What is the standard font height and type?

Earlier, we discussed how you can install additional fonts to AutoCAD.

Another common question about AutoCAD fonts or drawing lettering are: what’s the default font type and what’s the font height? There are many standards (and many also said there is no standard) that you can use.

Construction Series 011

The bottom line is the text must be legible. Not too small and not too big so it will not interfere other objects.

Let’s see the common practice for engineering drawing lettering.

Standard Font Height

Height – 1/8″ is common (1/4″ for titles etc.)

Upper & Lower Case – Engineering lettering is commonly upper case CAPITALS

source: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~rbavis/lettering.htm

1/8″ is common text height (equal to 3mm in metric) and 1/4″ is used for titles. You can find this height is consistent in many resources.

Remember, this is the text height on paper. If you work with AutoCAD, you need to set the correct height for your plot scale. Or use AutoCAD annotation scaling.

Standard Font Type

I usually just use Technic or Simplex font. But according to ANSI/ASME standard, the default font type is ASME Y14.5M.

Below is the font type. It looks very neat and very legible to me.


image: http://www.fontspace.com

If you want to download this font, you can download it on FontSpace here. It’s licensed as public domain and commercial use is allowed.

What’s your standard font height and type?

I’ve never used ASME Y14.5M font, and I usually use 2.5mm as my text height. Not by my choice, but it was my company standard. We use Technic. And we also use Architxt for our fancy texts. I think 1/8″ standard was to make it easy using lettering guides.


image: http://www.eckersleys.com.au

But when working with CAD, it’s easy to create smaller letters than 1/8″. The problem is it still must be legible.

I believe many of you also use different standards. What is your standard?

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  1. Pete Lozano says

    In the comment to ASME Y14.5M., this was created in the mind set of drawings being created for use domestically and internationally. What I am saying is when a drawing is created my anyone if ASME Y14.5M is used then understanding any general notes specific notes will not be misunderstood. This is very important when doing tolerance dimensioning especially in the aeronautical and automotive manufacturing industry.

    I have done many drawings both in Imperial and SI units. When using this standard it is very easy to convert drawings back and fourth by just changing templates.

    I enjoyed your post.

  2. says

    BS 8888 doesn’t recommend a font, it only shows what the letters should look like, it’s left up to the CAD vendors to create a font to match!

    The standard is based on hand lettering, so it’s kind of irrelevant in the computer age. I think that it’s ok these days to choose the same font as your company uses for letters and so on.

  3. Catodon says

    Hi Edo,
    I work for a Civil Engineering firm and we have gotten into the habit of using 1/8" (.125") simplex font for Proposed features and 1/10" (.1") with a lighter weight for existing features. This helps highlight proposed work and gives us that little bit of extra space for notes.

  4. Tomf says

    I've worked in 7 architecture firms in 4 states (NJ, TX, NE, OR) and all but one used 3/32". The other one used 1/16" which was too tight and didn't allow you to do half-sized prints for checking, etc. Fonts are different in all the firms…

  5. Paul Davis says

    1/8" is not just a common standard, it is also just the correct size for reproduction. Meaning, not everyone generates a pdf and re-prints on a 1200×1200 full size plotter. Some companies still scan drawings (300dpi or smaller) and store in a Doc Management system for viewing or printing. Not all printers can plot 36", or are laser; not all monitors are large and connected to a nice CAD graphics card. Where I work, we developed our standards in the early 80's with small plotter dpi and small monitors and 1 full size company plotter and micro filming. We tested different sizes, but 1/8" worked the best.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing this Paul.
      I use metric, and not familiar with imperial unit. I learned to use 3 mm in college, which is almost equal to 1/8".
      But I use 2.5mm when I start to work. It's acceptable even when we worked with old computer with AutoCAD R14.

  6. John Zerda says

    Thanks for the tip sir… maybe you can add tutorials or standards in line weights
    I have some difficulties in line weights for drawing to have presentable drawing

    thank you