Linetype Scale (LTSCALE)
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Linetype Scale (LTSCALE)

Proper sheet setup requires you to set the correct drawing scale and linetype scale.


Linetype scale (LTSCALE) determines the scale and appearance of dashed lines as they appear in your drawing. This setting becomes especially important when you go to plot, since lines that appear dashed in Model Space may appear solid in Paper Space if their LTSCALE isn't exactly correct. Maintaining the integrity of your dashed lines is integral to the accuracy of your drawing. Why? Because CAD standards call for specific lines to be dashed in unique ways in order to distinguish them from other linework. Examples include fences, property lines, utility lines, mainline pipe, and pipe sleeves.

Having trouble getting all your linetypes to look right? Sometimes linetype definitions will load from both Metric and Imperial libraries, making it impossible to get them all to look correct. You can often resolve this issue with our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool. Running the REAL tool will reload all linetypes from the current library. Still having issues with making your linetypes look right? Read on.


AutoCAD provides three variables for controlling your linetype scale:

  • Linetype Scale (LTSCALE)
  • Paper Space Linetype Scale (PSLTSCALE)
  • Model Space Linetype Scale (MSLTSCALE)


To change any of these variables, you'd type the variable name in the AutoCAD Command line (for example, LTSCALE), press Enter, and then type a value such as 0, 1, etc.

For our suggested settings, see Our Recommended Settings for LTSCALE, PSLTSCALE, and MSLTSCALE below.




LTSCALE is the variable that sets your linetype scale factor on a global level. If you change the LTSCALE, you change the appearance of the linetype in Model Space.


LTSCALE example 1
LTSCALE example 2

As shown above, LTSCALE not only scales the dashes in dashed lines but also the spaces between them. As a result, lines that appear dashed in Model Space – that is, in your working drawing – may appear solid in Paper Space. LTSCALE can be any value, tied to an actual scale.




LTSCALE set to 1

When the LTSCALE is set to 1, the linetype lengths will be read directly as the drawing units. The gap reads as .25 drawing units, and the dashed segment is .5 drawing units.

LTSCALE set to 1, Model Space



LTSCALE set to 120

When the LTSCALE is changed to 120, the gaps between the dashed lines are multiplied by 120 units, so each gap measures 30 drawing units and each dash measures 60 drawing units.

LTSCALE set to 120, Model Space



Setting the LTSCALE to 120 applies the unit conversion of a 1" = 10' as architectural inches (i.e., 10 x 12 = 120), allowing the linetype to be sized in preparation for the viewport scale you set in Paper Space.


If you were to then set a Viewport scale of 1" = 10', all objects in that viewport would be scaled down by a factor of 10, making your linetypes show at the proper size.

LTSCALE can be set to 1 in your template, but once you set the plot scale using our Scale tool, the LTSCALE will adjust to match your anticipated viewport scale.


LTSCALE applies directly to Model Space. For this reason, you'll want to set your LTSCALE value to account for the scale you plan to set for your viewport, which will allow you to see the linetypes properly in Model Space. The example below shows two different LTSCALE settings, which result in vastly different linetype appearances.


LTSCALE example 3
LTSCALE example 4

Important: You won't be able to see your linetypes properly in Model Space if have your LTSCALE set to 1 unless you are using annotative scaling and your MSLTSCALE is also set to 1. We do not recommend using Annotative Scaling unless you're already familiar with it. Why we do not recommend Annotative Scaling


As you change these different linetypes, scales, and variables around, you may need to run the REA (Regen All) command or use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to see your changes take hold.







The PSLTSCALE variable only has two settings: 0 (off) or 1 (on).


PSLTSCALE Set to 0 (Off)

When PSLTSCALE is set to 0, the linetype scale of your Model Space geometry will not be affected by the scale factor of your viewport.


Keep in mind that if you have multiple scaled viewports in one drawing, setting PSLTSCALE to 0 will result in an inconsistency in linetype scales.


PSLTSCALE set to 0




LTSCALE 1 inch = 10 feet


LTSCALE eighth inch = 1 foot


LTSCALE quarter inch = 1 foot

Keep in mind that as you change these different linetypes, scales, and variables around, you may need to run the REA (Regen All) command or use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to see your changes take hold.





PSLTSCALE Set to 1 (On)

When PSLTSCALE is set to 1, the linetype scale of your Model Space geometry will be scaled to match the viewport scale factor.


