Monday, September 12, 2005

Creating Custom Object Tags in ADT 2006

In addition to creating your own schedules and property set definitions, you also have the tools at your disposal to create your own object tags to go with them. The process for doing this has been greatly simplified in AutodeskArchitectural Destkop 2006 and Autodesk Building Systems 2006:

1) Create your property set definition and schedule. Make sure they are saved in a central library drawing so that the schedule can be created easily from a palette-based catalog. Because of the nature of the functionality of the new schedule tags, I recommend that you store the property set and the schedules in the same drawing. I usually have a single file that I use to store all custom schedules and property sets.

2) In the schedule/property set library drawing, create the graphics that will define your tag. Do NOT define blocks or block attributes! Simply draw the tag graphics and use MTEXT (not DTEXT) for any labels or text that you want in the tag. Make sure that you keep in mind the annotation scale factor in the drawing setup dialog box when sizing your tag objects.

3) Use the “Define Schedule Tag” tool from the “Format” pull-down menu:
a. Select “Define Schedule Tag” from the “Format” pull-down menu.
b. Select all of the objects (graphics and text) that will make up your tag.
c. In the dialog box, provide a name for your new tag. Each text object that you selected will be shown in the column on the left. For each text object, indicate in the next column to the right whether it will be a text element (not linked to a property) or a Property label. In the next column to the right, indicate which property set each property label will link to, and finally in the far right column indicate which specific properties each label will reflect.
d. After selecting “OK” in the dialog box, you will need to specify the insertion point for the tag. At this point, the command will do several things that used to have to be done manually (in other words, you don’t have to do this):
*It will create a block, turning the text that you specified into block attributes with the correct formatting that is needed to ensure that they are linked properly to the properties that you specified.
*It will create an MV Block out of the block definition.
*It will attach some kind of voo-doo that will instruct the MV Block to act as a schedule tag when used from the tool palette.

4) Drag the tag to an editable tool palette (as you would any other AutoCAD object from which you would want to make a tool).

5) Modify the properties of the new tool by right-clicking on it and selecting “Properties”. Most likely the only thing you will need to do is specify the layer key to use when the tool is created.

6) Test the tag in a brand new drawing to ensure that it is finding property sets correctly.

7) Copy the tool from the palette to your custom tool catalog.

I will be demonstrating this technique during my tutorial this year at Autodesk University "Schedule Anything in Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems". I'm sure there's still room in the class!


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