Did you think I was done with sheet sets? Not a chance! I’ve just been a little distracted by other activities. I’m sorry about the delay… I know you’re anxious to move on to the really *exciting* topics relating to Fields! Before we get into fields, I’ve decided to squeeze in two more topics (Creating Sheet Views and Adding View Labels) because these are ways you can further increase your efficiency with minimal effort.
In Sheets Happen! Step 11, you learned how to use your existing template file to create a new sheet. Now I’ll describe how you can quickly add content to that new sheet.
If you were creating “sheets” using traditional tools, you might create a drawing using your template and then attach external references of your model, create viewports on the layouts, set the viewport scale, and insert a view label to describe that particular view or detail. The same concepts apply using sheet set functionality, except the process is automated!
Assuming your xref drawings are in a particular folder on your hard drive (or on a network drive), you can add that folder (or folders) as a sheet set property. This will enable you to have easy access to your xref drawings from within the Sheet Set Manager.
- In the Sheet Set Manager, right-click on the sheet set title and choose Properties.
- In the Sheet Set Properties dialog box, select Resource Drawing Locations and choose the button to access the Resource Drawings Location dialog box.
- In the Resource Drawing Locations dialog box, choose Add and navigate to the folders that contain the xrefs (model geometry) that you want easily accessible for this sheet set. You can add as many locations as you want.
- Choose OK to close all of the dialog boxes and accept the changes.
So far all of our work in the Sheet Set Manager has been on the Sheet List tab. However, as you have probably noticed, there are two other tabs: Resource Drawings and View List. The Resource Drawings tab displays a tree view of the resource drawing locations you added in step 3 above and you can add locations directly from the Resource Drawings tab. If you expand the file location node, you can see all the folders and drawings in that location. If you expand a drawing node, you will see the named modelspace views within that drawing. If the drawing does not contain named modelspace views, it will only expand as far as the drawing file itself.
Using the Resource Drawings tab, you can easily add content to your sheets. Rather than going through the manual process of attaching an xref and creating and scaling a modelspace viewport, you simply drag a resource drawing onto your sheet.
- In the Sheet Set Manager, select the Sheet List tab.
- On the Sheet List tab, open a sheet to which you want to add content.
- Select the Resource Drawings tab.
- On the Resource Drawings tab, navigate to the drawing file you want to attach as an xref in your sheet.
- Select a drawing or named modelspace view within the drawing and drag it onto the sheet. You can simply pick a point on the layout and AutoCAD will automatically determine an appropriate scale based on the size of the drawing/view and layout. However, since you probably want the new layout viewport to be at a particular scale, you can specify the scale before you place the viewport on the layout.
- Before you specify the insertion point for the new viewport, right-click and select an appropriate scale from the list.
- Specify the insertion point to place the viewport in the drawing.
So what exactly happened during this process? Nothing magic! AutoCAD did exactly what you do using traditional methods, but it did it in a lot fewer steps! AutoCAD attached the resource drawing file to the sheet drawing as an external reference with an insertion point at 0,0. It created a layout viewport and set the viewport scale. Regardless of whether you select a drawing or named modelspace view from the Resource Drawings tab, AutoCAD attaches the entire drawing. Your selection (the dwg or a particular modelspace view) determines how much of that xref will be displayed in the new layout viewport. If you select a drawing, the new layout viewport displays everything that was visible in modelspace of the xref file. If you select a named modelspace view, the new layout viewport displays everything that was visible in that named view; taking into account the layer visibility as well as the view boundaries. If you are not familiar with named views, I encourage you to learn more about them. Named views were enhanced in AutoCAD 2005 to support sheet set functionality but they are very useful even if you don’t use sheet sets. And, as we look into the future of AutoCAD, named views will become even more valuable!