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    By Dennis Collin

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    A question I was recently asked by a senior AutoCAD user was; How do we lock our AutoCAD tool palettes? Not actually locking the position, but to lock it so people can’t modify the items within the palette. Custom tool palettes can represent hours of painstaking customisation and it is desirable to be able lock the tool palette so that others can’t modify it. In addition, we don’t want anybody to delete or add items to tool palettes accidentally. In summary, protect standard content from breakages!

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    The principle is very simple. Tool palette data is saved as an external file in an XML format, with an ATC extension. To protect the data, we need to set the file attribute to be read only.

    For AutoCAD 2022 the location will be like the following:

    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2022\R24.1\enu\Support\ToolPalette

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    To check where AutoCAD stores its tool palettes, open AutoCAD's options menu and access the files tab. Locate the tool palettes file locations group. The path, version number and location will vary according to the version of AutoCAD.

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    Within the Palettes folder, the custom tool palettes will be present along with a unique handle suffix that AutoCAD has added. Choose which palettes are to be protected and click read-only.

    If a tool palette file is set with a read-only attribute, a lock icon is displayed in a lower corner of the tool palette. This indicates that you cannot modify the tool palette beyond changing its display settings and rearranging the icons.

    Start AutoCAD and investigate the tool palette, the protected tabs should now display a padlock symbol.

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    Tip. If multiple tabs need to be protected, it is also possible to set the whole folder as read only which will protect every palette tab the folder contains.

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