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Building a block library

From: AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training

Video: Building a block library

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.

Building a block library

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training
AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 20312 viewers

Jeff Bartels
Author

 
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  1. 2m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 29s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 23m 33s
    1. Understanding model space
      3m 44s
    2. Accessing AutoCAD's tools
      3m 2s
    3. Leveraging dockable palettes
      3m 1s
    4. Monitoring the Status bar
      1m 28s
    5. Understanding the anatomy of a command
      2m 14s
    6. Customizing AutoCAD's preferences
      3m 13s
    7. Accessing help
      3m 38s
    8. Saving a workspace
      3m 13s
  3. 19m 42s
    1. Opening an AutoCAD drawing
      3m 2s
    2. Understanding mouse functions
      2m 44s
    3. Zooming, panning, and regenning
      4m 24s
    4. Working in a multiple-document environment
      2m 39s
    5. Saving your work
      2m 29s
    6. Saving time with templates
      4m 24s
  4. 14m 35s
    1. Constructing lines
      2m 20s
    2. Locking angles with the Ortho and Polar modes
      4m 49s
    3. Drawing circles
      4m 10s
    4. Activating the Heads-Up Display
      3m 16s
  5. 14m 48s
    1. Defining a unit of measure
      6m 28s
    2. Constructing geometry using architectural measurements
      4m 6s
    3. Working with metric units
      4m 14s
  6. 23m 45s
    1. Understanding the Cartesian coordinate system
      4m 53s
    2. Locking to geometry using object snaps
      7m 42s
    3. Automating object snap selection
      7m 26s
    4. Using temporary tracking to find points in space
      3m 44s
  7. 19m 30s
    1. Drawing rectangles
      4m 56s
    2. Drawing polygons
      3m 4s
    3. Creating an ellipse
      5m 9s
    4. Organizing with hatch patterns
      6m 21s
  8. 29m 46s
    1. Making geometric changes using the property changer
      3m 38s
    2. Moving and copying elements
      4m 28s
    3. Rotating elements
      3m 48s
    4. Trimming and extending geometry
      5m 10s
    5. Creating offsets
      6m 16s
    6. Erasing elements
      2m 46s
    7. Undoing and redoing actions
      3m 40s
  9. 11m 52s
    1. Selecting objects using windows
      3m 46s
    2. Adding and removing from selections
      3m 43s
    3. Using keyboard shortcuts
      4m 23s
  10. 51m 12s
    1. Creating fillets
      3m 52s
    2. Creating chamfers
      3m 51s
    3. Copying objects into a rotated pattern
      4m 20s
    4. Copying objects into a rectangular pattern
      4m 58s
    5. Stretching elements
      4m 4s
    6. Creating mirrored copies
      2m 12s
    7. Scaling elements
      5m 0s
    8. Leveraging grips
      7m 20s
    9. Exploding elements
      5m 47s
    10. Joining elements together
      3m 44s
    11. Editing hatch patterns
      6m 4s
  11. 32m 19s
    1. Understanding layers
      2m 43s
    2. Creating and adjusting layers
      7m 20s
    3. Using layers to organize a drawing
      9m 17s
    4. Changing popular settings using the layer control
      3m 30s
    5. Understanding the BYLAYER property
      3m 37s
    6. Restoring previous layer states
      3m 42s
    7. Using existing geometry to set the current layer
      2m 10s
  12. 37m 43s
    1. Creating single-line text
      3m 11s
    2. Justifying text
      5m 18s
    3. Controlling appearance using text styles
      6m 10s
    4. Annotating with multi-line text
      5m 10s
    5. Editing text
      4m 32s
    6. Creating bulleted and numbered lists
      3m 29s
    7. Incorporating symbols
      5m 28s
    8. Correcting spelling errors
      4m 25s
  13. 28m 37s
    1. Creating general dimensions
      4m 13s
    2. Creating continuous and baseline dimensions
      2m 13s
    3. Controlling appearance using dimension styles
      4m 57s
    4. Modifying dimensions
      6m 6s
    5. Creating multileaders
      2m 53s
    6. Controlling appearance using multileader styles
      3m 23s
    7. Modifying multileaders
      4m 52s
  14. 25m 19s
    1. Inserting blocks
      4m 34s
    2. Creating blocks
      6m 41s
    3. Leveraging blocks
      5m 39s
    4. Redefining blocks
      3m 1s
    5. Building a block library
      5m 24s
  15. 13m 50s
    1. Querying a drawing using rollover tooltips
      2m 9s
    2. Taking measurements using the Distance command
      3m 2s
    3. Modifying properties using the Quick Properties tool
      4m 25s
    4. Automating calculations using the Quick Calculator feature
      4m 14s
  16. 36m 6s
    1. Creating quick plots
      6m 4s
    2. Selecting a pen table
      5m 48s
    3. Choosing line weights
      4m 32s
    4. Creating a layout, pt. 1: Choosing a paper size
      2m 42s
    5. Creating a layout, pt. 2: Inserting a title block
      2m 29s
    6. Creating a layout, pt. 3: Cutting viewports
      6m 9s
    7. Reusing layouts
      4m 3s
    8. Organizing layouts
      4m 19s
  17. 16m 49s
    1. Using the Annotative property to automatically size text
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Annotative property to automatically size dimensions
      4m 34s
    3. Using the Annotative property to automatically size multileaders
      3m 58s
    4. Changing the scale assigned to annotations
      4m 4s
  18. 6m 56s
    1. Saving drawings to other formats
      2m 27s
    2. Plotting to the Design Web format
      2m 15s
    3. Plotting to PDF
      1m 20s
    4. Sending drawings via email
      54s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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