By Dennis Collin
Working with drawings from 3rd parties is always a challenge as different companies tend to employ different CAD standards, if at all! Yet a common task is to add a specific set of notes onto an adopted drawing. These notes need to be on a specific layer and have recognisable settings to differentiate information that you have added from native information.
Using AutoCAD’s Designcentre Facility is a good way to transfer not just layers, but also many other settings such as line types, sheet layouts, dimension styles and text styles. Just select elements from the right-hand pane and drag the desired settings into the target drawing. This is great but that can result in a high layer count making it tedious to select, for example, a specific text layer to add some custom notes.
Another approach is so use the more modern tool palette interface. Create a text command on the palette and link that to a layer and style. Clicking on this Mtext shortcut will place text of the correct style, settings and layer. However, while this will work nicely with drawings that already have these settings, it will not work properly on brand new drawings or existing drawings with different settings.
Although layer, style name and font will be transferred, the annotative nature is not carried across. This is currently an AutoCAD limitation. Of course, you could pre-empt the tool palette function by importing relevant styles via the Designcentre, which will then cause the tool to work as expected. But this is not an ideal solution as we are trying to simplify the annotation process.
A better option is to create text with the correct styles and settings and convert to a block. The reason for doing this is it will retain all the required properties as the command is executed for any drawing, even if no CAD standards have been applied.
Create the block in the normal block library drawing and then create a shortcut on the tool palette either by dragging and dropping from the drawing or from the Designcentre interface. With the shortcut placed, right click and set the properties of the block to go to the desired layer and be exploded. This will effectively place text with all the correct settings including the annotative properties. Hurrah!
A similar method could be employed for other annotation types, such as dimensions and leader annotations.
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