July 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm #168526
Insert block, for your symbols, saves you from having to copy, paste and scale the block from another drawing. It scales the block automatically for the “cell” size. If you change cell size, the block changes with it. Also, if you decide to change symbols, all you do is click on the cell, select another symbol and you’re done. No copy, paste, scale. If you modify your block, it updates automatically. Another advantage is, if you need to insert a row above or below, you don’t need to move the symbol afterward. The inserted block moves with the row that it is on because it is part of the row, not a separate entity. And lastly, it is just the “proper” way to do things.
Hope that helps save you a few steps… Saving steps is what the AutoCAD game is all about, in my opinion… The more the tool does, the less I have to do (power saw vs hand saw) which frees me up to do other things, which makes me more profitable.July 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm #168525
Great, Thomas. I’m working on my table right now and this is perfect. I was wondering how to do that without moving the symbols up and down.
I assume the cell is formatted for a block?July 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm #168524
I don’t have CAD open but if memory serves… select a cell by left clicking it, then right click it. Drop down menu appears. Select insert block. A dialogue box opens. Browse to select the block you want to use. Check the box that says “scale block to fit” or something close to that. The block will automatically fit the cell. If you later change the size of the cell, the block will change accordingly…July 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm #168523
Yep, or just use the ribbon–did I ever mention I like the ribbon. Choose the cell, in the ribbon you’ll see an insert menu and click “block”. The insert block dialogue box opens. The fit options in 2010 are auto-fit or you can specify a scale value. So, if you want to keep the symbols the same size–to fit into the cell, use auto-fit. Or if you want symbols bigger–I think I’ll want my tree symbols bigger, select the scale value and the cell will resize. I love it!!
Pretty cool. Now I need to figure out how to get this table into my tool palette without making it a block (which I’d need to explode when I drop it in a model). Do I need to make it into a block? I’m checking this out now.
The alternative is to put it in my template dwg–in the model. But I’d like to have it my palettes.July 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm #168522
By the way, it won’t make your cell smaller if you make the symbol smaller. Just seems to enlarge the cell.July 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm #168521
Yeah, AutoCAD 2010 pretty much rocks! I’m trying to learn Vector Works right now and I think I’m just going to stick with AutoCAD. Vector Workds makes everything 3Xs as hard as it needs to be.
I’ve owned a MAC before and I just don’t see the advantage, other than it having pretty icons. It costs twice as much as a PC, isn’t compatible with 90% of the world, every program/function is named something other than what it does because whoever created the App was “creative” and you need to be a finger contortionist in order to use command keys. It all seems like a bunch of highfalutin non-sense if you ask me. I just want it to work. I don’t want to have to spend an hour trying to figure out how to draw a line… OK, rant over…July 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm #168520
Pasting and editing a linework and text table is no different than pasting and editing an acad table if it is already in existence. There is no waste of time over the alternative in either case.
It is much like using the set up programs like Vectorworks or Landcadd in that you can jump through the hoops while being directed by the program up front or you can choose alternate ways to draw the same thing using raw commands. I have always found it easier to edit linework and text on their own rather than within an entity. A quick example on editing a table vs. linework is that it is very fast to change lineweights on a portion of a linework table simply changing the color property or breaking the line and changing the color property. I don’t do that so much with plant schedules, but I frequently do that with lot coverage tables, parking calc’s, etc, … Changing fonts for certain cells by matching properties is very fast by adjusting properties of those that you want to change all at the same time. I believe you needto do it by single rows or columns if not cell by cell if you use a table – again, you don’t necessarilly do this all of the time, but it simplifies when you do. The notion that one is inherently faster over the other is not necessarily true.
Again, one of the great things about Autocad is that there are so many ways of doing things efficiently and because of that different people all find their ways that work best for them. Sharing them is only to leave people with a chance to see how others approach it and not to say a particular way is the right way. I do use tables, but not for plant schedules because it adds steps and or complications that I find unnecessary for this purpose.July 28, 2010 at 1:04 am #168519
There really are many ways to do things in AutoCad. I’ve gotten so many ideas from all of you, thanks to everyone who responded. I’ve created my schedule using a table in AC. I won’t be using a separate spreadsheet for now. I also won’t be using symbols with attributes because I still use so many that aren’t assigned to certain plants species or cultivar–I may change this later.
First I created a table style. Then I set the style current. Then set up my table. I put it on it’s own layer.
I tried setting up my table in a reference file hoping to put it on a tool palette–so I could drag the filled in table into a model. Sadly, I found out I can only put the blank table in the palette. Unless I make it a block I can’t drag it in through design center either–if I made it a block I think I could put it on the tool palette. I might try that later. So for now I’ve put it on my template dwg, in model, not paper space. I’ll use a separate viewport to show it in layouts.
