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CAD Line Styles

CAD Standards Guideline - University of Connecticut

forums autodesk autodesk attachments autodesk Adding lines with existing AutoCAD line styles AutoCAD P&ID has many different line styles available, but it is also possible to create your own line styles In a later paragraph, we will give you some inside information how to create your own line

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Line Styles AutoCAD P&ID uses an element called Pipe Lines to connect components

There are several different types of Pipe Lines,

depending on the standard being used (see image): ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

Primary Pipe Lines Secondary Pipe Lines Existing Primary Pipe Lines Existing Secondary Pipe Lines New Primary Pipe Lines New Secondary Pipe Lines

Each line type has specific settings that make the lines appear differently in your process and instrument diagram

These settings control the color,

and width of the line when plotted or printed

There are also several other settings that control the behavior of the line,

In our process and instrument diagram,

there are also instruments that have to be connected

AutoCAD P&ID uses several line types called instrument lines to connect instruments

These line types are specifically created for use with instruments

Depending on the standard being used,

these instrument lines include: ƒ Electric Signal ƒ Pneumatic Signal ƒ Hydraulic Signal ƒ Software Link ƒ Capillary Tube ƒ Instrument Supply Line ƒ Leader ƒ Electromagnetic Signal ƒ Mechanical Link These line types differ somewhat from the Pipe Lines,

in that there are extra symbols in or on these lines when they are placed

Just like the Pipe Lines,

the Instrument Lines also have settings that control the behavior of each line itself

These settings will also be discussed later on in this chapter

Default line settings First,

we will take a look at the default settings for the line styles

To access these settings,

we need enable the project properties,

can be found by right clicking the project name and selecting the Properties option

The line type settings can be found in the "Engineering Items" node,

just like all the other components (see image)

Under the node for "Lines," there are two categories,

Pipe Lines and Instrument Lines

This is the same as is shown on the standard tool palette

If you take a closer look at the nodes for the line types,

you will recognize the different types of lines that are used on the tool palette as well

When you select the "Primary Line" style,

you will see that lines also have several properties (see image)

These properties are used in a similar way as the properties of components,

the material spec and the line number

Lines also use the Tag-format and Annotation functionality as discussed in earlier chapters (see image)

The biggest difference between lines and components is that lines do not use symbols in order to be generated


lines use line styles from AutoCAD (such as continuous,

which you can load into your template and ProjSymbStyle

To see which settings are typically used for lines (as well for pipe lines and instrument lines),

we need to select one of the line types

In our case,

we will look at the primary line as an example

After selecting the primary line,

you need to select the [EDIT LINE] button on the top of the dialog box (see image)

Selecting this button will result in a similar dialog box with the default settings,

as we have seen before when editing the behavior of symbols (see image)

Changing settings can be done throughout your project,

but you should keep in mind that changing the general settings of lines means that all "new" lines that are placed will inherit the adjusted settings

As you can see in the dialog box,

the settings are divided into three subgroups: ƒ ƒ ƒ

Symbol Properties General Style Properties Other Properties

Each subgroup controls one or more specific settings regarding the line type

Symbol Properties The symbol properties basically control whether lines will have a flow arrow and,

which type of flow arrow symbol should be used

General Style Properties The general style properties control how the lines actually behave in the drawing

With the general style properties you can control: ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

The layer where the line is draw The color that should be used for the line Which line type is used when drawing the line The linetype scale to use (default is the active value) Which plot style to use when printing Which line weight (width of the line) to use when printing or plotting

Other Properties The other properties address the behavior of the annotation and how the line should behave when crossing another line

Tagging Prompt means that,

if auto generate (see earlier chapter) has been set,

the value will automatically be used in the annotation

This setting also suppresses the tagging dialog box from popping up with every line you place

Gap Priority determines which lines will get a gap or loop when crossing another line

The primary line has the highest priority,

which means that a line with a lower priority will get a gap or loop when it crosses the primary line

When lines possess the same priority,

the vertical line will get the gap or loop

Adding lines with existing AutoCAD line styles AutoCAD P&ID has many different line styles available,

but it is also possible to create your own line styles

In a later paragraph,

we will give you some inside information how to create your own line styles

Adding a new line is a somewhat different procedure than adding a symbol

In the case of a new line,

you first have to add a new category under the correct node

For instance,

if you select the Pipe Line node with your right mouse button,

a small pop-up appears which allows you to create a new category (see image)

