Monday, June 30, 2008

Groups - You Gotta Keep 'em Seperated

Do you ever need to move or edit objects together but still have the need to edit those same objects individually? AutoCAD can do that with GROUPS.

Groups are different from blocks. With blocks, you can manipulate the block as a whole, and that’s it. If you need to edit a part of the block, you have go into the block editor (more or less) and make your changes. This will change every instance of the block in your file.

With Groups, you can edit the object but it won’t change other instances of that group. And you can’t share groups from file to file.

One example of where you might want to use the group command is in details. If you have a sheet file that has several details on it, you might need to be able to edit each detail, but you also want to move them around, scale them, etc. Drawing notes and labels can also be used in groups. Perhaps you have a title that is a different font or height. You can change this in the MTEXT editor, but you want to keep the integrity of the text properties in tact. So you create on instance of MTEXT for the note title (bold and underlined) while you create a second Mtext instance underneath it that has standard text properties in it. You want them to stay together but you need to edit them individually. Groups work well here.

Making groups is rather easy. Start the group command (type in GROUP).

Fill out the GROUP NAME field (to name your group) and enter a description. If you don’t enter a description you can always fill this out later. Then hit the NEW button. Select the items you want to group and hit enter. You’re done. You now have a group.

So, what can you do with a group? I can GRIP edit the items individually, or I can move/copy/scale the group as a whole. Double clicking the text in a group won’t invoke the text editor. You have to start the text editor command then select your text to change it.

Now what else can I do with a group? Open the GROUP Manager (type in GROUP). You will get a list of every group in the file. Pick one, and then hit the HIGHLIGHT button. That group will be highlighted in your file making it easier to find. A ZOOM TO feature would be nice. You can remove the selectable feature from a group, if you want to (do this to be able to delete a specific item). That will remove your ability to copy/rotate/scale/move the group as a whole. You can put it back later if you want to.

With the Group Manager, you can add or remove items from a group. Click the proper button and then select the items to add/remove to/from the group. You can reorder the order in which the groups appear in the manager, you can explode a group, rename it or edit the description.

Try out the group command. It’s a way of managing the objects in your files that is a little less permanent and easier to edit than a block.

This tip idea came from a CAD-a-Blog reader, Sony Khatri. If any one else has a tip idea please let me know. I will be happy to take a look at it. I will always give credit and a link to your website if you want me too.

Happy CADDING!
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