Lesson69- Using Attributes In Title Blocks

When you use a title block in a new drawing you must enter variable data according to the current drawing file.

for example, you will probably want to record the current drawing file name in a box labeled as ACAD FILE.

  • One approach is to leave these title block boxes empty & fill them in 
after you insert the title block drawing into a new drawing file.
  • this approach demands extra work in placing the text at the 
correct locations inside each box.
  • Another approach is to create TEXT objects with arbitrary values that can be edited after you insert the title block into new drawings
  • but you must insert the title block Exploded and then use ddEdit to change each TEXT object to the proper text string.
  • A more practical approach is to use attribute definitions as “data fields” for variable text in title block drawings.
  • An attribute definition looks like an ordinary TEXT object in the title block drawing file (before you Insert it into a drawing)
but when you Insert the title block drawing into another drawing you are prompted to enter the “values” for each attribute.

You can think of attribute definitions as fields in a database.

when you Insert a block with attributes you enter values that are 
stored in these fields.

You create attribute definitions with Attdef using similar parameters as with Dtext but you create these objects using a dialogue box.

  • many of the parameters in this dialogue box are beyond the scope of this introduction to attributes.
  • click on Help to learn more about the other parameters.

You can also use the Attedit command to change attribute values after you have inserted a title block into another drawing.

this lets you modify all the attribute values of a particular block inside one dialogue box.

If the ATTDIA system variable is 1 you can enter attribute values in a dialogue box when you Insert a title block drawing into another file.

  • this system variable is stored in your registry and the initial value is 0 (with this setting you must type values at the command line).
  • the ATTDIA system variable should have been set to 1 on your system when you ran the T111.scr script file on page 5.

practice with the attributes in title block drawings

  1. Close drawings from the previous exercise if they are open.
  2. Open the T111_14.dwg drawing in your personal folder.

This drawing already contains several attribute definitions along with normal TEXT objects as labels.

In this exercise you will add an attribute to record the name of the person who created the drawing.

Not comfortable with tacking yet?

Instead of picking the “Pick Point” button you can skip to step 8 to use the X & Y values shown in the dialogue box illustration there.


3- Pick Draw + Block + Define Attributes. Enter DRAWNBY as the Tag, Drawn By as the Prompt and [Your Name] as the Value. Change Justification to Right. Then pick the Pick Point button for the Insertion point to continue.

4- Verify that the OSNAP & OTRACK status bar buttons are both On (left-click on them if they are Off).

You are about to place the attribute so that it is 0.075 inches above the box line and leave a space of 0.10 inches on the right side.

you will use tracking with direct distance entry to specify the insertion point precisely.

5- Hold your crosshairs over the Endpoint osnap marker shown below (without left-clicking) to acquire this as a tracking alignment point.

6- Move your crosshairs to the left to invoke a tooltip angle of 180 degrees and enter TT at the keyboard to use a Temporary Tracking point. Then type 0.1 & press <enter> as the direct distance entry for this temporary tracking point.

You just acquired another tracking alignment point that is not an object snap (which is why you had to use TT)

next you will track straight above this alignment point and use direct distance entry for a distance of 0.075.

this will place the attribute definition in the center of this box (vertically) with a space of 0.1 on the right side.

7- Move your crosshairs above the last temporary tracking point to invoke a tooltip angle of 90 then type 0.075 and press <enter> to supply this point as the insertion point.

8- Pick OK to complete the Attdef command.

9- Save your changes to this drawing and Close the file.

Pick File + New and select Start from Scratch with English Default Settings.

11- Pick File + Save and call this drawing My Drawing.dwg in your personal folder.

12- Select the Layout1 tab on the bottom of your screen to switch to this layout & invoke Page Setup automatically.

13- Select the Plot Device tab. Select the HP LaserJect.pc3 or equivalent Name. Change the Layout name to My Layout. Then select the Layout Settings tab to continue (do not exit this dialogue box yet).

14- Change the drawing orientation to Portrait and then pick OK to complete the setup.

15- Pick Format + Layer. Pick the New button and type Titleblock as the new layer name. Pick the Current button then pick OK to exit Layer.

16- Pick Insert + Block. Pick Browse then select T111_14.dwg in your personal folder and pick Open to return to the Insert dialogue box. Uncheck all Specify On-screen boxes and pick OK to continue.

17- Enter the values for attributes as shown below or use your own values. You must pick the Next button to change the last two attribute values in this block. Pick OK when you are done entering values.

The order of attributes in this dialogue box is determined by the order in which the attribute definitions were created.

the last attribute definition to be created was the one that you created as DRAWNBY.

18- Pick Modify + Erase and select the Viewport border of the viewport that was automatically created when you used Page Setup. Then press <enter> to delete it.

19- Zoom in for a closer view of the title block attribute values.

20- Save the changes to your drawing and Close the file.

More Practice

  1. Open the T111_15.dwg drawing in your personal folder.
  2. Zoom in for a closer view of the objects already created for the CHAIR block definition.

There is a small RED letter “X” at the back of this chair.

  • this is the point that you will use as the insertion point when you create the block definition for this CHAIR.
  • you must use an Insert osnap to select this TEXT object when you supply the insertion point for the block definition.
  • do NOT select this TEXT object when you select the LINEs and ARCs that will be used to define this block for the CHAIR.

3- Create Block definitions for each the symbols shown in the table below. Use the TEXT object (e.g. “CHAIR”) as the block name for each symbol. The table will not be required once the block definitions are created so you can delete the original objects and block name TEXT objects if you wish.

4- Zoom into the kitchen area and Insert the block inserts shown below. Place these inserts on the indicated layers. at least 1 inch away from nearby walls or other objects.

5- Zoom into the den and Insert the block inserts shown below. Place ALL inserts on the FURNITURE layer.

6- Zoom into the recreation room above the den and Insert the block inserts shown below. Place ALL inserts on the FURNITURE layer.

7- Zoom into the living room in the lower right corner of the house and Insert the block inserts shown below. Place all inserts on the FURNITURE layer.

8- Zoom into the powder room near the front entrance and Insert the block inserts below onto the PLUMBING layer.

9- Zoom out to see the entire house plan and Insert the D_Table block insert into the dining room on the FURNITURE layer as shown below.

10- Create a new DOOR block definition based on one ARC and one LINE object. Then Insert this DOOR block insert on the DOOR layer for each of the 7 doors shown below (see tip on the next page).

You can create one block definition (e.g. a right hand door) and Mirror the block insert to generate the opposite (i.e. left) door.

Make the block definition such that the radius of the ARC is 1 drawing unit

then when you Insert the block insert you can specify the desired door size (e.g. 36 for a 36 inch door) as the scale.

  • this way you can use the same block definition for more than one size of door insert.
  • you will notice that each doorway in this exercise is the same size of 36 inches.

11- Save the changes to this drawing and Close the file.

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