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1 MIN 1 CAD: I Wish I’d Known Attribute Blocks Earlier

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1 MIN 1 CAD: I Wish I’d Known Attribute Blocks Earlier

ZWSchool 2019-09-05 16:56:36
When learning the CAD commands beginning with B, I encountered a foreign concept, attribute blocks. What are they? How are they different from regular blocks? With these questions in mind, I did my homework. This article is to share what I’ve learned. If you happen to be unfamiliar with them, keep on reading!

What is an attribute block?

Simply put, an attribute block is a block with dynamic content that can be easily modified, so that you can create several blocks with different texts conveniently. It is very helpful when you need to make annotations. Commonly used in AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) and mechanical design, they are especially suitable for designing doors and windows as well as customizing roughness symbols, title blocks, BOM, etc. Take the architectural drawing below as an example, the same block can be used for multiple grid labels, with their attributes being different letters and numbers.

Grid Values

By modifying the attributes, you can adjust the display of an attribute block. But how? Continue reading and you’ll see!

How to create attribute blocks?

To create an attribute block is to simply add text attributes to geometric objects and then turn them into a block. After drawing your geometric object, you can define its attributes with the “Define Attributes” dialog box. There are 2 ways to invoke it:
  1. Click Insert→Attribute→Define Attributes in the menu.
  2. Input [ATT] and press Enter.


As you can see, the main parameters of an attribute are name, prompt, and default text. The name is a tag for your attribute block. For example, if an attribute is to represent the height, you can input “height”. The prompt appears in the command line when you insert the attribute block. In this case, you can input “input the height”. The default text is the default value of this attribute. The icon on its right helps you input different fields, for example, a date. After defining these three main parameters, you can just adjust the rest of the parameters, such as its style and visibility (There's another way to do this, remember?) according to your needs. Most often, you can just ignore them and click Define and Exit. Then specify the point where you would like to insert the attribute. With the object and its attributes ready, just select them all and create a block as you normally would. (If you have no idea how to do that, this can help!) Now, an attribute block was born, and you can modify its attributes with ease. In this example, you can easily change one of the height attributes from 0.000 to 3.230. ATTDEF BTW, there can be multiple attributes for one block. For example, both length and width can be the attributes of a rectangle.

What is the difference between text attributes and regular texts?

The biggest difference between them is that the text attributes of blocks are dynamic and can be changed easily to be various. To modify them, just double-click the attribute block, and the Enhanced Attribute Editor dialog box will pop up, allowing you to edit the attributes.

Enhanced Attribute Editor & different dynamic heights

See how the dynamic text attributes in one block differ from each other? That’s how we can tell them from static texts. There will be a different result if you insert a block with regular texts. The heights will all be 0.000 because static texts of a block are like other geometric components. Since they can’t adjust themselves dynamically, you will have to spend more time creating different blocks. That’s what I’ve learned about attribute blocks. Knowing how to use them really improves my drawing efficiency! If you find this article helpful, leave a comment! Try ZWCAD free for 30 days!