Yup, even though competitors like MicroStation and TurboCAD have had built-in linetype editors for years now, Autodesk still expects the customers of its $4,100 software to construct linetypes by hand, in writing the cryptic code in Notepad.
Reader A.C. last week wrote me:
I have been reading your tutorials on linetype files for AutoCAD and I have made an attempt at a complex linetype, but unfortunately I can’t get the coding right. Is there any way you can help? What I am after is combining two to make one. Is it possible to add the crosses from the ‘redundant apparatus’ linetype to the ‘foul water rising main’ linetype?
He provided me with the code he had written and screen grabs of what he wanted. I did some experimenting in Notepad, going through this debugging cycle:
1. Write some linetype code in Notepad.
2. Save the file as an LIN file.
3. Use the -linetype command to load the LIN file.
4. Enjoy (not!) decoding the cryptic error messages, all of which read generically like this, no matter the problem:
(Reporting a problem in Line 2 is unhelpful, Autodesk, because Line 2 is the entirety of the code.)
Anyhow, eventually I found that yes, we can place two characters in a single complex linetype definition. The character codes are shown in boldface:
The key to success was to put in a "dummy" code between the two characters, such as the -.1 shown in red, above.
Mr A.C. was happy with my discovery, writing:
I have adjusted the coding to give me a slightly different arrangement:
*Foul Water Rising Main - Abandoned,x-/-x-/-x-/-x-/-x-/-x-
And then he had one more request:
Out of interest, do you know if it is possible to change the colour of the ‘x’s? Possible to black rather than the same colour as the line?
But no, Autodesk does not allow us to set the color for individual elements; just for the entire line.