Define Block Attributes

To create an attribute, you first create an attribute definition, which stores the characteristics of the attribute.

The characteristics include the tag, which is a name that identifies the attribute, the prompt displayed when you insert the block, value information, text formatting, location within the block, and any optional modes (Invisible, Constant, Verify, Preset, Lock Position, and Multiple Lines).

If you plan to extract the attribute information for use in a parts list, you may want to keep a list of the attribute tags you have created. You will need this tag information later when you create the attribute template file.

Choose Attribute Modes

Attribute modes control the behavior of attributes in blocks. For example, you can control

  • Whether an attribute is visible or invisible in the drawing
  • Whether an attribute has a constant value, such as a part number
  • Whether the attribute can be moved relative to the rest of the block
  • Whether the attribute is a single-line attribute or a multiple-line attribute

If an attribute has a constant value, you will not be prompted for its value when you insert the block. If an attribute has a variable value, such as the asset number of a computer, you will be prompted when you insert the block.

Understand Single-Line and Multiple-Line Attributes

There are several differences between single-line and multiple-line attributes.

  • Single-line attributes are limited to 255 characters from the user interface.
  • Multiple-line attributes provide more formatting options than single-line attributes.
  • When editing single-line and multiple line attributes, different editors are displayed.
  • Multiple line attributes display four grips similar to MTEXT objects, while single-line attributes display only one grip.
  • When a drawing is saved to AutoCAD 2007 or earlier, a multiple-line attribute is converted to several single-line attributes, one for every line of text in the original multiple-line attribute. If the drawing file is opened in the current release, these single line attributes are automatically merged back into a multiple-line attribute.
NoteIf a multiple-line attribute makes a round trip to an earlier release, the differences between these two types of attributes might result in truncating very long lines of text and loss of formatting. However, before any characters are truncated, AutoCAD LT displays a message box that lets you cancel the operation.

Correct Mistakes in Block Attribute Definitions

If you make a mistake, you can use the Properties palette or DDEDIT to make limited changes to an attribute definition before it is associated with a block. If you need to make more extensive changes, delete the attribute definition and create a new one.

Attach Attributes to Blocks

After you create one or more attribute definitions, you attach the attributes to a block when you define or redefine that block. When you are prompted to select the objects to include in the block definition, include in the selection set any attributes you want to attach to the block.

To use several attributes together, define them and then include them in the same block. For example, you can define attributes tagged "Type," "Manufacturer," “Model,” and “Cost,” and then include them in a block called CHAIR.

Usually, the order of the attribute prompts is the same as the order in which you selected the attributes when you created the block. However, if you used crossing or window selection to select the attributes, the order of the prompts is the reverse of the order in which you created attributes. You can use the Block Attribute Manager to change the order in which you are prompted for attribute information when you insert the block reference.

When you open a block definition in the Block Editor, you can use the Attribute Order dialog box (BATTORDER command) to change the order in which you are prompted for attribute information when you insert the block reference.

Use Attributes Without Attaching Them to Blocks

Stand-alone attributes can also be created. Once attributes have been defined, and the drawing is saved, this drawing file can be inserted into another drawing. When the drawing is inserted, you are prompted for the attribute values.

Procedures
To create an attribute definition
  1. Click Home tabBlock panelDefine Attributes. At the Command prompt, enter attdef.
  2. In the Attribute Definition dialog box, set the attribute modes and enter tag information, location, and text options.
  3. (Optional) Under Text Settings, Boundary Width, specify a value.
  4. (Optional) Click the Multiline In-Place Text Editor button to use the in-place text editor to format the attribute in the drawing.
  5. Click OK.

    After creating the attribute definition, you can select it as an object while creating a block definition. If the attribute definition is incorporated into a block, whenever you insert the block, you are prompted with the text string you specified for the attribute. Each subsequent instance of the block can have a different value specified for the attribute.

To edit an attribute definition before it is associated with a block
  1. Click Modify menu  Object  Text.
  2. Select the attribute to edit.
  3. In the Edit Attribute Definition dialog box, specify the attribute tag, prompt, and default value. Then click OK.
To change the prompt order of attribute definitions
  1. Click Insert tab Block panel Block Editor. At the Command prompt, enter bedit.
  2. In the Block Editor, select a block attribute.
  3. Right-click in the Block Editor drawing area.
  4. Click Attribute Order.
  5. In the Attribute Order dialog box, select an attribute definition.
  6. Click Move Up or Move Down to change the prompt order of the attribute definitions.
  7. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the attribute definition list is in the desired order.
  8. Click OK.
Commands
ATTDEF

Creates an attribute definition for storing data in a block.

ATTDISP

Controls the visibility overrides for all block attributes in a drawing.

BATTORDER

Specifies the order of attributes for a block.

DDEDIT

Edits single-line text, dimension text, attribute definitions, and feature control frames.

PROPERTIES

Controls properties of existing objects.

System Variables
AFLAGS

Sets options for attributes.

ATTIPE

Controls the which Text Formatting toolbar is used with the in-place editor for modifying multiline attributes.

ATTMULTI

Controls whether multiline attributes can be created.