NOTE: Click here for a follow up on this article.

The noob flag is flying high today.

I cracked open a drawing that was the at the center of a mission critical task, so the pressure is on and naturally they give the task to the noob, and the most critical element in this drawing was missing. All of the god damn text was missing! It moments like these that I begin to question the universe's motives.

I jump right into the layer menu and unfreeze and turn on every thing. A whole lot of nothing came out of that. Now I know this drawing has text in it cause I am the first person to touch in in ages and our hard copies all have the text on it. I open up the external references and everything is legit there. I opened design center [I'm starting to love design center] and I don't notice anything fishy in any of the parts and pieces... WTF!!

On a hunch I decided to approach the problem the way mathematicians solve issues, they assume the impossible part of the problem has been solved already and start from that point. I did just that. I assumed that the text was not missing despite the fact that I could not see it nor select it with a crossing window. I thought to my self how would a lazy man select all the text in a drawing with out seeing it or being able to touch it. Quick Select! I typed in:


I selected; applies to - entire drawing, object - type text, Properties - Layer, Operator - = equals, Value - My text layer

Like a meth head to a trailer park my text selection seemed to magically show up. Now I still cant see the actual text but at least I know some sort of information was there. I right clicked and selected properties and changed the text and boom it all showed up. This is when I got another hole punched in my noob card. I realized that this was a simple missing font issue AutoCAD tried to tell me we had problems when the drawing opened but I wasn't paying attention. I open a copy of the drawing and there it was as plain as day in the command dialog. [you can bring this nifty jewel up by pressing F2]

"MYTEXT is a normal text font file not a big font file."

It repeated the notice over and over as though it was trying to beat the noob out of me, but the noob is strong with this one.

I opened up the text style in the ribbon [Annotate tab >text panel > click the little angle arrow] but you can also type:


Its hard to deny this rookie move when AutoCAD went as far as to put and exclamation icon right on the problem area.. that I just didn't look at.. I mean who thinks of looking at text options when the text is missing.. crazy right.

So yep I earned another notch in the ole bedpost. But what was worse was that I got that feeling in my stomach... you know that feeling when you encounter a whole real of ideas that everyone expects you to be an expert on... and this is the first time you have heard about it. I can only guess its something like being told hey you have a kid, but you cant remember the last time you had sex. This was the feeling bouncing around with the thoughts of what the hell is a big font. But of course you have to play it off as you have an audience of people in the office waiting behind you for the drawing you were miraculously able to fix by going 180 degrees in the wrong direction first.

I did a little research and from what I can tell the proprietary .shx is the issue. Just kidding, aside from other reason the .shx file type allows for streamlining text handling. So the drawings will behave better using a .shx style font. So naturally you wonder why you need the other stuff; the answer is they didn't want to shut out other fonts if the user wanted to use them. AutoCAD allows other types of font to be used and the way that AutoCAD sees the other fonts are as a big font file in relative terms to shx files. So this is my understanding of the Big Font option.