AutoCAD Electrical Ladder Reference Alignment

June 25, 2021 Heath White


A client recently asked me how to stop the ladder references from being indented on every tenth line. I had never noticed that before and initially I didn’t have a good answer for him. I checked all the usual locations for options to change the behavior, but quickly noted that there is no interface that allows you to set that behavior. I also was not able to find any indications online of where this setting might be located. In the example below, you can see there is a slight offset between the alignment of “741” and “742” as well as “751” and “752”. 

After a bit of investigation, my research led me to the Master Ladder Reference blocks. Since there was no setting that I could find which controlled the behavior, the next obvious location to look in was within the block itself. AutoCAD Electrical uses Master Ladder Reference (MLR) blocks to set the information for ladders and the first reference of every ladder is a MLR block, with the subsequent references being text objects. When checking the MLR blocks, there wasn’t anything overly special about them, but I did notice that the default block justification was “Middle Right”. Due to this setting, any time the reference number ended with a “1” it appears that the reference number is indented due to the alignment with the thinner number.

Solution: To address the issue, you can simply change the Justification to “Middle Left for each MLR block that you regularly use. I would suggest that you make backups of the default blocks prior to making any changes in case you want to revert to the default behavior. You may also need to adjust the position of the attribute depending on your preferences.

As a bonus, this blog from Stan Wile, one of our resident AutoCAD Electrical experts, contains the names and locations of the Master Ladder Reference blocks along with the process for changing the ladder reference styles across a project.

About the Author

Heath White

Sr. Technical Support Specialist, Manufacturing

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