Block Attribute Tips – Part 1

Here are a few quick tips on dealing with block attributes.

Tweaking the prompt.
There may be situations where you don’t want to be prompted for attribute data when you insert a block, especially if you just want to accept the default value. Use the system variable ATTREQ to turn off prompting (1 = on and 0 = off). It’s a good idea to turn it back on when you’re finished though, to avoid confusion later when you expect prompting.
Another way to control how you’re prompted for attributes when inserting a block is with ATTDIA. Set it to 1 for a DIALOG BOX prompt, or leave it at the default value of 0 for COMMAND LINE prompting. Sometimes dialog boxes are a better way to go, especially with a lot of attributes in one block, such as a title block, while the command line can be a lot faster.
Changing the order of the attribute prompts.
We old timers know that the order in which you select attributes when you first create a block determines the order that you are prompted for them when you insert the block. We learned this because in older versions of AutoCAD changing the prompt order was a real headache.
Now, it’s easy – BATTMAN to the rescue. The Block Attribute Manager is a dialog box that allows you to easily change the order of the prompts; as well as edit the tags, prompts and default values and even make basic changes to the text formatting.   You can also use it to change the mode of an attribute, such as making it invisible.
BATTMAN differs from the attribute editor in that the changes made are global, affecting every existing reference to the block in that drawing, as well as to the block itself.
Don’t explode a block with attributes, use BURST instead.
Is someone in your office a little too quick to light that stick of dynamite and EXPLODE things, especially blocks? If there are attributes associated with a block, exploding it will irretrievably lose that data, and they’ll be left with the generic “tags”.
Teach them to use BURST instead. Like explode, burst will reduce the block to its basic components, but instead of displaying the attribute definitions, it will display their VALUES. The burst command has no options, simply type BURST at the command line and then pick a block – BLAMO, it’s bursted!
Better yet, teach them to leave the block alone. There’s a reason that data is stored in the attribute.  If they’re trying to use it to make a new block, they should learn to always COPY it first, and work on the copy.

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