How to change AutoCAD drawing units

By Microsol Resources | CAD

Trying to change the drawing units in your AutoCAD drawing from Imperial (feet/inches) to Metric (millimeters/centimeters), or vice versa? There are three methods as to how this can be done. Follow any one of them and you will get the job done in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.


Option 1: Using the DWGUNITS command to change drawing units:

  • Enter the “DWGUNITS” command. The following prompts will be performed in succession:
    1. Drawing unites
    2. Drawing unit display formats
    3. Linear display format
    4. Linear display precision
    5. Scale objects from other drawings upon insert?
    6. Match INSUNITS to drawing units?
    7. Scale objects in current drawing to reflect change in units?
    8. Include objects in Paper Space?
  • Choose a drawing unit other than the current one on step 1.
  • On step 7, and optionally step 8, choose “Yes”.

Note: According to the chosen options, some prompts may be skipped by pressing Enter.

See the following example of command line text (in red what you have to enter) In this example the drawing will be converted from inches to millimeter:

Changing Drawing Units in AutoCAD

Option 2: Using the INSERT command to change drawing units:

  • Create a blank drawing using a template that is in the target units.
  • At the command line, enter “INSERT”.
  • In the Insert dialog box, browse to the original DWG file.
  • Check the box to Explode.
  • Click OK and specify an insertion point.

AutoCAD 2019 Insert Command Dialog

Option 3: Using the SCALE command to change drawing units:

  • At the command line enter “SCALE”.
  • At the Select Objects prompt, enter “All“, then hit Enter.
  • Enter “0,0” for the base point.
  • When prompted for scale factor, enter the appropriate scale factor for the units to be converted, based on the following:

Scale Factors:

Inches to Millimeters = 25.4
Millimeters to Inches = 0.0393701

Inches to Centimeters = 2.54
Centimeters to Inches = 0.393701

Feet to Millimeters = 304.8
Millimeters to Feet = 0.00328084

Feet to Centimeters = 30.48
Centimeters to Feet = 0.0328084

Note: For the SCALE command method, adjust the dimension text and arrowhead height in the dimension style as needed.


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Published on October 23, 2018 in CAD.

About the Author

Microsol Resources delivers integrated solutions that help customers design, simulate and analyze their ideas, increase operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on investment in their technology solutions. As a team, we are passionate about helping customers improve their productivity and overall business processes. How can we help? Just reach out.