Simple Custom Linetypes

Each linetype is defined on two lines in a linetype definition file. The first line contains the linetype name and an optional description. The second line is the code that defines the actual linetype pattern.

The second line must begin with the letter A (alignment), followed by a list of pattern descriptors that define pen-up lengths (spaces), pen-down lengths (dashes), and dots. You can include comments in an LIN file by beginning the line with a semicolon (;).

Linetype Definition Format

The format of the linetype definition is

A,descriptor1,descriptor2, ... 

For example, a linetype called DASHDOT is defined as

*DASHDOT,Dash dot __ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __ 

This indicates a repeating pattern starting with a dash 0.5 drawing units long, a space 0.25 drawing units long, a dot, and another space 0.25 drawing units long. This pattern continues for the length of the line, ending with a dash 0.5 drawing units long. The linetype would be displayed as shown below.

__ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __ . __

LIN files must be saved in ASCII format and use an .lin file extension. Additional information about each field in a linetype definition follows.

Linetype Name

The linetype name field begins with an asterisk (*) and should provide a unique, descriptive name for the linetype.


The description of the linetype should help you visualize the linetype when you edit the LIN file. The description is also displayed in the Linetype Manager and in the Load or Reload Linetypes dialog box.

The description is optional and can include

If you omit the description, do not insert a comma after the linetype name. A description cannot exceed 47 characters.

Alignment Field (A)

The alignment field specifies the action for pattern alignment at the ends of individual lines, circles, and arcs. Currently, AutoCAD supports only A-type alignment, which guarantees that the endpoints of lines and arcs start and stop with a dash.

For example, suppose you create a linetype called CENTRAL that displays the repeating dash-dot sequence commonly used as a centerline. AutoCAD adjusts the dash-dot sequence on an individual line so that dashes and line endpoints coincide. The pattern fits the line so that at least half of the first dash begins and ends the line. If necessary, the first and last dashes are lengthened. If a line is too short to hold even one dash-dot sequence, AutoCAD draws a continuous line between the endpoints. For arcs also, the pattern is adjusted so that dashes are drawn at the endpoints. Circles do not have endpoints, but AutoCAD adjusts the dash-dot sequence to provide a reasonable display.

You must specify A-type alignment by entering a in the alignment field.

Pattern Descriptors

Each pattern descriptor field specifies the length of segments making up the linetype, separated by commas (no spaces are allowed):

You can enter up to 12 dash-length specifications per linetype, provided they fit on one 80-character line in the LIN file. You need to include only one complete repetition of the linetype pattern defined by pattern descriptors. When the linetype is drawn, AutoCAD uses the first pattern descriptor for the starting and ending dashes. Between the starting and ending dashes, the pattern dash specifications are drawn sequentially, beginning with the second dash specification and restarting the pattern with the first dash specification when required.

A-type alignment requires that the first dash length be 0 or greater (a pen-down segment). The second dash length should be less than 0 if you need a pen-up segment and more than 0 if you are creating a continuous linetype. You must have at least two dash specifications for A-type alignment.

To create a simple linetype from the Command prompt
NoteWhen you create a linetype, it is not loaded into your drawing automatically. Use the Load option of LINETYPE.
To add a simple linetype to a LIN file
System Variables
Command Modifiers