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In AutoCAD 2011 New Features, instructor Jeff Bartels highlights productivity and creativity enhancing additions to the AutoCAD toolset. This course covers improved functions for selecting and creating geometry, updated modification tools for hatches and polylines, simplified parametric constraint tools, and the new dynamic surface modeling techniques for creating complex shapes. Exercise files accompany the course.
If you use linetypes that contain text, you've probably had to rotate your geometry on occasion, such that the text was readable. Well, we don't have to do that anymore because all the linetypes included with AutoCAD 2011 will maintain their readability, regardless of the rotation of your geometry. Let's take a look. I'd like to start out by creating a new layer. To do that we'll click the icon that brings up the Layer Properties Manager. I'll click the New Layer icon and I'm going to call my layer "gas line." Next, I'll move down to the Linetype column and click.
This shows me a listing of the linetypes that are loaded in this drawing. I'll click the Load button and in this list I can see all the linetypes that come pre-installed with AutoCAD 2011. AutoCAD doesn't contain many linetypes that have text in them, pretty much just the HOT_WATER_SUPPLY and the GAS_LINE linetypes. In this case, we'll select GAS_LINE and click OK. This loads it into our drawing. I will then select it again and click OK to apply it to my layer.
Finally, I'll double-click the layer name to set that layer current and I'll close the Layer Properties Manager. Now let's create a circle. I'll click the icon to launch the command. I'll pick a point on screen to define my center point and I would like this circle to have a radius of 40. Now as I zoom-in on this geometry, notice that the text in the linetype is always right side up. Let's try and create a polyline. I'll click the icon to launch that command. I'll pick a point on screen.
I'll pick a few more points. We'll just create a zigzag pattern here and notice that regardless of the direction that I draw my line work, the text inside my linetype maintains its readability. All AutoCAD 2011 linetypes and many new linetypes created with 2011 will act just like this. As an example, let's create our own custom AutoCAD linetype. It's actually very easy to do and we'll start out by visiting Layout tab 1. If I zoom in a little bit, you can see I've already created some geometry on this layout and if I select these we can see it's basically a couple of line segments and some text.
This geometry will be used to define a linetype that will represent a cable TV installation. Now it's important to note that whenever you define a new linetype, it's best to use geometry that was drawn in a layout. This way you're creating your linetype at the same size you want it to appear on our plots. So to turn this geometry into our linetype, I will click the Express Tools tab. We'll come down and open up the Tools panel and I'll select Make Linetype. AutoCAD linetype definitions are saved using a .LIN file and I'm going to save my file inside the exercise files folder under Chapter 2 and I'm going to call this cable television, then we'll click Save.
Now I'll give my linetype a name. This is the name that AutoCAD uses to recognize this linetype. We'll call it cable_tv. Notice I used an underscore, because we can't have spaces in our linetype names. Let's hit Enter. Now I can enter a linetype description. In this case, I'm going to create a pseudo representation of what this linetype will look like. I'm doing this by just creating some dashes and typing some text. When I'm finished, I'll hit Enter.
I will then select the starting point of my linetype. That'll be the endpoint here. Then I'll select the end point of the linetype. Now this is important. This is the point at which the linetype repeats. That will be the endpoint right here. Now I can select my objects. I'll select this text and this line. I do not have to select this line because technically it's repeated geometry. Let's hit Enter and if we look at the command line, we can see our linetype has been created and it's been loaded into this drawing. At this point, we'll go back to Model space.
Let me click my Home tab and we'll create a new layer. Once again, I'll click the New Layer icon and I'm going to call this layer cable TV. I'll then go to the Linetype column and click and I will select my new linetype from the list. Let's click OK and now that my layer has been created, I will close the Layer Properties Manager. Let's back up a little bit. I'll pan my drawing over. On my screen, I've got a civil engineering example.
This is a drawing of a cul-de-sac in a proposed subdivision and what I'd like to do is represent the location of the cable TV installation. If I zoom in a little bit, this yellow line represents the property line at the front of the lots and I would like to insert the cable TV 5 feet inside this property line. So let's launch the Offset command. I will type 5 for my distance and hit Enter. We'll select this polyline and I'd like to offset it to this side.
When I'm finished I'll hit my Escape key. Let's zoom in a little bit more. Then I'll select my offset geometry. We'll go to the layer control and we will put this on our new cable TV layer and once again, I'll hit my Escape key to deselect. Notice my new linetype looks great and even as this polyline wraps around and heads the other direction, the text inside my linetype maintains its readability. This readability feature is a property of all AutoCAD 2011 linetypes.
So what if you'd like to add this Readability property to your own existing custom linetype files? Well, to do that you need to make a minor modification to your linetype code. Let's edit the linetype code that we use to create our new linetype. To edit a linetype code, we'll use the Notepad program and the fastest way to get in to Notepad through AutoCAD is by typing notepad and then I'll hit Enter twice. From here, I'll go to File > Open, we'll look inside the exercise files folder, inside the Chapter 2 directory.
This is the place where we saved our .LIN file. Notice it's not showing up in the list. That's because by nature, Notepad is looking for a .TXT file. I'll click the flyout here and we'll select All Files. There we go. Right here is our linetype definition. I'll select this and we'll click Open. As you can see AutoCAD linetypes are defined by some simple code. Generally speaking we have the linetype name right here. Next to it, we have the linetype description.
This number represents the length of the line prior to my text. This negative number represents the length of the dash prior to the text. Here is the text itself. It's being created using the standard text style. The text has a y offset relative to the linetype of .05. The text is the size of .1. And right here this u, this controls the readability of the text. U stands for upright. Now if this was an older linetype definition file, something created prior to AutoCAD 2011, you would see an R here.
R stands for relative. Meaning the text will always be relative or follow the linetype. By changing the R to U means that this text will always be readable on screen. I'm going to select this code and let's create a copy and we'll make our copy follow the traditional linetype text alignment. Now that I've selected this I'll right-click and select Copy. I'll hit my Enter key a couple times to add some carriage returns. Then I'll right-click, select Paste.
I will give my new linetype a name of CABLE_TV_OLD and we'll change this u to an r. I'll then click File and Save to save my LIN file and then we'll close Notepad. Now let's load my revised linetype and give this polyline a traditional AutoCAD look. Once again, we'll go back to the Layer Properties Manager. I'll find my cable TV layer and click in the Linetype column. I'll select Load. Now we won't be using the stock AutoCAD linetypes. I'll click File.
We're going to be using our own LIN file. We'll look inside the Chapter 2 folder. We'll select the file right here and click Open. This linetype definition file contains two linetypes. I'll select the Old version and click OK. I will then select it again and click OK to assign it to my layer and then I'll close the Layer Properties Manager. And notice that my linetype now has a traditional AutoCAD text alignment. So in AutoCAD 2011 linetypes are all about u and when I say u, I mean the letter u because that's the character in the linetype code that makes your linetypes readable on screen.
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