You should only set PSLTSCALE to 1 if you also plan to keep LTSCALE set to 1. Otherwise, you won't see the linetypes properly.








PSLTSCALE, eighth inch = 1 foot
PLTSCALE, 1 inch = 10 feet


PSLTSCALE, quarter inch = 1 foot

Keep in mind that as you change these different linetypes, scales, and variables around, you may need to run the REA (Regen All) command or use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to see your changes take hold.






MSLTSCALE only has two settings: 0 (off) and 1 (on).


When MSLTSCALE is set to 0 (off), the linetype scale will ignore any Annotation Scale set to the drawing (from Model Space). This is our recommended setting if you are not familiar with Annotative Scaling.


When MSLTSCALE is set to 1 (on), the linetype scales will take on the properties of any Annotation Scale set to the drawing (from Model Space).

Note that an MSLTSCALE setting of 1 requires that LTSCALE also be set to 1. Otherwise, it will further jumble your linetypes.

Keep in mind that as you change these different linetypes, scales, and variables around, you may need to run the REA (Regen All) command or use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to see your changes take hold.

We recommend having the following settings in your drawing template:


  • LTSCALE = 1: Our Scale tool tool will adjust this setting as needed when you run it in Model Space. Layout sheets should be kept in separate drawings to keep PSLTSCALE set to 1 in Paper Space.


  • PSLTSCALE = 1: However, if you plan to use this template as the one drawing for layouts and working drawing, set PSLTSCALE to 0. Remember: Each layout has its own PSLTSCALE.


  • MSLTSCALE = 0: Annotation Scale is variable as needed. You can leave this setting as 1:1 if you’re not using Annotation Scale. If you plan on using Annotation Scale and you want the linetypes to reflect appropriately in Model Space, set MSLTSCALE to 1.

If you're working in an irrigation plan, placing irrigation equipment or pipe will set MSLTSCALE to 0 automatically, which will allow the linetypes to scale correctly. If you need MSLTSCALE set to 1, you'll need to do so after you've completed the design.

Keep in mind that as you change these different linetypes, scales, and variables around, you may need to run the REA (Regen All) command or use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to see your changes take hold.

Setup Methods for Displaying Your Linetypes Correctly in Model and Paper Space

What should you do if you run into this LTSCALE issue when navigating between Model and Paper Space? Here are two possible setup methods:



Method 1 (recommended): Xref Your Drawing Into a Separate Sheet File

The simplest solution is to Xref your original drawing into a new DWG file, which will then serve as your sheet file.



The blank sheet file should have:

  • LTSCALE set to 1
  • PSLTSCALE set to 1
  • MSLTSCALE set to 0 – unless you use Annotative Scaling, in which case you would set it to 1.


Your working drawing should have the LTSCALE set to the proper scale factor. For example:

  • In a Decimal Feet plan using 1" = 10' scale, the LTSCALE should be set to 10.
  • In an Architectural Inches plan using the same scale, LTSCALE should be set to 120.


You're now free to set up as many different scaled viewports as you need. All linetypes will scale appropriately and be a consistent size.



These steps will give you two separate DWG files containing the same design.

Many CAD users shy away from this method because they think it will be time consuming, or they're just plain scared of using Xrefs. Don't fall into this trap; it's actually a very simple method that requires minimal effort. It just takes a little getting used to.


1. In your original drawing (the design file), open our Scale tool to ensure you have the correct scale set. The scale you set will be your Dimscale, which will match your LTSCALE when you are in Model Space in this drawing.



2. Now open a new drawing. In that new drawing, open the Xref Manager by typing XREF in the Command line and pressing Enter. Xref your original design drawing into the new drawing. In the example below, we're Xrefing the original drawing, My Site Plan, into the new drawing, Drawing 1.

Xref example




3. Open a Layout tab in the new drawing, and create a Viewport around the design you've Xrefed in. Type PSLTSCALE in the Command line, and type 1 when prompted to Enter a value.


The linetype scale of this Viewport (in Paper Space) will now match the linetype scale you've already set in the original drawing (in Model Space). That is, we have an LTSCALE of 1 in Model Space, and a PSLTSCALE of 1 in Paper Space – the default linetype scale setting, and an AutoCAD best practice. We're in great shape!



4. Save this drawing under a new name, in the same folder where you've saved the original drawing. This drawing is now the sheet file for your site plan.

Sheet file 1
Sheet file 2

By setting up a sheet file for our original drawing, we are able to view our design in both Model Space (above left) and Paper Space (above right) at the same linetype scale. As a result, our dashed line appears correctly in Paper Space.

