Reverse line and polyline direction in AutoCAD

The feature of reversing the direction of an object was introduced in AutoCAD 2010 version. In most of the cases reversing the direction of an arc, line or polyline may seem useless because the symmetry makes it practically impossible to distinguish between original and reversed object.

But take an example of linetype containing text as shown in the image below. In this case, the reversing of direction suddenly starts to make sense as a reversed linetype will have text in the correct orientation.

Reverse line and polyline direction in AutoCAD

Direction reversal will also have a visible effect on polylines having varying widths at its end points.

This article will help you in understanding direction reversal tool of AutoCAD, I will explain this tool with the help of linetype shown in the image above.

Reversing direction of linetype:

To start Reverse command Select reverse tool from expanded modify panel of the home tab or use its command equivalent REVERSE  and click on the line which you want to reverse and press enter.

Reverse line and polyline direction in AutoCAD

The direction of the line will be reversed as shown in the image above. The reversal of direction would mean the reversal of order in which line was made.

You can repeat the same method with arc, polyline, spline and helix as well. But if you try to use this command on a polyline with varying width at its ends then you may not get expected results.

Reversing direction of Polyline:

On reversing a polyline like the one shown below the order will be changed but not the direction of the polyline. To change order as well as the direction of this polyline you need to change the PLINEREVERSEWIDTHS system variable to 1, by default its value will be set to 0.

Reverse line and polyline direction in AutoCAD

Once you have changed this system variable the reverse command will reverse order as well as the direction of your polyline curve, as shown in the image below.

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You can also use the reverse tool from polyline edit command. For using reverse option double click on polyline and select reverse from the command line as shown in the image below.

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Do you have questions related to this tip? Let me know in comments below.

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About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce.

I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.

6 Comments

  1. Jaime Weber Hadlich December 13, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Hi there! I want to make all polylines in the same direction at once… Is there a way? Thanks!

    • Jaiprakash Pandey December 13, 2016 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      If you want to reverse the direction of all polyline at once then yes REVERSE command can be used. Just start REVERSE command select all objects and press enter.

  2. John Damman November 9, 2016 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Sometimes I find that “reverse” doesn’t work completely with a polyline. To fix this, make certain the polyline is “enabled” in the properties dialog box at the bottom at “linetype generation”.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey November 9, 2016 at 2:39 am - Reply

      On using REVERSE command the order in which polyline is made is always changed but its effect is not visible because the “visible” direction is retained. To change the direction as well as order of polyline change the PLINEREVERSEWIDTHS system variable value to 1, by default it is set to 0.

  3. Bill DeShawn July 9, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    This is pretty cool. Although, I’m not sure when I would want to reverse the direction of the width of a polyline. I already use a lisp routine – PLREV.lsp to reverse the direction of a polyline. but according to your article I can check to see how well the PEDIT Reverse option works. Obviously, it won’t work on lines.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey July 11, 2016 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Great! let me know if reverse option worked for you

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