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In AutoCAD 2011: Tips, Tricks, and Industry Secrets, Jeff Bartels shows AutoCAD users how to become more efficient power users, reducing the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task, increasing profit margins, and strengthening marketplace competitiveness. The course covers everything from shortcuts used in geometry creation, to program customization, to real world solutions to common problems. Interface customization, block and reference management skills, and express tool usage are also covered. Exercise files are included with the course.
An AutoCAD drawing can not only help you visualize your designs, it can also be used to hold important project data. It does this through the use of attributes. Now, attributes are associated with blocks and the data that we assign to attributes can later be extracted to create part lists or to calculate construction costs. When it comes to editing attribute data, some of the tools are a little outdated, so it's tempting to make changes one object at a time. In this lesson I'm going to show you some quick ways to make global changes to the attribute data in a drawing.
On my screen I have a drawing of a CAD lab. This drawing contains several blocks and all of the blocks contain attributes. Let's Zoom in and you may be wondering where the data is. Well, I typically place my attributes on a layer of their own and that layer is currently turned off. So I'm going to open the Layer control and I'll turn on this layer called attribute-data. I am going to zoom in further, and let me mention that all of my blocks are using similar attribute tags. One is holding the price information.
One is holding a part number. And one is holding the room number. By storing this information in the drawing, I can easily create parts lists or calculate furniture costs on a room by room basis. Let's make our first change. Let's say I'd like to change the price associated with all of the chairs in the CAD lab. First, I'm going to zoom out so I can see the entire room. I will then select one of the chairs. I'll right-click and I'll choose Select Similar. Now, this selects all of my chairs.
So I'm going to hold the Shift key and I'll make a window-selection to deselect the chairs in this office. I will then move over to my Quick Properties tool and I can see my attribute information right here. I'm going to change this PRICE to $235. I'll press Enter and then I'll press Escape to deselect the objects. Now, if I zoom in, you can see all of the chairs have the revised price information. Let's make another change. Notice that the room information has not been assigned to any of these blocks yet.
That's because I've been copying these blocks from room to room with the intention of adding this information later. I would like to assign a room number of ATC-106 to all of the blocks in the CAD lab. Well, all of the blocks are currently assigned the default value of ROOM. So to change this, I'm going to use the Find and Replace command. Typically, we think of using Find and Replace with standard text objects. However, it also works great with attributes. I'm going to jump over to the Annotate tab and in the Find Text field I'll type ROOM and then I'll click the magnifying glass.
As you can see, AutoCAD found the first instance of that text string. I would like to replace that text string with ATC-106, and probably the most important thing, I am going to click the Select objects button so I can tell AutoCAD where I'd like it to look for that text. I am going to zoom out and then I'll select everything inside the CAD lab. I will then press Enter and I'll click Replace All. As you can see, AutoCAD revised 78 objects.
I'll click OK and Done. And if I zoom in we can see that all of the blocks now have updated room information. I'm going to zoom back a little. Let's pan over and as long as we're here, let's update the ROOM information associated with the blocks in this office. Now, my text string is still good, so I'll click the magnifying glass. I'd like to change this to ATC-107. I'll click the Select objects button and then I'll use a crossing window to select these blocks. I'll press Enter. I will then click Replace All, OK, and Done.
It's important to remember that attributes don't have to be edited one at a time. Using the Properties palette or the Find and Replace command, we can easily make global changes to the data in a drawing.
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