Substitute Fonts

A font used in a drawing but that is not currently available on your system is automatically substituted with another font.

The program accommodates a font that is not currently on your system by substituting another font.

Specify an Alternate Font

If your drawing specifies a font that is not currently on your system, the font designated as your alternate font is automatically substituted. By default, the simplex.shx file is used. If you want to specify a different font, enter the alternate font file name by changing the FONTALT system variable. If you use a text style that uses a Big Font, you can map it to another font using the FONTALT system variable. This system variable uses a default font file pair: txt.shx and bigfont.shx. For more information, see Use Text Fonts for International Work.

In previous releases, you could display PostScript® fonts in the drawing. Because later releases cannot display PostScript fonts, Autodesk has supplied TrueType font equivalents. These PostScript fonts are mapped to the equivalent TrueType fonts in a font mapping file. Additionally, when a TrueType font is not available, you can specify a different TrueType font, making sure that the fonts are similar to avoid text length or wrapping problems.

If the default font does not support the characters you enter using the In-Place Text Editor (MTEXT command), an alternative font is substituted.

CIF or MIF codes entered with the In-Place Text Editor or with the DTEXT command are now automatically converted to display the actual characters.

Edit the Font Mapping File

A font mapping file is a list of text fonts and their substitutes. If a text font used in a drawing cannot be located, another text font is substituted for the missing font using a font mapping file.

Each line in the font mapping file contains the name of a font file (with no file extension or path) followed by a semicolon (;) and the name of the substitute font file. The substitute file name includes a file extension such as .ttf.

A font mapping file is an ordinary ASCII text file with a .fmp extension. The default font mapping file is acad.fmp for AutoCAD, and acadlt.fmp for AutoCAD LT. You can change the font assignments in a font mapping file using any ASCII text editor.

For example, you could use the following entry in a font map file to specify that the timesnr.pfb font file be substituted with the times.ttf font file:


The following table shows the font substitution rules used if a font file cannot be located when a drawing is opened.

Font substitution

File extension

First mapping order

Second mapping order

Third mapping order

Fourth mapping order


Use font mapping table

Use font defined in text style

Windows substitutes a similar font



Use font mapping table

Use font defined in text style


Prompt for new font


Use font mapping table


Prompt for new font


Display Proxy Fonts

For third-party or custom SHX fonts that have no TrueType equivalent, one of several different TrueType fonts called proxy fonts is substituted. In the In-Place Text Editor, proxy fonts look different from the fonts they represent to indicate that the proxy fonts are substitutions for the fonts used in the drawing.

Custom SHX fonts do not appear in the Font list on either the MTEXT Ribbon Contextual Tab or the Text Formatting toolbar. If you want to format characters by assigning one of these fonts, first create a text style that uses the font and then apply that text style to the characters.

To specify a font mapping file
To specify a default alternate font
System Variables
Command Modifiers