When you select the [NEW] option,

a small dialog box appears that requires the input of name (see image)

This name will be used for the sub category in the project properties,

as well as for the name of your line type

When you have created the category,

the [EDIT LINE] functionality instantly becomes available for that newly created category

You can now change the necessary settings for the line type you have just created


we want to use a line style that is not yet available in AutoCAD P&ID

we first need to load the desired line type into the ProjSymbStyle

The ProjSymStyle

DWG can be found in the active project folder

Once you open that file,

there are several different ways to load line styles into it

You could,

type the commands on the command prompt,

or you could go into the layer settings

But in our case,

we will use the line style pull down menu,

which can be found at the top of your AutoCAD P&ID session

In this pull down,

all line styles that have been loaded are shown

at the bottom of the pull down menu,

there is an option called "Other…" (see image)

When you select this option,

a dialog box will appear with an overview of all the line styles that have been loaded into the file

These are not all the line styles that are available,

these are the line styles that have been loaded into your ProjSymbStyle

DWG for use with AutoCAD P&ID (see image)

To see which other line types are also available,

select the [LOAD] button in the top right corner of the dialog box

This will call another dialog box to the front that will show the default AutoCAD P&ID line style file,

you will find all of the default available line styles that come with AutoCAD P&ID (see image)

To load line styles,

you can select the desired styles using the default Microsoft Windows selection methods (CTRL or Shift) and then press the [OK] button

The line styles will then be loaded into the active drawing (in our case the ProjsymbStyle

the styles will be available for use in your AutoCAD P&ID project properties (see image)

you can return to your project properties to create a new line using one of the newly loaded styles

When you go to the new category that was created earlier,

you will now be capable of editing the settings of that category

When you press the [EDIT LINE] button,

the dialog box with the line settings appears

To use one of the new line styles,

access the "Linestyle" selection list and select one of the new styles (see image)

Creating AutoCAD P&ID Line Styles Many companies create their own line styles for use in their process and instrument diagrams

AutoCAD P&ID is the same as regular AutoCAD,

in that it will allow you to create your own line styles for use as schematic lines

There are several different ways to create your own line styles: ƒ ƒ ƒ

Using lines and points Using lines and text Using lines and shapes

All three methods are supported without any problem within AutoCAD P&ID

To give you a better understanding of how to create actual line styles,

we will review all three methods in this section

This will involve using regular AutoCAD commands as well as several very useful functionalities in the AutoCAD "Express Tools

Creating simple custom line styles Simple line styles consist of short and long line segments separated by spaces or points

Regardless of the style,

the definition of a custom line type always works the same way

Each line style is defined on two lines

The first line contains the line style name and an optional description,

and the second line is the code that defines the actual line style pattern (see image)

To create these line styles,

you have to save them in a line style file format called "

The line style name must begin with an asterisk (*) and should provide a unique,

descriptive name for each line style

The second line must begin with the letter A,

which ensures that the start and end of the line will be straight lines rather than points

This will be followed by a list of pattern descriptions that defines spaces,

You can include comments in a "*

lin" file by beginning the line with a semicolon (

The image shown above indicates a repeating pattern starting with a dash that is 0

This pattern continues for the length of the line,

ending with another dash that is 0

This line style would be displayed as shown below (see image)

The description of the line style should help you visualize the line style when you edit the "*

This description will also be displayed in the Line Style Manager and in the Load or Reload Line Styles dialog box

The description is optional and can include the following information: ƒ ƒ ƒ

A simple representation of the line style pattern using ASCII text An expanded description of the line style A comment such as "Use this line style for hidden lines"

A line style’s description cannot exceed 47 characters

Each pattern description specifies the length of segments that makes up the line style,

separated by commas (no spaces are allowed): ƒ ƒ ƒ

A positive number simulates a pen-down (dash) segment of that length A negative number simulates a pen-up (space) segment of that length A dash length of 0 draws a dot

You can enter up to 12 dash-length specifications per line style,

provided that they fit on a single 80-character line in the "*

You only need to include one complete repetition of the line style pattern defined by pattern descriptors

When the line style is drawn,

AutoCAD P&ID uses the first pattern description 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

Creating custom line styles with text If these simple line styles are not sufficient,

you can also create line styles that contain characters (as seen in the default line styles in a previous paragraph)


if you use a specific character or word in the line style,

that character (or the font that it is part of) should exist in your AutoCAD drawing

