Converting SHX Text Objects to AutoCAD Mtext

October 18, 2022 Renu Muthoo

It is not uncommon to receive designs in the form of PDF files that we want to edit inside the AutoCAD software. In such a situation, AutoCAD provides us with a fantastic A picture containing text, clipartDescription automatically generated (Import PDF) tool that converts a PDF to an AutoCAD DWG file. Simple, isn’t it? However, this conversion process comes with some limitations. If the PDF file contains text (which it often does for notes and other details) and the text happens to be in SHX font, then this conversion process breaks the SHX text into individual geometric objects, such as polylines. This makes editing this false text extremely difficult and cumbersome. To resolve this issue, AutoCAD added a few tools that can be used to convert the SHX text to AutoCAD Mtext strings, which can be further combined to create a paragraph. In this blog, I will demonstrate how to convert broken SHX text objects to Mtext and then combine them together.  



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SHX Conversion Tools 

All the tools that are required to convert the SHX geometry objects to multiline text objects have been conveniently placed together in the Insert tab>Import panel.  

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SHX Conversion Process 

  1. Select the (Recognition Settings) tool to open the PDF Text Recognition Settings dialog box, where you can control the various settings required for SHX conversion. 

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  1. In the dialog box, select the SHX fonts to compare. Try to use a limited number of comparison fonts because the more fonts you select, the longer it takes for the conversion process to complete. 

  1. In the Conversion settings area, set the threshold percentage to determine how closely the converted text should match the selected fonts in the list to be considered a matching font. 

  1. There are times when you won’t know which fonts were used in the PDF. In this case, click the Use best matching font option. The software will determine which Mtext font best matches the shape text in the drawing.  

  1. After clicking OK in the dialog box, AutoCAD prompts to select the SHX objects in the drawing. Then, the software processes the text and provides an update about how many objects were converted, how many fonts were used, and the percentage of non-converted objects. 


  1. The selected objects are finally converted to Mtext objects. 


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  1. If there are more SHX text objects in the drawing, use the (Recognize SHX Text) tool to convert the SHX geometry to Mtext string objects. As the conversion options in the PDF Text Recognition Settings dialog box have already been set, there is no need to restart the Recognition Settings process. 

  1. To combine all the individual Mtext strings, use the  (Combine Text) tool. Before selecting the text strings to combine, use the Combine Text Settings option to open the Text to MText Settings dialog box. Ensure that the Combine into a single mtext object option is selected. You can also select the Sort top-down and Word-wrap text options, if desired.  Click OK. 


  1. Select the individual Mtext lines you want to combine.  


  1. Once complete, this conversion and combining process makes editing the text easier. 


I hope that reading this blog will encourage you to convert your PDF files to AutoCAD files and not take the route of recreating the drawing from scratch. When you see the text being broken into geometric objects, you will know how to tackle this limitation and convert the text back into text objects.  

About the Author

Renu Muthoo

Learning Content Developer<br><br>Renu has worked with Autodesk products for the past 20 years with a main focus on design visualization software. Renu holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and started her career as an Instructional Designer/Author where she co-authored a number of Autodesk 3ds Max and AutoCAD books, some of which were translated into other languages for a wide audience reach. In her next role as a Technical Specialist at a 3D visualization company, Renu used 3ds Max in real-world scenarios on a daily basis. There, she developed customized 3D web planner solutions to create specialized 3D models with photorealistic texturing and lighting to produce high quality renderings.

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