This is 8th task of Work Better with AutoCAD. We have discussed about choosing reusable contents for your drawings and creating reusable contents.
Saving the reusable contents
It’s common that we need to update our AutoCAD blocks regularly. There are always new common objects, new standard to implement. And also Autodesk add new functionalities to AutoCAD.
The idea of using blocks is reduce drawing repetitively and to maintain standard. So the best location, if all AutoCAD users are using the same blocks, is saving the file on shared location over computer network.
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There are several ways to access the files. You can manually insert the block, using design center, using tool palettes, or using customization. Or you probably have other ways that work better for you.
I also know that in Autodesk Inventor, people can share the content libraries using Autodesk Vault. I haven’t seen AutoCAD users sharing libraries using Vault before, but if you do, it would be interesting if you share your experience.
However, if you prefer to place your blocks in local folders, I would like to hear why you decided to do it that way.
Managing block files
In the past, it was common to save a drawing as an AutoCAD block. So if you have one hundred blocks, you save one hundred DWG files. We use folders to manage similar blocks based on their categories. You can insert the file as block later. I’m not sure if it is the best practice today, but in the past it looks like a good idea. Probably the benefit of using this method today is it’s simple to use it in customization. I use simple AutoLISP code to make level elevation and grids bubble.
But today, it’s very easy to access blocks within a file. We can use tool palettes, and creating palettes is very easy using design center. It works better if you put similar blocks in one file. But I think the biggest benefit of saving block definition in DWG file is when we use dynamic blocks. We can’t save dynamic behavior of our blocks if we simply save geometry in an AutoCAD file.
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In this last discussion of AutoCAD reusable contents, I would like to discuss these topics:
- How do you save your blocks, one block in one file, or saving several blocks with the same category in a DWG file?
- How do you use blocks? Insert them manually, using design center, tool palettes, or other methods?
- Do you save blocks in local folders or shared location? Or do you use other applications (such as Autodesk Vault or similar) to manage them?
- Do you use customization to use those blocks?
- What are the benefits and downsides of using the methods, and why you choose to use that method?