Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding elements, part of AutoCAD Architecture Essential Training.
In this movie we're going to take a look at adding elements to our project. Now, elements are files that you can use in multiple locations across your building layout. And the way that you do that is by adding those elements to your constructs. So, the first thing we need to do is actually create an element and then we'll learn how to add it to our constructs. So, I'm in a project file called, Creating Elements and I have the main level construct open on screen. Now, you use elements for any kind of typical condition that you want to repeat across your floor plan.
Maybe it's a typical stair layout, maybe it's a kitchen area that's going to occur on two or three locations in the floor plan, or in the example that I'm going to show you, something much simpler. Maybe its just a standard office furniture layout. So, to get started here, I'm zoomed in on those two offices and I'm just going to come over here and right click the elements folder and go to new and element and give this file a name. And I'm going to call this, typical office layout. And then I'll make sure that the box to open it and the drawing editor is checked and then I'll click okay.
The next thing is, I need to add some furniture. And I want to make sure that the furniture's actually going to fit in that office. So if you'd like, you could click over here on your main level floor plan on the home tab and go to the distance command and I'll just do a quick distance diagonally across the space here. And you'll see that the delta x is almost 11 foot 2, and the delta y is almost 9 foot 2. So it's 9 foot 2 this way, it's 11 foot 2 this way. So let me escape out of there and click back to my typical office layout.
So, the next thing I want to do is make sure that I can zoom my screen in to about that area. So the easiest way that I can do that is to draw a quick rectangle. So, I'm going to come up here to the draw panel on the home tab and click the rectangle button. And I'm going to start that rectangle at the origin of the drawing, 0, 0 and press enter. Then I can type the at symbol just like you use in your email, so at x, y. So my x is 9 foot 2, comma my y, which is 11 foot 2.
I'm rounding off these numbers, if you want to put the seven 8ths, you can do that. Now, you'll notice a very small rectangle appears down here in the corner of the screen. Let me do z + enter, e + enter to zoom in on that rectangle. So, that's basically the size of my office area that I have to work with. The next step is to come over here to my tool palettes and find some furniture. Now, I'm already on the FF & E tab on my design tool palettes, but if you need to get to that location, just make sure you right click the title bar here, make sure the design is the active tool palette group, and then click the FF & E tab.
So I'll start with the desk and I'll just click anywhere to place it. And then I'll come over here and grab a chair. Click anywhere to place it, and enter out of there. Now, both of those need to be re-oriented so I'll select the chair, go to the home tab, click the rotate button, pick a base point for my rotation and spin it around 180 degrees. Click it again, move it slightly, and then select both of these. Go back to home.
Go back to rotate. Pick a base point and rotate it about 90 degrees. Move them again. Zoom out a little. And just kind of get it roughly where I want it to go in the office, remembering that this rectangle represents the office. So that gives me a rough location for this furniture. Now, as far as the rectangle goes, you have two options there. You could just delete it if you're done with it, if you no longer need it. Or, if you want to keep it around, but just make sure that it doesn't print, you can put it on a non-plotting layer. Now you can create a layer for that purpose or it turns out that there's already a layer in this file called def points, which by default is a non-plotting layer.
So, I can just use that layer for convenience or if you prefer, like I say, you can create your own custom non-plotting layer. Now, I'm going to come over here and close the typical office layout and it will prompt me to save it and I'll say yes. So now, I've got my typical layout, so the next step is to actually add it to my construct drawing. So, I do that by simply dragging and dropping it from navigator into the construct. Now it won't look like anything has happened, but remember that we built the layout relative to 00.
So 00 in this file is over here. So,, what you want to do is select that item. There's a little grip at the corner. That represents the insertion point of that file. I'm going to click it, zoom in over here and that corner right there corresponds to this corner of the office. So, I'll just snap it right to that location and then I'll go to my home tab, go to my rotate command, use that same point as the axis of rotation and rotate it 90 degrees.
Now if you're having trouble doing this with the mouse and you don't trust what it's snapping to, just type 90, and it will rotate it 90 degrees. Then click it again. Go to the home tab, choose copy from this base point right there to this new point right there. Now, I am seeing the blue line right now, but remember, that's a non-plotting layer, so later that's not going to print. So, I now have two instances of this element here in my floor plan. Now, if you had 50 offices, you could copy, rotate, mirror, and array those offices 50 times and it would still work.
Now, let's say my designer said, well, we're going to add file cabinets to all the offices. Say okay, well, if we had done this without elements, we would have to go and place a file cabinet now in every single office, but because they're elements, I can double click the element. Go back here to my tool palettes. Find a file cabinet. Bring it in. Place it. Press enter. Rotate it and position it where I want it to go. So, I'll just sort of put it up here in this corner. Close the file, save the file, and now what will happen is, anytime you have an x ref in your project navigator down here at the bottom of the screen, you're going to get that little yellow alert symbol right there on the manage x refs, so I can right click that and say I want to reload that x ref drawing,.
And you'll see that the file cabinet appears in both offices. So that's a really simple demonstration of what elements are all about, but you can see where the potential power lay. By having a single element for any kind of typical condition that you copy, mirror, and rotate around your plan, now you have a really convenient way that you can make a change to that typical layout once and have that change propagate across all the instances throughout the entire building. That's a really powerful benefit of using the element feature.
- Adding and offsetting walls
- Working with columns
- Adding stairs and railings
- Working with the display system
- Setting up projects
- Using callouts
- Adding schedules and tags
- Creating documentation
- Printing and exporting