Creating and Using a Master Materials List

Here's how to maintain a master materials list in AutoCad. May 16, 2005

Currently when making a materials list, I type the text, copy it onto each layout, and take out whatever materials arenít needed. But when a material changes, I have to go through all of the layouts and change them individually. Does anyone know of a way to create a master materials list that can be inserted onto a number of layouts, and even edited (just taking some materials out of the list, not adding to or changing the text)? Then, when a material changes, you can make the change to the master and all others are automatically updated? I believe there is a way with attributes, but have yet to find it. One concern is that if you take out a material, there may be a gap between the one listed before it and the one after.

Forum Responses
(CAD Forum)
From contributor J:
Iím sure there are other methods, but here are a couple of things to try.
Open notepad and create your master list of general notes or materials list.
Save them where you can easily find them.
Now in AutoCAD, use the MTEXT command and when the text editor comes up, right click inside the text area and select IMPORT TEXT. Navigate to the text file you saved and select it.
Complete the MTEXT procedure.
Next use the block command to turn the text into a block, name it MYTEXT or something.
Now you can use the insert command to put it into any layout tab.

Okay, let's change something on the list.

Use the AutoCAD command refedit.
Select the block of text and a box will pop up showing you the block.
Click the OK button and a refedit box will appear.
Click on the text block and it will bring up the MTEXT editor.
Make your changes in the text editor.
On the refedit box the last icon is ďSave back changes to ref.Ē Click this.
Now all of the MYTEXT blocks will be updated through out the drawing.

Note: clicking the red X on the refedit dialog box does not cancel the command; it just hides the dialog box. To get it back, type refedit again. To close out of refedit without saving any changes, click the next to last icon on the refedit box to discard any changes.

Another method is to put the text in model space and use viewports in paper space to display the text in each layout. So all you have to do is change the text in model space.

I prefer the first method. But in any case it's a good idea to look at all layouts after the change to make sure the changes you made are not interfering with anything else. Example: you make a change and the text line you added is longer than the rest. If the original text was close to another object or other text, it might lap over after the change. This all depends on how packed your drawing is and where your text is located.

From contributor E:
Another way is to use the "find and replace" command. It has some limitations, but works fine for most applications.

From the original questioner:
That's great, but I pick and choose certain materials from the original list to be seen on each layout. The original has all of the materials, but I only place some of them onto the layouts. You did help - I wasn't aware of the find and replace command. I think it was the key, because I have certain materials listed several times throughout the drawing, so instead of having to copy and paste any changes into each one, I could just find and replace it. It will also be helpful to still be able to adjust the width or height of my m-text box, which isn't an option with blocks or attributes.

From contributor K:
You could make your materials list in a separate drawing and xref it into the drawings you want. Then when you update the list, it will automatically update all the other drawings.