CadStd Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I search this FAQ?

Use your browsers search function. Typically Edit->Find on this page (CTRL+F).

Q. What is CadStd?

A. CadStd (pronounced "CAD Standard") is a simple and easy to use 2D computer aided design (CAD) program. Computer aided design replaced what used to be called drafting. CadStd is the result of thousands of hours of work and was written by a professional programmer and CAD user not by some committee. It is being used in several schools and universities around the world to teach their students how to use CAD. Since it is a general purpose CAD program it can be used for mechanical design, architecture, map making, wood working and many other vector oriented design projects. It has an accuracy of .0001 of an inch and drawings can be as large as 3.5 miles (In CAD everything is drawn at full scale so this is important). In addition CadStd Pro can be used to view and edit files created in HPGL which is the industry standard vector format used by most major companies that store CAD vector files in their product data management (PDM) systems.

Q. Why do I need CadStd?

A. Just look around the room you are sitting in and start counting the objects that were designed by someone. Computer keyboards, monitors, window shades, trash cans, book cases, file cabinets, printers, light fixtures, door frames, wall maps, tables and chairs, even the room and building itself. If you always wanted a drafting table so you could get your ideas down on paper, CadStd can help you.

Q. Why do you give away a free version of CadStd?

A. A major CAD company representative once bragged about his companies product being the "most pirated software in the industry". Piracy is wrong and we do not condone it, but it is "free software" and like it or not, for the most part it has worked for them as free advertising, and aginst any small company that tries to offer an inexpensive competitive product (If this was not so they would have copy protected their software years ago). Why should people buy an inexpensive product when they can pirate an expensive one "free of charge". Think about two friends talking on a Saturday afternoon, Sam: "I just bought a great CAD program for under a hundred dollars!". George: "That's nice Sam my neighbor let me 'borrow' his $5000.00 CAD program 'free of charge' ". (This leaves Sam feeling a little down and George feeling very clever, don't you think?) We want to be honest, and we want to help our customers to be honest. If they are just casual users that need a little power they can use the free version. If they want the latest enhancements and access to the tutorial they can pay a small fee and buy the licensed version. This way both our company and our customers retain their integrity.

Q. How do I set the scale?

A. In Settings/Paper dialog window you will find a section called "Scale". In the (Paper) entry box type (i.e.) 1". Then in the (Real World) entry box type (i.e) 2' or 48" then press the (=) button. It's important to note that in CAD you always draw everything using real world dimensions, meaning that if something is ten feet long then you need to draw it ten feet long. If it does not fit on the paper then scale the PAPER not the entities. After changing the paper scale you might want to zoom out to see if your entities are centered in your new paper area. If they are not use the "Offset from 0,0" button in the Settings/Paper dialog box and pick a new paper offset.

Q. How do I enter text?

A. In the Draw tab section, click on the icon that looks like an "A". Type in the text that you want then click on the OK button. Next click on the location that you want the text to be located, after that move the cursor around and you will see the text rotating with the cursor. You can either click on the location that represents the angle or type the angle in to the "Ang" entry box and hit enter.

Q. How do I create a line parallel to another line?

A. Use the CadStd Pro feature Edit / Offset, or if you are using CadStd Lite copy the existing line to a new location, then use the trim, intercept or gap command to modify it. If you don't have those commands I would recommend drawing a new line at the angle and distance you need.

Q. How do I change the linetype?

A. To change a line type do Edit/Change/LineType command.

Q. Do you have a version that works with windows 3.1?

A. Sorry, No.

Q. How do I snap to something other than the grid?

A. Check the bottom of the CadStd window, there is a pull down called snap.

Q. How do I use Edit/Array(Rectangle) command?

A. Create some geometry like a small circle somewhere on your drawing. Do and Edit/Array (Rectangular). Enter the number of columns and rows you want (Lets say 4 columns, 2 rows). Point and click the edge of the circle (it will be selected). Finish selecting by using the right mouse button. Click somewhere, lets use the center of the circle. A rectangle will appear (this will define the spacing between one column and one row). Click somewhere outside the circle (not too far) and make the rectangle about half as high as it is wide. You should now see a group of 8 circles spaced apart by the width of the rectangle horizontally, and by the height of the rectangle vertically.

