Various notes & callouts can easily inundate a plan sheet making it hard to discern the actual design. Thus in the interest in making plan sheets more readable, a common practice is to have numerous leaders referencing a single note. Prior to AutoCAD 2008 the only solution was to trace over the original leader when drawing any subsequent leaders. It’s tough to call that practice a solution, as it was more a workaround, but at the end of the day it was all we had to work with. It likely goes without surprise that the ability to have numerous leaders “attached” to a single piece of text has been a longstanding AUGI Wishlist item. In the words synonymous with the 80’s band Queen – “Another one bites the dust”.

Making their debut in AutoCAD 2008, Multileaders are more than just another feature that Microsoft Word says is spelled incorrectly. In fact Multileaders are more than leaders attached to text, as they can also be attached to an attributed block. I’m still unsure which is my favorite, but Multileaders work seamlessly with the new Annotative Scaling feature also new in AutoCAD 2008. Just as their big brother requires a dimension style, Multileaders require a new multileader style to work properly.

As with nearly all AutoCAD commands, the Multileader Style dialogue can be accessed through a number of avenues. Entering either MLINESTYLE or MLS at the command line will bring up the Multileader Style dialogue. Other ways include selecting “Multileader Style” under the “Format” menu, and also by clicking on either the “Styles” or “Multileader” toolbars (illustrated).

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  1. By default we have 2 Multileader Styles configured; Standard & Annotative. For the moment we are not going to deal with “Annotative” “Multileader Styles”, other than to say they tie into the new “Annotative Scaling” feature.

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  2. Clicking “New” will prompt you to specify a name for your new style, and also a style to start with. The “Standard” style is good to start with. Being the creative guy that I am, I am going to call my new style “CAD GEEK”

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  3. To get a basic Multileader Style configured for use with blocks of Mtext you can likely go straight to the “Content” tab, and simply specify a new text style. As with the age-old Dimension Style command, we have a number of options presented to us in this dialogue box. The “Leader Format” tab allows for something other than an arrow to be configured as the pointer of your leader. The “Leader Structure” tab will allow you to configure the geometric makeup of your leader. Items such as number of segments, and “Automatically include landing” segment can be specified. There is of course more to the whole dialogue, but we’ll begin exploring things in more details once we take a look at using a block instead of Mtext.

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With my new Multileader Style configured I can now go about actually drawing some Multileaders. The Multileader toolbar presents everything you really need as it relates to Multileaders.

  1. Get started drawing Multileaders by clicking the button on the far left of the toolbar.

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The create Multileader command works in much the same way as the old-fashioned QLEADER command. Start by selecting a point for your leader to physically point and finally your leaders “landing location”. That will allow you to enter a string of text.

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  1. Once you have a Multileader created you can proceed by adding additional leaders by using the “Add Leader” command.

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You cannot use the basic AutoCAD ERASE command to remove Multileader Leaders. Instead you must use the Multileader Remove Leader command. Using it is as simple as clicking the toolbar button and selecting the segment you wish to remove.

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Stay tuned as we’ll take a look at attaching a block to a leader in the next post on Multileaders.