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    By Dennis Collin

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    In a previous blog I showed how elements in Revit can align themselves to suitable reference objects. This is very useful and happens because Revit elements follow rules and offer options for sensible and logical placement of items in relation to host parent components.

    AutoCAD is at first glance perhaps, not as clever a package as Revit or Inventor. However, the software does have some great features to make the placement of symbols much easier and correct first time, rather than having to perform several remedial editing commands after placement.

    Dynamic blocks have been in AutoCAD since 2006, but are often perceived as being difficult to manage and to create. Many AutoCAD users are even unaware of their existence or benefits, but hopefully this article will show how anyone needing to create drawings more quickly, can with just a few simple steps. Just by adding one simple feature to a regular block will make them vastly more useful than a conventional ‘dumb’ block.

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    The block creation process is largely unchanged since the introduction of dynamic blocks. The only thing to note is the block editor function located in the bottom left hand corner of the block creation dialogue. Alternatively, the block editor environment can be accessed by editing an existing block definition via the right-click menu.

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    Once in the block editor, a range of parameters can be added to conventional blocks, which can include stretch, move and array options. In our example shown below, an alignment parameter is added to the block which will automatically move and rotate to any item that the cursor highlights.

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    The Alignment Parameter is placed using a mid-point snap, setting an end-point for the alignment angle, and that’s it! Just click on the green close block editor button and we are done.

    The block can be inserted by a variety of different means. But once placed, just drag the alignment reference point over a suitable target object and the dynamic block will rotate to suit!

    In a future blog I will show how these blocks can be stored in a shared library which will benefit the wider CAD team.

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    Creating and managing dynamic blocks is just one of several topics that we cover on the 2-day AutoCAD Intermediate Course. However, we also do focused days just on dynamic blocks. Just visit the Cadline Training website to find your nearest training centre or call our sales team on 01784 419922 where we will be happy to help.