Q. How do I use the Edit/Array(Polar) command?

A. Create some geometry like a small circle somewhere near the bottom/center of your drawing. Do an Edit/Array(Polar) command. Enter the number copies that you want, For this example enter 8. Point and click the edge of the circle (it will be selected). Finish selecting by using the right mouse button. Click somewhere near the middle of your drawing directly above the circle (this is the center rotation point). A line will appear (this will define the angle between each copy). Click somewhere to the right and above the center point. (Watch the A= Display and keep the angle at 45 degrees). You should now see a group of 8 circles around the center point with an angular spacing of 45 degrees.

Q. How do I copy the screen image into a Word or Powerpoint document?

A. Open a drawing with CadStd and zoom into an area that you want to view. Then do an Edit/Copy Clipboard/Vector Format. After that go into Word or Powerpoint and do a paste.

Q. How do I set the Grid?

Go to Settings/Grid (or on the Misc tab push the button that looks like a grid). After that just press type in the size that you want in X and or Y.

Q. How do I enter coordinates with the keyboard?

A. Here is an example using Architect/Feet and Inches :

  • Settings/Dimension/Unit Type (Set to Architect)
  • Settings/Paper then in the (Paper) input box type 1/4" and in the (Real World) box type 1' (don't forget to press the [=] button.
  • Window/Zoom/All
  • Draw/Line (Pick a starting point with your mouse)
  • In the input box next to the X button type 10' and press ENTER or TAB
  • In the input box next to the Y button type 0 and press ENTER
  • In the input box next to the X button type 0 and press ENTER
  • In the input box next to the Y button type 5' and press ENTER
  • Continue as needed..

Q. Why am I having trouble printing circles on my laser printer?

A. (This problem has been fixed with version 3.1). This is a very rare problem and took me a while to figure it out. On some laser printers it's possible to print data in a vector mode. This is not the default condition so most people (including myself) have never seen the problem. For now the work around is to set your printer back to raster mode. Here's how you do it : Bring up CadStd and press print. Select "Printer Select and Setup", then "Properties" then "Graphics" and set the "Graphics Mode" to "raster graphics", then press "Apply" and OK,OK,OK. After that your circles will begin printing.

Q. Why am I getting a print with only half the image?

A. This problem can be solved by following the instruction found in the previous answer. Even though vector printing is supported in version 3.1a and greater, very large drawings may use too much printer memory causing a partial print.

Q. Will you support other operating systems?

A. While other CAD companies are considering dropping non-Microsoft operating system support. Apperson & Daughters are pleased to announce their commitment to support both the Microsoft and Linux operating systems! CadStd is written in Delphi and currently runs only on Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98 or 95 (osr2). Inprise (Borland) has announced their commitment to create a Linux version of Delphi. Since Linux is a version of UNIX, and I have over ten years of programming experience writing software for UNIX, I intend to begin creating a Linux version of CadStd as soon as Delphi for Linux becomes available. If Borland ever decides to support Apple we will look into supporting that also. (So contact Borland with your requests).

Q. Which mouse buttons do you use to end a command?

A. The right mouse button ends a command. If no command is active the right mouse button repeats the previous command. (Look at the bottom of the window for the command prompt). If the right mouse button does not work as described above, your right mouse button may have been reprogrammed. If it does not work go to Start / Control Panel / Mouse and select the Buttons tab. The right button (2 or 3) should be set as "Context Menu/Alternate Select".

Q. Sometimes I am unable to change the default layers?

A. You can only change active layers when no command is active (i.e. after completing a command with a right mouse button click).

Q. CadStd print fine on my laser printer, why won't it work on my Epson color printer?

A. Version 3.5 should fix this problem. I found that Epson's printer driver throws out any print job without a title. I added a title to the print job and that seemed to solve the problem.

