Tackling Text in AutoCAD Electrical (Avatech Tricks Tutorial)

31 Jan, 2008 By: Stan Wile

One dialog box controls simple font sizes and style changes.

In nearly every AutoCAD Electrical class I teach, the question of font size and styles comes up. AutoCAD Electrical gets its power from all the blocks it uses: components, source and destination arrows, contacts, and even wire numbers are blocks. Contained inside these blocks are hidden attributes that store information including catalog numbers and wire connections. This hidden information is used when reports are run such as Wire From/To and bill of materials (BOM).

These hidden attributes also allow AutoCAD Electrical to run without an outside database for each project. This feature is great for running reports and for keeping track of parent-child relationships between pages. It seems to confuse people, however, who want to do simple font size and style changes. Because of the amount of text on electrical schematics and the obvious fact that every company has its own way of detailing drawings, I decided to write about an often-overlooked dialog box to help lay this issue to rest.

Project-Wide Attribute Change
Everyone knows about and uses the Project-Wide Update/Retag tool, which is located on the Schematic tab under Project Utilities. If you look right under Project Utilities you will find this handy, often unused tool -- Project-Wide Utilities. I feel it should be called the Project-Wide Text Utilities because nearly 100% of what it can do is text related.

Project-Wide Utilities dialog box.

On the left of this dialog box are the Erase, Reset, and Fix/Unfix tools. Both Erase and Reset can be set to skip wire numbers set to Fixed, and Fix/Unfix will set all wire numbers to Fixed or Unfixed. This tool is very handy if your company locks all wire numbers when a project is completed. Skip down to the bottom right of the Project-Wide Utilities dialog box to find what everyone wants -- the Change Attribute Size and Style tools. Check Change Attribute Size and press the Setup button for this dialog box.

Project-Wide Attribute Size Change dialog box.

This list shows nearly every visible attribute used in AutoCAD Electrical. Check the boxes beside the ones you want to modify, and then type in a new font height. It's as simple as that!

I have seen some fairly elaborate ways around the text-height issue, and it was all because the users didn't know about this tool.

Go back to the Project-Wide Utilities dialog box. If you check the Change Style box and click Setup, you will see the option to select any font you have installed. This method is far easier then editing each block's attributes.

After hitting OK, you will be asked the typical AutoCAD Electrical question of Project-Wide or Active Drawing Only? It doesn't get much easier than that. This example shows how AutoCAD Electrical usually has a nifty tool to do anything that is difficult or repetitive.

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!