AutoCAD font overrides

Here is how to properly override (replace) font’s globally in Autodesk AutoCAD.

Why replace?

Unicode fonts

Depending on your version of AutoCAD the nordic characters for ÅÄÖÆØ might not be working properly. This is usually caused by different versions of the same font’s. For some reason it seems, the characters ÅÄÖÆØ were removed from iso.shx

Fortunately they’re still available in isocp.shx and it’s perfectly fine to replace each font one by one in every drawing. This gets tedious though if you have hundreds of drawings to plot.

Better performance

Another reason might be to get rid of demanding true type fonts commonly used in drawings. If someone uses advanced font’s in drawings this will use up a lot more graphics memory slowing down performance.

demanding fonts

How to replace

Start by locating the file acad.fmp in your AutoCAD support folder. Depending on your version and the user account in Windows this will be stored in different paths.

acad_fmp_path

To quickly find your windows account profile folder you can copy and paste this into the explorer address bar and press enter:

%appdata%\Autodesk\

Check the year release version of Autocad you have installed. Is it 2010, 2014, 2016 or some other year? If you’ve got an AutoCAD subscription you might have several versions installed. If you have 2016 you can copy and paste this into the explorer address bar and press enter:

%appdata%\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2016\R20.1\enu\Support

If you’re hopelessly lost attempting to locate this folder you can use a shortcut built into AutoCAD by clicking File -> Plot Style Manager. This will open the adjacent path where your plot styles are stored.

plot style path

Editing acad.fmp

Before proceeding, once you’ve located acad.fmp make a backup copy of it, just in case. Call it Copy of acad.fmp or something similar.

Open it using Notepad or any other plain text editor. (Not Microsoft Word). Once open it should look something like this:

acad.fmpACAD2016 original: acad.fmp (mirror)

Each new line in this file means one font replacement operation. The syntax for instructing which font to replace is separated by a semicolon ;

The original source font;The font which to replace it with

For example if we want to replace iso with isocp we add the following line. (This is the workaround for nordic characters to work.)

iso;isocp.shx

acad.fmp_edit Edited: acad.fmp (mirror)

For this to have any effect you need to restart AutoCAD completely. All done!

Resource intensive fonts

Consider adding more resource intensive fonts.

And don’t forget the pesky Comic Sans MS! We don’t want that in our drawings do we? 😉

acad.fmp_edit2 Edited 2: acad.fmp (mirror)

End notes

Please keep in mind that replacing font’s will cause external references XREF fonts to change as well. This will cause formatting issues, especially if the new font is larger than the original.

This is important to note in case something goes wrong and you’ve been accidentally messing with someone else’s drawing. To avoid this then restore the original acad.fmp file and restart AutoCAD before plotting.

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PDF to DWG using free open source Inkscape

inkscape-screenshotInkscape is a completely free open source program for drawing vector graphics and has a lot of nifty features, among them file format conversion.

This guide will go through the procedure to get those pesky PDF drawings into AutoCAD using Inkscape.

This tutorial is written in a easy to follow step by step instructional guide intended for everyone. (Hopefully) even computer novices.

There are some limitations to the act of converting PDF to DWG that should be noted beforehand:

  • PDF files are not as accurate as DWG and should not be considered to exact scale. Think of it almost as importing a paper drawing.
  • Not all features will be converted. Some color fills, raster graphics and custom objects may be lost in the conversion. (Or require more work)
  • You can only import 1 page at a time.
  • Conversions like this can be tricky and unfortunately some files don’t do very good.

In depth step by step guide

1. Figure out the paper size of your PDF file.

Start up Adobe Acrobat. Go to File -> Properties

1

In the Description tab you should see the page size. Depending on the program used to create the PDF file (in this case AutoCAD) it might not say the ISO standard page size. Take note of the page size. In this case 841 x 594 mm which is a A1 ISO standard page size.

2

2. Download and install Inkscape.

For most windows users that’s here https://inkscape.org/en/download/windows/

If you’re uncertain which version to get read here. Most probably you will want the 64 bit installer unless you’re on an old computer with less than 4GB of ram. Then get the 32 bit installer.

3. Start up Inkscape and set the correct paper size. When starting for the first time it should have opened an empty document with an A4 size paper.

Go to File -> Document properties. Find the size of your paper or manually enter the custom page size into the text boxes. Also select the orientation of the paper to be portrait or landscape.

4 5

This page can be a bit slow and unresponsive. If Inkscape freezes or stops responding it has not crashed, have patience and give it some time and it will come to.

5. Import the PDF document from File -> Import

A new dialog box should appear with settings. If you encounter problems repeat the previous steps and return to this step and retry it with different settings. After clicking OK Inkscape may appear to freeze depending on the size of the PDF file. Large A0 drawings can take 5 minutes… just saying 🙂 Again, patience is the key here.

