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How to Use AutoCAD Blocks - AutoCAD Tutorial

Updated on September 9, 2009

AutoCAD Blocks - Video Tutorial

What are blocks?

Ok, in this tutorial we are going to get stuck into blocks. You can check out my other hubs or theĀ CAD Training Blog for more tutorials.

Now, a lot of drawing programs have the ability to group objects together, where clicking one item in the group selects all the line segments in the group. Other drawing programs have styles, allowing you to change a line weight or color universally throughout a drawing or drafting project. AutoCAD blocks are like object grouping and object styles on steroids.

Let's Get Started

First, the basics - when you define an object made of line segments in AutoCAD, you can group them together; by hitting Ctrl-G. After that, any time you click on a grouped object in the window, you select all of them, and you can drag it around as needed. You can mirror, rotate, transform, etc.

So what does the Block command do? Well, let's assume you've got a drawing of a commonly used element in an array; the classic example is a classroom with chairs, though it most often shows up in fabrication layouts in the real world. You can define that object as a block, and any changes you make to it are replicated across all instances of that object in the design drawing.

So, setting up a Block looks like this:

First, we select all the objects that we want to add to the block and type in Block in the AutoCAD Commands window, and hit "Enter"

Select all objects and type in "block" then Enter.
Select all objects and type in "block" then Enter.

The window that pops up will prompt us for a number of fields, but the most important is "Name". For example "School Chair". There will be three options for handling objects. The first is "Retain" - this is effectively using the "Group" command to group all objects into one "thingy" for manipulation. Convert to Block gets rid of all the separate instances that make up the object, but makes it a block. "Delete" is really horribly misnamed. It converts the object to a block, and then deletes it from the current drawing - but it's still loaded up and ready to be replicated throughout the drawing.

Type a name for your block and choose options.
Type a name for your block and choose options.

To insert a saved block, go to the Insert menu, then Blocks, and select the name of the saved block you want to include; it'll appear at the point that you last clicked with the mouse. When the Block Definition window is opened, you can click the button by the words "Base Point" and define the default position in the drawing for inserted blocks to appear, which can be a real time saver. You should also make sure that the units selected from the drop down menu match the units you're doing your drawing in; it's generally going to match by default, but it's the first place to look when you're tweaking something that's not working.

Select the insert block button and choose your block.
Select the insert block button and choose your block.

The last choice you have is on selecting a preview icon. Preview icons are handy if you're dealing with a lot of blocks in a drawing, because they don't take as much screen real estate to display; they otherwise have no real impact on block creation.

Now, you can select your blocks and cut and paste (or use Insert Block) to move them around on the drawing. Use of the Array command will help set up a lot of replicated blocks quickly - remember, the purpose of these tools is to make it easy to do repetitive things!

And now, the real reason why blocks are cool - let's say you've replicated a block 30 or 60 times in a drawing, and you have an extensive set of changes to make on each instance of the block. Doing this by hand would be a major time sink. However, since this is done with blocks, you can make the change once, re-define it as a block with the same name, and it propagates across the entire drawing. This can be a real time saver!

Ok, that's it for this tutorial on AutoCAD Blocks. But you can head to my site for some free autocad tutorials on AutoCAD, including one on how to use blocks.

Until next time, happy cadding.

P.S. If you have any feedback or a request for more tutorials drop me a comment below or use the request a hub feature. Oh and if you wanna let me know how I did give me a rating below, thumb's up only ;-)

More Tutorials - Line, Offset, Trim

AutoCAD Blocks


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    • profile image

      concade 5 years ago

      Learning Autocad is a very important step in becoming a successful engineer. Fortunately for the new generation of engineers Autocad tutorial online is now available where you can learn autocad for free anytime from the internet.

      But, self learning can be challenging specially if you don't know the correct step by step procedure that you need to follow to learn Autocad.

      I found this one useful guide to learn Autocad in a step by step manner:

    • profile image

      harry 5 years ago

      thanx .nice one

    • profile image 5 years ago


      LIKE (-------SAM-----SAM-----SAM-----)

    • profile image

      cesar lopez 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Heather 5 years ago

      You cannot do the remane command in block editor

    • profile image

      Ian 5 years ago

      Can block definitions be made up of other blocks?

    • profile image

      yasin 6 years ago

      my drawing in some part in blocked i want change line width pls, give urgent answer

    • profile image

      Highlander 6 years ago

      Type rename into the command line

    • profile image

      Sally 6 years ago

      How do you rename a block?

    • profile image

      Will 6 years ago

      Nice info on blocks - good stuff!

      One thing that can be very useful - if you have many blocks that have a similar naming structure, you might find the RENAME command useful. Used in combination with the * wildcard, it can be really useful!

    • profile image

      mharj14 7 years ago

      hello...can i ask..what command should i type to find my blocks??

      thank you

    • profile image

      Ayra 7 years ago

      Hi ^^ nice tutorial.

      i have a still new at using autocad so i am abit lost ~.~..about using the blocks..when i use blocks that i download form the apper very large and out of scale on my drawing..why is that?and how can i adjust the size?

      mm ihope u understand what do i mean cuz english is not my language..


    • profile image

      dyah n 7 years ago

      thanks it's very usefull

    • profile image

      Munal 8 years ago

      Thanks for the video on blocks.

    • profile image

      praveen 8 years ago

      Thanks for this article....

      can u guide me ... how to put transparency in solid blocks..

    • autocadtutorial profile image

      autocadtutorial 8 years ago from Australia

      Hey Angela,

      The main difference between using the block command and pasting as a block is the ability to save the blocks in a block library. I would recommend using the command over other methods as they can be unreliable (as you may have found).

      Let me know if you need any more help.


    • profile image

      Angela 8 years ago

      Nice Tutorial.

      But what is the difference between making a block using your BLOCK command and using the copy with basepoint and pasting it as a block? Both will appear on the list of block. But when i insert the block using your method the block was inserted, but using the copy basepoint i couldn't insert it on the drawing.

      Any reason why?


    • profile image

      jayfford M. caracol 8 years ago

      please,,help me,and how to make a autocad in drawings..

    • profile image

      red 8 years ago

      it helps me a lot

    • profile image

      red 8 years ago

      it helps me a lot

    • profile image

      isometric drawing 8 years ago

      Great post and very good tutorial about autocad

    • profile image

      EMAN 8 years ago

      Sir. you give me a copy of short keys of AUTOCAD 2010?

    • profile image

      Alex 8 years ago

      I have sorted out myself already

    • profile image

      Alex 8 years ago

      Does anyone know how to change a Block name?

    • profile image

      Adriance 9 years ago

      Thanks, Nice one.

    • profile image 9 years ago from Orange County

      Great Tutorial, keep up the good work!

    • autocadtutorial profile image

      autocadtutorial 9 years ago from Australia

      Hey Princessa,

      I am not as familiar with Inventor but I know you can open and use AutoCAD blocks in the newer versions of Inventor and also export Inventor drawings as blocks into AutoCAD. Hope this helps.

    • Shasta Cascade profile image

      Shasta Cascade 9 years ago from 1699 Highway 273, Anderson, CA 96007


      great tutorial this will really help me out a lot.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      Can you do this in Inventor?

    • autocadtutorial profile image

      autocadtutorial 9 years ago from Australia

      Hi Allan,

      Thanks for that I am glad you like it. Heaps more tutorials to come so stay tuned.



    • profile image

      Allan Stokes 9 years ago


      Nice tutorial. The audio on the video was a bit soft for me but otherwise great.

      Thanks again,