All about the multiline command of AutoCAD – with practical use cases

Updated on February 8, 2024 by Jaiprakash Pandey, Affiliate Disclosure

Multiline command of AutoCAD is quite underrated, despite a feature rich toolset people seem to avoid using this command.

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Well in this article I will try to change that and I will show you the step by step way of using multiline command in AutoCAD.

Multiline command overview

Multiline or MLINE is a tool that helps you to draw or create multiple parallel lines.

The command shortcut for MLINE is ML.

With the default style, MLINE will draw two parallel lines in AutoCAD as shown in the following image.

You can add as many parallel lines as you want and you can even change properties of these lines which we will explore in this article.

Multiline is not a line or polyline rather it's a different category of object in AutoCAD and when you hover your cursor over multiline it will show it as MLine.

But if you explode the multiline using X command it will turn into simple lines.

It will also lose all its properties after you explode the multiline.

Now that you know a little bit about multiline let's see how you can make it.

Here is a video version of this article as well.

Making walls with MLINE

Lets start by setting the Unit in AutoCAD.

You can do that by typing the UN command in the blank drawing and then pressing the enter key.

Now change the settings like Length type to Architectural, Precision to 0'-0 1/2" and insertion scale to Inches as shown in the following image.

Now type ML and press enter key to start the MLINE command.

Type S and press enter key to select the Scale from the command line as shown in the following image.

Change the value of scale to 9.

By entering the scale value to 9 units, the gap between the Multiline will be 9 Inches because we have set the unit to Inches.

You can also change the justification property of the MLINE.

By default, the justification will be set to Top.

Which means the MLINE will be drawn with the first line as reference and a measurement of 9 Inches will be taken from that line to draw the second line as shown below.

You can change the justification by clicking on the Justification option or type J in command line and press enter key when the MLINE command is active.

Select Zero justification to move the cursor at the center of the multiline or Bottom to move it at the bottom of the multiline.

In the following example the justification is selected as Zero.

Now let’s start making the wall of size 50'x31' in the plan view.

Type ML and press enter key.  

Select Scale option from the command line and set a scale of 9.

Then select Justification and select Top from the options.

Now click at a point and then move cursor to the right side and type 50' and press enter.

A multiline of length 50' will be made horizontally.

Now move cursor vertically down and then type 31' and press enter key again.

Finally move cursor to the left and type 50' again and press enter key, the drawing so far will look like this.

Finally type C on the command line and press enter key to close the rectangular shape.

You can't snap the multiline to the starting point as it won't recognize it as a point and then only option here to close the rectangular shape is to use the Close subcommand.

Now let’s make the inner walls.

For the inner walls, the thickness should be 5”. 

So, for that we can type the command ML press enter and then go to Scale option of command line and change it to 5.

Now add the inner wall as shown below such that the distance from the top wall is 16’.

Similarly, add all the other walls using the dimensions shown below.

multiline command of AutoCAD

Using Multiline edit tool

In the example above, you can use the trim tool to merge the wall ends seamlessly with the other wall.

But here we will use the MULTILINE EDIT tool to do the same thing in a much easier way.

So, in the command line type MLEDIT for the Multiline Edit tool and press enter key.

This will pop up with a "Multilines Edit tools" menu.

Select the option "Open Tee" from the list of options as shown in the image below.

multiline command of AutoCAD

Now select the multiline that we need to merge as shown below and repeat the same process in all other junctions in the drawing.

Make a note here that the order of selection is important.

In the image here I have highlighted the order of selection of walls using number 1 and 2.

Reversing the order will result in a different kind of shape at the junction.

In a similar way you can use the different kind of multiline merge options to create the shapes as shown in the thumbnail of Multiline Edit Tools.

Here are some examples of other multiline edit tools:

Multiline Style

You can add other features in the floor plan like windows using a modified version of multiline.

You can modify Multiline using Multiline style command.

To start multiline style command type MLSTYLE on the command line and press enter key.

This will bring up a Multiline Style menu.

In the menu, click on the NEW option and enter the name as “Window” for the new style as shown below.

Now you are in the New Multiline style window where you can make lots of changes so that it aligns to our requirement.

We will make the following changes so that it starts to look like window in a wall.

Description: Add a description to the style: “9 Inch and 5 Inch Window”

Elements: This determines the number of the lines to be made which is controlled by an offset value from the center. 

By default, there are two lines with offset 0.5 and -0.5.

You can click on the Add option and add 2 more line with the values shown below:

Line

offset

color

linetype

Line 1

0.3

Red

hidden

Line 2

-0.3

Red

hidden

Caps: Under the caps section, select the Start and End option for a line so that a line will be made at the starting and ending position.

Color: You can select the fill color here, for our example we are using CYAN as fill color.

You can find all the options that we set for our multiline in the following image.

multiline command of AutoCAD

Once you have set all the settings, you can click OK to add the new style in the Multiline style palette.

To use this newly created Multiline, type the command “ML” and then type “ST” in the command line.

This will help you to change the multiline style of the drawing.

Now you can provide the name of the style, here it is “Window” and press enter.

Don’t forget to set the scale as we did earlier to switch between 9” and 5” wall.

Now you can place the window with 6’ length as shown in the image below.

Modifying multiline style

AutoCAD does not allow modification of multiline style if it is used in the drawing.

So, if you want to modify the style of multiline then you need to remove all its copies from the drawing and then you can modify it using multiline style window.

For our example, we want to change the fill color of window from cyan to no color.

For that delete all the windows created using this multiline style and then go to multiline style option using MLSTYLE command.

let’s change the fill color to none in the multiline style palette and then click OK to accept the changes.

Now you need to redraw the windows in the entire AutoCAD drawing to apply the modification.

The modified window using this multiline looks like this.

Summary

So, that's one of the examples where you can use multiline command of AutoCAD to speed up your drawing workflow.

There are other scenarios as well where you can use multiline tool like making roads.

Let me know if you are also planning to use multiline in your drawing workflow in the comments down below.

And if you want to learn more about multilines and other advance tools in a step by step way then check our AutoCAD beginners course.


Disclosure: On this site, we have placed some recommended products and services from which we get an affiliate commission for every purchase you make without any extra cost to you. Learn more about our affiliate process here.

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