3 6

6. Align the imported page by clicking and draging it to the center of the paper canvas. When you’re satisfied click outside the canvas to deselect the paper.

7

7. Go to File -> Save a copy. Locate the folder where you want to save the file and select Desktop Cutting Plotter (AutoCAD DXF R14) (*.dxf) from the drop down list below in the save dialog window.

8

8. Select the base units for the drawing. In the case of ISO standard A1 paper it should be millimeters (mm).

If you have problems with the importing process repeat all the previous steps and return to this dialog and try checking or unchecking the other options.

9

Click OK to start the process. Depending on the size of the drawing this could take a while.

9. Inspect the DXF file by opening it in AutoCAD.

You should now have a quite large DXF drawing file exported. DXF stores coordinates in plain text without any compression so a DXF file might take 30 times or more data space than a DWG. Keep this in mind and try to avoid storing DXF files (for the sake of hard drive space).

10. Carefully check the scale….. and any possible errors

Its very easy to accidentally mess up the scale while importing/exporting so make sure to properly measure and compare the scale in the output drawing. There will be some inaccuracies.

11. Correct the scale if necessary

One way to correct scale is to use scale by reference.

1. SCALE command
2. Specify base point
3. Type R to use scale by Reference
4. Specify reference length by start point and end point
5. Specify new length

scale by reference

11. Save the DXF file as a DWG file.

Congratulations! You should now be done!

If you have errors opening the file try repeating the procedure with slightly different options where specified. You might also try the RECOVER or AUDIT command in Autocad. Keep in mind that errors probably mean that something was also lost in the procedure. Make sure to compare and figure out what it was.

I hope this was helpful! 🙂


PDF to DWG hack – Import PDF or EPS vector graphics into AutoCAD using Microsoft Word

Please note! I do not recommend this method any more. Before attempting this hack, instead try using Inkscape ! Full step by step guide here: https://nirklars.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/pdf-to-dwg-using-free-open-source-inkscape/

If you’ve worked in AutoCAD for a time you’ve probably encountered the problem of wanting to import an actual PDF or EPS file into your drawing instead of just making external references. Why is it so messy? And why does it require third party tools to do? And why don’t they do it properly?

One of the excuses you’ll hear is that its a question about accuracy (or lack thereof) and that part is correct. This limitation is down to the accuracy of PDF files. But who is to judge if and when you need accuracy? Sometimes you don’t, it should just work.

Here is an alternative “hacky” way to convert vector graphics from PDF to DWG without third party programs using only Microsoft Office Word. It’s not perfect, but it won’t cost you a dime!

1. Print the PDF to a file

Open your PDF file in your favorite program like Acrobat Reader. Or maybe Sumatra PDF?

print to file

Choose your standard printer. If you don’t have a printer installed a PDF converter of some kind will work as well.
Microsoft XPS Document Writer won’t work unfortunately.

Check the little checkbox next to “Print to file”. Microsoft has a guide as well.

Pressing “Print” won’t print an actual page, it will parse the PDF document, convert it into EPS and instead of sending it to the printer ask you where you wan’t to save it.

After you press “Print” you will be greeted by a very discrete dialog input box. Here you will need to enter the full path and file name of where to store the file.

print to file output name

For example enter: C:\MyFile.eps and click OK.

2. Import the EPS file into an empty Word Document

Open a new empty document using Microsoft Word. Drag and drop the EPS file MyFile.eps into the window to import it.

Save your document and close Word. Example: C:\Dok1.docx

It is important that you choose to save in the *.docx format. This is part of the trick.

3. Rename the *docx document file extension to *.zip

Example: C:\Dok1.zip

rename

If you can’t see any file extensions Microsoft has a guide on how to enable that. Here is another guide with images.

4. Browse the renamed ZIP file and locate image1.wmf

Inside you will find the following content:

cont

This shows you the complete contents of the office open XML document file format.

Browse into \word\media\ and here you will find image1.wmf. Extract this file into a temporary folder.

This is the hacky trick, we utilize Microsoft Word’s internal conversion of EPS to WMF!

5. Import image1.wmf into AutoCAD

The easiest way is to drag and drop the file onto the window. File -> Import also works.

drag drop

6. Correct the scale

Unfortunately the proper scale is lost using this procedure. You have to re-scale the drawing to the proper size. I recommend finding a comparable measurement and using the method scale by reference.

7. [Optional] Explode the block to get lines

8. Compare with the original to make sure that everything went ok.

And there you have it!

Remember that only vector graphics (lines) will be included when importing using this “hacky” method. All solids or raster graphics will be missing. Make sure to carefully scale the imported document!


Street lighting poles in 3D for DIALux

poles_s

Here are some 3D models of Swedish standard street lighting poles for use in DIALux. Drawn in AutoCAD, exported and converted to DIALux *.m3d format.

