How to change units of drawing in AutoCAD

In this article, I will explain two basic methods by which you can convert units of drawing in AutoCAD.

I have also made this video to explain this tip in detail, In case you don’t prefer the video then scroll below for the article.

Let’s assume that you have a drawing which is in imperial units (inches) and you want to convert it into metric units (mm), let’s name that drawing Sample.DWG.

Using -DWGUNITS command:

This is an easy method of converting the unit of drawing but it will work only for AutoCAD 2009 and later versions.

Open Sample.DWG drawing (imperial) in AutoCAD and then type -DWGUNITS on the command line (don’t forget to add the dash before command) and press enter. Now, look at the command line prompt which looks like the image shown below.

how to convert mm to feet in autocad

Here you need to specify unit which you want to use in the current drawing, type the order number of unit and that unit will be applied. In this case, the millimeter option is on third place and hence typing 3 and pressing enter will select millimeter as drawing unit. Similarly from other prompts use options as shown below.

Linear display format    <2>

Linear display precision   <4>

Scale objects from other drawings upon insert?    <yes>

Match INSUNITS to drawing units?    <yes>

Depending on your selection you may or may not see following prompts on the command line. Select yes from both of these prompts.

Scale objects in current drawing to reflect change in units? <yes>

Include objects in Paper Space? <yes>

Your drawing is now converted to metric with millimeter as drawing unit. You can verify the result by measuring the distance between any two points in the drawing, it will now be reported in millimeter instead of inches.

Changing by block import:

This method of converting unit is destructive in nature and you will lose a lot of data from your drawing, mostly named objects like layers, blocks, and linetypes.

Open a new session of AutoCAD and click on New Drawing from the application menu, a template selection window will appear select acadiso.dwt template from this window and click open.

how to convert mm to feet in autocad

Now type UN on the command line and press enter Units window will appear. Select millimeters from Insertion Scale drop-down menu, you can select any other unit as well as per your own need but for this article, I will stick with millimeters.

Now type I on the command line and press enter, browse your imperial unit drawing Sample.DWG from insert window.

Uncheck Specify On-screen radio button from insertion point, Scale and Rotation panels, also make sure explode radio button is checked in the lower left corner of the Insert window.

Convert units of drawing in AutoCAD

If you have followed all these steps correctly then you will see a conversion factor of 25.4 in block unit panel now click OK to close the Insert window.

Your drawing with converted units will be inserted into the new template and now if you check distances in drawing it will be reported in millimeter instead of original inches.

Did you find this tip useful and which method you prefer to convert your drawings from one unit to other? Let me know in 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.

12 Comments

  1. Fayas October 1, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Thank You Mr.Jaiprakash Pandey..

  2. Shiva Adhikari September 27, 2017 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Thanks lot for your tutorial. what is the function of Scale objects from other drawings upon insert? [Yes/No] :
    Match INSUNITS to drawing units? [Yes/No] :

  3. JOSEPH March 10, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I HAVE A PROBLEM PLOTTING MY DRAWING. I NEED MY ONE DRAWING UNIT TO BE PLOTTED AS 10 MM ON PAPER SO I PLOTTED BY GIVING 10:1 (MM:DU) THE DRAWING DOES NOT GETS PLOTTED IN THE ACTUAL SIZE I WANT… I MADE THE DRAWING IN AUTOCAD 2007 AND TRIED PLOTTING IN 2010 & 2014 VERSIONS BOTH RESULTS ARE SAME… ANY SUGGESTIONS ???

  4. Jonas December 14, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial, thanks

    • Jaiprakash Pandey December 14, 2016 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Welcome Jonas

  5. Ashfaque N. Ansari October 9, 2016 at 12:04 am - Reply

    i selected option 4.
    after converting from mm to inch, the dimension is in inch but, the dimension style is in decimal.
    why is it not in architecture

    • Jaiprakash Pandey October 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      You need to modify dimension style to show architectural units, from primary units tab change unit format to architectural.

  6. N.Saravanan April 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    ‘DWGUNITS’ really useful, but why to enter (4) for precision? all the best!

    • Jaiprakash Pandey April 26, 2016 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      when you use enquiry commands to find length and other measurements in the drawing then it will be shown with accuracy up to four decimal places. For example setting precision to 4 will display a distance as 12.2345 if you change it to 2 then it will show same distance as 12.23

  7. Anonymous April 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    still am confused

    • Jaiprakash Pandey April 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      How can I help you with this tip?

  8. Ernst Lindor March 16, 2016 at 6:00 am - Reply

    I HAVE FOLLOWED THE DIFFERENT STEPS AND MY DRAWING LOOKS SCRAMBLED.

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