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Upper and lower case

5-Regular Member

Upper and lower case

Pro E users,

Per standard ASME Y14.5-1994, paragraph 1.1.5. states that capital
letters are still required on engineering drawings. Do most people use
upper case text on engineering drawings?


WF3 - W7


We abide by ASME Y14.5 for all our drawings, so we do use upper case letters on all our drawing notes. Even at former places of employment where they didn't follow ASME Y14.5, we still used upper case letters.

Doug Pogatetz
Mechanical Design Engineer
Northrop Grumman Corporation

All caps. The only time I've seen lower case is when some young kid makes a drawing and they aren't aware of the standard. We make them change it to all caps.

Jeff Horacek
Sr. Designer
Advanced Engineering and Discovery
STERIS Corporation
5960 Hesile Rd.
Mentor, OH 44060
P (440)392-7721
F (440)392-8954

Definitely all capital letters!

I still have a copy of an industry drawing standards book from 1985 (don't ask :)). Section 8.4 stated that "all lettering shall be single stroke upper case with the only exception being name plates, connector pins, etc...). Inclined or vertical lettering may be used but only one or the other can be used on a single drawing". The book is based on good old MIL-STD-100 which is the base document for all drawing standards including Y14.5.

Some of our interns have occasionally used lower case. Like Jeff said, we make them fix it

Mike Brattoli
Moen Incorporated
Global Brand Development
Engineering Systems Administrator
5-Regular Member

Definitely uppercase. It has been upper case since I started drafting back in the 60's. Ooops showing my age. We've had some of our European counterparts that couldn't understand why we use uppercase, but they were assimilated rather quickly.

We use upper case almost exclusively but (there's always a but) lower
case is used when recognizing hole callouts (5 holes marked "a" for
example). The only other place is where the graphics required is
actually lower case.

As far as interns and "young kids" are concerned, we educate!

ALL CAPS. The only exceptions are units where it would be incorrect to capitalize. For example kN or MPa.

In Reply to Brad Mozley:

Pro E users,

Per standard ASME Y14.5-1994, paragraph 1.1.5. states that capital
letters are still required on engineering drawings. Do most people use
upper case text on engineering drawings?


WF3 - W7

One reason the uppercase lettering standard was established was to
compensate for legibility and consistency..... I'm wary of doing things
only because "it's always been that way".... With nearly all documents
being generated electronically, text heights can be reduced and lower
case letters can be used with no loss of quality. A variable width font
using upper and lower case characters can save space on drawings with a
lot of notes. Such blocks of notes can also be cut'n'pasted into
non-drawing documents without changing the character cases... (I do
understand that that can be automated). OCR's are good enough to
interpret cases....


To the future!!

Have a great weekend.

GE Healthcare Technologies

Clinical Systems

Monitoring Solutions

Eric R. Slotty

Mechanical Designer

8200 W. Tower Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53223

I disagree.   Consistency and Professionalism is what we need regarding engineering drawings.  This entire "SHOUTING" because items are in all uppercase is from this new generation that seems to be too SENSITIVE!   The real reason NOTES on drawing are defined by ANSI standard as ALL UPPERCASE is to eliminate confusion.   I, I,    Did I just type uppercase "eye" (I) Lower Case "el" (I) or the pipe symbol .  All cap notes on Engineering Drawings look much more professional.  Maybe we should allow LOL, BRB and other abbreviation's.   Of course don't get started on inclusiveness because we omitted  ( I ) ( O) (Z) sometime (Q) from revision sequences.  SMH

Agreed! To assist in eliminating confusion, we here at TGS do not use a sans serif font. We also do not use an apostrophe to identify a plural noun. SMH. 😉

In Reply to Brad Mozley:

UPPER CASE. As some othershave stated almost always. A very few exceptions. Although, (since it's Friday) I have read thatall upper case is more dificult to read. But the fact remains, ALL UPPER CASEFOLLOWS THE STANDARDS.

21-Topaz II

When I see a drawing with lower case, I tend to question it's quality.
I assume it was done by an inexperienced engineer / draftsman so I
scrutinize more closely.

That said, I use lower case on a couple of occasions, simply because I
think it looks better and communicates more clearly. One is in
specifying quantities, I use (2x) rather than (2X). Probably
technically not right, but I prefer it (and I suppose some real old
timers scrutinize my drawings more closely as a result. :-D). The
second is when calling out units, usually for me that's millimeters. So
I'll indicate 2.5mm rather than 2.5MM.

Doug Schaefer
Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer
23-Emerald II

The actual standard for lettering is ASME Y14.2M, Line Conventions and Lettering.
Yes, it is required if you say that your drawing meets ASME Y14.5 and Y14.2 specs.
The only place I don't is in the company name/address block.
Abbreviations are also an exception to the upper case rule, but lower case is the proper format according to the standard.
Millimeter is mm, not MM. Other abbreviated engineering terms use lower case letters, too.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli

I'm not one that always buys the line "We've always done it this way" either but in this case I think always using uppercase provides consistency and clarity as drawings are shared among customers and vendors. Standards/Guidelines (keep to the code) do help to make it easier for the people who actually have to read and use our drawings.

And, omg, when do we get into the debate about using texting abbreviations on drawings to help reduce keyboard entry time? lol

Tim Knier
QG Product & Support Engineering
A Subsidiary of Quad/Graphics
Sussex, Wisconsin
414-566-7439 phone
23-Emerald II

IDK but, IMHO I think texting abbreviations would lend a new challenge that would make life interesting for manufacturing and engineering.

Wait, that is what most government programs have been doing for years only they call it acronyms and there is probably a congressional sub-committee responsible for making the rules.


I still use capital letters on drawings even though I don't have to comply with
industry drawing standards. I have to believe that these standards were created
to keep lettering consistent in the day when done by hand and thus I also have
experience with the Leroy Lettering set too. I am all for consistency, but it
might be time to make changes with most all drawing done by computer and also
the fact that using upper and lower case IS easier to read. Just a thought and
will continue with all caps for now.

Mark A. Peterson
Sr Design Engineer
Igloo Products Corp

Back in the good old days of hand drawings, they were photographed and put on Micro-phish (sp?) index cards.
Lower case was too hard to read. Also no punctuations, only when an abbreviation spelled another word.

Michael R. Deering

Engineer 2
Northrop Grumman Information Systems
Intelligence Systems Division
Cyber & SIGINT Systems
5441 Luce Ave.
McClellan, CA 95652
916-570-4419 (Office phone)
916-570-4209 (Fax)

Per Robert Frindt:

"Although, (since it's Friday) I have read that all upper case is more
dificult to read."

We'd probably make the counter-argument that, if you've got a note long
enough for this to become relevant, there are too many words!
Simplicity and clarity are the aims above all else.

All caps here (UK working more-or-less to BS.8888) although I'd agree
that units must use the correct case.

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Just an update for those who may still have this question.


Section 1 of any of these ASME Y.14.xx standards is introductory material, and applies to information within the document (the standard), which in this case, is ASME Y14.5-1994. It does not apply to the subject of the standard, which is per the title of the document.


As for the question, the answer is still yes, at least for those adhering to the requirement in Subsection 6.3 Letters - Uppercase and Lowercase of ASME Y14.2-2014, which states: "Uppercase letters shall be used for all lettering on drawings unless lowercase letters are required. See Figs. 6-1 and 6-2."


In ASME Y14.100-2017, Subsection 3.67 Special Characters defines lowercase letters as special characters.

The ability to reserve lowercase characters for use as special characters (e.g. mL, mm, kJ, g, etc.) may be of the best arguments for remaining true to the requirement of using all uppercase lettering in engineering drawings.



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