Scale List Mania

First, let me say I’m sorry.  It’s been much longer since my last post. It is my intention to post more frequently, but those plans were put on hold.  Hopefully, I can move forward with those plans now. With that…

When you first open a file that has a large scale list, you immediately posed this question:




You intuitively click YES and move on. After the second time you see this, you naturally click the “Always perform my current choice” to always respond with yes. But then you realize, “wait, i had some typical scales i use that we had to add. Now they’re gone, every time!” Would you like to know how to put those atypical scales in the default list? Read on….

If you have looked for this, there is not anything within AutoCAD or Civil 3D options to edit this list. It is in the Registry!

Dunt, dunt, duh!

Yes, the registry still evokes fear and loathing in most people. So tread lightly here. In fact, let’s start by creating a backup copy for “just in case” we screw up.

Ready?  To start the registry editor, there are many ways, but my preferred method is to go to START>RUN….

Type regedit and click OK. The Registry Editor opens. Now to make that backup, make sure that “My Computer” is highlighted in the left pane.  Then go to File>Export. Export Registry File dialog box is open. Let’s give our export a name like system and then put it on our desktop for ease of use. Make sure that under Export Range (bottom of window) is set to all. Click OK. The export may take a few seconds. Be patient.

OK, moving on. To find the list to edit, we need to browse in the left pane to:

My Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R17.2\ACAD-7000:409\AEC\5.7\AecBase50\Scales

Now we see 3 subfolders; Feet, Inches, Metric. Open the appropriate subfolder.

To add your custom scale, we need to add 3 keys for it to work properly; ScaleName, ScaleNumber and ScalePerUnits. Each key is prefixed with a 2 digit number and a period. This set the scale list order.

To add a key, right click on the correct folder (we’re going to Feet in this example) and select New>String Value


instantly, a new key is created. You can now simply type the name of the key, let’s start with 19.ScaleName.


To edit the value, double click on the key name or simply hit ENTER.


This value represents the text shown in the Scale List. In our example, we want to add a scale 1” = 5280’. So we simply type that text string with spaces into the “Value data:” box.

Repeat this process to create the following keys and values:

key: 19.ScaleNumber

value: 1.0

key: 19.ScalePerUnits

value: 5280.0

That’s it! Restart Civil 3D and reset the scale list! Your new scale should now be there. If you want your new scale somewhere else in the list, you have to manually renumber each key prefix accordingly, not fun. If you want to shorten the list, then simply delete the 3 corresponding keys.  I’m sure someone may have come up with a way to do this programmatically, but that is not me….



About Kevin
Hi… I am a husband, father, brother and neighbor. I am employed as a Civil Engineer and have enjoyed playing the drums for the last 30+ years.

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