Performancing Metrics

Friday, July 28, 2017

AutoCAD Tip of the Day: LINETYPE not showing up? LTSCALE, PSLTSCALE and PLINEGEN

Something that seems to haunt AutoCAD users is ensuring all of your LINETYPEs show up properly.  It’s usually after making about a million copies of a drawing that someone asked the dreaded question, “Why aren’t those lines dashed?”  You know the lines are on the right layer and you distinctly remember assigning the correct LINETYPE to that layer.  What happened?

There are several things that can cause the LINETYPE of an object to be incorrect.  I’m going to cover 4 in detail in this tip.  The first two are pretty basic, but I better mention them.  The third is a little bit less known and the 4th only applies to AutoCAD 2008 and up.

Potential Problem #1: LTSCALE is incorrect.   This system variable controls the global scale factor of the linetypes for all objects in the drawing. If you are plotting from Model Space, this variable needs to be set to the Scale Factor to which you wish to plot.  For example, if you want to plot the view to ¼”=1′-0″, you would set your LTSCALE to 48.  Many people, including myself, actually set the LTSCALE to half the scale factor (24 in this example).

Potential Problem #2: PSLTSCALE is set incorrect.  PSLTSCALE controls the linetype scaling of objects displayed in Paperspace viewports.  If PSLTSCALE is set to 0, all linetypes scaling is handled by the global setting of LTSCALE.  This creates a problem if your viewports are set to different scale.  Therefore, if you are plotting from Paperspace, this should be set to 1, which makes all dash lengths consistent between viewports regardless of scale.  If PSLTSCALE is set to 1, your DIMSCALE needs to be set to 1 (or less).

LTSCALE and PSLTSCALE work together to make sure your final plots are correct.  My standard setting is that LTSCALE is set to .5 and PSLTSCALE is set to 1.  The biggest problem occurs in Model Space when your linetypes won’t show up on the screen or on your plot if you send it from Model Space.  It’s very common that a user will set their LTSCALE to 48 while working in Model Space and forget to set it back when they go to plot from Paper Space.  This accounts for most of the LINETYPE problems.

Potential Problem #3: The line segments are too small.  You can overcome this problem on a continuous PLINE through the use of the PLINEGEN variable.  By default, each segment of a PLINE calculates it’s linetype from one vertex to the next( PLINEGEN is set to 0).  If you set PLINEGEN to 1, the dash lengths are evenly distributed over the entire length of the PLINE (this applies only to PLINEs drawn after changing this variable).

To change the PLINEGEN on existing PLINEs, select the desired PLINES, go to your Property Pallet, and ENALBE Linetype Generation (located at the bottom in the Misc. section).

Potential Problem #4: AutoCAD 2008 and beyond has a variable called MSLTSCALE that controls the way linetypes display in Model Space based upon your current Annotation Scale.  I will cover  Annotation Scale in more detail in later tips.  For the purpose of this tip, you need to know that if MSLTSCALE is set to 0, the linetypes displayed in Model Space are not scaled by Annotation scale.  If MSLTSCALE is set to 1, linetypes are scaled by the Annotation Scale.

Go ahead and experiment with these settings.  If none of these fix your problems, you may need to reload your LINETYPEs or you may be having trouble with custom linetypes.

Please post any questions or comments in the comment box at the end of this post.


Sign up for exclusive content available only to subscribers at Please Login or Register to see the link.

If you found this post helpful, do my a favor and please press the Facebook “like” button below. 


23 Responses to “AutoCAD Tip of the Day: LINETYPE not showing up? LTSCALE, PSLTSCALE and PLINEGEN”
  1. Stuart Sachs says:

    This is perhaps the first time in 20 years that someone has given me a clear understanding of the relationship between LTSCALE and PSLTSCALE.


  2. Wow… I’m glad I was able to help

  3. René Opdam says:

    Thanks for the info ! I already knew about the LTSCALE but I never used the PSLTSCALE

    Keep up the good info

  4. Nathan says:

    The other variable that gives the metric community nightmares is the MEASUREMENT setting. OOTB it will default to ‘0’ which is the imperial setting and uses the acad.lin and acad.pat files for linetypes and hatches. A setting of 1 is set in the metric template and uses the acadiso.lin and acadiso.pat files which are adjusted for metric output. Trouble is many have used the OOTB template without realising the implications. Once you change the MEASUREMENT setting in a file, you also need to reload each linetype (& hatch) to get them to update the definition in the drawing so it’s possible to have both imperial and metric definitions in your file.

    For smaller projects, I use the following settings
    MEASUREMENT of 1 (Metric setting – mm)
    LTS 25 (leave it alone and don’t think about it again)
    PSLTSCALE of 0 (displays exactly as model space).
    I know this is against conventional wisdom but it’s a WYSIWYG setting and I don’t have to guess. I use the general linetypes – dashed, hidden, centre, etc and I don’t have to touch them – they just work. I argued against the other setting and then MSLTCALE came out to try to correct the problems everyone has.
    My settings – I don’t think about and everything just works. I don’t have to mess with linetypes.

    Good articles. Thanks
    Oz down under.

