Understanding the Blocks Palette

Understanding the Blocks Palette

Blocks can be inserted into a drawing with the Blocks Palette, the Tool Palettes window, or Design Center, depending on which of these tools best suits the user's needs. This article focuses on the Blocks Palette.

To access the Blocks Palette, enter the BLOCKSPALETTE command, or select Insert at the top of the window > select Block….

Fig. 01 – Block…

Control Options

At the top of the Blocks Palette, the following display and access control options are available:

Fig. 02 – Control Options
  1. Filter – The filter option uses wildcard characters to filter the available blocks. Valid wildcard characters are (?) for a single character and (*) for multiple characters. For example, (3??B*) displays blocks named "30xB123" and "3x8BC." The drop-down list shows previously used wildcard strings.
  2. Insert DWG as Block  – The Insert DWG as Block option displays a file explorer interface for selecting a drawing file to insert into the current drawing as a block.
  3. The name of an external file inserted as a block includes an asterisk (*) in the Blocks Palette.
  4. List Style or Icon (Display Options) – Displays several options to list or preview the available blocks.

  5. Fig. 03 – Display Options

Insertion Options

Fig. 04 – Insertion Options

  1. Insertion Point – This specifies the insertion point for the Block. While checked, the insertion point is specified when inserting the Block, using either the pointing device or by entering coordinates manually. While cleared, the coordinates specified previously are used.
  2. Scale – Specifies the scale for the inserted Block. While checked, the scale factors in the X, Y, and Z directions must be specified. Entering a negative value for the X, Y, and Z scale factors inserts the Block as a mirror image around that axis. While cleared, previously specified scales are used.
    1. Uniform Scale – Specifies a single scale value for the X, Y, and Z coordinates.
  3. Rotation and Angle – Specifies the rotation angle for the inserted Block in the current UCS. When checked, you specify the Block's rotation angle using the pointing device or entering an angle. When cleared, the previously established angle is inserted once.
  4. Repeat Placement – Controls whether the block insertion automatically repeats. When checked, the user is prompted automatically for additional insertion points until Esc is pressed to cancel the command. While cleared, the Block you specified is inserted once.
  5. Explode – Controls whether the Block is automatically exploded into its component objects while inserted. The Block's preview at the cursor is suppressed as an indication that the Block is exploded on insertion.
  6. While checked, the component objects in the Block are disassociated and revert to their original properties. Objects using the BYBLOCK color are white. Objects with BYBLOCK line type use CONTINUOUS line type.

    While cleared, the specified Block is inserted without being exploded.
    This option can be specified with a uniform scale factor only. If necessary, to explode a non-uniformly scaled block, it can be done using the EXPLODE command.

Blocks Palette Tabs

The Blocks Palette is composed of three tabs:
  1. Current Drawing
  2. Recent
  3. Other Drawing

  4. Fig. 05 – Blocks Palette Tabs 

Current Drawing

The Current Drawing tab displays previews or a list of block definitions available in the current drawing.

A lightning bolt icon  in the block preview signifies that the Block is dynamic. This icon  indicates that the Block is annotative.

A block can be inserted from the Blocks Palette in one of three ways:
  1. Right-clicking on one of these blocks allows the selected Block to be inserted in the drawing or inserted in the drawing with the explode factor.

  2. Fig. 06 – "Insert" or "Insert and Explode"

  3. The Blocks can also be manually dragged and dropped into the drawing.

  4. Fig. 07 – Dragging Block to Drawing

  5. Left-click the Block, and select the point in the drawing for it to be placed.
    Fig. 08 – Left-Click and Click the Drawing Palette where the Block is to be Placed

Hovering over a block reveals a pop-up that features information regarding the Block, including the Block Name, whether or not it's Annotative, and whether or not it's Dynamic.  

Fig. 09 – Block Information


The Recent tab displays previews or a list of block definitions recently inserted or created in the current and previous sessions. These blocks can come from the present and other recent drawings.

Right-clicking on one of these blocks allows for the following options:

Fig. 10 – Recent Tab Context Menu

Hovering over the Block reveals the following information:

Fig. 11 – Block Information

Other Drawing

The Other Drawing tab displays a list of block definitions from another .dwg or room selected by the user.

Right-clicking on one of these blocks allows for the following options:

Fig. 12 – Other Drawing Tab Context Menu

Hovering over the Block reveals the following information:

Fig. 13 – Block Information

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