How to Create and Use AutoCAD Blocks

This guide will walk you through how to create, edit and use AutoCAD Blocks. Blocks are essential tools for speeding up your workflow by efficiently reusing and managing recurring elements in your designs. Learn the fundamental commands and techniques to improve productivity while maintaining consistency and accuracy across your drawings.

amnc • Updated July, 2024

What are AutoCAD Blocks?

AutoCAD blocks are single, self-contained entities that can be inserted into a drawing multiple time. It is created by grouping together one or more objects and defining it as a block with a unique name. When you make changes to the block attributes, all instances of that block in the drawing are automatically updated.            

What is the difference between a block and a group?

A group is a temporary collection of objects that are grouped together for ease of selection and manipulation. Unlike a block, a group does not have a unique identity or name. Modifications made to a group do not affect other instances of the same group or individual objects outside the group.   

Why are AutoCAD blocks so useful?

Blocks are useful for repetitive elements and help maintain consistency across drawings. They can be customized, shared with others, and optimize file sizes, making them a fundamental tool for efficient and standardized design workflows.

GIF illustrating the utility of AutoCAD blocks. It shows a columns grid and demonstrates how editing one block automatically updates all instances in the drawing, saving time by eliminating the need to update each one individually
GIF illustrating the utility of an AutoCAD blocks furniture library. It demonstrates how to quickly furnish an apartment floor plan using ready-to-use AutoCAD blocks.

Creating your own AutoCAD furniture blocks allows you to quickly incorporate elements into your digital designs and blueprints. Explore some options, at our CAD Furniture Shop which offers a wide selection of ready-made blocks. These blocks are crafted with precise dimensions, scale, and details, facilitating easier visualization of how the furniture will fit and look in a given space.

Create and edit Blocks

How to create AutoCAD Blocks

To create a new CAD block, first draw the objects or elements you want to include. Then select Create Block from the context menu, in the top-left corner of the AutoCAD window (as shown in the image below). You can also use the Block command, type “B” or “BLOCK” then press enter to activate and the Block Creation dialog box will appear.

Screenshot of the upper left corner of the AutoCAD window showingwhere the 'Create Block' button is.

Set the Block Parameters

When the dialog box appears, you can define fundamental properties such as the block name, object selection, base point, behavior, units, and more. Here’s how you can do it:

Screenshot of the Block Parameter AutoCAD window showing options to edit the block's name, base point, behavior, units, scale, and other settings.

Block Name: Enter a unique name for your block.
Base Point: Specify the base point for the block. This point acts as the insertion point when you later place the block in your drawing.
Behavior: Decide how you want your block to behave, either as a “Block” or “Xref.” For most cases, choose “Block.”
Other Options: Explore additional options such as allowing the block to be exploded or retaining the original objects after creating the block.
Define Block Units and Scale: Set the units and scale for your block.
Specify Block Visibility and Layer Settings: Determine the block’s visibility and layer settings. You can choose to preserve the original layers or assign specific layers for the block entities.
Save the Block: Click on the “OK” to save your block.

How to edit AutoCAD Blocks

To edit AutoCAD blocks, use the “Edit Block In-Place” command or access the block editor. Type “REFEDIT”, select the block to modify directly in your drawing. Alternatively, right-click on the block and chose the block Editor. Make changes to its geometry, attributes, or properties, then save and exit the Block Editor to apply your modifications.

Edit Block In-Place:

1. To edit a block, firs select the block you want to edit then Right-click and choose “Edit Block In-Place” from the context menu. You can also use the command “REFEDIT” and press enter.

2. Once you enter the block editing mode, you can modify the block’s geometry and properties directly in your drawing without opening the Block Editor window.

3. You can add or remove objects to the set. To do so, select “add working set” or “remove form working set” form the context menu, in the top-right corner of the AutoCAD window. You can also use the command “REFSET” to add or remove the objects.  

4. To Exit Block Editing Mode, select the “save changes” or “discard changes” at the top-right corner of the AutoCAD window. You can also use the command “REFCLOSE”, press enter, then type “S” for save or “D” for discard changes and press enter to finish. 

Using the Block Editor:

1. Select the block you want to edit then Right-click and choose “Block Editor” from the context menu. You can also use the command “BEDIT” and press enter.

2. To close the block editor, click on the button in the top-right corner of the AutoCAD window or use the command “BCLOSE” and press enter.

How to rename an AutoCAD Block

To change the name of an existing block, use the command “RENAME” and press enter. A dialog box will appear, displaying the current name of the block. Select the existing name of the block and then enter the new desired name. Click OK to save the changes and exit the Rename dialog box. The image below illustrates the process.   

Screenshot of the rename dialog box in AutoCAD, demonstrating how to change the name of a block.

Change the order of an object when overlapping

Sometimes, you may have multiple blocks or elements overlapping, making it difficult to see or select the correct ones. You can easily change the order of visualization by using the DRAWORDER command.

Send an object back or front:     

To do so, type “DR” or “DRAWORDER” and press enter. Select the object, press enter, then type “F” or “FRONT” to send the object at the front ortype “B” or “back” to send the object at the back.

Insert Blocks from a Library       

To insert blocks from an existing library, start by using the command “INSERT” and press Enter. Next, locate your library DWG file, select it, and then choose the block you want to insert from the list. Specify the insertion point, scale, and rotation for the block, and confirm the insertion.

Insert and Redefine blocks using the Design Center     

The AutoCAD Design Center is a valuable tool that simplifies the process of managing, inserting, and updating blocks across multiple drawings. Let me walk you through the steps on how to insert a block from one file into another, and how to update a block to incorporate changes made in the source file. Follow the steps below:

1. With both of the files open, activate the design center by pressing Ctrl+2 shortcut or typing “ADCENTER” in the command line. On the left panel, select the file where the block is modified and then select the option “Blocks”.

2. In the right panel of the Design Center, you’ll see a list of blocks from the file you selected. Now, select the block you want to insert or update. Then, right-click on the block and select your preferred option.

▪ To update the current block with changes made in another file, select the “redefine” option. 

▪ But if you want to only insert it, select the “Insert block” option. You can also drag it and drop it from the Design Center into your current drawing. 

If you already have a block using the same name, AutoCAD will prompt you with a message stating that the block already exists and asking if you want to redefine it.

When you click “Yes” AutoCAD will automatically redefine the block reflecting the modifications made in the original file.

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