Copying Settings from and to AutoCAD Projects -

Copying Settings from and to AutoCAD Projects

Have you ever had to reconstruct your CAD environment simply because the default settings for the project we’re not what you wanted? Or do you work as a hobbyist on the weekends and would like to have project settings for your hobby-work different from your professional workload? These or a number of other reasons are the cause of this

These or a number of other reasons are the cause of this article, because as vast as AutoCAD has grown since conception, every single project has something or the other you may want to change.

A Bit of Context

So with a project setup, here is what you can copy with AutoCAD standards module:

cad exercises
  1. Styling, display and viewing standards
  2. Drawing standards
  3. Style types and associations
  4. Synchronization settings

Note: When copying or importing any standard(s), the drawings can be either externally referenced (from their original project) or can be internally referenced (a fancy way of saying your new project will host the settings.)

Copying Settings from and to AutoCAD ProjectsFor project settings to be included in the new project only, use the external references. Because then you don’t need to create a new folder for the standards and neither do you need to duplicate them, using them from the original source (the original projects folder). If you would like to use these settings later on, using the same approach is also effective allowing you to change only the properties that need changing.

Furthermore, if the settings and properties are outside the original projects folder, they will be copied from their original location. This is best when you want to setup your project’s properties according to the nature of the job or other criteria.

  1. Click the AutoCAD sign > The AutoCAD button for the menu..
  2. Select the Open option.
  3. Select the Project option.
  4. Select the new project that needs the standards.
  5. Right click on the project and select Project Properties.
  6. Expand the “Advanced” tab and click “Project Standards” > Project Standards.
  7. Click the Standards (Styles) tab.
  8. Click the Autodesk's AutoCAD button.
  9. The “Select Project” dialogue box will pop-open.
  10. Select the project file (.apj) and click “Open”.

The two following options are meant to either replace the old settings with the new one, otherwise to integrate the old with the new. Choose the option that you feel fits your requirements.

Copy Standards

Bonus Solution

Here’s another way to do the above, for the techie’s amongst us. Check this out:

  1. Exit AutoCAD and make sure no project or AutoCAD related extensions, plug-ins or tools that are running (background updates don’t matter).
  2. Open the .wdp file (for the project that you want to copy settings from) in your favorite word processor (Notepad++ for me :).
  3. Copy everything from the 2nd line up to where the lines start beginning with “=” signs.
  4. Close the file without closing, making sure you have copied that part.
  5. Paste all the copied information in the same position in the .wdp file for the project you want to update the settings in.

Note, replace the existing information when pasting. Save the file and exit.

For reference purposes, the WDP file has the following schema:

First character on the line


* Project descriptions, settings, standards etc.
+ Layers, directories etc. settings
? Orientation, XREFs etc. settings
= Drawing information

Any changes may result in irrecoverable loss of information hence be careful, and tinker at your own risk.


Now you know the right way and the not-so-right way of how to copy project settings. Please make sure that you understand the risks of using both these methods, as even the right way to do it may result in older settings getting replaced. If you do this by accident, remember there is no going back except the factory settings or installation default.

cad exercises