How is your AutoCAD 2011 hatching?

How is your AutoCAD 2011 hatching?

Hatching is the poster child for AutoCAD 2011’s 2D drafting feature changes (although there are several other significant ones), and also for demonstrating the advantages of providing a contextual interface via the Ribbon. It looks great at first glance when working with simple demo drawings, but how are things going in the real world? I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences.

  • Is the hatch Ribbon tab snapping into place and going away quickly enough, both the first time it is used in a session and subsequently?
  • Is the Ribbon interface easy to use, efficient and complete?
  • Does the hatch preview always match what’s actually hatched when you accept the preview? If not, how often is it wrong?
  • Are you happy with the new default double-click hatch action? (If not, see the Hatch double-click section of my AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” post).
  • Does the hatch preview work quickly and accurately in simple areas? How about more complex areas? How about areas bounded by complex polylines with lots of vertices?
  • Is the performance up to scratch when creating and editing both associative and non-associative hatches? How about when grips are visible on complex bounding areas? How about when you make changes to hatches using the Properties palette?
  • Is boundary detection working reliably in finding and filling a closed hatch area? Even when using a solid or gradient hatch pattern?
  • How is your zoom and pan performance in drawings with a lot of hatching?
  • Have you noticed any problems with the new transparency and background features?
  • Have you experienced any hatch-induced crashes or lockups?
  • Are any of your hatch problems new to 2011, or do they also exist in earlier releases on the same PC when using the same drawings?

If your hatching performance is poor, have you tried changing the values of system variables to turn off features to see if the problems persist? Try HPQUICKPREVIEW = 0, HPDLGMODE = 1 and SELECTIONPREVIEW = 0. Also, if you are having display performance issues, try VTENABLE =0 and check using 3DCONFIG to see if your graphics card/driver combination is certified.


  1. 1. I have my ribbon set to auto hide, which doesnt seem to be very compatible with the hatch tab, as it doesnt pop out when hatching, so I have to specify to open the settings dialog.

    3. I had to shut off hatch preview, it created such a lag, attempting to generate the preview, it was negatively productive.

    4. With the ribbon set to autohide, double clicking hatch brings up the properties palette, so I guess I’ll have to create a custom double click action if I want the dialog to show up.

    6. This is the first version where i have had to minimize the geometry and pattern tabs so that I dont experience a delay every time I select a hatch.

    7. I’m still having issues with boundary detection for closed polylines that have overlapping points/lines. Select objects will work, but pick a point does not.

    8. we dont use a lot of hatching, but pan and zoom seem to work as well as in previous releases

    9. I have used transparency, and not noticed any real issues. Draw order is still a pain when you have objects on top of one another, but selection cycling seems to really help in this area.

    10. the only lockups experienced are the temporary hangs (or stickiness) that I experience when selecting hatch when the pattern and geometry panels of the property palette are expanded.

    11. The Stickiness is new for me in 2011 (Not only stickiness on hatches, but also the stickiness of polylines is new.) The boundary selection for closed areas with overlapping points has been around forever.

  2. Chris

    1. The hatch ribbon appears virtually instant, which is great.

    2. I have made a few tweaks using CUI to make it more efficient (fewer clicks and better placement of the features that are used here the most)

    3. So far so good; however, our hatches are usually not too complex.

    4. I think the double click action should depend on if the ribbon is minimized or not.

    5. The hatch preview takes a bit if there are xrefs with layers frozen or turned off, other than that, it’s not bad, but could always use improvement.

    6. I think the performance for editing hatches is great, the performance for creating hatches could be improved. I do not modify properties using the properties palette, instead I use the ribbon.

    7. It seems to be so far, even on drawings that were problems before.

    8. No complaints there, but my graphics card may be helping with that.

    9. The only issue I have is that plotting with transparency is off by default, kind of annoying.

    10. No

    11. Really I would say that there are very few hatch problems, it’s still a bit slower than I would like, but it is a lot faster than previous releases.

  3. R. Paul Waddington

    Q1. no different in speed between old an new from an appearance disappearance point of view.
    Q2. is no easier and slower with respect to choosing different patterns, scale and angle.
    Q3. yes, it appears to match but often chooses the wrong boundry*
    Q4. NO
    Q5. detectibly it is working at the same speed but it fails on very simple multiple hatch combinations found in machine design type cross sections.
    Q6. NO
    Q7. doesn’t seem different
    Q8. havn’t used it.
    Q9. Not yet, would I know?
    Q10. Yes they are new no they didn’t exist before!