If you are sure that is the case,

then characters from text fonts can be included in line styles

Characters embedded in lines are always displayed completely

The format for line styles that include embedded characters is similar to that for simple custom line styles

it is a list of pattern descriptions separated by commas

The format for adding text characters in a line style description is as follows (see image)

The next example is a description for a line style called HOT_WATER_SUPPLY (see image)

This indicates a repeating pattern as follows: ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

A dash 0

The text characters come from the text font assigned to the STANDARD text style at a scale of 0

a relative rotation of 0 degrees,

This pattern continues for the length of the line,

This line style would be displayed as shown below (see image)

Notice that the total upstroke length is 0

To understand what each setting does when creating a line style that contains text,

the following elements were used to create this line style: text

The characters to be used in the linetype

The name of the text style to be used

If no text style is specified,

AutoCAD uses the currently defined style

The scale factor to be used for the text style relative to the scale of the linetype

The height of the text style is multiplied by the scale factor

If the height is 0,

the value for S=value alone will be used as the height

R=value or A=value

R= specifies relative or tangential rotation with respect to the line

A= specifies absolute rotation of the text with respect to the origin

all text has the same rotation regardless of its position relative to the line

The value can be appended with a d'for degrees (degrees is the default value),

If rotation is omitted,

Rotation is centered between the baseline and the nominal cap height

The offset of the text on the X axis of the linetype,

If xoffset is omitted or is 0,

the text is entered with no offset

Use this field to control the distance between the text and the previous pen-up or pen-down stroke

This value is not scaled by the scale factor as defined by S=value,

but it is scaled to the linetype

The shift of the text in the Y axis of the linetype,

which is at a 90 degree angle to the line

If yoffset is omitted or is 0,

the text is entered with no offset

Use this field to control the vertical alignment of the text with respect to the line

This value is not scaled by the scale factor defined by S=value,

but it is scaled to the linetype

Creating complex custom line styles A line style that contains shapes is considered to be a complex line style

Shapes are saved in so called "shape" files,

which must be created first before you can use them in complex line styles

As mentioned earlier,

AutoCAD P&ID offers you several options for doing most things

But in this case,

the creation of a shape file can be done very easily by simply using the "Express Tools" that come standard with AutoCAD P&ID

You will find these express tools in the top of your screen in the pull-down menu section named "Express

” In this pull-down menu there is a sub-section dedicated for special tools that assist you in creating these complex line styles (see image)

If you don't have the pull-down menu "Express," you probably did not select the express tools option during installation of AutoCAD P&ID

Creating a shape Command: [ MKSHAPE ] Pull-down menu: [ express

-> tools

you only need to draw the geometry that is required to determine the shape

In our example,

we will use a triangle that will be part of our complex line style

When you have created the triangle,

you need to tell AutoCAD P&ID that the geometry you created is to be converted into a shape as a shape file (*

To convert AutoCAD geometry,

we will use the command mentioned above

When you initiate the command,

it first wants to know where the file should be stored and how it should be named (see image)

We advise that you save your shape file in one of the support paths of AutoCAD P&ID so that AutoCAD P&ID automatically finds the file when you use the line style containing this shape

A shape file can contain only one shape,

so after creating the shape file,

you have to create a name for the shape itself (which will be stored in the drawing)

AutoCAD P&ID will prompt you for all the required information in the creation of the shape on the command line

It is very important that you follow the steps correctly to create the shape(s)

The first setting allows you to set the resolution of the shape itself

This resolution determines the quality of your shape,

which is particularly important when creating shapes that contain arcs or circles

The second setting defines the insertion point of the shape,

similar to defining the insertion point of a block as discussed earlier

This point will be used when placing the shape in your drawing again

The last thing you have to do is select the geometry that is needed to generate your shape

When you have followed these steps correctly,

AutoCAD P&ID will tell you that you can place the shape into your drawing using the shape command

Placing a shape manually is similar placing a block

You need to enter the name of the shape you want to use,

scale the shape (if desired) and rotate it as necessary

Create the line style using express tools Command: [ MKLTYPE ] Pull-down menu: [ express

-> tools

Before you begin to create the line style,

you need to first draw a part of the line style as it should appear in your drawing (see image)

To continue our example from above,

we need to add some lines to the triangular shape before beginning to create the line style

When you activate the “Make Linetype” command,

AutoCAD P&ID first wants to know where the linetype file (*

it is wise to store these kinds of files in the AutoCAD P&ID support folder (see image)

