Aside from the convenience of being able to see thumbnail views of your.drawing, the DesignCenter may not seem like much of an improvement over Windows Explorer, But the DesignCenter goes beyond Windows Explorer in many ways. One of the main features of the DesignCenter is that it allows you to locate and extract components of a drawing.
Imagine that you want to find a specific block in a drawing. You remember the name of the block, but you don’t remember the drawing you put it in. You can search the contents of drawings using the DesignCenter’s Find dialog box. In the following exercise, you will search for a block named s-door1 among a set of files.
1. In the DesignCenter toolbar, click the Find tool.
The Find dialog box appears. It looks similar to the Find tool that comes with Windows.
2. Select the drive that contains the sample drawings from the companion CD-ROM from the In drop-down list.
3. Select Blocks from the Look for drop-down list. As you can see from the list, you can look for a variety of drawing component types.
4. Enter kitchen z-metric↵ in the Search for the name input box. The binocular icon in the lower-right corner will move back and forth telling you that it is working. After a minute or two, you’ll see the name of the block in the window at the bottom of the dialog box.
5. Right-click the block name, then select Load into Palette. The DesignCenter displays the block in the Palette view and the file that contains the block appears in the Tree view.
As you can see from this example, the Find dialog box can be helpful in finding items that are buried in a set of drawings. In the exercise, you searched for a block, but you can search for any named drawing component, including attribute data and text. For example, if you want to find all attributes that contain the name ABC Manufacturing Company in your drawings, you can do so with the DesignCenter Find dialog box. Here is a summary of its features.
In Lets you select the drive you want to search.
Look for Options Lets you select the type of item to search for. The options are: Drawings, Drawings and Blocks, Layers, Layouts, Linetypes, Textstyles, and Xrefs.
Browse Lets you locate a specific directory to search.
Search Sub folders Lets you determine whether Find searches subfolders in the drive and directory you specify.
Find Now Starts the search process.
Stop Cancels the current ‘search.
New Search Clears all of the settings for the current search so you can start fresh on a new search.
Help Opens the AutoCAD help system to the Find topic .
When you select Drawings from the Look for drop-down list, you see a set of additional tabs in the Find dialog box. Here is a description of the options you’ll find in those additional tabs.
Drawings tab Contains two options.
Search for the Word(s) Lets you specify the text to search for in the drawing properties fields.
In the Field(s) Lets you specify the field of the Drawing Properties dialog box to search through, including filename, title, subject, author, and keyword. These are the fields you see when you choose File> Drawing Properties.
Date Modified tab Lets you limit search criteria based on dates.
Advanced tab Offers three options to further limit your search to specific types of drawing data or to a range of dates:
Containing Lets you select from a list of data to search for, including block name, block and drawing description, attribute tag, and attribute value.
Containing text Lets you specify the text to search fur in the types of data you select from the Containing option.
Size is Lets you restrict the search to files greater than or less than the size you specify.
Once you’ve found the block using the DesignCenter.you can click and drag the block into your open drawing. In the following exercise, you’ll do just that, but with . a slight twist. The block you’ve found is drawn in centimeters, but you’ll be inserting the Kitchen 2-metric block into a drawing named 12c-unit2. dwg, which was created in the English measurement system. If you were to insert the Kitchen 2-metric block into 12c-unit2. dwg, the kitchen would be exactly 2.54 times larger than it should be for 12c-unit2. dwg. But as you’ll see, the DesignCenter takes care of scaling for you.
1. In AutoCAD, make sure the 12c-unit2. dwg sample drawing is loaded.
2. In the DesignCenter, click and drag the Kitchen 2-metric block from the Palette view into the 12c-unit2. dwg window in AutoCAD. The kitchen appears at the appropriate scale.
3. To see that the DesignCenter did indeed adjust the scale of the Kitchen 2-metric block, click it, then right-click and select Properties.
4. Check the Scale X, Scale Y,and Scale Z settings in the Geometry category. Notice that they show .3937 as the scale factor instead of 1.
5. After reviewing the Properties dialog box, close it.
You may recall from Chapter 3 that you have the opportunity to specify the type of units the drawing is set up for in the Units dialog box under the Drawing Units for DesignCenter Blocks button group. The DesignCenter uses this information when you drag and drop blocks from the DesignCenter into an open drawing. This is how the DesignCenter is able to correctly scale a block drawn in metric to a drawing that is drawn in the English format.
Blocks aren’t the only type of drawing component you can click and drag from the Palette view. Line types, layouts, dimension styles, and text styles can all be imported from files on your computer or network through the DesignCenter’s Palette view.