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Adding Hatches to the Custom Tab in AutoCAD

October 30, 2016

It’s almost November and the leaves are falling fast in Michigan. This will be my last post prior to Autodesk University 2016 and soon it will look like the photo below on my deck. I do like the winter time so I welcome the change of the season, the holidays, and the family time that goes along with it. I just finished my papers for Autodesk University 2016 (lots of weekends and late nights) and wanted to share one last post prior to the conference.

Halloween in Michigan

A Michigan Winter

Let’s talk Hatch Pattens. Recently I have had several people ask me about the custom hatch pattern tab in AutoCAD and how to populate that tab with your custom patterns. Hatch patterns are stored in a file named ACAD.PAT or ACADISO.PAT. You can edit the default PAT files that are installed with AutoCAD by using Notepad and adding your custom hatch pattern data at the end of the file. You can give your patterns a name with the format *MYNAME, DESCRIPTION followed by the pattern as shown below in the EARTH example.Example of the Earth

Example of the Earth hatch pattern.



Let us now add some extra patterns to the custom tab. You are asking “Sam, what custom tab?” Select Hatch on the Ribbon (or type Hatch at the command prompt) then T for Settings.


This will bring up the Hatch and Gradient dialog box as shown below. Next select the ellipses as shown next to the pattern name to bring up Hatch Pattern Palette with a Custom tab shown.


After selecting the ellipses you will see the Hatch Pattern Palette as shown on the left portion of the image below. Selecting the custom tab will bring up the same dialog box with nothing in there as shown highlighted in yellow in the image on the right. Let’s add some custom hatch patterns to this tab.


Notice how there is nothing in the image to the right under the custom tab. Move out to your local C drive (or network folder) and create a Hatch folder, in this example we named the folder CustomHatch. We then placed all of our hatch patterns that we downloaded to that folder.  The next thing we need to do is add that folder to our Support Search Path in AutoCAD.


In AutoCAD type Options at the command prompt or right-click in the command area to bring up the Options dialog box.  Within this dialog select the files tab and pull out the Support File Search Path and select the Add button as shown.


You will now browse out to your Custom hatch folder and add it to the path. It will be added to the bottom of your list. Simply select the Move Up button and move to the top of the Support Search File Path (just in case you have other custom files that are loaded ahead of this file).  Hit OK and Apply and get out of the dialog box.


Move back out to your command line and type Hatch or select Hatch from the Draw Panel on the Ribbon. Select T for settings once again to bring up our dialog box.


Move out to your Custom tab and your custom hatch patterns will be displayed in a list as shown. You can now have your favorite hatches in a separate folder for quick access. Don’t forget to also look at that Hatch and Gradient Dialog box where you can also set hatches to be Annotative, Associative, and even setup a default layer.


If you are wondering about the Ribbon, they are added there as well. Under the pattern name select User defined as shown and your patterns will be added to the list of hatches available in your current drawing setting.


That’s all for now until we meet in Vegas at Autodesk University 2016. I always look forward to this time of year to see all my friends, learning new technology, and working with some of the best and talented people in the world. That includes you!  I look forward to meeting new friends at the conference. I did tell one person (Hi Adam!) that I was going to do this when I got off the plane in Vegas!

Just kidding, you will see me with the usual hooded jacket and jeans making my way to the registration booth to get my badge. Always a great feeling and a walk I look forward to taking.  See you all there!


I finished my handouts on time late last night and have uploaded to the AU website. I am proud of these handouts and the work that has been put into them. I am confident that you will find these as great resources for yourself as you work through my topics. I am teaching 3 classes this year and I have listed those below:

CSI: CAD Standards Implementation: The new kid to the party. Over the past year I have been working on creating standards and a standard approach to auditing and checking CAD files. This tool can prove to be very efficient in AutoCAD. I am very excited to explore this further and present at AU. We are going to create our .dws (standards file) and compare that to several non-compliance drawings and demonstrate how effective we can be.

Pumping Up Productivity in the LAB with Macros, One Character at a Time: Taking macros to the lab. Open up the the CUI (Customized User Interface) in AutoCAD and touch a command then look at the pane to the lower right. Go through the list of commands and look at the Macro that controls what the command does. Think about altering the macro, adding additional commands and putting it to work for you. If you want to meet some of the best CAD people in the business; I have 3 lab assistants who could teach this class by themselves.

Advanced Topics Using the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD: No Sheet! I am teaching sheet sets again. What do you prefer %%U or ALT+160 for blank fields?  The Sheet View and Model View tabs?  I believe that the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD is one of the most productive tools introduced and has been in the software for over 10 years. The SSM continues to be avoided by many CAD users. I believe this is mainly due to not giving it a try or believing it is not necessary for the type of work you do.

Have a great rest of your weekend and I look forward to seeing each and every one of you at Autodesk University 2016!


One Comment
  1. Nigel permalink

    Thanks Dear

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