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Customization of drawing title blocks

 

Do you know that you can create your own title block for drawings generated by Advance Design?

If the default title blocks are not enough for you, you can create your own version. And it won't take you long, especially if you know AutoCAD.

 

This short guide will show you how to do it in 3 steps.

Step 1 - how to find and open templates

The title blocks are saved as templates in AutoCAD file format (.dwg). The easiest way to reach these templates is to open any standalone module and call the Drawing Settings command.

In this window, there is a part used to select a title block template, including a button used to open a folder with templates.

Advance Design contains several predefined templates, with different types of title blocks depending upon the size and layout of the drawing.

In addition, they are stored in subfolders separately for each of the Advance Design. And although in most cases the default templates do not differ from each other, it allows you to customize the templates separately for each type of element.

Now all you need to do is use the CAD program (like AutoCAD or Advance CAD) to open one of the files for editing.

Step 2 - how to edit templates

When you open a template file, you will see a block inserted into the drawing.

The key point is that the title block is defined as a dynamic block, so you need to use a block editor to modify it.

Once you open a block for editing, you can change all parts of the title block, including frame lines, texts, and variables.

Visual properties such as color, line thickness, font size, and type, etc. can be modified using standard tools such as style editors, element properties or layer properties.

You can move or remove any element, you can edit or add new text descriptions, but also you can add new tables or pictures.

You can also edit variables but unlike other elements, they are stored as parameters inside attributes. Attributes are unique labels (blue texts on the picture above) that attach data to a block. The easiest way to edit the attribute content is to double-click on it.

Attributes can contain either a simple constant (for example text), a variable (parameter), or an expression that mixes both - texts and parameters.

For example, the CONCRETE_VOLUME_AND_FORMWORK_AREA is a tag of the attribute, that contains two variables ConcreteVolume and FormworkArea inserted to the text. The text can be edited directly and freely, for example instead ‘Conc =’  you can enter ‘Volume =’. But to replace variable by the other available, you need to click on it to enter field editor.

Replacing and adding new variables to attributes requires caution - I recommend first checking the definition of several existing variables before making any changes. Of course, it is possible to assemble or decompile existing attributes and create new ones using custom constants and available parameters.

Once you have finished making changes to the block, you are ready for the next step.

Step 3 - how to save and use templates

While editing a block should not cause anyone any difficulty, saving the template file requires the strict following of the procedure:

  • First, once you have finished making the changes, close the block editor (saving changes).

Note: If you click the Save command from the file menu while you are in the Block Editor, you will save the drawing but not the block definition. You must specifically save the block definition while you are in the Block Editor.

  • Next, you need to replace the block on the drawing. For this select the block on the drawing and delete it. Then insert the block into the drawing. Make sure to choose the origin point (0,0) as the insertion point.
  • Next use the Purge command.
  • Finally, save the file. When you save the template, it is necessary to save with an older format - file of type: AutoCAD 2013 Drawing (*.dwg). It is best to save the template under a new name.

If the file is saved in the default directory, it will be automatically visible in the list of available title blocks. You can also select a template file directly, using the ‘Browse for title block’ button.

If the new template is prepared as universal for different types of elements (e.g. RC beam, RC column, …) it can be copied to the appropriate subfolders to be automatically visible in the list of available templates in each of Advance Design.

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