While polygon count is moderate to high in order to make them look fancier the main cylindrical stem is conical instead of stepped. This deviation is done intentionally in order to reduce the number of polygons for better performance.

Contents

  • Pole height 6 m, no arm
  • Pole height 6 m, 1 m single arm
  • Pole height 6 m, 2 m single arm
  • Pole height 6 m, 1 m double arm
  • Pole height 6 m, 2 m double arm
  • Pole height 8 m, no arm
  • Pole height 8 m, 1 m single arm
  • Pole height 8 m, 2 m single arm
  • Pole height 8 m, 1 m double arm
  • Pole height 8 m, 2 m double arm
  • Pole height 10 m, no arm
  • Pole height 10 m, 1 m single arm
  • Pole height 10 m, 2 m single arm
  • Pole height 10 m, 1 m double arm
  • Pole height 10 m, 2 m double arm
  • Pole height 12 m, no arm
  • Pole height 12 m, 1 m single arm
  • Pole height 12 m, 2 m single arm
  • Pole height 12 m, 1 m double arm
  • Pole height 12 m, 2 m double arm

Preview images

1 2

Instructions

Extract the zip archive.

Import all the files into the DIALux library by dragging and dropping the files. They will end up in the “Furniture” category.

After you insert them into your project for the first time make sure to set every pole with the option to use it as a decoration object. This will skip unnecessary calculations and significantly improve calculation time!

decoration object

Download

These 3D models are loosely based of Moramast drawings. Please note that these models are only intended to be used for decoration, they do not represent an actual product! I am not affiliated with Moramast and take no responsibility to the accuracy of these drawings.

I agree, start the download please! (mirror)

MD5: 3577eeee92590375013082310949a7d1

Copying

Feel free to use these however you wish!

If you find these useful for your project please link back here! You don’t have to give any credit but I would appreciate it if you did 🙂

Be sure to leave a comment in case I’ve made a mistake or if you have any suggestions!


AutoCAD LT 2012 repair/restore nordic fonts – ÅÆØÅÄÖ shown as question marks

Update 2015-12-14
This is not the proper way to solve this issue. Please follow this guide instead! https://nirklars.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/autocad-font-overrides/

Description

Typing any nordic symbols in AutoCAD 2012 using the ISO.SHX font will result in incorrectly displaying a question mark instead. “ÅÆØÅÄÖ  is shown as “??????
SV: Om man skriver ÅÆØÅÄÖ i AutoCAD LT 2012 visas endast frågetecken. ÅÄÖ fungerar inte i AutoCAD 2012

Manual Solution

Copy the following files to your %ProgramFiles%\Autodesk\AutoCAD LT 2012 – English\Fontsfolder. If you are running any other versions of AutoCAD please find the similar directory.
%ProgramFiles% is a global variable for the Program Files folder which can be named differently depending on your Windows operating system.

Download zip archive (mirror)

“Automatic” Self Extractor for AutoCAD LT 2012

Please note that this patch is for AutoCAD LT 2012. If you are running an alternate version please make sure that you have the correct destination folder!
This self-extractor will overwrite existing files! Make sure to backup before.

Download self extractor (mirror)

Copyright

These fonts are the property of Autodesk.
I claim “fair use” for distributing the fonts since Nordic fonts were properly supported in previous versions and that this “bug” has caused a lot of hassle for many users.
If you are from Autodesk and wish for me to remove them please contact me.


AutoCAD LT – Layout name and page number diesel expression

Description

These diesel expressions output the variable for the current layout and cuts it at a specified length, this way parts of the name of the layout tab can be inserted into the drawing header:

From this into this!

In this case E63-01_2 is automatically inserted into a drawing header as E63-01 in the name box and 2 in the page number box . DRAWING NAME_PAGENUMBER

Instructions

To create this in your drawing you first need to create two multiline text objects (MTEXT command). Place them where you would like the data to be inserted.

Double click on the MTEXT object and you will see the following toolbar, click on the small button on the top right and select insert field. See image below:

You will find lots of menus and options you can reference here. The data entry for the current layout name is called CTAB and can be located from the dropbox other. In this case we will use a Diesel expression to “chop it up”.

Copy and paste the following into the expression textbox depending on what you wish the MTEXT to display:

DIESEL Expression Code

Single letter page number: $(substr,$(getvar,ctab),$(-,$(strlen,$(getvar,ctab)),0))
Single letter page name: $(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,$(-,$(strlen, $(getvar,ctab)),3))

Double letter page number: $(substr,$(getvar,ctab),$(-,$(strlen,$(getvar,ctab)),1))
Double letter page name: $(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,$(-,$(strlen, $(getvar,ctab)),4))

Thats it!