How to add Tolerance and dual dimensioning in AutoCAD

In this article, I will show you method of adding tolerance using dimension style and I will also show you method of creating dual dimensioning where a single dimension can be represented in two different units.

The most suitable way of adding tolerances is by the use of feature control frames but you can also add tolerances using dimension styles.

Watch this video to know about adding geometric tolerances using feature control frame. I have also prepared this video to explain this tip in detail but if you prefer the article instead then scroll down to read it.

Adding Tolerances using dimension style:

Tolerances are applied to Dimension styles and you can create multiple dimension styles for the different type of tolerances.

Let’s assume that we have a drawing as shown in the image below where tolerance limit is ± 0.05 for linear, ± 0.04 for angular and for radial dimension it is 0.04 upper limit and 0.02 lower limit. For this case, we can create a dimension style and then apply individual tolerance values using property palette of each dimension.
tolerance in autocad

Type D on the command line and press enter. Click on the New button then select a name for your dimension style and click on Continue button.

Select Tolerances tab and from Method drop-down menu of Tolerance format panel select the Deviation option. Don’t change the Upper and Lower values of tolerance, keep it at its default value of 0 as shown in the image below.

Click OK to close the Dimension style manager window. Now make dimensions on the geometry and you will notice that it will be made with tolerance value of 0 for upper as well as the lower limit.

Select any dimension from drawing area and right click then select properties from the contextual menu. Locate the Tolerances panel and change the upper and lower limit of tolerance from the respective field as shown in the image below.

In a similar way apply the tolerance values using properties palette to other dimensions as well.

The final geometry after applying respective tolerances to the dimensions should look like the image below.

Adding Dual dimensioning:

Dual dimensioning is a method of applying more than one unit to the same dimension. Let’s assume that we want to apply dimensions in inches as well as mm where the inch is the primary unit and mm is secondary.

For this situation, we need to first make a drawing with inches as the primary unit then type D and press enter to open Dimension style manager window.

Select the dimension style which you want to use and click on Modify button. Select Primary units tab and choose Architectural from Unit format dropdown of Linear dimensions panel. then move to Alternate units tab and click on the Display alternate units radio button.


From the Unit format, drop-down menu select the Decimal and set a precision of 0.00. In the multiplier field and enter a value of 25.4, this value is obtained by converting primary unit to secondary unit. In our case primary unit is inches and secondary unit is mm and we all know that once inch is equal to 25.4 mm hence the multiplier is also 25.4.

Click OK to accept the changes and close the dimension style manager window. Now apply dimension to your drawing, you will notice that the dimension will be indicated in inches as well as mm as shown in the image below.


Do you have questions related to this tip? let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce. I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.


  1. Lewis Skiles November 13, 2016 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Nice tutorial, the dim styles is a powerful aspect of AutoCAD in saving time and accuracy. I have to very rarely add tolerances to dimensions so I do not have a Dim Style for it; as a one-off I type +.000/-.002 as a suffix to the dimension, highlight it make it stack (either right click and choose Stack or choose Stack from the editor). Click on the “fraction” and choose Tolerance…BOOM

    • Jaiprakash Pandey November 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      That’s an intelligent tweak 🙂

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