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Using the Block Editor

From: AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac

Video: Using the Block Editor

Not too long ago the Windows version of AutoCAD incorporated a dedicated block editor as an alternate way of creating and editing blocks, a special block editor has also been incorporated into the Mac edition. In this lesson, we're going to take a look at how it works. On my screen I've a drawing of a location map that I'm creating for a small site development project, and I'm at the point in this drawing where I'm starting to label the major highways. Since these labels are very symbolic in nature, I'm using blocks that contain an attribute to display the highway number.

Using the Block Editor

Not too long ago the Windows version of AutoCAD incorporated a dedicated block editor as an alternate way of creating and editing blocks, a special block editor has also been incorporated into the Mac edition. In this lesson, we're going to take a look at how it works. On my screen I've a drawing of a location map that I'm creating for a small site development project, and I'm at the point in this drawing where I'm starting to label the major highways. Since these labels are very symbolic in nature, I'm using blocks that contain an attribute to display the highway number.

Now I've just finished labeling my U.S . Highways and I'd like to create a new block for labeling the State highways. Rather than creating this block using the traditional block command, I'm going to create using the block editor. To open the editor, I'm going to click the arrow to expand the block group, and then I'll click the block editor icon. Using this dialog box, I could edit any existing block in this file or I can create a new one by entering a name up here at the top. I'll call my block STATES-LBL and then I'll click Edit Block.

This puts me into the Block Editor and the block editor is a drafting environment that works the exact same as model space. It's important to note that the insertion point of your block will be the origin or the zero, zero coordinate of the block editor. Notice the layer 0 happens to be current. I would like to create my block on the signs-Stateroute layer, so I'll set that layer current. And I want to start my block by creating a circle. I'll launch the circle command and I'll create my circle at the 0, 0 coordinate. I'll press return.

And I'm going to draw my symbol at the same size as I want it to appear on the printed sheet, so I'll use a radius of .125, and I'll press Return. Let's zoom in and I'll center this geometry on screen. Now let's add an attribute to this block to display the highway number. To do that I'll move up to visor and launch the Attribute definition command. For my Tag I'll enter HWY and I'll press tab. The Tag is the variable that will hold the value that I enter.

For my Prompt, I'll type, What state highway is this? And I'll press tab. The Prompt is the question that will be asked when the block is inserted and then for a Default value, I'm going to enter a couple pound signs. The Default value should represent how you want the data entered. Now an Attribute is nothing more than a text object, using these settings below I can format the appearance of my text. Notice I've already created a Text style called Shield Text and that's current.

I would like to change the Justification. I'm going to make this Middle center justified and I'd like this to have a Text height of 0.1. Once again, I want to format this for the size that will appear on the printed sheet. If I click the arrow next to Show Advanced Options, we can see the same Attribute Options and Insertion Point settings that we see on the Windows platform. I'm going to leave these set to the defaults, and I'll click Save. I'm now holding my attribute with my cursor and I'll place this at the center of this circle.

Let's turn on my running object snaps, and I'll click the circle. When I'm finished with the block, I'll click the Save button and then I'll click Close to exit the block editor. All right, let's try and insert one of our new blocks. I'm going to pan this drawing over and to insert the block, I'll move over to the toolset palette, and I'll launch the INSERT Command. I will then select my block from the list. Let's click this flyout to view the insertion options. When I insert the symbol, I'd like to specify its Insertion Point on screen.

I do not want to specify a Rotation or a Scale. I'm going to leave these set to the default values. and I'll click Insert. Since these are labels, I really don't need specific object snaps. so I'm going to turn my running Object Snaps off momentarily. I'll place my first label right here, now What state highway is this? This is State Highway 75, and I'll click Confirm. Let's insert one more. I'll do that by pressing my spacebar. AutoCAD remembers all of the previous settings.

I'll click Insert, and I'll place this label right here, this happens to be State Route 14, and I'll click Confirm. Now the only problem with these labels is that I can see through them. Let's use the block editor to add a white background to this symbol. To reopen the block editor, I could open up the block group in the toolset palette or I can also open the editor by using the tools menu. I'll select our new block, and I'll click Edit Block, this returns me to the editor.

I'm going to create my background using Hatch, and I'd like the hatch to be on the same layer as my block geometry. So let's set this to the signs-Stateroute layer. I'll move over and launch the Hatch command, and then I'll select a Pattern. I'm going to click Other Predefined, and then I'll select SOLID and click OK. Now let's assign this hatch a color. I'll click the Hatch Color flyout, and then I'll come down and click Select Color, and in the Color palette I'll select True Color.

I will then click in this brightness slider and I'll drag this all the way up to the top. This gives me an RGB color value of 255, 255, 255, which represents pure white. Let's click OK. I will then click Select objects, and I'd like to apply my hatch to this circle, and I'll press return. Finally I'm going to come down to the Draw order setting. I'll open this up and I'll select, Send to Back, because I'd like this hatch to be to the back of the symbol. When I'm finished, I'll click OK that looks good.

I'm going to move up and click the Save button, and then I'll click Close, and as you can see, sometimes when you make a change to your block, you may have to click save twice. I'm going to select this again to close the editor. As you can see my State Highway symbols have been updated to show the new background. So the next time you're creating or editing a block, remember that you have a choice. You can use the traditional block command or you can try the dedicated block editor, as with most things, AutoCAD for the Mac lets you determine your own workflow.

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AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac

35 video lessons · 4150 viewers

Jeff Bartels
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