Switching to IntelliCAD® – Line Types, Fonts and Printing

By Doug Aaberg • July 17th, 2017
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In this new world of licensing issues, those who prefer a perpetual license are finding it a good time to explore switching to IntelliCAD. For many firms, this has turned out to be a very viable and cost-saving solution. There are, however, some differences to understand and configurations to pay attention to to prevent some real headaches. The following are some facts to know and some of the most common questions I get from clients who have made the switch.

First, here are some things to know:

  1. The DWG is the same.

The IntelliCAD DWG and AutoCAD® DWG are a direct read providing you are not opening a new version from an old one. That situation has always existed regardless of which platform you are running, but you do NOT need to perform any special type of conversion or Import/Export function between the two.

  1. Carlson is consistent between platforms.

You do NOT lose access to any Carlson commands between IntelliCAD and AutoCAD with very few exceptions. The Carlson ACAD OEM version does have some differences, but are mostly minor and have to do with the native AutoCAD commands not included in the OEM version.

Here are some common questions/problems:

  1. Where are all my linetypes?

Many firms that have been using AutoCAD for years have built an extensive library of custom linetypes. The problem occurs when people create and store linetypes but no one knows where they are kept anymore. A user opens up an old drawing and they see [???????] instead of a tree line or stone wall. That happens because linetypes that contain special symbols or shape files, are stored externally and need to be included in the software’s sulinetypepport path for it to find them. When you install IntelliCAD, the program is placed in its own directory that will most likely be a different one than your previous software. By default, there is an icad.lin file that is installed locally (on your C: drive) in the Icad support folder. A .LIN file contains various linetypes and can be edited as desired.

Most users will not edit the supplied icad.LIN but will instead, create their own company.LIN file and add custom linetypes to that. The location of that file needs to be then added to the AutoCAD or IntelliCAD support path. It is best if this location is on your company server for access to everyone. To add a line type path:icadphoto2

From the Settings menu, select IntelliCAD options.

Click the + sign next to Linetype files, then Browse to the proper location ie. Z:\CAD Standards\Linetypes and add the path.

IntelliCAD will read an AutoCAD linetype and vice versa. The above procedure will need to be done on each computer in the office to prevent discontinuity.

  1. My fonts don’t look right?

First off, sometimes people get confused between text styles and fonts. They may create a text style called Simplex and then select the Simplex font thinking this will make it easier to remember. Then you may end up looking at your list of styles and see Simplex but it doesn’t look right in the drawing.Text Styles Manager

In the above example, the font simplex was used for the style Standard.Sample ICAD font list

Similar to linetypes, fonts are stored in a separate support directory and need to be included in the software support path. However not all fonts are the same between AutoCAD and IntelliCAD. As shown above, the font simplex does not exist in IntelliCAD. IntelliCAD does have a font that looks exactly the same but it is named ic-simplex. There are actually legal reasons for this. There are several fonts with similar names that correspond directly to respective AutoCAD names.

By default, IntelliCAD will substitute ic-simplex for any fonts it cannot find. The headache here is that not all fonts look the same or have the same width or height. In some instances, things like a company logo that will no longer fit inside the title block because it was created using some particular font. This can be a very frustrating situation for the user.

So what can be done?

  • Set your support path to the location where any desired fonts may be. Again, it is advisable to keep all particular fonts in a folder on the company’s server so all will have access. Neglecting to do this could cause a plan to look very differently when printed from one computer verses another.

From the Settings menu, select IntelliCAD options.Settings/Options Menu

Click the + sign next to Fonts, then Browse to the proper location ie. Z:\CAD Standards\Fonts and add the path.

IntelliCAD will read an AutoCAD font and vice versa. There are many fonts available online as well. The above procedure will need to be done on each computer in the office to prevent discontinuity.

  • Copy AutoCAD or any other custom fonts locally on each computer to a folder in an existing search path. Again I prefer to have a folder on the shared network but it may be necessary to copy these files to individual computers that work remotely.
  • Use common fonts. If your company is operating in a multi-platform environment, take the time to explore available fonts that are in common. Consistency is important in preventing these common problems.
  • Don’t operate in a vacuum. Come together on drafting standards and then implement them companywide. No one will ever completely agree on the cosmetics of a plan, but a compromise should not be difficult to reach and the benefits of consistency will be felt immediately.
  • Keep it simple. One particular client I was working with used 6 different fonts just for the title block. That’s probably not really necessary especially when the difference was hard to distinguish.


  1. When I plot it, it looks different depending on which computer I’m using.

This is most likely a problem with your .CTB file if you are using color dependent layers. If you are using named plot styles then your .STB file could be the problem. And most likely that problem is the plot file with the same name is resident on different computers but with different configurations. Confusing? Yes.

This is another problem easily solved by standardizing your company’s work flow. Create a folder on the company server and place your plot style tables (.CTB or .STB) there and point everyone’s computer to that location.

From the Settings menu, select IntelliCAD options.IntelliCAD print options

Click the + sign next to Print styles, then Browse to the proper location ie. Z:\CAD Standards\Plot Styles and add the path.

IntelliCAD will read an AutoCAD plot style and vice versa. You can add multiple search paths for the plot styles, so for jobs that require a unique plot style, you can create those in a separate folder. The above procedure will need to be done on each computer in the office to prevent discontinuity.

Again I stress the importance of standardizing and consistency. This should not inhibit the creative process of individual users. Quite the opposite, I feel. By creating a good framework of standards to work in, individuals will be allowed to come up with new and better ideas and share them with others. I believe it helps keep people from becoming isolated in their work place environment.

Thanks for the emails and calls, I love hearing from you.


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Douglas L. Aaberg, PLS
Survey Product Manager

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