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Looking at Additional Text Options

This section covers several optional text handling features that may prove useful to you. These features enable you to speed up the display of text, handle missing font files, and insert text files into the current drawing.

Enabling the Quick Text Display

When AutoCAD opens or regenerates a drawing, if the drawing contains numerous text objects, it can take quite some time to complete a selection process, especially if the text uses complex fonts. If you want to speed up the process and do not need to actually see the existing text, enable the Quick Text mode (QTEXT). To enable the Quick Text mode, access the Display tab of the Options dialog box and select the Show Text Boundary Frame Only check box. When Quick Text is enabled, text-based objects are displayed as simple rectangles that contain no characters. When you enable Quick Text mode, you need issue a REGEN command to redisplay the text as simple rectangles.


When Quick Text is enabled, new text objects are displayed as text characters while the TEXT and MTEXT commands are active, which makes it easier to read what you are typing.

Specifying an Alternate Font File

Font files are not stored with the drawing file. If a font file that is referenced in the drawing is not available when the drawing is opened, an error message is displayed. You are then prompted to choose a replacement font file. If you want to bypass all such error messages, you can specify a font file that is automatically used whenever a needed font file cannot be found. You specify this alternate font file in the Alternate Font File setting under Text Editor, Dictionary, Font File Names in the Files tab of the Options dialog box. The default alternate font is SIMPLEX.SHX.


A couple of problems can occur when you use an alternate font. If the missing font file contains special characters that the alternate font file does not have, the text on the drawing may end up incomplete. Furthermore, because the space that a line of text occupies depends on the font file used to generate the text, you may find that when the alternate font is applied, the text on the drawing looks out of place or does not fit properly. The best solution is to obtain the correct font files and use them unless you are sure you have a suitable alternative font file.

Mapping Fonts

If you need to specify more than one alternate font file, use a font mapping file. A font mapping file is an ASCII-based text file in which each line in the file specifies the font filename to be replaced and its substitute font filename (separated by a semicolon). Note that you should include the extension if there could be any ambiguity. The default font map file is ACAD.FMP. You can identify a different font map file by changing the Font Mapping File setting under Text Editor, Dictionary, Font File Names in the Files tab of the Options dialog box.

Adding Text as Attributes

An alternate method to adding text objects that are to be incorporated into block definitions is to create attributes. Attributes behave much like text objects but have additional functions beyond displaying text. Attributes are discussed in more detail in Chapter 10, "Creating and Using Blocks."

Dragging and Dropping Text Files

In Windows, you can drag a text file from the desktop or from Windows Explorer and drop it into your drawing. AutoCAD automatically inserts the file as an mtext object, using the current text settings for the text height, rotation angle, and text style.

Copying Text Using the Clipboard

You also can copy text from any application to your clipboard and paste the contents into your drawing. If you use the PASTE command, the contents are dropped into your drawing as an embedded object. If you use the PASTESPEC command, you can choose to paste the clipboard contents as text, in which case the text is an mtext object.

The clipboard operations depend on OLE (Object Linking and Embedding). For more information on AutoCAD's OLE features, refer to Chapter 15, "Applications for OLE Objects."

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