AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac
Illustration by Richard Downs

Building a library using the Content Manager


From:

AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac

with Jeff Bartels

Video: Building a library using the Content Manager

When comparing the Windows and Mac version of AutoCAD, you'll finally use different tools to manage blocks. On the Windows platform, we use tool palettes to organize and insert block symbols. On the Mac, we use a tool called the Content palette. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to use the Content palette to build a block library. On my screen, I have a drawing of an architectural floorPlan, and this drawing contains several blocks. If I click the Insert tool, and open this fly out as well as a preview of each one. What I am going to do is add this drawing to a block library, such that I can share these blocks with any new drawing that I create.

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Watch the Online Video Course AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac
2h 45m Beginner Oct 29, 2010

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AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac with Jeff Bartels covers the fundamental differences between the 2011 Mac OS X version of AutoCAD and the venerable PC edition, allowing designers to leverage existing AutoCAD skills and easily transition to the new environment. This course runs through both a typical 2D and 3D design workflow, covering its workspace, tools, customization options, and strategies users can apply working in a mixed Windows and Mac environment. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting preferences
  • Customizing the interface
  • Opening and managing drawings
  • Constructing a 2D drawing
  • Creating and inserting block references
  • Building a library using the Content Manager
  • Making references to external files and images
  • Plotting drawings
  • Creating a model in 3D space
Subject:
CAD
Software:
AutoCAD AutoCAD for Mac
Author:
Jeff Bartels

Building a library using the Content Manager

When comparing the Windows and Mac version of AutoCAD, you'll finally use different tools to manage blocks. On the Windows platform, we use tool palettes to organize and insert block symbols. On the Mac, we use a tool called the Content palette. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to use the Content palette to build a block library. On my screen, I have a drawing of an architectural floorPlan, and this drawing contains several blocks. If I click the Insert tool, and open this fly out as well as a preview of each one. What I am going to do is add this drawing to a block library, such that I can share these blocks with any new drawing that I create.

I am going to click Cancel to close this, and I'll start by opening the Window menu. Then I'll come down and select Content. No, we can also use the keyboard shortcut Command+2, this brings up the Content palette. The Content palette is a tool we can use to manage or insert blocks. I am going to open this flyout, and I'll select Manage Libraries. I will then click the Add button to create a new library, and I'll call these Arch-symbols, and I'll press Return.

Next, I'll click this Add button on the right side, and I'll select the drawings that I'd like to associate with my new library. Let's jump out to the Desktop. I'll look inside the exercise files folder, we'll jump into chapter_04, and I'll select floorPlan; the current drawing, and I'll click Open. Now AutoCAD wants to know if the linked drawing represents a single block, or is it a drawing that contains multiple blocks. I am going to select multiple blocks, and as you can see, AutoCAD has added those blocks to my library.

Let's close this dialog box to return to the Content Manager. At this point, I am seeing the contents of my new Architectural Symbols library. If you are not, you can always click this flyout, and select it from the menu. I can now use these blocks in any AutoCAD drawing. Let's try it out. I am going to open the File menu, and click Open. Let's open this drawing called studio. Now at this point, I no longer need the original floorPlan drawing, so I'll close this one. I am not going to save my changes, and I'll maximize the studio drawing to fill the available space.

This drawing represents a floor plan for a small studio apartment. Let's use the Content palette to insert some blocks. If I hover over these, I can see the name of each one. I'd like to insert one of the TOILET symbols into the Bathroom area. Let's pan this over, and I'll get a little bit closer. To insert the symbol, I will click to select it. I will then pull this over, and I'd like to place it along this wall. As you can see, its rotation is currently incorrect.

If you look at the Command line, you can see that Rotate is an option. I can press R to access Rotate, or I can right-click, and select Rotate from the menu. I am going to type 90 for a 90 degree angle, and I'll press Return. I will then place my Block, Shift+Right-click to a point nearest this wall. Let's try another. I'd like to add a basin to this Bathroom. To do that, I'll find the block in my library.

Now fortunately, my library isn't very big. If it was, I could use this Search area down at the bottom. I am going to click in the Search area, and I'll type basin. Notice that we can see two blocks that have the word basin in their name. I am going to select the BASIN-bath symbol. Notice that my symbol is locked to the edge of the palette. This is actually a bug in the program. To free up this symbol, you can do that by right-clicking, and then selecting Enter. Now I can pull the symbol away. I am going to place this to a point Shift+Right-click, Nearest to this wall.

Notice that since I've inserted the basin, it appears that two of them are now showing up in my Search. This is because the Search is looking at all of the available libraries. I am going to cancel the Search, and I'll open this flyout again. You see the Current Drawing also qualifies as a library. If I select this library, I can see all of the blocks that exist in this file. Now that we get an idea of how the palette works, let's go a little deeper into the features.

To create or manage libraries, we can use this flyout, or I can click this icon. If I click the Add button, I can create a library. I can use the Remove button to delete a library. If I select a library, I can see the Blocks that are associated with library over here. Now currently, all of these blocks are coming from the original floorPlan drawing. If I wanted to add more blocks to this library, I can click the Add button, and select additional drawings. It's important to note that these blocks are not loaded onto this palette. They're linked.

This means if you link a drawing to a library, you cannot rename or move the drawing, or the blocks will not work. To remove an individual block from a library, you can select it, and then click the Remove button. I am going to click the red X to close the Manager, and let's open the Architectural library again. If there are any blocks in here that you use frequently, you can right-click on it, and select Add to Favorites. The block will then display a star, and the block will also be included in the Favorites library.

Likewise, if you right-click on a symbol, you can change the size of the thumbnails to whatever works best for you. When you're finished using the palette, you can click the X to close it, or press Command+2. As you can see, by using the Content palette to organize blocks into libraries, you can easily manage or share any of the blocks on your network.

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