How to make 2D from 3D drawing in AutoCAD

AutoCAD offers multiple ways to convert a 3D geometry into 2D drawing and flatshot is a great way of doing that apart from using layout tab to create the 2D.

This command can create 2D geometries from a 3D model from different views on current XY plane in model space. Using this tool you can create top, front, isometric views of geometry in under a minute.

For explaining this command I will use this sample 3D drawing, you can also download data files for this article.

3D practice drawing sample

Open the drawing in AutoCAD then switch to 3D modelling workspace and change visual style to Shaded if it is not already selected from visual style panel of visualize tab. Now change your view to top from view cube or views drop down present in top left of drawing area.

Understanding FLATSHOT dialogue box:

Select FLATSHOT tool from expanded section panel of home tab or type FLATSHOT on command line to activate this command. You will see flatshot dialogue box like the one shown here, it has multiple options which will be used to create our 2D geometry lets first have a look at these options.Flatshot dilaogue box


The first optin of Insert as new block will ensure that new 2D top view thus generated will be inserted as a block in current drawing.

Replace existing block radio button will replace any block which you select with the 2D created with flatshot and the third option will export 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 dropdowns that follows.

Include tangential edges:include tangential edges in flatsht

The last option is a radio button mentioned as Include tangential edges on selecting this radio button you will see a line at the edges which are tangential to the adjoining edge for example a fillet. Look at the image on right it explains tangential edges mre clearly.

Creating top view:

Now select flatshot tool from expanded section panel of home tab or type FLATSHOT on command line and hit enter then select insert as new block in destination panel of flatshot dialogue box.

Don’t change properties of foreground lines and select Show radio button in obscured line panel then change its color to yellow or other light colour and line type to hidden. Now select Include tangential edges radio button and click create.

You will see that your cursor now follows top view of 3D geometry, click at a point in drawing area where you want to place it and press enter thrice to accept all default values.

Creating front view:

Change your view to front from view cube or view drop down from top left of drawing area and again select FLATSHOT command. Select all the options from flatshot dialogue box as you have selected in previous condition of top view and click on create.

You will see that in this case also 2D drawing of front view follows cursor now 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 place it, now when you move to top view again which is also the XY plane you will be able to see front view clearly. You can later move this front view drawing at a suitable place according to your requirement.

Creating isometric view:

For creating 2D view of isometric drawing change your view to SE isometric (or any other view you like) and repeat all processes again as mentioned in previous example of creating front view, in this case too the isometric view will be created on XY plane.

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

final view of flatshot drawing

How often you use these tools in your daily work and do you find it useful? Let me know in comment box below.


  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. Jaiprakash,

    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?


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