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KrisM

Font sizing seems off

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I noticed that the font size asked for and the font size created on a drawing are off. I adjusted all my font sizing to be bigger but wondered if this was a problem peculiar to me. As a test, I created some text is some other programs -

Created text at .500" tall, Arial

Autocad - text was .499"

Revit - text was .510"

Archicad - text was .490"

Vectorworks - .357"

Anyone else see this?

 

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A font's height in typography is utilized differently in some CAD programs.

 

Generally, in page layout programs (and Vectorworks I believe), the size of a font is based upon the "Em square".  An Em square is essentially a box for a character to sit within and is equal to the font's height, not a specific character's height.  This provides a space for characters such as a capital M and a lowercase g to fit within a given space and line up correctly.  It's all based on old school metal typesetting.  See the attached file for an example of 4 different fonts, all set to the same size, with different behaviors in regards to character height and spacing.

 

This is why the character height can not be a discrete size but the Em square is.

It is also why you have to be extremely careful when using fonts for items you intend on fabricating.

font example.vwx

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This is interesting and something I didn't realize. I choose the font size in Word by what looks correct. I never actually measured it. I started off in Autocad years ago and the font size selected is the size of what prints out. Same thing for Revit and Archicad. I tried this again in Affinity and Word. Both times the text comes out at .375" high. there seems to be two standards here and Vectorworks has aligned itself to the publishing definition but Autocad, Revit and Archicad have used a different definition for what the size of a font should be. I prefer the Autocad definition but will adjust to Vectorwork's version.

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@KrisM Yes, I started drawing by hand and later in AutoCAD.  Technical drafting standards dictate that lettering be sized by the character, thus why most CAD packages use ISO standards for fonts.

 

Industries related to typesetting use what I described earlier.  When the two paths cross, errors can and oftentimes occur.  FYI, all of this is really important if you ever have to develop a sign package for exterior wayfinding or room identification on government projects.  Always dimension your signage fonts and specify fonts if ever in doubt.  It is can be disappointing if your design is not fabricated correctly due to this disparity between the industries.  As you may have guessed, I have run into this issue a few times over the years.

 

Interestingly enough, some of the cities I submit plans to specify minimum font heights in points, as in 12 pt minimum text because they reference old microfiche archiving standards LOL.  Most government projects use ISO to dictate things like minimum lettering heights.  It's all kind of comical on a technical level since microfiche archiving and diazo reprographics are ancient history by technical standards.  Even paper submittals are starting to go away.

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On old versions of vw (before 2012 which I'm still on) this seemed to be a real problem. I did some testing to get to the bottom of it and it seemed at the time their was no validation so if you selected 12 pt you'd actually get a size that ranged from just about 12 to just below 13 (whatever random numbers were in the buffer at the time) . 2012 seems to be better, but being if I use a non-standard size I always put .0 just to make sure.

 

As vw bugs/flaws/ty coding seem to be cyclic maybe this problem has returned.

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