Q. Why do I get a "Floating point division by zero" error when I first start the program.

A. This problem is most likely caused by the paper size being set to a very large size (i.e. 10000 feet) followed by a save settings command being issued. I doubt this should happen very often. If it does you can edit the file cadstd.ini and change the paper size or just delete the cadstd.ini file. Deleting the .ini file will cause your custom settings to be lost, but it should only take you a few minutes to set things up the way you like them. After you have your settings back to the way you like them be sure to do a Save Settings.

Q. Why can CadStd read some .plt files created by Autocad and not others?

A. CadStd will read Autocad .plt files if they were created using the HPGL/1 (pen plotter) driver. Unfortunately some .plt files are PCL or other formats. Autocad calls files created with any of its plot drivers .plt.

Q. Can I draw very small things accurately?

A. CadStd uses .0001 inch as a base unit and converts them to the measure of your choice (including metric). This only causes problems for you if you draw things that are very small (say mm with 3 decimal places visible on dimensions).

Q. How accurate are prints that span many sheets of paper?

A. Printers are designed to print accurately on a single sheet of paper. If they are off by a very small amount (say .035 inches) over the length of the drawing (say 11 inches) "who cares". However if you multiply that error by printing a very large drawing on many sheets of paper (lets say 10 end to end) then you will be off by .35 inches (a very significant amount). So to correct for that I added the calibration scale on the print dialog box. These are stored on disk when they are input so you won't have to enter them each time. Sometimes printers will change as their part wear out. So be sure to calibrate every year or two.

Q. My question is,when I make a large dwg and print it to fit on a regular 8x11.5 inch paper the dimensions and text come out so small I can't read them is there a way to edit your dimensions to appear larger?

A. CadStd uses ANSI standards to define text sizes. If your final result is supposed to be A (letter) size and the drawing is now E size the best way to deal with the problem is to change the paper size to A and the paper scale to .25 (of the original paper scale).

Paper SizePaper ScaleAlso..

Of course there will still be some problems because when font gets bigger the spacing between lines and graphic elements will get smaller so you will have to do some work to correct it. Don't forget to change any Scale notations on the drawing.

Q. I am drawing house plans. Do you know of a source of standard building symbols,eg showers, baths, toilets etc, that can be imported and used in CadStd?

A. Kohler has a free symbol library in DXF. The (2D) files can be imported into CadStd. If you havn't gone through the tutorial yet I recommend that you do so before starting your symbol creation. Click here to go to Kohler's site.

Q. Why does nothing happen when I try to load a DXF file?

A. DXF files can take quite a while to load, and CadStd does not have any progress indicator. If the file is very large (>1MB) a 1Ghz computer can take up to five minutes to load the document (so be patient). Another problem with DXF files is they are not created equal. It's possible the version of DXF you are trying to read is unreadable by CadStd. When this is the case you may get a partial or blank image. If you have a choice when exporting DXF files from other products choose version 12 or earlier version of DXF. Keep in mind that some expensive CAD programs that export DXF don't really want you to be able to import their drawings into other (perhaps less expensive) competing alternatives.

Q. I have imported a DXF drawing into CadStd Pro 3.5.7 but it has converted the mm into inches, making the drawing 25.4 times bigger than it should be. How can i rectify this?

A. Use Edit/Scale and scale everything 0.03937 (One secret to the select process is to hold down the left mouse button and drag it to the right. This creates a select box. If you drag to the left it creates an unselect box.)

Q. When we create our drawings, we open a template that has our company name, part number, and other revision information in the right hand corner with a border around the drawing. When we create the drawing, it needs to fit inside the template window. How do I scale the drawing to fit inside the template window?

