a grid paper layout?

Question

How do I create a traditional graph paper or grid paper type layout in PowerCADD?

Requirements

PowerCADD v5 or newer
PowerCADD v7 and Mac OS? X Tiger or newer recommended



Background

One of PowerCADD's greatest strenghts has always been it's paper paradigm. Simply put, PowerCADD works on a computer just like you did with real paper, only with all the computer aided benefits.

There are a few different methods of creating a traditional grid or graph paper type layout using PowerCADD which we'll cover here. Which technique is right for you will depend on your own unique requirements.

What To Do

In all the methods we describe here, it's important to always remember:

  • PowerCADD works to scale. That means the grid spacing will depend on your drawing scale and unit of measure. In our examples we'll work at a drawing scale of 1:1. You could also use a scale of 1:100 or 1/4"=1'-0" or anything other value with the techniques described below.
  • Grid Snapping must be On: Choose Drawing Setup > Snap and make sure
    Grid is Checked ON. You can always press the Command key to temporarily override the Grid Snap during a drawing, moving or editing operation. Setting a drawing grid and turning Grid Snap Off is nothing less than a complete waste of time and energy.

Method One: An Invisible Grid
Let's assume we simply need an invisible grid. The Grid does not need to print nor be seen on screen, we simply want whatever we draw or move to snap to the grid.
Do This:

  1. Choose Layout menu > Drawing Setup > Units
  2. Set the drawing scale to 1:1, Fractional Inches (or your perferred unit of measure)
  3. Set the Grid Spacing to 1/8" in the X field and press Tab. Notice the Y value is automatically entered
  4. Press OK
  5. Result: We are returned to the drawing window. All objects we draw now will snap in 1/8" increments

Hint:If we had wanted the grid paper to be a 1/4" grid, we would have specified 1/4" in the X Grid spacing field.

Metod Two: A Visible Grid that doesn't print
Let's assume we want to draw to a preset grid snap interval and we want to see the grid lines on screen but we don't want them to print.
Do This:

  1. Choose Layout Menu > Drawing Setup > Units
  2. Set the drawing scale to 1:1, Fractional Inches (or your perferred unit of measure)
  3. Set the Grid Spacing to 1/4" in the X field and press Tab. Notice the Y value is automatically entered
  4. Press OK
  5. Choose Layout menu >GuideLines > Make Grid...
  6. Enter a value of 1/4" in both the Horizontal and Vertical Grid spacing fields. Leave the Angle field set to 0 degrees, 0 minutes, 0 seconds to keep the grid perfectly horizontal and vertical and press OK
  7. Result: We are returned to the drawing window. A series of blue grid lines appear in the drawing window at the specified spacing. All objects we draw now will snap in 1/4" increments and will snap to the blue guideline grid.

Hint: If you would like the grid of guidelines to be a different color, or to appear behind the objecs you draw, simply press Option as you click on a drawing ruler and choose the desired options from the dialog box.

Method Three: A Visible Grid that will print
You can probably already guess how this one will play out. We're going to set the grid spacing, but this time we'll draw real lines so the objects will actually print. To keep things organized, we'll put the grid lines on their own layer.
Do This:

  1. Set your drawing grid to 1/4"
  2. Press L to open the Layers Window
  3. In the Layers Window, press New to create a new layer. Name the layer Grid Lines and make that the active drawing layer
  4. Select the Constrained Line Tool from the tool palette and draw one vertical and one horizontal line across the top and left hand edge of the drawing page
  5. Press Option and click on the Parallel Line Tool. In the dialog box, enter a value of 1/4" for the offset. Check Single Increment and enter a value for the desired number of times you'd like the line offset and press OK. hint: the number will vary with your sheet size. You can always enter a rough guess, apply the offset more than once, and delete the unwanted lines
  6. Click and drag on the vertical and horizontal lines you drew earlier to create the grid
  7. Start drawing your objects on a new layer to keep them separate from the drawing grid

These are just three core methods for drawing using a grid in PowerCADD. Clearly there are other combinations of these basic techniques you can apply, along with other standard PowerCADD editing and object attribute features to create some interesting effects.

Don't forget, if you use the grid paper a lot, Save As... and choose PowerCADD Stationery and keep that Stationery Pad file in a central location. The next time you need to work with the same grid line settings, simply double click the Stationery Pad file and you'll automatically be working on a copy, protecting the original stationery pad drawing for use again later.

We hope that helps
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