Join Shaun Bryant for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with insertion scales, part of AutoCAD: Tips & Tricks.
- [Instructor] Welcome to another autocad tip and trick for today. What we're going to be looking at is insertion scales on the options dialog box in autocad. So we've got a nice new drawing for you, it's CONTENT_InsertionScales.dwg Now, we've got a blank drawing for you to download from the web this time. Now, the reason it's blank, is we're looking at insertion scales and we're inserting blocks into a new drawing or it could be an existing drawing.
Now, just be aware that I've done it as a blank drawing because I don't want you worrying about layers, dimension styles, annotations, things like that. All I want to worry about is how we set these insertion scales, so hence the drawing is blank. Download it from the website as usual, use it to follow along with the video. Now, your insertion scales that we're going to look at, are in the options dialog box and they need to be set appropriately. However, there's one little autocad variable that you must remember to set, if you're going to do it this way, and that's your INSUNIT variable.
Type, I-N-S and then unit, so one word and there it is there, it comes up on the suggestion menu. Press enter to confirm and it'll prompt you for a value. Now, in the later versions of autocad, that value is actually set to four. We need to make sure that it's set to zero for this drawing or any other drawing that you maybe using to perform this particular workflow or exercise. So just make sure the INSUNIT is set to zero and press enter.
Then we're going to open up design center. I'd normally go to design center on the insert tab on the ribbon and it's at the end on the content panel and my panel's a little bit squished there, purely due to the resolution of the screen that I'm recording at. There's design center there, click on design center and it'll open up. Now, if you've never used design center before, you'll find if you go to the folders tab here, that it goes to this sample folder which is installed when you install autocad on a regular, normal installation.
Now, we're going to expand the ENUS folder there and then expand design center there. You'll see there's a whole load of drawings. We're going to go to the home space panel drawing, that one there and you'll see that all of these different categories in that drawing can be used in design center. We want blocks, so just double click on blocks and there's all the blocks there, that are in that drawing. Now the benefit you've got, is you can drag and drop these blocks straight into your autocad drawing from design center.
But, make a note of the units that these blocks are in. You'll notice there's a desk there, 30 inches by 60 inches, so it's an imperial block, it's using feet and inches. Now, we don't know what the scale of our drawing is. But we can specify what set of units we want these blocks to come in at. If I right click in the drawing area and go to options on the shortcut menu. Now, the options dialog does come in quite large, I'm just going to resize it slightly for you.
There we go. Go to User Preferences on the tabs at the top and you'll see you've got insertion scale here. Now, this is where you've got to be careful with that INSUNIT variable. This particular setting only works if INSUNIT is set to zero. If INSUNIT is set to a particular unit, let's say, one, two, three or four, which are all like millimeters, centimeters, inches, et cetera. They will overwrite this setting. So, our source content unit in this case, are inches which is our design center blocks and we're going to say that our target drawing is also going to be in inches.
So I'm going to change that to inches, like so. So we're going from inches to inches in our drawing. I'll Okay that, job done. Now if I select that desk, that's 30 by 60 inches like so, and all I've got to do here is, literally, left click and drag and bring it in. But, if I right click on it, like a little shortcut menu, and if I go to insert block, I get the insert block dialog box. Can you see the block unit is inches factor one, so we know, that that particular block is going to come into my drawing in inches and that's because we've set it in the options dialog box.
I'll just cancel that, I know that that's going to work, so I can just click and drag and there it is there and release. Now it's a bit tiny, so let's just use the wheel on the mouse to zoom in a bit and I'll just pan that down a little bit. Now how do I test how big that desk is? Well, I can use the distance command, rather than jump up to the ribbon and things, just type D-I-S-T and then enter. Make sure your object snaps are on and if I measure from let's say, that end point snap to that end point snap, there's my distance, you can see it on the tool tip there, distance is 60 inches.
So what I've done there, is I've made sure that my imperial block has come into my imperial drawing, so to speak. Now, here's the trick, if I now, right click again and go to options again and change the target drawing unit this time to millimeters perhaps, so inches to millimeters. Autocad now knows that when I bring that imperial block in, it'll bring it in in millimeters into my drawing instead.
This is because the INSUNIT is set to zero, remember? Like I specified earlier. I'm going to zoom out a little bit now, because the next desk I bring in will be much, much bigger and I'll explain why in a second. So I click on the desk, click and drag and look, it's way bigger, can you see that? If I zoom out now, I've got a desk within a desk, so there's my imperial desk, there's my metric desk. What autocad has done, is it's taken it as inches and converted it to millimeters for me. If I type D-I-S-T like so and do that end point to end point again, click there and get the end point snap click there.
Thinks it's 1523.997, it's just come up there on the command block. Now, obviously you can go and measure that properly using the measure tool, if I just move the crosshair there, you can see it's just come up on the tool tip as well. The reason we've done that is we've specified those settings in the options dialog box and you'll also find that you can check this like I did previously, if I right click and do insert block, can you see there, it's still saying inches. So basically, what it's saying there, is that particular block will be brought in in inches wherever I put it.
But, if I change the settings in my options dialog box, the insertion scale settings, I can change the target drawing unit and that's basically what we're doing, we're kind of overwriting the settings in the block and saying, "I know that's an imperial block, but I want it in my metric drawing. So I want you to put it in my target metric millimeters drawing." it's a really neat tool, but you must remember to set that INSUNIT variable to zero to make it work.
Skill Level Intermediate
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