How to Use AutoCAD’s Annotative Hatches

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Annotation scaling is a new feature in AutoCAD that lets you place Dimensions, Multileaders, Blocks and hatches in Model space, and have them scale to the right size to suit a Paper space Viewport.

The Annotation scale feature is a new beast. It can take a while to get your head around and I’ve yet to meet anyone who is using Annotation scaling for everything. However Annotative hatches are quick to master and can save you a lot of time and effort.

Do you use Annotation scaling in your AutoCAD Drawings?

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Old School hatching

Previously if you wanted to hatch an item in a 1:1 view, but you didn’t want to see the hatch when you created a 1:10 view of the same geometry, then you would need to put your hatch on a separate layer and freeze that layer in all other viewports, apart from the one that you want the hatch to show up in.

If you wanted to have the same object hatched in your 1:10 view, but have the hatch scaled to suit the view you would need to create two layers, one for each hatch, and freeze/thaw them as appropriate.

Old style AutoCAD hatching

Annotative Hatching

Using Annotative scaling  you can attach some information to a hatch to tell the hatch when it should be visible, and how it should look. An Annotative hatch which has 1:1 scale attached will only show up in 1:1 scale Viewports.

An Annotative hatch with 1:1 and 1:10 scales attached will show up in 1:1 scale viewports and 1:10 scale viewports and it it will be scaled to the correct size automagically.

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AutoCAD Annotative Hatching

Using Annotation scaling

Before you begin using Annotation scaling you will want to become familiar with it’s controls. Have a look at the status bar while in Model Space and check that you’ve got the following tools showing…

AutoCAD's Annotative Controls

If you haven’t, click on the little arrow on the end (or right click anywhere on the status bar) and make sure that the following items are checked…

Accesing AutoCAD's Annotation controls

Setting up your scale list

The First control is the ‘Annotation scale’ tool. This control allows you to set the current Annotation scale as well as allowing you to add or delete scales from the list.

 AutoCAD's default metric scale list

Pick ‘Custom’ to add or delete any scales from the current drawing, until you get the list of scales that you want. Click OK when you’re done.

AutoCAD's Edit Scale List dialogue box

TIP: It’s a good idea to do this in your template file, so you only have to do this once!

 Creating an Annotative Hatch

AutoCAD's current Annotation Scale

First, check out the Annotation scale tool. Make a note of it’s current value.


TIP: This is the base value that all further hatch scales will be multiplied by. You will probably want to leave this at 1:1

AutoCAD's hatch options

Then create your hatch as usual. Set the ‘Type’, ‘Angle’ and ‘Scale’ as you wish. You can toggle between the hatch tool and preview mode, but don’t hit ‘OK’ yet.

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When you are happy with your hatch check the ‘Annotative’ box under options.


When you hit OK and return to Model space your Annotative hatch has been created. That was easy!

If you hover over your new hatch you may notice an extra Glyph by the cursor. This Glyph indicates that your Hatch is Annotative.

AutoCAD Annotative Hatching

As a side note the Glyph is supposed to look like a Scale rule as seen from one end.

A engineer's Scale rule seen from one end

Note That the ‘Annotative scale’ is 1:1, This scale has been added to the Hatch automatically because it is the scale that was current when we created the hatch. Remember that I asked you to make a note of the Annotation scale value?

So currently this hatch will only show in 1:1 scale viewports, and you didn’t even have to create a new layer! But what if you want to add more scales to the list?


Adding Annotative Scales to your Hatch

Select the hatch, right click and choose ‘Annotative Object Scale’>’Add/Delete Scales…’  Or type ‘OBJECTSCALE’ At the command line and pick your hatch.

Add and delete annotative scales from a hatch

This will bring up the ‘Annotation Object scale’ Dialog. Note that only one scale is currently shown – 1:1. Click on the ‘Add’ Button to add scales to the list.

AutoCAD's Annotation Object Scale List

The list of scales available is the list that you set up earlier when you used the ‘Edit Scale’ Command. You can use the CTRL+click or SHIFT+click to pick scales from the list.

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AutoCAD's Add Scales to Object Dialogue box

You might notice that the cursor now shows two ‘Annotation Scale’ Glyphs when you mouse over your hatch – to indicate that your new hatch has multiple scales attached.

Multiple Annotative scales glyph

Seeing is believing

To see the effect of your changes, first make that you have toggled the ‘Annotation visibility’ setting to ‘Show current scale only’ (the tool that looks like a scale rule on end with a light bulb by it).

Now use the Annotation scale tool to play with the current scale. As you try out different scales you should see your Annotative hatch turn on and off or re-scale itself, as appropriate to your settings.

AutoCAD's Annotative Hatching

Annotative Hatches and Paper Space Viewports

Switch into Paper Space, add a Viewport and select it. You will notice that the Annotative tools in the Status bar are subtly different to those in Model Space. But the principle is the same. Use the ‘Viewport’ scale tool to set the scale of your viewport and, as if by magic, see your hatches scale themselves to your Viewports.

TIP: You won’t see the annotation scaling tools in Parer space unless you have a viewport selected.

AutoCAD's paper space annotative controls

As always, it takes a lot longer to describe the process than it does to use it! Why not try out Annotative hatches today!

Will you give Annotative Hatching a try?

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Did you ever want to create an AutoCAD hatch using curved lines? Check out this tip.

8 Responses to “How to Use AutoCAD’s Annotative Hatches

  • I tried applying this to an existing set of drawings I have. I drew new hatches, made them annotative and added the appropriate scale for the viewport scales I’m using. When I updated the xref the hatch disappears from the viewport.
    Are there any tricks to getting annotative scales to communicate through xrefs and sheet sets? Thanks.

    • Hi Sally,

      I’ve never tried adding an Annotative hatch to an Xref!

      Check that you have the same scales available in your Host drawing, that you have in your Xref’s drawing.

      The Xref’s scales should appear in the scale list as’1:1,xref’ (For example).

      You could try setting the Viewport scale to one of the annotation scales that has been xref’d in?

      Let me know how you get on!


  • Aneeshmondhayil
    6 years ago

    Nice article!!….Just now I got the shape of glyph!!

  • Clinton Hill
    6 years ago

    This article was clear and concise and very well illustrated!

  • Great job..

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