Auto-Updating Title Blocks

Other Versions
Xrefs, rtext, or a viewport? There's more than one way to handle title block data. February 25, 2005

We are revising our title block and are looking at different options for simplifying it. I have set it up so that the job name, address, arch ref, revisions, etc are in model space so that it can be entered once, and will show up in the title block in each layout through a viewport. I set it all up this way thinking I would be simplifying it and keep everything in one file, purposely avoiding xrefs. Using xrefs for title block information makes sense to me, and could work well, but I am not confident that our draftspersons would be able to understand and use it properly. Believe me, I have my reasons for this. I would like to hear from anyone that is using xrefs for title block info. How is it working for you? I am aware of some of the advantages and disadvantages, but would like to hear some other opinions.

Forum Responses
From contributor R:
If you are using paper space for printing, which I will assume you are, the first thing to do is make a drawing for the title block. Make sure that you have the exact size that your printer will be able to print (i.e. 8-1/2" x 11" will print for a Minolta Pagepro 8.10 x 10.59). Make a box from the 0,0 origin and go around 8-1/2" x 11". Then offset that with print area that your printer can do. Set up your area for titleblock info (customer name, etc). Then assign the attribute to that. Then save it. When you want to use it... go to paper space, then insert the titleblock.

From contributor A:
I am always trying to revise stuff like that to make the flow go quicker. Right now, we have a titleblock drawing with attributes that are in PS and at the start of a job, titleblock info is filled out once. Then a custom button creates a new layout and automatically updates the shop drawing number using a lisp routine and rtext. Works really slick.

I'm thinking about setting up a job folder on the network with a spreadsheet in it that will be filled out with all titleblock info (by me), except "drawn by" and that kind of stuff. The idea is to take rtext a step further, where job info is filled out automatically from a spread sheet using rtext and a drawing index is created at the same time for OLE insertion into a cover sheet. That way the draftsman isn't required to worry about any of that stuff and I don't have to worry (too much) about them spelling the client's name wrong! All the draftsman has to worry about is following proper company filenaming conventions. (I know - that may be asking too much.)

Anyone who has suggestions on this idea, feel free to respond. I'm still in the thought stages.

You should take a look at rtext. Very cool stuff. You could manage the info and they don't have to xref anything.

From the original questioner:

We have had our title block set up similar to that in the past (by blocks). I am trying to set it up so that the common information only has to be entered in one place. For example, what if you donít have all the info when you start the drawing, and want to enter it later, or you find an error in the info? If you have blocks in each layout, you have to edit each one. With an xref, or the viewport like I explained, you only have to enter or change the info in one place. I am thinking that having a reference file such as xref or Excel may have some problems since it has to be kept where the drawing file knows where it is at all times. I used rtext for plotstamping in version 2000. It does work well. I saw something about the updated shop drawing numbers with lisp and rtext in a previous post. I then used that info to set up my page numbers to reference the layout name. Maybe there are some other possibilities for it in what I am trying to do. I am sure there are many different ways people are setting it up. Interesting to hear how others are doing it.

From contributor D:
If you use a block that's empty except for the basic fields and add or change the info later, it will change on all the layouts.

From the original questioner:
I cannot get them all to change. What's up with that? I think I know what you mean, but not sure exactly how.

From contributor M:
I'm using block with attributes at 0,0,0 location. It's easy to insert block with page number, date, scale, etc. as verify attribute. Later, you can always edit attributes inside block if you need to change anything.

From the original questioner:
I see that it updates when referencing the original block. It is all coming back to me now.

From contributor J:
Contributor A's way is the best one I've heard so far. Everything is more or less automatic. The only thing I'd like to see added would be automatic updating of elev numbers and section, details. Now that would be trick! One of you lispers drop what you're doing and get cracking. I've been looking for a while and haven't found a routine yet. Man, what a time saver that would be.

From contributor A:
Boy, now they're gonna start charging us for that stuff!

Some add-on apps actually do automate sections/details, but there would probably be a price to pay if you start adding sections, or moving stuff around to different layouts. However, it would be nice.

For now, I use elevation and section mark blocks (with attributes) in paper space with an underlaying wipeout. Very helpful. That way, you can plop a mark over your elevation or whatever, and still read the text, without trashing any of your drawing behind. When I started, we used these in MS, not blocks, and had to edit dtext (crappy!). To read text, you had to trim stuff out and then do a lot of repair work if you moved 'em. With the wipeout, there's no destruction to your elevation in model space. Sorry if that's remedial for some of you.

From contributor J:
I've got some routines that provide me with Elev, Sect, Detail symbols and allow me to give text at the same time as I insert them, either scaled (MS) or full size (PS). I can also edit them with the ddedit command to update (or the find and replace command). The routines work very well for initial insertion, it's just when I have to add a new sheet I have to go back and adjust all the numbers to reflect the additional sheet number, a real pain. Actually, what I really want is a program where I hold the architect's drawing up to the monitor and money comes out of that cup holder thingy on the computer...

From contributor A:
I tried a beta of that program and it spilled my coffee. I feel your pain.

From contributor J:
What release of ACAD are you running?

From contributor A:
a2k4 on nt5 box.