Intro to Isometric Drawing

AutoCAD has an isometric drawing mode that lets you drawing 3D-looking objects in 2D just like when you draw 3D objects on a flat sheet of paper. This means that even AutoCAD LT can draw 3D representations.

Q) What is an Isometric Drawing?

A) A pictorial representation of an object in which all three dimensions are drawn at full scale rather than foreshortening them to the true projection or vanishing point. An Isometric drawing therefore contains lines that remain paralell to each other. It is because these lines do not diminish into the horizon that they remain at full sclae and are therefore measurable.

Isometric planes:
Notice below, that when drafting in an Isometric plane, you are still drawing in the flat 2D plane. You can see this by looking at your view as it is shown in the viewcube.

The picture below shows the flat Iso-drawing when the view is rotated to a 3D view as shown by the rotation of the viewcube:


The Isometric planes are basically increments of 30 degrees and shown below:


To turn on the Isometric mode, Right click on the “SNAP” button that is in the Drafting Settings buttons.


Select “Isometric Snap” from the dialog box and then click OK


Once the dialog box closes you will notice that your drawing cursor (cross hairs) will look funny. This is showing you that your cursor is in an Isometric mode.

To draft so that your lines are aligned with this Isometric mode make sure that ORTHO is turned on.

To change which Isometric mode you are in, use the F5 function button:


Shown below is an example of drawing a cube in Isometric mode:


Isometrics are fun but they are a little difficult when it comes to rounded objects and rounded edges. When you need to create a circle, use an ellipse. And to be more specific, use the “Axis, End” ellipse tool. Using this tool while in an active isometric mode will show and extra sub-option in the command line. the sub-option that you need to select is the “Isocirlce” option. Drawing curved edges and objects while in Isometric mode will take some practice, so be patient and have fun.





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About AutoCAD Tips

I work for a large engineering firm and perform various CAD Administration duties and. I enjoy teaching/tutoring people in AutoCAD and seeing them enjoy using the program as much as I do. I hope that you find this blog a useful tool.
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8 Responses to Intro to Isometric Drawing

  1. Donny says:

    I’m just getting into AutoCAD 2013, I have a Solidworks background, but this short write you have here has been very helpful to get me in the right direction for what I need to draw, Thank you


    hi wouldmlike to know if we can do isometric to scale thnaking you in advance for your reply

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I may not understand the question quite correctly – but one of the reasons for using isometric drawings is that it IS to scale. The other way of displaying 3D objects is to show them with “Perspective” and this is where two parallel edges of a 3D cube will appear to eventually merge at a point in the distance.

      If you are asking how to draw to scale and fit a title block around the scaled drawing – this is where a viewport and using the layouts tabs would be beneficial.
      hope that helps as a starting point.

  3. Ian says:


    Would you know how to insert an image into AutoCAD and for it to be rotated and appear correctly on an isometric drawing. I would be very grateful for the help, thanks.

  4. siva says:

    i has a line in 2d which is in30degrees and now in isometrics howcan i draft it

  5. Guillermo says:

    Hi, good intro. I’d like to know how to do an ellipse in isometric view. I looked for tutorials but only found how to draw circles using ellipses, but as I said, that’s not what I’m looking for. Thanks in advance for your help

    • AutoCAD Tips says:

      I think that this is a limitation of drawing in a purely isometric mode. I will look into it further but I am thinking that it would be easier to draw it in 3D and then make the appropriate views which contain the isometric views. But I also understand that not everyone has a full version of AutoCAD and can’t work in 3D. That is why I will look in to it.
      This goes to show the importance of knowing some of the “old” methods of manually drafting and how they would approach this situation

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