Having each sheet on a separate DWG offers the added benefit that drawing cleanup becomes much easier – another reason we recommend it as a CAD best practice.



Your Original Drawing (Model Space) and Your Sheet File (Paper Space)

You now have two drawings with the correct linetype scales:

  • Your original drawing. You'll make any changes to your design in Model Space in this drawing.
  • The sheet file. This drawing contains an Xref of the original drawing, within your Viewport in Paper Space.

Due to the nature of Xrefs, any changes you make in Model Space in the original drawing will be applied to the Xref in Paper Space in the sheet file. Because of the way you've set up the sheet drawing, the linetype scale will be correct for Model Space in the original drawing, and correct for Paper Space in the sheet drawing.


When you want to move between Model Space and Paper Space, you'll simply move between these two drawings.


Switching Between the Two Files

AutoCAD offers a few possible ways to move quickly between drawings:


Option 1: File Tabs

Open the AutoCAD Options dialog box by typing Options in the Command line. Select the Display tab, and make sure the Display File Tabs box is checked. Click Apply to save the change.

Options dialog box, Display File Tabs option


With this setting enabled, you'll see a tab at the top of your CAD interface for each drawing you have open. You can easily navigate between these two drawings by clicking the appropriate tab.

Navigating between drawings


Option 2: Switch Windows

You can also jump quickly between drawings by clicking the Switch Windows button on the AutoCAD View ribbon.

Switch Windows option


You can also add this button to your Quick Access Toolbar by right-clicking it and selecting Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the menu that opens.

Adding Switch Windows option to Quick Access Toolbar


Option 3: Window Menu

Finally, you can switch between drawings by opening the CAD Window menu. All open drawings will appear at the bottom of this menu, with a check mark next to the current drawing. You can jump to a different drawing by selecting it from the menu.

Switching between drawings, Window menu






Method 2: Keep Your Working Drawing and Layouts in the Same File

If you choose this method, Model space should have an LTSCALE set to your desired Viewport Scale. PSLTSCALE and MSLTSCALE should both be set to 0.

If you create multiple layouts with viewports at different scales, or are working with details or schedules, having one single LTSCALE will not work. In these cases, you should really be Xrefing your drawing into a separate sheet file. However, if all your layouts have the same scaled viewports, you will be fine.


Examples of differences in linetype scale based on different viewport scales:


LTSCALE, 1 inch = 10 feet


LTSCALE, eighth inch = 1 foot


LTSCALE, quarter inch = 1 foot



Examples of consistency in linetype scale despite different viewport scales:




LTSCALE, eighth inch = 1 foot
LTSCALE, 1 inch = 10 feet


LTSCALE, quarter inch = 1 foot



Linetypes Showing Up Incorrectly After You Complete This Process? Here's What to Do.

You might run into an issue similar to the following when attempting to fix a working drawing or base file so the linetypes show up correctly. In this example, let's say you changed the LTSCALE from 1 to the viewport scale. The linetypes are supposed to be dashed (as in the image on the left below), but turn solid (as in the image to the right below).


LTSCALE correct, example
LTSCALE incorrect, example




In this case, if you're certain the correct linetype is assigned, it's more than likely that you simply need to reload your linetypes. Use our Reload All Linetypes (REAL) tool to reload your linetypes, and they should show up correctly.


Linetypes still not showing up correctly (and you're using our recommended Method 1: Xref Your Drawing Into a Separate Sheet File)?

You may have everything set properly in all source files, and the sheet set drawing file is still showing solid lines instead of the intended dashed linetype. If so, try detaching the Xref giving you trouble and then reattaching it.


Your linetypes should now show up correctly based on the LTSCALE that is currently set in your sheet set drawing file.

Related Webinars

  • Understanding LTSCALE: Working with linetypes (solid, dashed, etc.) is an essential part of any CAD plan. How these linetypes appear in Paper Space vs. Model Space is especially important in ensuring that everything is portrayed properly in your final design. We'll go over the importance of proper sheet setup and provide a few working scenarios to help you verify that your linetypes will show up correctly no matter how you work. (56 min)


Issue: After fixing the LTSCALE and PSLTSCALE as described above, you're still seeing solid lines in your drawings where you should be seeing dashed lines


Issue: A survey, topo, or base map you received is showing all linetypes perfectly, but when you Xref that file into your own working sheet, all the linetypes disappear

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 March 2023 10:27
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