Complex Linetypes with Shapes the Super Simple Way

Line drawn using linetype So far my “Linetypes the Super Simple Way” series has covered creating a simple dashed linetype and creating shapes for a linetype. In this post I’m going to continue the series by exploring how to create a linetype using the shape we created earlier. Although the actual linetype is still defined within a .lin file; a linetype with a shape or text within its definition is called a ‘complex linetype’. I’ll cover adding text to linetypes in a later post, but for now we’ll remain focused on shapes within linetypes.

Before we get too far, its worth mentioning AutoCAD LT can read shapes (symbols) used within linetype definitions, but it cannot create or load linetypes independently. Therefore AutoCAD LT users won’t be able to complete the steps outlined in this post to create their own complex linetype, however the end product (.lin referencing a .shp) will be compatible with AutoCAD LT.

Creating a Linetype with Shapes (Symbols)

1. Draw a line that will be used as the foundation for your linetype. I’ve chosen to make this linetype 0.5” long; remember this length will be multiplied by your LTSCALE.
0.5 inch line

2. Like blocks, AutoCAD shapes have to be inserted into your drawing before they can be used. Use the LOAD command to bring a shape into your drawing.
Select Shape File

3. The shape I created in my last post was named SF for Silt Fence. Use the SHAPE command to insert it. At the Enter Shape Name prompt, enter SF (name of the shape previously created).

4. Use Osnap’s to place the shape on the line drawn in step 1.
Insertion Point

5. Enter a height (scale) and rotation for the shape. In this example, I’ll accept the default height of 1, and a rotation of 0.
Shape inserted on line The shape is placed on the line.

6. Finally, I’ll use the already mentioned MKLTYPE command to create a linetype out of the line and shape I’ve drawn.
Selecting Objects

7. Once defined, draw a line using the newly created linetype.

Line drawn using linetype

Linetypes the Super Simple Way Series

  1. Custom Linetypes the Super Simple Way
  2. Shapes for Linetypes the Super Simple Way
  3. Complex Linetypes with Shapes the Super Simple Way
  4. Text in Linetypes the Super Simple Way
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Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.


  1. How can you place your complex linetype into acad.lin file to use in all of future drawings? when pasting into acad.lin it is ok. however when loading into linetype manager it comes up with error on line 57 or whatever and will not load linetype. how can I fix this issue. the linetype works fine in the original file it was created in, except when loading into linetype manager.

    thanks for any help

  2. Wow Donnie, thank you so much for this. It was incredibly helpful. I almost gave up on creating my custom linetype after reading the AutoCAD help file, but then I found your post, and voila!

  3. thanks so much , that was really helpful.
    i need to do a linetype that looks almost like the post below (brian lowell’s) but instead of the space between the rectangles shown, i need a similar rectangle with a solid hatch inside (filled rectangle). is that possible??!?

  4. This post was a life saver!  I used it to create a fire lane linetype with the box shape repeated  and no line.  Very helpful.  My new line ype looks like this  “[] [] [] [] [] [] [] []”

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