    Steve, I used the drawing seen in my early web pages ( to win six (6) upgrades of AutoCAD using a single command – R12’s Hatch command. Literally, this one command would (and did) payback the cost of the upgrades in less than two weeks. The image is only a very small portion from one drawing and any person doing this type of draughting knows only too well how much effort went (goes) into hatching these drawings.

    Switching from R11 to R12 was a GENUINE PRODUCTIVITY move and since then the hatch command has served well, however; your blog questions sent me scurrying back to review my earlier example and the reality 2011 is absolutely NO improvement on R12 – in fact from the test I just did 2011 TURNS THE CLOCK BACK considerably.

    Because of what I found I turned to a much simpler drawing and did a comparison between AutoCAD 2005 and AutoCAD 2011 and found at best the time taken to do the multiple hatching required was essentially the same tho’ a little easier because the dialogue box’s position and access made it easer to make the changes. Equally I find the dialogue box more useful for editing – and better than the properties dialogue.

    But here is the rub: I timed the hatch only once in 2005 and ‘hatched’ the drawing ten (10) times in 2011 to ensure I was getting repeatable results and as I have said the time was all but the SAME but, 50% OF THE HATCHED AREAS WERE WRONG IN 2011 so, as far as being a step forward others can decide but the facts would indicate 2011’s hatch is going to cost users a lot of lost time and COST. It will not be back to R11 time but every indication is, for the type of drawing I did, the losses in time and money could be considerable and be large enough to consider not using.

    This, once again demonstrates, how change for changes sake is not always a good thing and you know what, this cost Autodesk NOTHING, their developers, Q.A., Management and marketing and sales are all still going to get paid by the users who have paid upfront (subscriptions) and for upgrades only to find they now have HIGHER PRODUCTION COST and they have paid Autodesk for the privilege.

  4. I have developed a few issues with the “new” hatch, too. I wish my current project had been going on during the beta.

    Performance of preview is OK on my system, but the ribbon is slow to go contextual – every time, not just that first hatch.

    Biggest UI gripe: After doing “Select objects”, hatch used to default to select the next time you did a hatch. So in cases where you need to do many hatches all over the drawing, you could hit the enter key 4 times, select, 4 enters, select, 4 enters, select…

    Now you can’t do that – it defaults back to “Pick points” every time you issue the command.

    Meanwhile, it gets pretty difficult to select objects for the hatch once they end up underneath the preview. So, even though I like the preview, I need to turn it off.

    There is also a fairly significant bug in the boundary-location routine that I first noticed during this project. The failure is significant enough that I could not use point-picking for the project – I had to do closed polylines for every hatch. I plan to post about that, with screen-caps, later this week.

  5. Jeff

    Such poor performance, lagging, incorrect intuitive function we went back to the old dialogue box after scouring the Autodesk website for a way to do it. I am a 20 year user and I have never seen such a botched upgrade.


  6. Chris

    Jeff you are beautiful. HPDLGMODE=1 is tremendous. Quit Wal-Marting me Autodesk by changing stuff that has always worked just to give it a new look. Fix what is broken first. Excellent Blog BTW. I just stumbled upon this today and will be visiting often to see your ideas.

  7. Trey

    I have to agree 100% with Jeff. I have been using ACAD since 1998 and this is the most unnecessary “feature” (more like a bug) that I have ever had the displeasure of using. Does Autodesk not understand that some of us only have a few icons on a toolbar and the rest is done using the keyboard. Using the keyboard for commands is light-years quicker than any GUI you can develop. I have never used the ribbon in Office 2007 (switched to open office when they did that) and I think it is a silly idea to use a ribbon in the new versions of ACAD. Autodesk, you can do better.

  8. Trey

    If you dont use the ribbon and would like to get your double click hatch editing back you will have to make a few adjustments. Click on this link and it will walk you through it step by step.

    Whoever thought that changing from double clicking the hatch to edit it to double clicking to see the properties IS AND IDIOT! The developer responsible for this crap should be fired. But I digress, stop changing stuff for the sake of change. Thank goodness when I upgrade I can take my setting with me, because most of the “features” that have been added SUCK!

  9. Pete

    Im with you guys! Makes me want to smash my monitor. Ive been making my intern do hatching because its become such a frustration for me. If the preview is on, 50% of the time autocad becomes “Not Responding” when attempting to hatch. The only time preview works well and without lag is if its a VERY small area. Solid hatch often bleeds into areas in between the closed polygon I have selected. I also have issues when selecting a closed polygon, it says that its not closed and will highlight areas that are completely seperated from the intended hatch. I dont understand why it will fail 9 time out of 10 then it just works the last time without any changes being made.
    I also agree that anyone proficient with CAD uses the command line constantly.

