AutoCAD 101 Series – Blocks – Block Editor

This is the 4th article in my AutoCAD 101 series – to read about the origination for this series, see the first post here: <Intro>

The last post was about how to make blocks <link>, this post will be about using AutoCAD’s block editor. (BE, BEDIT)

BEDIT is useful in numerous ways, especially for long time novice block users or that never learned how to redefine a block.  If you have been around long enough, you have seen doors and toilets that are rotated at the wrong angle or scaled way out of proportion throughout an entire drawing because someone screwed up the block definition. If you have been using AutoCAD for along time and have staid away from editing blocks because of old memories or just go straight to “exploding” (UGH!!!), have no fear BEDIT pretty much makes those issues a thing of the past.

In the how to post, one item mentioned was that when creating a block using the BLOCK command you can check off the Open in Block Editor option when creating the block and it will open in new dedicated session for just the block being created – see Figure 1.


Figure 1

If you are working in a drawing and you see a block that just does not look like what you need, but there are a bunch of them, the easiest thing to do is just edit it’s definition with BEDIT.  Lets say that we want to change the 2×4-Light fixture block to include a solid, angled hatch instead of the single diagonal line through it.  No problem, you can type BEDIT and select the block from the list (if you know the name) or just right-click on the block and select “Block Editor” from the pop-up menu – see figures 2 and 3.


Figure 2


Figure 3

Once you choose BEDIT, your screen will change, and it will vary based on your current configuration, but you should see at least the following three items.

1.     A block editor toolbar OR Block Editor Ribbon (see figure 5)

2.     Your block

3.     A Block editing palette


Figure 4


Figure 5

To add the hatch, just start your hatch command however you normally do, pick a point to the right of the angled line and choose the solid hatch option.  Select Close Block Editor from your Toolbar or Ribbon, select save changes, and see your new block.


Figure 6

Now if you had 100 of these blocks in the drawing, they would all update immediately – beats re-copying around a hundred hatched areas and rotating them for horizontal or angled fixtures…

You can also rotate your block, change its colors, layers, linetypes, etc… so why Explode?!?!

You get a background from a client that has furniture and the furniture is RED, which plots to heavy on your drawings.  Even after changing the furniture layer to GREY, it still shows up as RED.  Dang Architect… They defined the block with color by entity instead of Bylayer.  No problem – open the block in your editor, select everything and set it all to color bylayer. Bam! – all done.

Now the BLOCKEDITOR can do a lot more than just change the look of a block.  In the editor you can:

  • Save the current block as a new block (sweet)
  • Edit or Define attributes
  • Add parameters and actions (Dynamic)
  • Test Dynamic options
  • Start new blocks from scratch

The dynamic options are the most powerful, and we will be getting in to them in a couple weeks.  I will skip this series next week as I will be attending Autodesk University in Vegas.  When I get back  we pick up by looking at some important options when defining blocks to get the best performance out of them.


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