Text is hard to read in drawing DWFs in the Vault Thin Client

December 6, 2023 Bob Felton


When there are dozens or hundreds of AutoCAD dwg files that need to be viewed in the Vault Thin Client, a web browser-based drawing viewer, and a majority of them have shx text that appears indistinct, in that the lines of the text 'bloom' or appear 'smudgy', what is the best solution to get them to appear crisper?

Some text is readable, but other text looks garbled.


AutoCAD shx fonts were developed to be plotted on paper with fiber-tipped or inked pen tips for text created with single-line strokes for each character.

When an AutoCAD drawing is plotted to DWF or DWFX format that then needs to be zoomed in or out on screen, or worse, printed when zoomed out, the lineweight for the shx font's character strokes needs to be thin enough to not appear 'fuzzy' or 'indistinct'.


One: Substitute an Arial TrueType font for the shx fonts used in the AutoLoaderLayoutSetup that is in the TrueViewSetup.dwg file located in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Vault Client 202X\Explorer location. That will be used by the Job Processor to generate DWF or DWFX files for the AutoCAD DWG drawings that the Thin Client uses.

Arial.ttf on the left has been substituted for the Textstyles that were using Simplex.shx or RomanS.shx, shown on the right. 

The advantage is that Arial and all TrueType fonts will scale as needed to maintain a crisp, sharp appearance on screen and when printed.

The disadvantage to changing all drawings from shx to a ttf font is that each drawing needs to be updated. An AutoCAD Lisp routine can be used to apply the font changes to textstyles when a drawing opens. Details here.

Also, any fixed-width boxes for text in the drawing's title block or Bill of Materials may be overflowed with the wider characters of the ttf font compared with the shx font. Using a condensed font in a separate textstyle, such as Arial Narrow.ttf may solve that.

Two: Using the existing shx font, edit the DWF creator, either DWF6 ePlot.pc3 or DWFx ePlot (XPS Compatible).pc3 to check 'Scale lineweights' in the Plot Layout for the TrueViewSetup.dwg (in the same location as shown in Solution One).

Note:  If there is an unknown condition that keeps the 'Scale lineweights' option from being selected on the DWF or DWFx plot device, try the opposite plot device.  If the first plot device has that option grayed out, the other one may be accessible. Then use the one that has Scale Lineweights checked.

Note:  For either solution, replace any DWF or DWFx files in Vault that have indistinct text. Select the drawing or group of drawings and use Actions > Update View > Queue Update from the Vault Client menu. That will use the Job Processor to update the DWF or DWFx files seen by the Thin Client.

Special thanks for the confirmed solution two by Tina Hamden.

About the Author

Bob Felton

Sr. Technical Support Specialist, Manufacturing<br><br>Bob Felton has been supporting Autodesk products for over 25 years including core AutoCAD, P&ID, Plant 3D, AutoCAD for Mac, AutoCAD Mechanical, and Vault. His background is in graphics with an Applied Sciences degree and ten years manufacturing experience drafting, as well as technical illustration, image editing, and even patent drafting.

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