Attributes are unique to computer-aided design and drafting; nothing quite like them exists in traditional drafting. Because of this, they are often poorly understood. Attributes enable you to store information as text that you can later extract to use in database managers, spreadsheet programs, and word processors. By using attributes, you can keep track of virtually any object in a drawing, or maintain textural information within the drawing that can be queried.
Keeping track of objects is just one way of using attributes. You can also use them in place of text objects in situations where you must enter the same text, with minor modifications, in many places in your drawing. For example, if you are drawing a schedule that contains several columns of information, you can use attributes to help simplify your data entry.
Attributes can also be. used where you anticipate global editing of text. For example, suppose a note that refers to a part number occurs in several places. If you think you will want to change that part number in every note, you can make the part a block with an attribute. Later, when you know the new part number, you can use the global editing capability of the Attribute feature to change the old part number for all occurrences in one step.
In this chapter you will use attributes for one of their more common functions: maintaining lists of parts. In this case, the parts are doors. This chapter will also describe how to import these attributes into a database management program. As you go through these exercises, think about the ways attributes can help you in your particular application.