My initial table is minimal with only a couple of data rows. It’s super easy to add rows into tables and it uses the properties of the selected row. I’ll add more rows as I add plants. It will be easy to remove rows when I have fewer plants than shown on my template.
By the way, I can’t see any need to xref my tables, each is going to be specific to each plan and viewports let me do all I need to move them around in paper space.
I really like putting in plant symbols so I’m doing what Thomas said and inserting the blocks into the cells. This will make it easier to add and delete rows without moving the plant symbols. I do like the idea of putting in the symbols at full size, but it really makes the table big for trees. So I think I’ll do trees at a 0.5 scale value, large shrubs at 0.75 and others at full size. My line weights are set so some won’t look so great, I hope it works.
I took Andrew’s method of putting both names in one cell of the table,common on top and botanical below. This also gives more vertical room in the row for the plant symbol. This produced my one disappointment with the table–it doesn’t do multiline text–just like Andrew said. So you have to play around to get them in there. I’ve set it to middle center to best fit the text. I really wanted it to the left of the cell, but it didn’t work so well. Another problem with left justify was that the text butted right up to the cell line–yuck! I tried fixing this with the margin setting. If I made the cell borders invisible, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Anyone know how to fix this?
I do hope this helps some other people as well.July 28, 2010 at 1:07 am #168518
Andrew, I colored some of my symbols using a gradient fill. I put it on a separate layer to turn on when I want the color. I was pleased to see I can put them on my palette and still get the off layer into the dwg. With the layer on, the color doesn’t go to the back on the palettes–it shows up in dwg as saved, but not on the palette–weird.
But…the colors are totally opaque. I sent them to the back on individual blocks, but they’ll block out other things in the dwg. Are there any transparent colors available? i wanted to create some shadows–they’d be colored fills too as I’m only working in 2D, but I want to be able to see through them too. I’m not used to using color in AC. Any more ideas?
Anyone know how to do make gradient fills (is that the same as solid fills) transparent? Do I need to start another discussion for that?July 28, 2010 at 3:40 am #168517
As far as the issue with text, I’m not sure. It sound like you are going about it correctly with having the text left justified and adjusting the margin. I would set up one cell the way you want it, even just typing gibberish, then copy and paste that into the other cells. Now each cell is formatted the way you want it and you just need to highlight the gibberish and type what you want. Presto. Now you have a master table and never have to set it up again.
With regard to tree shadows that you can see through, I like to use a line hatch, set to 45*. Create a circle, hatch it. Create another circle, cover 2/3 of the hatch and trim the 2/3 of the hatch leaving a 1/3 crescent of diagonal lines. You can adjust the scale of the hatch until it reaches the desired shadow/ transparency effect for a given scale. A stipple hatch also works nicely for shadows. Play around with it and develop your own look/style…
Hope that helps…
Andrew G said – “Pasting and editing a linework and text table is no different than pasting and editing an acad table if it is already in existence. There is no waste of time over the alternative in either case.”
I politely disagree. If you edit mtext in a table you “drew”, it’s a pain to adjust the lines so it looks right. I.E. You add text that exceeds the size of the box. Now you have to adjust your lines to match. Tables do this automatically, no need to adjust cell size. Also, if you draw your table and use mtext you need to adjust your mtext “frame/box” if your cell size changes. Again, not an issue with Tables. If you draw a table and use mtext and wan to delete a row you have to select the text, delete it, select the lines, trim them (hoping you didn’t accidentally select lines you didn’t want) Then “grab” the entire disconnected portion of table and move it to reconnect with the other half. What a pain. Do this enough times and your table becomes composed of a bunch of short individual lines and it’s a real hassle to edit. Do you really want to drag this slop from drawing to drawing, getting progressively worse with time? In tables you select the row or column and hit delete. Done. Want another row or column and hit “insert row/column”. No selecting, trimming, moving. Nada. There is no way that you can convince me that drawing tables and using m-text is as efficient or “neat” as using a table. It just isn’t…July 28, 2010 at 11:49 am #168516
Like Lynn, I have a template on my tool tablet that is well set up. I don’t use mtext in the plant schedule because dtext is easier to edit without having to highlight for an over-write. My template size and layout has evolved over a very long time, so there is not often a need to change “cell size”, but simple edits are simple edits whether they are in a table or not. They just don’t take a lot of time either way. I’m not saying you are wrong in what you are doing. I’m just saying that there is no significant time saver and a few potential extra steps should you want to do certain things. It is all a trade off based upon how you like to edit, how you ike to display various things, …. basically it comes down to personal preference and to what extent you set up your template and how closely you want or need to hold to that template layout.