  10. Pete

    One more thing I wanted to mention. The zoom and pan works fine after the hatching has been completed, no lag or stickyness(we use alot of hatching). The only problems I have encountered where while I was using the Hatch command.

  11. Michael Meio

    Leaving the infamous RIBBON topic aside, I have noticed that 2D (I never hatch 3D) hatching has become painfully slow and complicated which I agree should be best called “Bugged”.

    I imagine that the program tries to predict the “hatchable” areas (all of them) when the command is activated BEFORE generating the also infamous preview. Which in my case freezes my working area to a full stop (crosshair/cursor unresponsive), luckily leaving the rest still usable so at least I can save and re-session the program.

    And yes, the hatch behavior degrades within each session. Why I know it?.. when I re-load the program, that small piece of hatch that froze my screen behaves smoother. Guess one should never drag, copy, zoom, pan or even touch objects with hatched areas in a top of the line program. Oh.. and please tell me if this behavior improves with better computers so I don’t waste my time/money again!

    The curious thing is, these drawings are not even complicated or complex.. they don’t have composed curves and such.. they are simple architectural drawings square and plain. For Pete’s Sakes.. a Quadro FX 1700 should still be usable for 2D in Autocad!

    Autocad has more good old days than any software I use. I used to draw polylined perimeters for anything complex within an area I desired to be hatched and it was more work but saved me the headaches. Today, the way things have been changed, not only doesn’t work well, but also doesn’t allow me to work the old way.. it’s sooo slooooww, I don’t even bother to draw polylines.. it’s like a lotto sometimes.. or a box of chocolates.. For such “advanced” software, one should be certain that shots hit targets.. now days, is like shoot, pray, wait… guess, find out what went wrong, re-do, shoot again, pray, rinse-repeat.

  12. Tom Anderson

    I’ve been trying to hatch a detail of a sewer trench now for three hours. But instead of rinse repeat, it’s as if the shampoo just disappeared from my hair.
    Sometimes the Boundary Pick Point recognizes the area, sometimes it doesn’t. Zoom out, try again.
    I’ll create a hatch, leave it as the default Solid, then change the pattern and 9 times out of 10 I’ll get an error that says “unable to update hatch”, and my hatch will disappear, for good. Undo will not bring it back.
    Also if I make the scale too small it disappears for good.
    I used to be able to fudge a small scale by making the original area 10 times larger than I wanted, hatch it, and then scale both items by 0.1 so the hatch would look decent in my details, but this work around “has been fixed”. So now the gravel used in our trench details looks like boulders at best.
    I’m now left scaling all my details to 10 times their original size just for hatching asthetics.
    As far as I’m concerned the Hatch feature in AutoCAD 2011 is broken.
    I will use AutoCAD 2008 for all my hatching needs.

  13. Gianfranco

    I’ve just started using autocad 2011 in a new laptop (i7, 8gb ram, 1gb video). Ribbon tab… out. But basically because I only make 2D drawings and I’m used to the classic view, even though I’ve given the ribbon tab a shot. But I found this blog looking for the answer to another problem. I was getting annoyed by the new hatch preview and double-click action. The hatch preview made my autocad freeze for some seconds… every time, before selecting the hatch area. Now that’s gone, thanks to this post and the HPQUICKPREVIEW command. I also fixed the double-click default action thx to your other post. So… thanks! No more freezing.

  14. Garrett H

    I’ve been using various versions of AutoCAD since about 1998 (mostly in a school setting…professionally, since 2006). It amazes me that the hatch command can be so craptastic after all these years and improvements. WTF. How it can still tell me that a closed polyline does not have a valid boundary is beyond me.

  15. …”If your hatching performance is poor, have you tried changing the values of system variables to turn off features to see if the problems persist? Try HPQUICKPREVIEW = 0, HPDLGMODE = 1 and SELECTIONPREVIEW = 0. Also, if you are having display performance issues, try VTENABLE =0 and check using 3DCONFIG to see if your graphics card/driver combination is certified.”…


  16. Filip

    When I try to hatch an area in my drawing, the quick preview is fine but actual hatch is not!
    I know that the boundary is not very tidy – there are some gaps and overlappings in polylines and lines that surround the area I want to hatch – but what annoys me is that quick preview IS like I want it to be and the hatch itself is not.

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