AutoCAD Tutorial

AutoCAD 2004 Customization Tutorial: Handling Blocks in Tool Palettes

By Alireza Parsai, May 27, 2003

Tool Palettes extract block specifications from the various drawing files. Any changes in files locations may cause problems. You can solve this problem in various ways. You may also specify the settings of the block at the time of insertion.

Note: This tutorial is based on the results gained in the following tutorial:
Creating a New Tool Palette

1. Start AutoCAD 2004. Enable Tool Palettes window if necessary.

2. Start a new drawing file if necessary.

3. Enable the Favorite Blocks palette [Figure 1].

Figure 1

4. Click Bed-Queen icon.

5. Click in drawing area to insert the block.

6. Invoke Zoom-extents to fill the screen with the bed drawing.

7. Right-click the Bed-Queen icon on the palette. A shortcut menu appears [Figure 2].

Figure 2

8. Select Properties. The Tool Properties dialog box appears [Figure 3].

Figure 3

9. Alter the scale to 0.25 [Figure 4]. Click OK.

Figure 4

10. Insert Bed-Queen from the palette. The size of the new insertion is 1/4 of the old one [Figure 5].

Figure 5

11. Erase all objects.

12. Insert some blocks in the drawing area using the tool palette (e.g. the blocks shown in Figure 6).

Figure 6 - Click on image to enlarge

13. Save the file as Sample_Library.dwg in C:\ [Figure 7].

Figure 7- Click on image to enlarge

14. Start DesignCenter (e.g. by pressing Ctrl+2).

15. Select Open Drawings tab [Figure 8].

Figure 8 - Click on image to enlarge

16. In the right pane, right-click on Blocks icon. A shortcut menu appears [Figure 9].

Figure 9 - Click on image to enlarge

17. Select Create Tool Palette. A new tool palette called Sample_Library will be created [Figure 10].

Figure 10

18. Close DesignCenter window and then close AutoCAD.

19. Move "Sample_Library.dwg" from "C:\" to "C:\Program Files".

20. Start AutoCAD 2004.

21. In Tool Palettes window, select Sample_Library and then click the Bed-Queen icon. An error message similar to the following one appears:

"Source drawing "C:\Sample_Library.dwg" for block "Bed - Queen" not found."

22. Right-click the icon and then select Properties.

23. In Tool Properties dialog box click in the Source file box.

24. Click the browse button to the right of the box.

25. In the Select Linked Drawing dialog box locate Sample_Library.dwg [Figure 11].

Figure 11 - Click on image to enlarge

26. Click Open.

27. Click OK. Now the block can be inserted.

To resolve the problem for the other blocks you may apply one of the following solutions:

► Use the same method of steps 22 to 27 for every single block.
► Move the drawing file to its original place or AutoCAD file search path.
► Add "C:\Program Files" to AutoCAD file search path.

For more information about defining AutoCAD file search path read the following tutorial:

AutoCAD 2004 Customization Tutorial: Search Paths.

About the Author

Alireza Parsai is the founder of He is a mechanical engineer with more than 12 years experience with AutoCAD. Alireza is an Autodesk Authorized Author, the AutoCAD consultant for Al Khawarizmi Institute, a contributing editor for Augiworld magazine, a writer for CAD Digest, an instructor for AUGI Training Program, and an elected speaker for Autodesk University 2002. He has written 7 books in Farsi, 3 booklets in English, and more than 30 articles for different magazines and newsletters. You can reach him at or visit his website

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