By Dennis Collin
A common task when creating plans of road layouts, is the placement of such features like Street names. These annotations need to often follow a curved shape and this can be a little difficult with AutoCAD standard editing tools. To help with this task AutoCAD has the Express tool arc aligned text. The text placed with this command is not the normal text types that are typical in a drawing i.e. Single line or Multi Line text. Instead, this routine uses a unique AutoCAD text type ‘arcalignedtext’. This is because conventional text objects cannot be set to flow along the shape of the curve.
Execute the command and a dialogue will display allowing the formatting options, fonts, size and string to be set. The command can also be used to modify existing arcalignedtext elements.
Alternatively access the properties palette to modify existing parameters.
There are many other AutoCAD text routines, one of these is Lee Mac’s Align Text to Curve routine.
This program enables the user to dynamically align new or existing Text or MText objects to a curve, with a range of placement controls from the command-line.
The routine can either set an existing text to a curve or create a new text element to a curve as desired. It is also possible to set multiple copies of a text element to the selected curve if the 'Multiple Text Mode' is chosen from the menu.
Text is dynamically aligned in real-time, with the text offset and rotation relative to the curve adjustable by the user. Shortcut keys like + and - can adjust the offset distance whereas < and > adjusts the angle.
With the 'Readability' setting enabled, text is automatically set to ‘right reading’ and will always appear the right way up. If working with MText, there is an option to toggle the background Mask.
Suitable elements to align the text to include:
- Polylines (all types)
- Elliptical Arcs
The application will also work with nested (to any depth) blocks or xrefs. It also works with any UCS, View settings or Annotative Text Styles.
One limitation however is that it has no option to get text to flow along a curve. If this is required, then either use the standard Express tool command or alternatively install Lee Mac’s Slinkytext routine, which I will discuss in a future post.
The Text Align Tool is a free add-in and is available for all current AutoCAD versions (2018-2022) and can be downloaded from the App store here: