by John Flanagan
While researching the major differences between AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2012 I came across this handy article on AutoCAD’s 2012 Associative Array functionality.
An associative array treats the entire array as a single array object (much like a block). This makes it easy to edit the properties of the array after the fact. There are three types of Associative arrays: rectangular, polar and the new path option.
2D Associative Arrays
The new visual preview makes it easier than ever to get your array right the first time.
It’s easy to manipulate with multifunctional grips or the Properties palette. The contextual ribbon tab and right click menu also makes it easy to edit an associative array. The contextual ribbon tab and right click menu makes it easy to edit an array.
Individual items in an array can be selected and edited by using the Ctrl Key. Use the new Replace item tool to replace selected instances with other objects.
TIP: The Reset tool returns the items to their default size and position.
Change the appearance of all the arrayed objects with the Edit Source tool.
Distribute items evenly along a specified path. The Measure option is used to specify a distance between the items. Use Divide to specify the number of items. (AutoCAD will space them evenly along the path.) If the path is modified— the arrayed objects will follow!
A valid path option is a line, polyline, 3D polyline, spline, helix arc, circle or ellipse. Specify whether the arrayed objects should maintain the starting orientation or adjust to remain parallel to the path.
TIP: Use base point to control the position of the arrayed items relative to the path.
TIP: Explode an array to remove the associativity.
3D Associative Array
3D Associative Arrays are also very powerful. Indicate the number of levels (the number of items needed in the Z direction) and specify the distance between levels.
NOTE: A distance of 0 between levels would create all rows at the same elevation.