ADT Tips & Tricks

Create Custom Tags in Architectural Desktop, the Easy Way

By Peter Gehring
October 7, 2005

Thanks to the new Define Schedule Tag command (_AecDefineTag), in Architectural Desktop 2006, the creation of custom tags has become faster and easier. In the past it was a painful process that yielded unsuccessful results if you neglected certain steps. Today in ADT 2006 and ABS 2006, the process is actually pleasant.

I usually create custom content in a library drawing that is stored on a network shared location because I値l be creating a tool from it. Since the tool will reference the drawing it was created in I want all users to be able to access it.

My example of this new command will be to create a tool that tags the door width and height in the format 3680.

Before creating the tag it is necessary to have a Property Set Definition with an automatic property of the data I want the tag to extract from the door.

I usually add the document pulldown menu to get to the property set definitions command without drilling down in style manager. You can also create a keyboard shortcut to this command which is _AecPropertySetDefine.

You can add this new property to an existing property set definition or create a new one. I知 going to create a new one called DoorObjectsSynergis.

For this type of tag I will make the property set object based and tell it that it applies to doors.

This tag will actually call out two properties, the width and the height, but I値l need to add a formula property to concatenate them together. I値l switch to the definition tab and select the automatic property lightning bolt icon and add the width. Then I値l repeat that to add the height.

Next I値l select the formula property icon.

Then in the lower left pane I値l double click the width property and then the height property and give the new formula property a name, widthheight, at the top.

The hard part is done, now the fun begins.

In the drawing editor I値l launch the mtext command and type some text (custom tag) with the text style I want. There is a setting that we will see later on the tool property that can set the tag to use the text style as defined in the content or as is current in the host drawing. I値l set the text height to 1 inch. When inserted into a drawing the drawing setup scale and Annotation plot size settings will scale the tag up in model space. I値l also set the justification to middle center

From the format pulldown menu, I値l access the Define Schedule Tag command.

The command line will prompt me to select objects for the tag; it can be text and geometry. I値l select the text that I typed. Then it will present a dialog box that will let me set the name of the tag, whether the label type is text or a property. I値l pick the word text and in the pulldown change it to property. Then in the cells to the right I値l select the property set I want to access and the property I want the tag to call out.

Then I値l hit ok to exit the dialog and I値l follow the command prompt to select the tag insertion point, use the insert Osnap to pick the middle center justification point.

What I致e just done is to create an AutoCAD block with an Attribute and an ADT MultiViewBlock that is using the AutoCAD block. So right now it is just a MultiView Block not a tag

To make it a smart tag is easy. Do a quick save, select the text, which is now the MVBlock and drag and drop it to a tool palette.

To test the tag I start a new drawing with my normal template and add a wall with some doors. The tag tool imports the Property Set into the drawing and annotates the door痴 width and height.

If you look at the properties of the tag tool on the palette you see you can set the tag to use a Layer Key, the host drawing annotation style, constrain and rotate to the door, as well as adding a leader. Also note that it includes a path to the source drawing in which you created the custom tag and property set.

Peter S. Gehring Director, Building & Infrastructure Solutions Synergis Technologies, Inc.

About the Author

With 18 years of industry experience, Peter Gehring is Director of Building & Infrastructure Solutions for Synergis Engineering Design Solutions, an independent division of Synergisョ Technologies, Inc. a leading Autodeskョ Value Added Reseller for Manufacturing, Infrastructure, and Building Solutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. He is responsible for spearheading the delivery of solutions, technical expertise, and resources to increase customers productivity and profitability in the Building & Infrastructure industry. Gehring痴 dedication and passion for learning new technologies and sharing his knowledge with customers has made him an invaluable resource to both Synergis and customers since joining Synergis in 2001

Peter can be reached at