After you have determined where the line style file (*

you will be prompted for the following information: Linetype Name Linetype Description

This will be the name AutoCAD uses to load and use the line style

Describes for the user how the line style will look

Starting point for line definition

Defines where the line style starts

Ending point for line definition

Defines where the line style ends

Select objects

Defines the objects that belong to the complex line style

When you follow these steps,

AutoCAD P&ID will create the desired line style and load it as soon as you accept the settings mentioned above

In order to use the line in regular AutoCAD,

you need to make it the active line style by selecting the line styles pull-down menu and selecting your newly created line style (see image)

If you initiate the line command with the new line style active,

it will draw lines containing small triangle shapes (see image)

In the next section,

we will add this complex line style to our project and designate it as the "Primary" line

Adding complex line styles to your project To use the complex line style in your projects,

it is essential that you add this style to your template and your ProjSymbStyle

To do this,

DWG of your reference project and go to the line style pull-down menu where you can choose the option “Other…” (see image)

The dialog box that appears is the same that you have seen in an earlier paragraph

In this dialog box,

you can see all the default styles that have already been loaded,

we need the line style file that contains the triangle shaped line style

To switch to the required line style file,

select the [LOAD] button at the top right corner of the dialog box (see image)

This button will access the default AutoCAD line style file,

but it also shows a [FILE] button that allows you to select a different *

in our case the one that contains the triangle style

go to the folder where you saved the "complex line style

You will notice that,

when you select and accept the file,

the dialog box only shows you one line style (because,

Select it,

and AutoCAD P&ID will load the line style into your drawing (see image)

Save your ProjSymbStyle

DWG file and close it

Now that the line style has been loaded into your ProjSymbStyle

it will also be available in your reference project

To add the line style to the project,

go into the project properties by right clicking your project name in the project manager and selecting the properties option in the pop-up menu

In the project properties,

- > Lines

In the dialog box that appears,

you can add a name that describes the line you will be adding (see image)

When you have created the category,

select it and edit the line by clicking the [ EDIT LINE ] button,

which will bring a familiar dialog box to the front (see image)

In this dialog box,

you can make the necessary settings and select the newly created and loaded triangle line style from the line styles pull-down menu

The last thing to do is to add the new line style to the tool palette,

When you add a line style to the tool palette,

the image that becomes visible doesn't represent the actual shape of the line style itself

if you right click the icon on the tool palette and choose the Properties option,

the properties of the icon will become visible (see image)

When you right click the image in the dialog box,

you will be able to specify which image should be used so that you can attach your own image to the button

When creating these kinds of custom files,

you should consider whether someone else will be working with your drawings as well

This is very important,

because if someone else opens your drawing with all these custom files used in it,

AutoCAD P&ID will notify that user that it cannot find the line style files and the shape files

if you are communicating with the outside world (or with other users within your own company),

you have to make sure that when you send them a drawing,

you attach the shape and line style files as well

To be sure that customers,

contractors or any other person inside your own company can work with your drawings,

it is a very good idea to use "eTransmit" before sending the file to them

E-Transmit scans the drawing for styles,

shapes and fonts and adds them to your transmittal file,

so that the person who receives your drawing also receives the necessary custom files


It should look similar to the line style with triangles shown below

MultiLine LineStyles The previous sections address only the single line styles

Even if you add shapes to your line style,

it still only contains one line

In several international standards such as the DIN standard,

line styles are used that contain more than one line

Line styles that consist of multiple lines are based on the AutoCAD Mline style or MultiLine Style

With this multiline style,

line styles that include tracing and the like,

and that allow users to create even more dedicated line styles for usage with AutoCAD P&ID

In this paragraph we will explain how multiline styles are generated and added to the AutoCAD P&ID project settings

In our example,

we will create a pipeline containing multiple lines that can be used and placed in AutoCAD P&ID

The pipeline style we are going to create will look like the image shown below

This style is composed of several lines and a fill color,

all of which can be achieved using the multiline functionality

To make sure that this multiline style can be used in AutoCAD P&ID,

we must be certain that it is added to the projsymbstyle

In this case,

we will open the projectsymbstyle

which can be found in the root of your project folder

The multiline style is generated from within AutoCAD P&ID itself,

so we don’t need any external software program or notepad to generate a file that would then be loaded into AutoCAD P&ID

As you might know,

everything in regular AutoCAD that has to do with a style is located in the “Format” pull-down menu at the top of your screen (see image)

