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Once you start using blocks, it won't be long before you'll want to create a library of your common symbols such that you can use them in other drawings. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to use the DesignCenter to build a custom block library. On my screen, I have an architectural example and this drawing contains several blocks. I'm going to move up and click the Insert icon and then I'll open up the Block Name fly-out and we can see a listing of all of the Blocks that are defined in this file. Now, one of the shortcomings of blocks is that they only exist in the drawing in which they were created.
That means, if I was to start a new drawing and attempt to insert a block, this list would be empty. What we're going to do is learn how to take the Blocks that are in this file and use them in any drawing we want. I'm going to close this and then I'll close the current drawing, don't forget the name, number 5 Office. I will then start a new AutoCAD drawing, we'll use the default acad template and let's do one more thing, let's set this drawing to Architectural units.
To do that I'll open up the Application menu, I'll select Drawing Utilities and then I'll select units and right here in the Length Type area, I'll set this to Architectural and I'll click OK. Since the drawing that contains my blocks is set to Architectural, I want to make sure that this drawing is set to the same units. otherwise I run the risk of AutoCAD resizing the Blocks when I bring them into this drawing. Now that our units match, I'm going to open up the DesignCenter. The DesignCenter is used to move content from one drawing to another and there's two ways we can open it.
One way is by going to the View tab and I can come down to the Palettes panel and click this icon. Another way to open the DesignCenter is by pressing Ctrl+2 and when this guy pops up on screen, the first thing we notice is that the DesignCenter is a palette. This means that I can anchor it or I can dock it to my interface. Generally speaking, the tool itself works just like Windows Explorer. I can use this panel on the left to navigate through the folders on my hard drive and I can use these plus icons to jump in and out of the folders.
Now, when we first open the DesignCenter, it defaults to this DesignCenter folder, which is located inside the Sample folder, which is inside the AutoCAD 2011 directory. Since this folder's open, notice it contains several drawings. Feel free to explore the content in these files. Many of them are based on real world production work. At this point, I'd like to navigate to a different folder, but before we leave, let's make it easy to return to this one. I'm going to right-click on the folder name and then I'll come down and select Set as Home. This means that no matter where I navigate on my hard drive, I can always return to this folder by clicking the Home icon.
I'm going to click and hold on this Slider, I'll drag this down and I'll navigate to the exercise files folder, then I'll click the icon to open that, I will click this icon to open up the chapter_13 folder and where DesignCenter surpasses Windows Explorer is right here. Take a look at this icon. If I click this plus, I can navigate into this drawing and AutoCAD gives me a list of all of the things that I can steal from this file. I'm going to select Blocks and when I do, I can see a preview of all of the Blocks that exist in this drawing.
I'll drag this up and down and we can see all of the previews. If I'd like to move a block from this drawing into my current drawing, all I have to do is click, hold and drag it into my file and release. I'm going to zoom out, let's pan this over, looks like I need to REGEN. I'll type RE and press Enter. There we go, now I have a little bit more room. I'll drag this down and we'll bring in another block. I'll click, hold and drag and we'll bring in the floor plant. Now, the only thing we're really missing by inserting blocks this way is the insertion point.
As you can I wasn't able to place these with much precision. If you'd like to insert a block from the DesignCenter using the Standard dialog box, all you have to do is double-click on it. I'm going to double-click on the stool. I can then determine which questions I'd like AutoCAD to ask me and then I can place this using a logical insertion point. Now, imagine if I navigated to another file and brought in additional furniture blocks. Maybe I could call this current drawing furniture.dwg and this drawing could contain all of the furniture blocks I've ever created.
I could then save this drawing on the hard drive and the next time, I needed a furniture block, I could use the DesignCenter to navigate to this drawing, where I would have access to all of my standard symbols. Imagine creating a drawing that contained all of your landscape symbols. You could create a drawing that contains all of your fixtures and appliances. Essentially, a block library is nothing more than a drawing that contains all of your common symbols. I'm going to save this drawing, I'll click the Save button and I'll save this inside the chapter_13 folder, inside the Exercise Files directory and I'm going to call this Furniture Symbols.
Now, at any point in the future, if I create another furniture block, I can use the DesignCenter to add it to my Furniture Symbols drawing. Using the DesignCenter we can easily organize a custom library that holds all of the symbols that we use most and later, as we create more symbols, we can return to the DesignCenter to add them to our library.
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