Neither I nor you are spending much time at all editing plant schedules, so it is rather doubtful that either of us should be fired for wasting time. Being in the position to have the potential to waste an employer’s time is a circumstance that I’ll embrace at this time. There are a lot more important reasons for retaininng or dismissing employees than how much time he is saving on a quick edit. I’d be more worried about having my employer letting me go if I communicated with clients, co-workers, or colleagues in an abrasive or undiplomatic way. That is why I participate on messageboards – it usually gets me not only feedback on how well I’m communicating ideas, but how I am perceived by the way I write them. We all need to pay attention to the perception we leave in writing whether or not the perception is correct.July 29, 2010 at 6:39 am #168515
We can agree to disagree.
I’m thinking in terms of a large organization. Many people wasting little bits of time equates to a lot of wasted time. It also equals a lot of people doing the same thing, differently, which again, is ineffective. Did Henry Ford hand one guy a pair of pliers, another a box wrench, the third a crescent wrench and the fourth a socket wrench. No, they all used the same tools. Did they vote on it? No, he told them what to use. Establish a standard and stick with it, until something better comes along, then change.
Next you’re going to tell me that it’s just as efficient to not use sheet sets or drawing templates. Hell, lets throw out naming standards all together and just have files floating around where ever we feel like it. That way we can open and print individual files, out of order, and then collate them by hand. That makes sense… because “you’re not interested in technology”… “it’s not really your thing…” – said my P.M. I’m sorry, I thought you were the one that is supposed to monitor work flow. How can you be effective at your job if you’re not familiar with the technology available to you? (This last paragraph is not directly related to you… or is it?)
Perhaps I can be a bit abrasive or undiplomatic, on occasion. Diplomacy results in decisions based on compromise which appeals to the lowest common denominator. The majority don’t like change. They don’t like to modify the way they do things because it is uncomfortable, even though it may be a better way, they resist change. Like you, they are not interested in what is best for the employer (the organization, the whole), they are only interested in what THEY, the individual, wants to do and how it affects THEM.
When you tell them there is a better way, they get bent out of shape. Especially if they have a MLA from a prestigious school and think they know everything. Then, like you, they accuse you of being abrasive and undiplomatic, (maybe I was a little grouchy from being up all night fixing your xrefs) toss you under the bus and continue working in the same ineffective way they always have.
Keep it up. Pretty soon you’ll be the old man complaining about how he doesn’t like all the new funny looking buttons in AutoCAD 2010 and how he wished they never changed AutoCAD v12.
Personally, I’d rather have employees that challenge themselves to stay abreast of the latest advancements in technology, use that technology to make my business more profitable and let me know when there are opportunities to save my organization time and money. I guess that makes me abrasive and undiplomatic.
Well, let me tell you, there is a reason China has boomed while the U.S. is dragging it’s feet. Someone in China says, “build it” and it gets built. In the U.S. we sit around and talk about our feelings and how it effects us personally. We get bogged down in bureaucracy and by the time anything gets done, it’s watered down crap and nobody’s happy with the end result. Then we form a committee to address the new condition and it starts over…
Yeah, I’m old school. I don’t like the new school. I think it’s weak. You can have it…July 29, 2010 at 11:03 am #168514
You get all that from the fact that I find it easier to slap in a plant schedule using dtext and linework than using a table to display the same thing?July 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm #168513
No, I got all that from your statement” Being in the position to have the potential to waste an employer’s time is a circumstance that I’ll embrace at this time.” Now is not the time to waste time. We are all expected to do more with less. To produce more with fewer co-workers. Now is the time to refine processes and to tune up “the machine” so that when things turn around, processes are in place that new employees adhere to. Then the machine is bigger AND runs smoother. Get it?
I also didn’t care for; “I’d be more worried about having my employer letting me go if I communicated with clients, co-workers, or colleagues in an abrasive or undiplomatic way… We all need to pay attention to the perception we leave in writing whether or not the perception is correct.” That bit of wisdom struck a chord. I guess it’s personal. It’s the rhetoric of soft, liberal, panywaists who can’t talk to people directly but would rather talk to their supervisor about what a meany the new guy is that recommended I use tables or avoid having numerous nested x-refs full of redundant information, that makes my drawing maddening to work on as it’s nearly impossible to edit.
Yup, I got all that… What can I say? I’m good at reading people…
Nice picture of Bomarzo by the way, I guess you haven’t bothered to figure out how to format pictures either. It’s just a wee bit pixely on your home page…July 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm #168512Wyatt Thompson, PLAParticipant
Amen. I deal with these sentiments all the time and it drives me crazy. “We’ve never done it that way before” is as much of a productivity killer as it is a cliche.
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