BricsCAD Journey – Part 12: Working with Blocks

Today’s BricsCAD adventure is all about blocks!  We’ll review familiar methods to define and insert blocks. And, we’ll uncover new tools to manage them.

Define Blocks

The process to define a block using the BLOCK command is the same in BricsCAD as in AutoCAD®. It displays the Block Definition dialog box with the necessary controls to create a new block definition in the current drawing.

Block Definition

Note: The Block Definition dialog box in BricsCAD doesn’t have options for Hyperlink, Quick select or Block Editor. You can, however, attach hyperlinks, select objects, and edit blocks using alternate methods.

The familiar WBLOCK command allows you to write out a block definition as a separate drawing file, external to the current drawing.

Write Block to File

BricsCAD doesn’t have a Block Editor. Instead, you create and edit block geometry using the drawing editor with all the tools and functionality it has to offer available.

Insert Blocks

You can select a block to insert in your drawing from the Insert Block dialog box. It’s easily accessible from the Insert tab on the Quad. You can also access it via other methods including the INSERT command.

The Insert Block dialog box will look familiar to you as a former AutoCAD user. It includes typical options to specify the insertion point, scale and rotation angle for the block.

Insert Block

Note: The Insert Block dialog box doesn’t include an option to insert a block using geographic data.

The Insert Block dialog box doesn’t include a preview image. Instead, BrisCAD offers a more intuitive way to preview, insert, and manage your blocks!

Manage Blocks in Drawing Explorer

You may remember from a previous post that Drawing Explorer offers a central location to manage all the style definitions in your drawing. In fact, Drawing Explorer does much more than that. It centralizes all named drawing content, including blocks, in a single dialog box.

Access Drawing Explorer from the General menu on the Quad. It’s also accessible via other methods including the EXPLORER command. If you launch Drawing Explorer with the EXPBLOCKS command (XB alias), it automatically displays the panels for Blocks.

The Quad Drawing Explorer tool

Drawing Explorer lists all block definitions in the drawing and includes relevant information and controls. You can see how many instances of a block are in the drawing and you can modify basic block properties. For example, you can specify whether a block is Annotative or Explodable.

Drawing Explorer Blocks

Another option, unique to BricsCAD, ensures the block always faces the camera. This can be particularly useful (and fun) for 3D visualization. For example, I created a block with an image of my photo and inserted it in a 3D model. As I orbit around the model, the block/image always faces forward.

Blocks Face Camera

The right-click menu and toolbar offer additional controls. You can easily create a new block definition, delete a block definition and all its insertions, and purge an unused block definition. Insert blocks and even add them to the current tool palette. Anything you want to do with blocks is easily accessible from the Drawing Explorer! To learn more, visit BricsCAD Online Help.

Dynamic Blocks

BricsCAD enables you to modify instances of dynamic blocks. It does not, however, allow you to create or edit dynamic block definitions. Instead, you can easily define blocks using BricsCAD 2D and 3D parametric constraints. It’s very cool and I can’t wait to show you how in future blog posts!

What Next?

During the next stop on our BricsCAD Journey, we’ll explore tools for attaching and managing externally referenced files including xrefs, images, and PDF files.


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A quick overview of Heidi’s Journey

Here is an overview of all the articles of Heidi’s journey:

1) First impressions
2) Download and install
3) Welcome to BricsCAD
4) Exploring the interface
5) Command access
6) Exploring trial levels
7) Exploring each workspace
8) Drawing Entities
9) Settings for Drawing Entities
10) Drawing with Styles
11) License options
12) Working with blocks (Current article)
13) Working with references
14) Working with Layers and Linetypes
15) Editing Entities
16) Entity Manipulation
17) Selection Methods
18) Drawing Explorer
19) Settings
20) Classic Edition

Heidi Hewett

As User Success Manager, Heidi brings her passion for learning to Bricsys, where she will work to help our customers understand the fastest path to success with BricsCAD products. During her 26-year tenure at Autodesk, Heidi worked as a Training Specialist, a Senior Applications Engineer and as a Technical Marketing Manager.

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