AutoCAD Tutorial

Lock Those Viewports

By Rick Ellis, Cadapult Software Solutions, Inc., February 13, 2003

Have you ever had a layout set up perfectly, only to have the scale and orientation of the viewport destroyed by someone (maybe even yourself) using a pan or zoom command while the viewport is active? I know, it’s not the end of the world, but it is very annoying, and it can be prevented. The secret here is a new option that came along in AutoCAD 2000 that allows you to lock your viewports. When a viewport is locked you are still allowed to pan and zoom. But if you pan or zoom while the viewport is active, or while you are working in the model space viewport, then the pan or zoom actually takes place in paper space.

Three ways to lock

Now let’s look at the process. As with most things in AutoCAD there are several ways to lock a viewport. I won’t try to list all of them here but I will show you three of the most common.

1. Right-Click

a. Select the Viewport

b. Right-click

c. Select Display Locked >> Yes

2. Use the Properties Command

a. Select Modify >> Properties to open the Properties window

b. Select the Viewport

c. Change the Display Locked property of the viewport to Yes

Note: You can also set the scale of the viewport in the Properties window.

3. Use the Command Line

a. Type MVIEW or -VPORTS at the command line

b. Then type L for the option Locked

c. Next type ON to turn locking on

Finally, you will be prompted to select the viewport you wish to lock.

How to unlock

You can unlock the viewport if you need to by using the same procedure and just setting the lock option to No. The hardest part seems to be just getting in the habit of remembering to use the lock option. Other than that it is an easy thing to do and it can be a big time saver.

About the Author

Rick Ellis is the co-founder of Cadapult Software Solutions, Inc., a member of the Autodesk Developer Network; and author of several AutoCAD training manuals, including “Digging into Land Desktop.” He teaches classes focusing on AutoCAD, Map, Land Desktop, Raster Design, MXRoad and MXRenew for skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced users. Consulting services range from installation support to the implementation of standards.

If you have any questions about this article or for more information you can call Rick at (503) 829-8929, email, or visit the Cadapult website at