A. 1. Create a drawing format at scale 1 to 1 and save it as "A_Size_Format" etc. 2. Create a new drawing with the same paper settings (i.e. A Size) but with a different scale (say .25). 3. Use the "Draw / Include File" command and place the "A_Size_Format" data at the lower left hand corner of the drawing area. 4. While the format is still selected (and 4 times too small) do and Edit/Scale and set the scale at 4 and choose the lower left corner of the drawing area as the scale origin. If you want to move the format around after the scale you can, just do an Unselect All when you are done. The formula for this is 1 (the scale of the A_Size_Format) divided by .25 (the scale of the new drawing) equals 4 (the scale you should use when inserting the drawing format into the new drawing).

Q. Why are the Dist and Ang entry boxes always greyed out?

A. You can enter either the X value (TAB) Y value (ENTER) OR click on the Dist box to make it active and enter Dist value (TAB) Ang value (ENTER). The idea was to grey out one pair at a time to indicate that all four boxes cannot be entered during one operation.

Q. I have some problems getting the scale right. The width is 1030 depth 1140 and height 1800. The measurements are in millimeters. How do I get the measurements to match the actual drawing?

A. Do a File/New and select the "Drawing Scale Expert" and press next. Set the unit type to Millimeters and the paper size to A4 (or the paper size you wish). Put 1030 in the width dimension. Put 1800 in the height dimension and press finish. Next go into Settings/Dimension and set the General Accuracy to 2 decimal places. If this is a typical drawing size for you, you might want to do a Settings/Save Settings so a blank drawing will load with those dimensions without going into the "Drawing Scale Expert" each time.

Q. When I select a new layer and use it for some objects, I am no longer able to change the layer again (the drop-down arrow is greyed out). What am I doing wrong?

A. The layer can only be changed when there no commands active or during the first prompt period (i.e. Start Line). Right mouse click to finish your command and watch the layer select box activate.

Q. Can you explain what the X Y Abs Dist and Ang boxes at the bottom of the screen represent?

A. Abs stands for Absolute coordinates. This is unchecked by default meaning relative coordinates. When you enter X,Y values from the keyboard they are relative (as though the last coordinate was 0,0) if the checkbox is unchecked. The dist and ang boxes allow you to enter a distance and an angle instead of an X,Y. Try this : Start a line somewhere on your drawing. For the second point click the Dist entry box and type 10 press tab and type 45 in the Ang entry box and press ENTER.

Q. How do I create a PDF file with a black background.

A. Export a postscript file, edit it and convert it to PDF using the following procedure:

     1. Open the .cad file in CadStd Pro.
     2. Export, choose "Postscript" and save the .ps file somewhere.
     3. Open the .ps file with notepad (right mouse click on the file and choose "open with").
     4. In notepad do Edit->Replace and change all "0 0 0 setrgbcolor" to "1 1 1 setrgbcolor".
     5. Change the lines in the ps file that read
     %Layer 0
     1 1 1 setrgbcolor
     %Layer 0
     0 0 0 setrgbcolor
     .1 .1 10.8 8.3 rectfill
     1 1 1 setrgbcolor

Note: The above rectfill dimensions allow a .1 inch white border around the outside of a landscape A size drawing at scale 1. You might need to experiment with these values for drawings at other scales they are X Y Width Heigth.

If you would rather have a Prussian blue background (like a blueprint) use "0 .192 .324 setrgbcolor" for the rectfill instead of "0 0 0 setrgbcolor" for the value on the line after "%Layer 0".

If you have Adobe distiller you can use it to convert a postscript file to pdf.

Otherwise you can use GSview to accomplish the same task. To install GSview download and install the following files:

     1. gs860232.exe from
     2. gsv49w32.exe from

   To convert a ps file to PDF using GSview:

     1. Open the .ps file with GSView.
     2. Choose File->Convert.
     3. Under "Device:" choose "pdfwrite".
     4. Under "Resolution:" choose the resolution that you want.
     5. Press OK and type a filename (include .pdf in the filename)

Keep in mind that changing the paper background color is probably a bad idea unless you have some special need. It might make your document look cool but if someone prints a large document from it they will use a large quantity of ink or toner.

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