How to ‘Shrink Wrap’ AutoCAD Masked Text.

Did you know that many Text Objects in AutoCAD have the ability to ‘Mask’ the objects behind them?

I thought I’d write this post in reply to a question posted on the Autocad Forums:

In the Text Mask Shrink Wrap? thread ‘colorado.erickson’ asks;

‘I have always struggled with AutoCAD’s text masking. I love the masking ability which makes drawings that are clean looking and easier to read. My issue is with the way the mask border is created. The mask creates a rectangular border that does not “shrink wrap” around the text. This can lead to masking more text than originally intended’

Text Mask’s and Wipeouts.

Text masking acts like a ‘Wipeout’ that obscures everything behind the text, helping to keep it legible. This works much better than an ‘Island’ hatch or Trimming the geometry around the Mtext, and you don’t have to re-draw the background if you want to move the text.

AutoCAD Masked Text

The size of the text mask is the same as the size of the text frame – if you make the text frame smaller the mask around the text will also shrink.

Tip: Double click on the Arrows at the end of the WYSIWYG MTEXT editor rulers to automagically shrink the text frame to suit the text.

Double click to Shrinkwrap AutoCAD text

If the size of the Mask is still too much you can adjust it by clicking on the ‘Extras’ arrow and clicking on ‘Background Mask’.

AutoCAD Back Ground Mask Text

The ‘Border offset factor’ controls the amount of ‘Padding’ inside the MTEXT frame.

AutoCAD Back ground Mask Text Dialogue

Many other objects that include text can also have wipeouts – or text masks. This includes Dimensions and Multileaders. The quick way to find out about this property us to use the ‘PROPERTIES’ Palette.

To Open the Properties Palette

Toolbar: Standard The AutoCAD Properties Command Button

Menu:  The AutoCAD Big Red A > Modify > Properties.

Shortcut menu: Select the objects whose properties you want to view or modify, right-click in the drawing area, and click Properties.

Command entry: properties

…and select an object to see it’s properties in the palette…

The AutoCAD Properties Palette

Finally, if your text mask doesn’t show up, the text is probably ‘Behind’ the other object. Right click on your text and use ‘Draw order – Bring to front’.

AutoCAD Draw order Command


Looking for more AutoCAD text tips? Check out this tip on using the FIND and REPLACE commands to replace text strings in drawings.

2 Responses to “How to ‘Shrink Wrap’ AutoCAD Masked Text.

  • NormsAUS
    13 years ago

    I have AutoCAD LT, just wondering if there is anyway of using the Background mask on Text and not only MText?

    • Hi Norm,

      As fa as I can see TEXT doesn’t have a background mask property. Other than using MTEXT I think that the only other option is to use a wipeout or Solid fill.

      I have seen some LISP routines that Automate this – but unfortunately with AutoCAD LT you won’t be able to take advantage of these.

      I hope that that is helpful!