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    by Dennis Collin

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    A common question when talking to AutoCAD users is the prospect of setting up symbol or block libraries. What’s the best way to do this and how can I do it more efficiently?

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    Fig. Since AutoCAD 2000 blocks are able to reside in a separate drawing which can be accessed via a range of interfaces.

    Many users still use the copy and paste approach to bring blocks in from one drawing to another, but personally I am a big fan of using the Tool Palette environment. This was introduced many years ago but works well in setting up standards not just for blocks but other commands such as hatching as well.

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    Fig. Tool Palettes and the AutoCAD Designcentre work well to bring standard symbols and settings to project drawings.

    To add custom blocks to the palettes ensure that the file containing the blocks is in a desired accessible location for all users.

    Next use the Designcentre Function (Ctrl+2) and either browse to the folder where the library drawing is located or alternatively open the library file directly. The tool palette environment can be accessed via the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+3.

    On the left panel of the Designcentre, navigate to the relevant drawing and expand the plus (+) symbol and select blocks. A preview of the symbols is shown on the right panel and they can be dragged to a bespoke tool palette and form a standard library.

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    Fig. Designcentre and Tool Palettes are a good way to access blocks and other elements and can even be used to customise the other.

    If there are too many blocks to drag individually, right click the blocks panel and links to all the blocks in the drawing are created automatically! The tool palette environment takes up far less screen space than the Designcentre and makes it a lot easier to be able to quickly access standard content.

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    Fig. Creating you own library can be only a right mouse click away!

    Once created and modified these tool palettes can be shared with the wider CAD team. This process I will write about in a future post.