Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Explode Text to outlines in LT

Do you ever wish you could get an outline of your text as closed Polylines, but that hollow TTF Windows TrueType Font (or Autodesk's SHX stick fonts) you found on your PC or the internet is just not doing it for you? AutoCAD/LT can do this with the classic WMFOUT command that creates a WMF file with exploded objects, then you use WMFIN command to reimport those exploded objects back in.

Simple. Well, not quite: somewhere between the two commands a little scaling and resizing takes place, and with fonts you also need to tweak and adjust the width or WMFIN will just bring that text back as TEXT entities.

Here is what appears to be a very long method to do it correctly: once you get a hang of the steps, this is indeed quite a simple task.
  1. Setup the text style to use an width other than exactly 1. It can be
    .9999 or 1.000001 for example.
  2. Create the text or use property painter to 'paint' the new info to
    existing text.
  3. Some where in the drawing, create a line that will be used for
    reference later. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
  4. At the command prompt, type WMFOUT.
  5. Select the text and the reference line (real easy if you have the text
    on a separate layer).
  6. Erase (or freeze) the 'real' text but keep the reference line.
  7. At the command prompt, type WMFIN & select the wmf file you just created
  8. Notice the wmf doesn't come in at the same scale - the reason for the
    reference line.
  9. After selecting the base point, use the default scale & rotation
  10. Now, move the block made by importing the WMF so one endpoint of the
    wmf's ref line matches up with the corresponding endpoint of the original
    ref line.
  11. At the command prompt, type SCALE and select the wmf block
  12. For the base point, select the endpoint you used to match up ref lines
    with - the common endpoint.
  13. At the command prompt, type R for reference.
  14. Pick the 'common' endpoint.
  15. Pick the other endpoint of the wmf's ref line.
  16. Lastly pick the other endpoint of the original ref line.
  17. Now you can explode the block and the text should be lines.
  18. If you're using True Type fonts, you'll get lots of little lines. To clean
    it up easily do the following from 19-26 unless you really want to just sit there erasing and cleaning up manually.
  19. After the explode, use CHPROP or PROPERTIES and select the objects with the PREVIOUS selection option.
  20. Put these objects on a layer by themselves for easy removal.
  21. Draw a rectangle around the text.
  22. Use the BOUNDARY command and pick a point between the rectangle and the
  23. Freeze or lock every layer but the layer the text is on and erase it.
  24. Change the boundary you created to that layer for easy removal later
  25. Use the boundary command again and pick "inside" the outline of the
  26. Freeze or lock every layer but the layer the first boundary is on and
    erase it.
You now have the text in a outline that you can use as you wish. Enjoy. ◦