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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Slow sluggish Styles require Fast Font Fixes

Got Slow and Sluggish Styles or Files?

Often the problem with files that are slow to load, regen, pan, and zoom are related to bad, missing, or substituted fonts in TextStyle definitions. Think back to when you first opened the file inside of AutoCAD. Did the file hesitate initially? Did you see the following dialog box pop-up asking for a missing font file to be found?

Perhaps you never saw the dreaded “Specify Font for Style @@@@@” dialog box, you might still be the victim of the missing or corrupt text style disaster. You might have sluggish drawings that do not respond like they should. You might open a drawing and start working only to find text entries that disappear at random or fail to print. Does the following image look familiar?

Notice the leader lines with no annotation. Surely this drawing should be showing much more annotation and notes than it does! This condition is known as “Fontaltitis”. You are the victim of a randomly replaced font. If any of the preceding symptoms have occurred or if you have the variable “fontalt” set to automatically swap out a missing font, you might experience the same behavior without ever seeing the missing font box. Have no fear! When we are done, you will know exactly what to do. You will learn the tricks of the Font Masters, so that you can trouble shoot, diagnose, and fix even the most stubborn of sluggish files.

What do I need to do?

The best answer is to immediately get on the phone with whoever sent you the original file. Ask them to kindly perform an “Etransmit” from within the affected file. Be sure to remind them to “include” the fonts in their options. When you receive the newly created collection, be sure to save the included font files (*.ttf, *.shx) to the correct folder. If you are not sure where the files should be saved, try typing the following at the command line and hitting the “Enter” key. It will tell you where to put the files.

(findfile "romans.shx")

If you were able to retrieve the correct font files, then all is well! When you are finished copying the files to the correct location simply close and reopen the offending file. You should see a noticeable speed improvement. If you were unable to locate the fonts or perhaps never saw the warning box, have no fear! Read on for an answer to the problem.

That didn’t Work! Now What?

  1. If you made it this far, chances are you saw the “Specify Font for Style @@@@@” dialog box. Maybe you clicked “cancel” or even possibly picked a font style from the provided selection area. I hate to tell you this, but you wasted your time. The only way to fix this problem is to make the font file available to the Text Style. You can do this by getting a copy of the font file and placing it in AutoCAD’s search path, or by changing the definition of the Text Style so that it uses a font file available to the computer.
  2. Launch the “Style” command using your preferred method of interacting with AutoCAD:
    1. From the command line, type the command “Style” and hit your “Enter” key or use the “Rule of Thumb”.
    2. Choose the “Text Style” command from the “Format Pulldown.

    3. Choose the “Text Style” command from the Text Toolbar. It’s the button with the letter “A” and the paint brush.

  3. So far so good, you should see the “Text Style” dialog box displayed if you’ve followed along successfully! Do you remember the font name the “Select…” dialog box was asking for? If not, don’t be alarmed, but it would be much easier if we knew what to look for. Without that knowledge we will have to just proceed to investigate. Remember the error message? Here it is again in a smaller format with some critical areas highlighted for your enjoyment.

    Of particular note are the “Style” name shown in the Window Caption (Standard in this example) and the actual font file name as shown at the bottom in the sentence fragment: “Font not found: arfor”. If you didn’t pay attention when this dialog box first appeared, then stay tuned because I’ll show you the Font Master tip.

  4. Okay, still here I see, that means that for some reason we don’t know or didn’t pay attention to the missing fonts when AutoCAD first told us about it, or didn’t if you’re suffering from “fontaltitis”. The following graphic shows you the trick to identifying a missing or problem font file when viewing the fonts and text styles from the “Text Style” box.

    Did you notice the indicator? Look at the differences shown in the following graphic as I click on the “Font Name” selection box. Did you get the difference? That’s right. All of our suspect or problem text styles will display the “Name” only. Notice the difference between the “Zero Threes” font file and the rest of the font files available as shown. All of the qualified font names have a little graphic indicator as shown to the immediate left of the font name in Figure 8. The other tip? Did you notice that the fonts that were missing from your search path also did not display any "preview" in the lower right corner of the dialog box. Now you are the Tip Master!

  5. So now your task is to use the ‘”Style Name” selector shown at the top left of the “Text Style” dialog box. One by One we will select a “Text Style” from the list shown in the “Style name” frame. After each style is chosen, look in the “Font Name” selection list. Is there a little graphic shown to the left of the font name? If so, then skip this one and move to the next one. If the icon is missing, then you found one for repair, click the list pull down shown in the “Font Name” frame and find a font with a graphic/icon displayed to the left of its name. You can chose to “Apply” your changes as you go by selecting the “Apply” button or choose to live on the edge and wait until all changes have been made. Don’t forget if you chose excitement rather than prudence to be sure to click the “Apply” button prior to saving and closing the “Text Style” dialog box.

I hope this helps.

Note: You can click on any of the images shown in this entry to see a larger version.