How to make 2D from 3D drawing in AutoCAD

There are at least three different ways by which you can make 2D from 3D drawing in AutoCAD. The method which offers maximum flexibility in drawing conversion in model space is FLATSHOT tool which I have explained in this article.

I have also prepared this video to explain this tip in detail, but if you prefer the article instead then scroll below.

This command can create 2D geometries from a 3D model using its different views on XY plane in model space. Using this tool you can create Top, Front and Isometric views of geometry in under a minute.

For explaining this command I will use this sample 3D drawing, you can also download this drawing from this link to follow along.

3D practice drawing sample

Open the drawing in AutoCAD then switch to 3D modeling workspace and change visual style to Shaded. Change your view to Top from View Cube or from views drop down menu.

Understanding FLATSHOT dialogue box:

Select FLATSHOT tool from expanded Section panel of the Home tab or type FLATSHOT on the command line and press enter. Flatshot dialogue box as shown in the image below will open, let’s have a look at the options of this dialogue box.

Flatshot dilaogue box


The first option “Insert as new block” will ensure that new 2D views generated using Flatshot will be inserted as a block in the current drawing.

Replace existing block radio button will replace any block which you select with the 2D created with the Flatshot tool.

The third option will export the 2D drawing to a new DWG file.

Foreground line:

These are the visible lines which are projected on XY plane along the current view which you have selected. Color and Linetype drop down menu in this panel will change properties of visible lines in the 2D geometry.

Obscured line:

These are hidden lines present in 2D geometry, if you want to show hidden lines then select Show radio button and change color and Linetype of obscured or hidden lines from the drop-down menu.

Include tangential edges:

The last option is a radio button mentioned as “Include tangential edges”. On selecting this radio button you will see the line(s) at the edges which are tangential to the adjoining edge, for example, a fillet.

Look at the image below it explains tangential edges more clearly.

2D from 3D drawing in AutoCAD

Creating Top view:

Select the Flatshot tool from expanded section panel of the Home tab or type FLATSHOT on the command line and hit enter. Select “Insert as new block” in the Destination panel of Flatshot dialogue box.

Don’t change properties of foreground lines and select the Show radio button in Obscured lines panel then change its color to yellow or other light color and line type to Hidden. Select Include tangential edges radio button and click Create.

You will see that your cursor now follows the Top view of 3D geometry. Click at a point in the drawing area where you want to place it and press Enter key thrice to accept all default values.

Creating Front view:

Change your view to Front from View cube or View drop down menu and again select FLATSHOT command. Select all the options from Flatshot dialogue box as you have selected in the previous condition of the Top view and click on Create.

In this case, also the 2D drawing of Front view will follow the cursor. But instead of a clear geometry, it will appear like a line because geometry is created on XY plane which is not the current plane.

Click at a point in drawing area and press enter thrice to accept default values. Switch to the Top view or the XY plane and you will be able to see front view clearly.

Creating Isometric view:

For creating the 2D isometric view from 3D drawing change your view to SE isometric or any other isometric view which you like. Repeat all processes again as mentioned in the previous example of creating the Front view. In this case, also the isometric view will be created on the XY plane.

After rearranging all views created so far this is what I obtained from our sample drawing.

final view of flatshot drawing

There are also other ways of converting a 3D drawing into a 2D drawing. Watch this video on youtube to learn about converting a 3D drawing into 2D using layouts.

Do you have questions related to this article? 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. Krishan Sharma October 11, 2018 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot sir, I could draw 2d drawings which I was struggling for long. But after lot of trouble. I first changed view from View menu on Home tab and that did not work as in every view it was showing X Y plane and I was geiing lines of two view. then I tried from View Cube and got success.
    Thanks for your guidance

  2. Nashsyah January 20, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Hi sir, I would ask you about a few questions. When I make isometric view, why the dimension is not as same as the 2D? Is it how it works? And why dimension in 3D is not flatshooted in 2D? Do I have to redimension all of my shoots?

    • Jaiprakash Pandey January 21, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      The dimensions are actual one even in isometric view. In that case, the dimensions are skewed because of viewing angle from which the drawing is made. If you want to keep original dimensions even in isometric view then use 3D drawing and generate its views in the layout. More about this is in this video

  3. Goutham Govada April 19, 2017 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Hi Jaiprakash,

    I am trying to create a 2D drawing of a 3D object in AutoCAD 15. First, I go to the layout 1 tab at the bottom left and delete the current viewport. Then, I click on layout tab -> Base -> from model space and try to place the base view on the page but I get ‘Move’ in the command box. What am I missing here? I am enrolled in your 2D and 3D practice drawing course and am currently working on the M10 nut and want to create a base view, isometric view with dimensions.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey April 19, 2017 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Instead of using “Base” option from the command line use the VIEWBASE command instead and select Modelspace from options of the command line. If it also does not work let me know.

  4. Joshua Wigginton January 1, 2017 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    I am just returning to engineering after a rather long hiatus, and, thanks to your instructions and guides, the transition to the more recent software and practices has been much easier. I love your guides. Thank you for such great stuff!

    • Jaiprakash Pandey January 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks Joshua, I am glad you are finding my tutorials helpful 🙂

  5. Akter Hossain November 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot you nice tutorial. Here I have one observation that is you get more easy way to how to step by step draw a 3d using 2d drawing

  6. Brian McKenzie November 7, 2015 at 12:26 am - Reply


    After having created a 3D plan (of historical machinery no longer in existence) based on assorted photographs, I would then like to flatten views to an X-Y plane to match the orientation of photos inserted in the background to check accuracy of CAD work. Is this possible?


    • Jaiprakash Pandey November 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      Yes you can do that by flatshot command or you can also make use of layout views to generate plan views of different faces.

  7. Alwaleed kamal November 4, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    That is great
    Keep moving forward teacher

    • Jaiprakash Pandey November 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alwaleed

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