Creating & Using Blocks With Multiple Insertion Points

As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been much activity here on The CAD Geek since AU.  The reason for that is quite simply I have been on vacation since December 13.  Today however was the end of my three-week break from the office, and gasp; AutoCAD.  As much as I love to play with and explore the depths of AutoCAD, I must say my vacation was a much needed break from CAD.

But now that I have returned to the office and the holidays are behind us, I shall also return to this, my humble corner of the blogosphere.  I must admit, after taking a 3-week break from AutoCAD it was hard to think up a blog topic, but I remembered a post from August titled “Dynamically Aligning Your Blocks”.  It was with that post I realized how few posts I had about the most versatile  Dynamic Blocks.

It’s a fundamental law of AutoCAD Blocks, blocks shall have an insertion point.  And frankly, this is a good thing.  Sure, AutoCAD needs to know this location so it can remember where you placed the block, but face it – you need this insertion point too.  When drawing blocks we’re taught to place this insertion point in a meaningful location.  Maybe it’s the face of a curb in a civil plan, or a wall in an architectural plan.

Perhaps in a perfect world we would only ever need a single insertion point, but sometimes 1 insertion point isn’t enough.  That my friend is where Dynamic Blocks and their ability to support multiple insertion points comes into play. My cardinal civil example is with drainage structures; sometimes I need to place a structure based on it’s front, others it’s the center of the structure itself. 

Creating a Block with Multiple Insertion Points

To get started I’ll just use my normal drainage structure block.  This is just a block I created using the Create Block (BLOCK) command.

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In this case I have chosen to make the insertion point the front-center of my structure.  Of course as I go to actually use this block I’ll also need to have the ability to insert the structure from it’s center, or maybe even it’s corners.  To define these additional insertion points:

  1. Go to the Block Editor located on the Blocks & References ribbon palette (command: BEDIT).
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  2. If it’s not already open, be sure to load your Block Authoring Palettes
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  3. From the Block Authoring Palettes, go to the Parameter Sets tab and select the Point Move parameter set.
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  4. Upon clicking the Parameter Set you will be prompted to select a point, this is simply the location where you want your additional insertion point to be.  After specifying the location of your point itself, you will be prompted to place the label for the dynamic property.
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  5. Notice the [!] just above the lightning bolt.  This indicates we have not defined our action, which in this case is to move the block. To define this, double-click on the lightning bolt. After double-clicking the lightning bolt you will be prompted to select objects.  Since we want to move the entire block, I will select everything in this example.
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  6. You Assuming the [!] above the lightning bolt disappears, you have successfully defined an additional insertion point for your block, and can Close the Block Editor.  Be sure to save changes when prompted.

Using a Block with Multiple Insertion Points

Using a block with multiple insertion points isn’t all that different from using a block with just 1 insertion point. 

To insert:

  1. Use the Insert Block command (INSERT)
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  2. From the Insert dialog, be sure “Specify On-Screen” is checked under the “Insertion Point” heading.
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  3. AutoCAD will default to the base point of your block (the normal insertion point).
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  4. To cycle through your other insertion points, press Ctrl + Tab at the same time.  This will lock you into your newly created insertion point.
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About Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Training Guide, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.