This procedure will walk through the process of creating your own text linetypes, utilizing the capability introduced with AutoCAD R13. You might be surprised at how much you can do with this simple customization, especially when combined with the Windows Wingding Truetype font.

Not all details or principals of creating linetypes are presented here. You should consult the AutoCAD customization guide for full details.

Where definitions are stored:

While linetype definitions can be stored in any file with the LIN extension, you will probably find it easiest to make your changes to the ACAD.LIN file. This file is found in your AutoCAD SUPPORT directory. This approach does involve some recommended backups. First it would be convenient to backup the original ACAD.LIN file. Second after you get the new linetypes established it would be a good idea to backup the file again, to protect against overwriting if AutoCAD is reinstalled.

The easiest approach:

One simple way to create an additional text linetype is to copy one of the examples in the ACAD.LIN file. We have reproduced a small portion of it here.

*HOT_WATER_SUPPLY,Hot water supply —- HW —- HW —- HW —-

Notice that the primary difference between these two definitions is the letters used (HW -vs- GAS) and the last number on the second line. The value was incremented by 0.05 to accommodate the extra character. You may need to experiment with this value to determine the right number to produce the desired gap for the text. A starting point is 0.1 times the number of characters, as the added WATER linetype works well with a value of -.5.


The need for UNICODE:

In our next copy we also desire to have a quotation mark for inches, such as in a water line of 6″ to be drawn as W-6″. Since the linetype definition uses the quotation marks as a delimiter, we can’t simply add another quotation mark. UNICODE comes to the rescue with the ability to express these as well as other characters not available on the keyboard.

A small sampling includes:

  • \U+0022 = Quotation Marks
  • \U+00B0 = Degree symbol
  • \U+00B1 = Plus/minus tolerance symbol
  • \U+2205 = Diameter dimensioning symbol

Next example appears as:

*6IN_WATER,6in Water line —- W-6 —- W-6 —- W-6 —-
A,.5,-.2,[“W – 6\U+0022”,STANDARD,S=.1,R=0.0,X=-0.1,Y=-.05],-.55

With many fonts you should be able to use %%34 for the quotation marks.

The need for Styles:

Notice that all of the examples we have used so far have referenced the STANDARD text style, which will always be defined in the drawing. If you would like to use a different text style in your text linetype you need to make sure that the style is defined in the drawing before you try to load the linetype, otherwise you will receive the unwelcome “Bad Definition Error”.

In consideration of this, it would be a good idea to add the needed styles to your prototype/template. You may even want to open your prototype, add the desired text styles and even establish the text linetypes needed. Once saved, new drawings based on this prototype/template will automatically provide the text linetypes ready to use, you won’t even have to load them. As there is a small amount of overhead associated with each linetype, you would want to be conservative and only add those you would expect to use most of the time.

WingDings expands the possibilities:

You have the ability to use any font in your text styles which in turn can be referenced in your text linetypes. So why not take advantage of the useful symbols contained in the various Windows WingDing fonts. You will also see some useful symbols in the SYMBOLS.TTF and other truetype fonts.

To see the contents of these fonts and identify the appropriate character value, you will need to enlist the help of the Windows Character Map tool. This comes with all versions of Windows but may not be installed by default. From the Windows Start button, check under Accessories and maybe System Tools.

If you don’t have this program [CHARMAP.EXE] you will need to use the Add/Remove Programs applet of the Windows Control Panel to add it. It will be in the System Tools section of the Windows Setup tab. Once you get Character Map you will be ready to continue. The application looks like this with the WingDings font set current.

Notice that the bold right arrow is currently highlighted and the keystroke is shown in the lower right hand corner. So to add our fancy Wingding text linetype we would first need to create the WINGDING style based on the Windows WINGDING.TTF font. Then we would add the linetype.

*RIGHT_ARROW,Right arrow —- > —- > —- > —- > —-

To achieve the special character enclosed in the quotes, hold down the Alt key on the keyboard while you enter the numbers 0232 on the number pad, then release the Alt key.
When the text linetype is loaded and used, it can produce attractive results, such as the following example.

Note that with this arrow text linetype the arrow will generally point in the direction that the geometry was drawn. However ARC’s will always display pointing counter-clockwise. For these situations simply generate the left arrow linetype and change the geometry’s linetype.

PLINEGEN plays a part:

You may notice that on polylines that contain arcs that the annotation always wants to read counter-clockwise even if you reverse the polyline. That is because the the linetype generation flag for that polyline needs to be turned on. ToolPac users simply use the ToolPac>Polyline>Ltype Gen>On option and select the affected polylines.

Centerlines possibilities:

To show the stacked centerline symbol in your linetypes, use the lower case ‘q’ in conjunction with the GDT.SHX font. Use the same procedure discussed to set this up.

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