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Michael’s Corner

Michael BeallMichael's Corner is a monthly publication written by Michael E. Beall, Autodesk Authorized Author and peripatetic AutoCAD trainer. Michael travels all over the USA, bringing his fantastic experience and great understanding of AutoCAD to his clients. Michael's Corner brings together many of the tips, tricks and methods developed during these training sessions for the benefit of all users.

Michael's Corner provides something for every AutoCAD user. Every month, a number of articles cover a wide range of topics, suitable for users at all levels, including "The Basics" for those just starting out. Essentially, the aim of Michael's Corner is to help all AutoCAD users work smarter and faster.


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This month…

August - Settings and Switches

It looks like the insights I have this time are Behind-the-Scenes / Under-the-Hood kinda things. Tinkering with the mechanics of what makes this squirrely software tick. One of them came from one of the AutoCAD users in the Facilities Department at Facebook, and the rest were the result of my own discoveries or what I saw in my customers' drawings.

On deck this time you'll learn…

…What the AutoCAD 2016 Variable Monitor can do for you
…How to switch the case in text objects
…The trick to suppressing that logo (Heart valve? Hotel in Dubai?) when you launch AutoCAD
…Why you should avoid using the Standard text and dimension styles

Hope you've had a delightful summer!

This month's articles

The A2016 Variable Monitor
The /nologo Switch
Avoid Using ‘Standard’ in Text & Dimension Styles

From the Vault

Originally published January 2003

Creating Custom Linetypes

Where's the Code?

AutoCAD stores the code of all of the default linetypes in the file acad.lin. When you click on the linetype Continuous while in the Layer Properties dialog, the Select Linetype dialog opens. If you need a linetype that's not already in the drawing, you click on the Load button and the Load or Reload Linetypes dialog shows you all of the available linetypes which are contained in the acad.lin file. The trick is getting your own in there.

Tutorial for Making Your Own

Rule No. 1 with AutoCAD, of course, is to use what's available as a building block to make your own. In this exercise you create a custom linetype for Cold Water --CW--CW--CW--.

  1. Open the acad.lin file in Notepad. Notice there are two lines of code for each linetype. The first line begins with an asterisk followed by the name of the linetype (with no spaces in the name) and what amounts to the description of the linetype. The second line is the linetype's coded definition and begins with the letter 'A'. There are no options here. I'm sure, once upon a time, Autodesk was going to, but not now.

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

  1. Highlight the two lines of code for the Hot Water linetype and Copy/Paste it to the bottom of the acad.lin file.
  2. Edit the first line and change it to read as a Cold Water linetype description. This amounts to changing Hot to Cold in two locations, and changing the HW to CW.
  3. Edit the definition code. Since our new Cold Water linetype is virtually identical to the Hot Water, the edits in the second line are relatively easy, (change the HW to CW).

What follows is a review of the coded information for this new Cold Water custom linetype:

Second line must start with A.

Any positive number is 'pen down' and is the length of the line segment drawn between each CW occurrence. Any negative number is a 'pen up'. This specifies the length of the gap before the center point of the text.

[Bracketed information (with commas separating each item):

"CW" The text inserted in the line. You need to have it in quotes.

STANDARD The text style to be used for the inserted text. Please note that the style requested must exist in the drawing or the linetype cannot be displayed as defined.

S=.1 Text size if the text has not been preset in the requested text style. If the text style specifies a height for the text, the S value is the factor applied to that height.

R=0.0 How the text is to be treated within the line. The R defines the Relative rotation of the text within the line. If you use A=, you specify the Absolute angle of the text, regardless of the angle of the line drawn.

X= and Y= This specifies the position of the insertion point of the text referenced from the midpoint of the text. You'll need to finesse this setting.

…End of bracketed items]

-.2 Another pen up to leave a gap after the center point of the text.

Making it Work

Save the acad.lin file, then launch AutoCAD. Create a layer for the Cold Water line, then click on the default linetype of Continuous to open the Select Linetype dialog. Click load and navigate down to your (alphabetized) Cold Water linetype, then select and assign it to the layer. Now when you draw on that layer, your CW linetype will appear!

Text Tips

This tutorial ran with the default 'Start from Scratch' launch of AutoCAD. If you work on larger drawings (AEC), consider the following settings:
Pen down 96 or greater (8')
Pen up (gap) 18 or greater
S (text size) 12 or greater
X -12
Y -6

If you make changes within the acad.lin file while a drawing is open, you can use the Ltype command (LT) to open the Linetype Manager dialog, then reload your custom linetype. Once the linetype has been redefined in the drawing, Regen and you will see the updated version. Per the above figure, the linetype follows Plines around so consider A=0 for the rotation.

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