How to create custom linetypes in AutoCAD-based products

September 25, 2020 Ryan Wunderlich

It’s very easy to create custom linetype now using Express Tools in AutoCAD. Make sure express tools are installed in AutoCAD. 

You can create a simple or complex custom linetypes in AutoCAD.

Simple linetype is a combination of lines and text, whereas complex linetype contains complex shapes.  You can only create single-line linetypes, not double-lines, so keep that in mind when you are creating these.

Steps to create simple linetype;

Let’s say I need to create a linetype for a Cable TV line, which is a combination of dashed lines and a text designator (CATV)

1. Sketch up or draw how you want the linetype to appear:

So in the above example, CATV text is set to 0.2 units high, using the Standard Text Style, which is using ROMAND.shx as the font. This is txt is Justified to middle center.  I also have two lines created by drawing in each segment and gap I want (you cannot use a defined linetype and have it recognize it, you have to draw in each segment and gap).  I have also included a 0.10 unit gap from the line to the text on both sides. 

This has to be DTEXT (single line text) and cannot be MTEXT. 

Be aware that if you create a linetype with multiple dashed segments (above), the first segment may increase in length to accomodate the linetype when used, so you may need to change the parameters or alter the spacing until you have one that doesn't create the extra length segment.

2. Go to Express Tools----> Make Linetype:

3. Give linetype a file name;  I put in CATV.lin. If you need to load a line in the linetype list, this file .lin is used.
After you save this file, you will need to place it in one of the support folders to access it easily (generally %appdata%\Autodesk\\AutoCAD 20xx\Rxx.x\enu\Support)

4.  Give Linetype name; I put in CATV. You will see this name in the linetype list.
NOTE: you cannot have any spaces here.

5.  Next, Linetype description (this can contain spaces), we will use CATV (Underground)

6. Specify starting point and end point:

For the starting point, pick the left end point of the line drawn, and for the ending point you can select either the right endpoint (red) or left endpoint (green) of the right line segment.  If you pick the left endpoint, the word CATV will start at the end of the right line, right endpoint when used.  If you select the Right endpoint, the distance between the word CATV will be about double the length of the starting point to the CATV text at the beginning of the line segment.  Make sure to select the Left endpoint of the line and not the right one, as there would be a double line segment in the middle between the text CATV.

Then select the ending point of the definition:

  1. Now we select the Left Line segment and the text (do not select the right line segment (I draw this in for symmetry)

  2. The new CATV linetype is created and it should be displayed in the linetype drop down list.

  3. Now draw a line and see the new linetype in AutoCAD:

Note, if you fail to generate a linetype (due to an error), be aware that there is a limitation of 12 line segments that can be included in a linetype definition, and gaps count toward that limit.  So in the example above, I would need to change the spacing to .2 line length and .2 gap to have the double length between the CATV words.  

About the Author

Ryan Wunderlich

Sr. Technical Support Specialist<br><br>An AutoCAD Certified Professional, Ryan is responsible for taking client cases and assisting with issues with the software - everything from regular glitches to software deployments and whatever else goes wrong. He's proficient in AutoCAD (including customization), VBA, LISP, and Civil 3D.

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