How to Solve Garbled Text Problem in AutoCAD?

When opening a drawing in AutoCAD or other CAD programs, some or all of its text does not display or displays incorrectly. Text may look different when the drawing is opened on different systems. One or more of the following may occur:

  • Text is displayed in a different font. 
  • Text is displayed as blank spaces.
  • Text displays as corrupted letters or characters.
  • Text is barely visible until zoomed in.
  • Text is shifted and, or at a different scale or linetype.
  • Text does not fit the space or frame it was placed in.
  • Text overlaps other text in the object.

Possible Reasons

  • AutoCAD is substituting a font that cannot be found in the operating system or AutoCAD font folders. (Most possible)
  • Bigfont files are missing. (When your drawing has Chinese, Japanese, Korean)
  • The installed font on the system is corrupt and can’t be read correctly in AutoCAD.
  • The font is an OpenType font with Postscript outlines.
  • AutoCAD is substituting a font as specified in the font-mapping (FMP) file. 
  • The affected object is specific to Civil 3D, such as labels and COGO points.

Solutions

  • Install, or copy missing fonts from another System. (How to install a font into AutoCAD?)
  • Reinstall corrupted fonts
    1. Go to the Windows Font folder by opening the Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Fonts, alternatively go to Windows 10 Settings.
    2. Delete the affected font.
    3. Right-click the working font file and choose install from the menu.
  • Check for font substitution: Simplex.shx is a default font that AutoCAD often uses when it cannot find a needed font. To check this, open a drawing and then press F2 to bring up the text window. This shows the font substitution.
  • Substituted font file corruption: If the simplex.shx font is damaged and not displaying correctly, copy simplex.shx from a working system into the following folders. This applies even when it is not the intended font, or AutoCAD has used it to replace another. C:\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx\Fonts C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx\[release]\enu\Support
  • Verify font mapping settings:
    1. Find the path to the acad.fmp file in Options > Files > Text Editor, Dictionary, and Font File Names > Font Mapping File.
    2. Following this path, navigate to the acad.fmp file within the operating system and open it in a text editor such as Notepad.
    3. Compare the file with acad.fmp from a working system.
    4. Manually edit the font replacements as needed.
      • Copy and replace the acad.fmp file.

How to install a font into AutoCAD?

AutoCAD supports TrueType and SHX fonts.

Installing an SHX font into AutoCAD:

  1. Unzip the font file if downloaded as a ZIP file.
  2. Right click and select ‘Copy’ or do CTRL+C on the desired .shx file.
  3. Navigate to the fonts folder within the AutoCAD program located at:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx\Fonts

Alternatively, if the fonts are kept on a server or a network, the file path can be added into AutoCAD instead:

  1. On the command line type OPTIONS.
  2. In the ‘File’ tab open the tree for ‘Supported File Search Path’ and click ‘Add’ then ‘Browse’ to add the location of the desired font location.
  3. Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’ to close.

Installing a TrueType font:

  • AutoCAD reads TrueType (.ttf) fonts that are installed in the operating system. TTF files do not go into AutoCAD’s own Fonts folder.
  1. Unzip the font file if downloaded as a ZIP file.
  2. Right click and select ‘Copy’ or do CTRL+C on the desired .ttf files and paste them into:

C:\Windows\Fonts

  1. Right click the newly pasted font and select ‘Install’.
  • Alternatively, if the file is on a server or a network location, it can be directly installed into AutoCAD after adding in the file path location:
  1. On the command line type OPTIONS.
  2. In the ‘File’ tab open the tree for ‘Supported File Search Path’ and click ‘Add’ then ‘Browse’ to add the location of the desired font location.
  3. Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’ to close.
  4. Navigate to the desired font then right-click on the .ttf file and select ‘Install’.

Note: Some fonts can be associated with a linetype, and the line type might need to be edited to use it

Installing OpenType fonts:

  1. Unzip the font file if downloaded as a ZIP file.
  2. Right click and select ‘Copy’ or do CTRL+C on the desired .oft files and paste them into:

C:\Windows\Fonts

  1. Right click the newly pasted font and select ‘Install’.

Additional locations:

AutoCAD will read font files that are in the same folder as a DWG being opened. It is also possible to setup a custom fonts folder and put its path into AutoCAD in Options > Files > Support File Search Path.

One or more SHX files are missing. What would you like to do? 

If the original font is missing and cannot be obtained, it is possible to replace the missing SHX font with another one.

  1. Open the affected drawing.
  2. When prompted, choose Specify a replacement for each SHX file.
  3. Choose a replacement font for each missing one and click OK. Repeat until all missing fonts are replaced.

How to Use Asian Big Font SHX Files?

If the drawing has Asian language, such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean, please check big font, and use bigfont.shx or chineset.shx to replace it. If the characters is Simplify Chinese, use gbcbig.shx to replace it. 

Asian alphabets contain thousands of non-ASCII characters. To support such text, the program provides a special type of shape definition known as a Big Font file. You can set a style to use both regular and Big Font files.

Asian Language Big Fonts Included in the Product
Font File NameDescription
@extfont2.shxJapanese vertical font (a few characters are rotated to work correctly in vertical text)
bigfont.shxJapanese font, subset of characters
chineset.shxTraditional Chinese font
extfont.shxJapanese extended font, level 1
extfont2.shxJapanese extended font, level 2
gbcbig.shxSimplified Chinese font
whgdtxt.shxKorean font
whgtxt.shxKorean font
whtgtxt.shxKorean font
whtmtxt.shxKorean font
Asian Language Big Fonts

How to Specify an Alternate Font?

If your drawing specifies a font that is not currently on your system, the font designated as your alternate font is automatically substituted. By default, the simplex.shx file is used. If you want to specify a different font, enter the alternate font file name by changing the FONTALT system variable. If you use a text style that uses an Asian Big Font, you can map it to another font using the FONTALT system variable. This system variable uses a default font file pair: txt.shx and bigfont.shx.

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