Chapter 32. Creating Shapes and Fonts

Shapes are text files that define a shape, or figure, that you can insert into your drawing. Shapes are similar to blocks in that you create, store, and insert them. They are different from blocks in the following ways:

  • Shapes are much harder to create.

  • Shapes are compiled into a format that conserves storage space, memory, and regeneration time.

  • You can use shapes to create fonts, and you can insert them into linetypes.

  • Like fonts, shape files are support files. If you distribute a drawing, then be sure to include any font or shape files that the drawing uses.

You can use shapes for simple outlines that you need to quickly insert many times. Some examples are shapes that are inserted into complex linetypes and font characters.


AutoCAD LT doesn't offer the ability to create or insert shapes, but it will display shapes in a drawing if inserted with AutoCAD. This entire chapter applies to AutoCAD only.


The Express Tools contain a command, MKSHAPE, which makes shapes for you. Choose Express Tools tab


Creating Shapes

Shape files are used for both shapes and fonts. You create them with a text editor and save them with the .shp file extension. You then use the COMPILE command (on the command line), which opens the Select Shape or Font File dialog box. Choose the .shp file and click Open. AutoCAD automatically ...

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