Blocks are an essential component of most drawings because they save time, increase accuracy, and reduce drawing size. Blocks are most useful when you use them many times, especially across drawings. Therefore, you need a way to access saved blocks that aren’t in your current drawing. In this tip, I’ll discuss the first of 4 ways to get your blocks into your drawing.
Use tool palettes to hold your blocks
The Tool Palettes window has many tabs and some of them can be used for your custom blocks. To open the Tool Palettes window, choose View tab> Palettes panel> Tool Palettes, or use the TOOLPALETTES command.
Create a new Tool Palettes tab
AutoCAD comes with some standard blocks. For example, the Architectural tab has these blocks. But you probably want your own. Here are the steps to create a new tab:
- Right-click any tab and choose New Palette. (Each tab is called a palette.)
- You’ll see a selected default palette name; just type the name you want to use.
Now you have a blank tab (palette).
Import blocks using the DesignCenter
The easiest way to create a tool palette tab is by using the DesignCenter (which I cover next as a way to insert blocks directly into your drawing). To open the DesignCenter, Choose View tab> Palettes panel> DesignCenter or press Ctrl+2.
There are 2 ways to use the DesignCenter to add blocks to a tool palette:
- Drag the block to the palette tab: Display the tab you want to use. Then, use the left-hand pane of the DesignCenter to navigate to a drawing with blocks. (If you don’t see the left-hand pane, click the Tree View Toggle button at the top of the DesignCenter.) Double-click the drawing, then click Blocks to see the blocks in the right-hand pane. Finally, just drag a block to the palette tab. And yes! You can select more than one block at a time. Press Ctrl as you click to add another block, or click the first block, press and hold Shift, and click the last block.
- Convert a folder to a palette tab: You can automatically create a palette tab that contains all the drawings in a folder or all the blocks in a drawing. This is great if you have a block library already set up, but you can use it to simply create a tab from a bunch of drawings or one drawing. The disadvantage is that you can’t add these blocks to an existing palette; this method creates a new one. Just navigate to the folder or drawing in the left pane of the DesignCenter, right-click it, and choose Create Tool Palette. The tab takes on the name of the drawing or folder.
Add a block from the current drawing
But you may simply want to add a block in your current drawing to an existing tool palette tab. If the block isn’t in your drawing (you have defined it but not inserted it), insert the block. Then follow these steps:
- Display your Tool Palettes tab.
- Select the block.
- Click and drag the block to the Tool Palettes tab.
Insert blocks from the Tool Palettes window
Once you have your blocks on a Tool Palettes tab, you can use it to insert blocks. Just display the tab that contains the block and drag the block into your drawing.
Other parts of this series will cover inserting blocks from the DesignCenter, ContentExplorer, and a block library.
Do you use the Tool Palettes? Why? If not, what method do you use to easily and quickly insert blocks? Leave a comment!