When you activate the multiline style command,

a dialog box will appear that shows you which styles are

You can also see the option to load external multiline style files (*

Loading these external files is possible when you have saved the multiline styles you have generated to an external location

This is useful when you want other people to be able to use your multiline styles as well

When you click the [Load] button,

a dialog box appears that shows you which multiline styles have been loaded,

similar to the normal linetype load dialog box (see image)

To load an additional multiline style,

you only need to click the [File] button,

which will access a very familiar dialog box

This dialog box,

similar to Microsoft Windows Explorer,

allows you to search and find other multiline styles and load them if desired (see image)

To create your own multiline style,

press the [New] button in the initial dialog box of the multiline style command

After pressing the [New] button,

another new dialog box appears that allows you to name your new multiline style (see image)

As you may have seen,

there was only one line style already present (standard)

We will use that line style as a base to generate your new multiline style

When there are more multiline styles present,

a different multiline style can be chosen to act as a base for your new multiline style using the [Start With] field

Multiline style names must be entered as a single word

spaces and other characters will not be accepted

Once you have named the multiline style and selected the [Continue] button,

a new dialog box will appear that allows you to set up your own multiline style (see image)

This dialog box is divided into a few subgroups,

each of which has its own influence on the multiline style to be generated

In the next paragraphs we will explore what these settings actually do to the multiline style

Caps Caps are used to put end pieces on your multiline style

You can determine how the cap should look (Line or Arc) and,

whether it should be placed at an angle

An overview of the different

possible results when using Caps is shown below

Fill color Fill color is used when the area within the multiline is to be filled with a color

If you review the multiline style we showed at the start of the multiline topic,

you will see that the area between the lines is filled with the

Joints With the joint option,

the user can determine if the joint between line segments should be shown

As with all the other settings,

once this option has been set for a multiline style,

it will be active for the entire multiline style

When the joints option is active,

the multiline will look similar to the image shown below

Elements In the Elements section,

the actual multiline itself will be constructed

A multiline is built up from at least two or more single line styles

Each line is positioned by giving it an offset from a zero value in either the positive or negative direction

For instance,

if a line receives an offset distance of 0

the distance between these lines will be 1

To give a better understanding of the offset functionality,

To add a line to your multiline style,

you first click the [Add] button,

and a line will be added with the default values

To change the settings for the added line you,

select it and enter the desired values,

and whether the line has a color of its own or will receive its color from the layer where it is placed (see

The last thing to do is to give the multiline style a descriptive name,

so that you can make it clearer where this multiline style should be used

As you might have noticed,

creating the multiline style is easier than creating single line styles with text or even shapes in them

Now it is time to add the newly created multiline style to the project settings and to the tool palette so that it is ready for use in your project

To be able to select the multiline style in your project,

you first have to save and close your projsymbstyle

This makes the multiline style instantly available for selection in your project settings

See the next section for an explanation of how to add the multiline style to the project settings

Adding the multiline style to the project Before you can use the multiline style in your process and instrument diagram,

it has to be added to the project settings

To enter the project settings,

right click on the project name in the project manager and select the Properties option (see image)

When the dialog box for the project settings appears,

go to the Engineering Items section and then into the Line and PipeLine category

In this category,

you will find the existing pipeline styles that are currently in use by this project

As you might notice,

there aren’t any very complex line styles in use at this moment (see image next page)

In this example,

we will create our own category as we’ve done before,

and set this new category with the newly created multiline style

To add the category,

right click on the pipeline category and choose the option,

After choosing the “New” option,

a small dialog box will appear where you can enter the name and description of the new category you are creating for the multiline style (see image)

When the new category is ready,

you can see that a line can be added in the dialog box

When you click the [Add Line] button,

a familiar dialog box appears that allows you to set up the necessary settings for the line style (see image)

In the dialog box for the settings,

you first need to set the “Smart Line Type” to Mline before you can select any type of multiline style (see image)

When the Smart line type is set correctly,

the line type field changes into Mline style,

allowing you to select any multiline style that is present in the projsymbstyle

The last step is to add the new category to the tool palette so that it can be used by in your process and instrumentation diagram

This is done after you accept your settings by clicking the “Add to Tool Palette…” button in your project settings (see image)


dwg that should look like the image shown below

The values to set up the line style are as follows: Offset





Also set your new multiline to have Outer Arcs as caps,

The end result of the line should look like the image shown below