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Creating blocks

From: AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training

Video: Creating blocks

Whenever you have duplicated geometry in a drawing, it's a good idea to convert that geometry into a block. Generally speaking, a block is a group of geometry that has been given a name. In this lesson we are going to learn how to create a block. On my screen I have a civil engineering example. This is a drawing of a proposed commercial site plan. Just for a second, let's assume we are a landscape architect and we would like to insert some trees into this drawing. Now I have already created my first tree over here to this side. Let's zoom in, this geometry represents a shade tree and it has 25 foot diameter.

Creating blocks

Whenever you have duplicated geometry in a drawing, it's a good idea to convert that geometry into a block. Generally speaking, a block is a group of geometry that has been given a name. In this lesson we are going to learn how to create a block. On my screen I have a civil engineering example. This is a drawing of a proposed commercial site plan. Just for a second, let's assume we are a landscape architect and we would like to insert some trees into this drawing. Now I have already created my first tree over here to this side. Let's zoom in, this geometry represents a shade tree and it has 25 foot diameter.

Now currently it is a bunch of individual segments and I am sure you would agree, it would be very time consuming to redraw one of these at each location where I would like a shade tree in the drawing. Likewise I don't want to copy this geometry to each position, because I could end up with literally thousands of individual entities in this file. Instead, I am going to convert this geometry into a block. To do that I will move up to the Block panel and I will click the Create icon, and in the Block Definition dialog box, I will start by giving my block a name, I'll call this Shade Tree, and then in the Base Point group, I will click the Pick Point button and I will select the base point for this block.

This is the insertion point or the point at which I will be holding the block when I insert it into the drawing. Now the most logical location would be the center of this circle. In the Objects area, I am going to click the Select Objects button, and then I will select the geometry that I would like to be a part of my block, and I will right click. Let's move this dialog box over a little bit. Finally what do I want to do with this geometry? Do I want to keep it as it is? Do I want to convert this into the first inserted block or do I want to delete the geometry? I am going to leave this set to Delete, because I really don't need this geometry anymore.

If I wanted the geometry back, I could always insert the block. Finally I will come down and click OK. And as you can see the block has been created and my geometry has been deleted. Now I don't need this dimension anymore, so I will launch my Erase command, I will select this and right-click. Let's zoom out, we will pan back over to the parking lot, and we will insert our first shade tree. To do that I will move up to the Block panel and click the Insert button. Here is the Shade Tree that I just created, and as far as the questions go, I would like to specify the insertion point on screen and I will leave the Scale and the Rotation unchecked.

I will click OK, and I am going to place my Shade Tree right here. Having this geometry as a block makes it easier to move, copy, or manipulate in this drawing. For instance, if I needed another tree, I could insert another or I could create a copy of this one. I am going to launch the copy command. I will select my tree, AutoCAD treats it as a single entity, I will right click, and I will pick this up from the insertion point of the block, and I will place a copy here, I will put one here, place one here and over here.

When I am finished, I will press Esc. Blocks can be used for trees, manholes, fire hydrants, labels, plumbing fixtures, pretty much anytime you have multiple instances of the same geometry. it's a good idea to create a block. Alright, let's create another block, and this time we will take it to another level. I am going to open up the Layer Control and I am going to turn on a Layer that I have been hiding from you. We will turn on layer alt-tree, and I will zoom in on this geometry over here to the right. This line work represents another tree symbol that you might see in a landscape architect's drawing.

This one was created with a diameter of one foot and we will use this diameter to our advantage in just a second. Let's convert this geometry into a block. I will click to Create button and give my block a name. We will say, this geometry is going to represent an Ornamental Tree. I will then click Pick Point, and specify my insertion point. I am going to select the center of this circle. Then I will click Select Objects and I will select the geometry that comprises my block, and I will right -click and once again I am going to delete this geometry.

You know, there is another important setting in this box, right over here, it's called Scale uniformly. I am going to make sure that this box is checked. We will talk more about this setting in just a little bit. I will click OK to finish my block and my geometry has been deleted, so I am going to erase this unnecessary dimension. Let's zoom out and pan back over to the parking lot and I will insert my first Ornamental Tree. I will launch the insert command, and I will select Ornamental Tree from the block name menu. Now when I place this in the drawing, I want AutoCAD to ask me for an insertion point and in this case, I also want AutoCAD to ask me for Scale.

I will click OK and I would like to place my tree right here. Notice AutoCAD is asking for a scale factor. Let's say this tree shade has 15 foot diameter. So I am going to type 15 for my scale and I will press Enter. Remember that that original geometry had a diameter of 1, so 15x1 = 15. Let's insert another, I will click OK, and I will place my tree here, maybe this one should have a diameter of 10 feet, so I will type 10 for my scale and press Enter. You know what, if I wanted to I could click Insert, and I could tell AutoCAD don't even ask me for a scale, I am going to hard code the scale right here.

I am going to insert a tree with a 7 foot diameter. Remember that Scale uniformly button that was checked when we created this block, that's what controls these settings right here. Because it was set to Scale uniformly, I am able to control the scale using this one value. If Scale uniformly was unchecked when this block was created, I would have to independently set the scale for the length, width and height of this block. I will move down and click OK, and then I will place my block right here. As long as we are here, what if I'd like to make changes to these Ornamental Trees? If I select this tree and come over to the property changer, right down here in the Geometry group, I can see its Scale is set to 15.

So this tree must have a 15 foot diameter. Well, maybe it was supposed to be 20 feet, so all I have to do is change the value to 20 and the tree updates automatically. Why stop there, maybe I would like to update all of the ornamental trees at one time. If I make a crossing window and select these and come over to the Property Changer, I can see AutoCAD found three blocks, I am going to come down to Scale inside the geometry group. Right now this says VARIES. I am going to set all of these to have 15 foot diameter and as you can see, having this geometry as a block makes it very flexible.

Anytime you have geometry that's repeated throughout your drawing, it's wise to consider converting that geometry into a block. Blocks are faster to insert, easier to manage and they will keep your file sizes much smaller.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training
AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 20432 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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