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What is default AutoCAD background color?

The default background color in AutoCAD is black. When you first open a new drawing in AutoCAD, the background will be set to black automatically. This provides good contrast with most object colors and makes drawings easy to read on both screen and when printed.

Background Color Options

While black is the default, AutoCAD does give you options for changing the background color if desired. Some common options include:

  • White – Sets the background to white, which can make drawings look more like paper drawings.
  • Gray – Sets various shades of gray as the background.
  • Custom colors – Lets you choose from a palette of colors or enter RGB, HSL, CMYK or True Color values.

To change the background color in AutoCAD, you can use a couple different methods:

  1. Ribbon – On the Home tab, find the Draw panel and select the arrow under the Background Color button. Choose one of the preset colors or select Other to open the Select Color dialog box.
  2. Command line – Type ‘OPTIONS’ and open the Display tab. Choose the color under Background.

Once you change the background color, it will be retained for all new drawings going forward. You can always change it back to the default black if needed.

Reasons to Change Background Color

While black is the standard, there are times when you may want to use a different background color in AutoCAD:

  • High contrast with line colors – A dark background provides high contrast with bright line colors like white, yellow or orange.
  • Printing – A white background can make drawingssimulate black-on-white paper printouts.
  • Eye strain – Some users find lighter backgrounds like gray cause less eye strain.
  • Personal preference – Match company or personal color preferences.

Advantages of the Default Black Background

Using the default black background in AutoCAD drawings comes with some advantages:

  • Ink savings – Black backgrounds use less ink when printing.
  • Contrast – The dark canvas makes all colors and lines stand out.
  • Ease of use – Consistent background makes drawings familiar.
  • Darkroom drafting – Simulates darkroom lit drafting tables.

For many users, the default black background works well the majority of the time. It provides a classic drafting environment and helps keep file sizes and printing costs down by not filling the drawing area with white pixels.


The default background color in AutoCAD is black. This provides a dark canvas that creates good contrast with object colors and lines. While other colors are available, black offers benefits like ink savings, familiarity for users, and a classic drafting environment.

There are times when using a custom background color may be preferred, such as for printing purposes or reducing eye strain. But for most general drafting needs, the black background is a good standard option in AutoCAD.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different ways to change the background color in AutoCAD?

There are a few different ways to change the background color in AutoCAD:

  • Use the Ribbon – On the Home tab, go to the Draw panel and select the Background Color option. Choose a preset color or select Other to pick a custom color.
  • Command line – Type ‘OPTIONS’ and go to the Display tab. Pick the desired color under Background.
  • System variable – Enter ‘BACKGROUND’ at the command line and set it to the color number you want.
  • Script files – You can create script files to set background color when drawings open.

What color uses the least ink when printing AutoCAD drawings?

Black uses the least ink when printing AutoCAD drawings. The default black background will leave most of the drawing area blank, only using ink for the actual lines and objects you draw. Other lighter colors like white require ink over the entire page.

Can I save a custom background color to use for all drawings?

Yes, you can save a custom default background color in AutoCAD. Once you choose a custom color using the Ribbon or Options dialog box, that color will be retained as the default for any new drawings you create. You can also create a template file with your desired background set to use as a starting point.

Is there a way to quickly switch between a black and white background in AutoCAD?

Some options for quickly switching the background color in AutoCAD include:

  • Create presets – On the Ribbon or Options dialog, save both a white and black background as presets that can be quickly selected.
  • Custom tool palettes – Make white and black background buttons on a palette for one-click changes.
  • Scripts – Write scripts to toggle the background color and assign to shortcuts.

What is the system variable to control the AutoCAD background color?

The system variable to change the background color in AutoCAD is BACKGROUND. You can enter ‘BACKGROUND’ at the command line and set it to the color number you want. For example, enter ‘BACKGROUND=7’ to change to the color white.

Background Color Recommendations

Drawing Use Recommended Color
General drafting Black
Printing final plots White
Architectural designs Gray or custom
High contrast needed Dark color like black
Reducing eye strain Light color like gray

This table provides recommendations for selecting a background color for different drawing uses in AutoCAD.

Comparing Background Color Standards

Let’s compare the default background colors used in common CAD and design software programs:

Software Default Background Color
AutoCAD Black
MicroStation Black
Revit White
SolidWorks Gray
Inventor Gray
SketchUp Sky blue

As you can see, black and white tend to be the most common default background colors in CAD software, though some programs like SketchUp opt for colors like blue or gray.

Customizing the AutoCAD Environment

In addition to background color, there are a few other settings you can customize to optimize AutoCAD for your workflow:

  • Text font and size – Set the default text styles for annotations.
  • Grid settings – Adjust grid line colors, spacing and behavior.
  • Interface scheme – Dark or light color themes for the Ribbon, tabs, etc.
  • Shortcut keys – Customize your own keyboard shortcuts.

Taking the time to personalize your AutoCAD environment can help boost productivity. A comfortable drafting space makes long design sessions easier on the eyes.


The standard background color used in AutoCAD is black. It provides good contrast with object colors while using minimal ink when printing. While other colors are available, the black background offers many advantages.

There are situations where switching the background to white or gray can be beneficial, such as needing high contrast or reducing eye strain. Overall, the black background is a good default for general drafting purposes.

Beyond color, take advantage of options to customize things like text fonts, interface schemes and grid settings. Personalizing your AutoCAD workspace ultimately helps maximize efficiency and comfort while using the software.