  5. Nathan,
    Thanks so much for the great information. When it comes to the metric settings in AutoCAD, I have a mental block. Anytime you see something that is different in the metric world (which I know is way bigger than the imperial world) please continue to let us know.

  6. Emanuel says:

    Hey, Mike thanks for all the tips. they help me out . Sometimes when i need to know something and i can’t find it on autocad or anywhere else i just come to your website and go thru the blog and and find what i need.

  7. Emauel,
    Thanks. I’m very happy to hear you are able to find you answers here. Thanks for letting me know.

  8. Yannis says:

    Congratulations for your excellent articles.

  9. Cathy says:

    This issue has haunted me!! Thanks for the psltscale revelation!!!

    Your email tips are one of my favorite items to open each day!

  10. Bob Muller says:

    Great explanation of a convoluted process. I agree with everything you had to say and perhaps you are the person that can help me. We use script files to prepare our exhibits for plotting. The script sets the ltscale, turns off wipeout frames, turns off layers the end in $ (office standard) and generally get the drawing ready to plot. I would like to incorporate enable linetype generation to all polylines in the drawing into the script. I tried the pedit command, Multible, selecting All, and turning ltype gen on and it seemed to work just fine. Unfortunately there were no 3dpolylines in my test drawing. If any 3dpolylines are in the selection set, the ltype gen option is gone. (Kind of makes sense since linetypes do not display on 3D polylines). I can manualy select everything in the drawing, go to properties, limit my selection set to polylines and enable the linetypes there, but I can’t figure a way to do it in my scripts. The old addage of “if you can do it from the command line, you can do it in a script” should apply, but I can’t figure this one out.

    Bob Twentyoneyearsofdoingthisshit Muller

  11. there’s a lsp routine that comes with autocad called SSX which does filtering. you may could integrate that into your script to get it to select only the plines.

  12. thank you so much.

  13. Bob Muller says:


    Thanks so much for the lead. I had forgotten about the old ssx routine and it was just the ticket. I had to convert all polylines to lwpolylines to get ssx to distinguish between 3d and 2d polylines when setting up the selection set, but once I got that done, things went swimmingly. Thanks again for the assist.

    Bob Twentyoneyearsofdoingthisshit Muller

  14. Luis says:

    Also, don’t forget the linetype definition files. acad.lin and acadiso.lin
    Those can also create problems in linetype accuracy

  15. Michael says:

    You definitely rock!! I recently installed ACAD 2009 and had a new job (and invoice) ready to go to printer, except line types WOULD NOT display in paper space or PDF plots. Client’s pissed, my food cupboard’s pissed, my wife’s pissed…I’m not doing this “architecture firm-out-of-my-home” thing for my health!

    So, after wrestling with this for the past couple days, and searching all over the web for a SIMPLE answer, I hit upon your page. Thank you so much…I get to eat tonight!

  16. I’m happy my tip put some food on your table… keep up the good work.

  17. Glenn says:

    Being ‘old school’ I’ve been 100% fine with PSLTSCALE & LTSCALE variables. I’d rather not mess with MSLTSCALE but try telling that to the cad managers who are willing to adopt all the new changes (BIM etc.) no matter what the cost…..

  18. James says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have an issue with linetype generation that I have been unable to resolve for years.

    This is a random problem so doesn’t happen all the time.

    When copying entities from one file to another (both files appear to have exactly the same LTS settings and the entity LTS are the same too) I sometimes seem to get a completly different scale of linetype showing.

    I’m not sure whether there is another system variable somewhere that I don’t know about which is factoring the ltscale up.

    Please please help! It’s driving me bonkers!



  19. I’m assuming you’ve checked the factors in this AutoCAD Training Tip on Linetypes . I would think the answer is in one of these variables. If not, next time it happens, email me the file and I’ll take a look at it.

  20. Bodi says:

    thanks, “msltscale” did the trick. greetings from sweden.

  21. Michael says:

    You guys are the best. Even the older articles make a great reference. I was working in ACAD ’09 and created a new file so I could use named plot style instead of color-dependent. I copied and pasted a floor plan I had started in the old color-dependent file into the new one. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why the hidden lines weren’t showing up in my new file, but were OK in the old one (I had them open, side-by-side, to verify object settings, layer settings, etc.). I went back to an article I remembered from a couple years ago from you guys that had helped me with a similar problem back then. Lo and behold the MSLTSCALE number was set to 0 in the new file, and 1 in the old file. Fixed! Now I can see my dashed and hidden lines in model space. Thanks for your expertise.

  22. Michael says:

    Just thought I’d add something to the previous post…make sure you “remove viewport overrides for all layers” (right click on viewport) if you’ve been mucking around with scale settings in the viewport like I was. Otherwise, you still won’t be able to benefit from your new MSLTSCALE setting.

  23. CADnoob says:

    Thanks for the tip but these unfortunately didn’t help me. I had a classic noob problem. The Size of my drawing was ridiculous. Had to scale everything down to a reasonable size. its was in so big it was in scientific notation…. no clue how i did that lol

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

What is 13 + 5 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)