Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky discusses methods for applying materials to objects or layers in AutoCAD.
"For many, the standard method for applying materials in AutoCAD is to select objects. To apply materials by layer, I use a small trick: First I create a selection set using the Filter command, and select objects on selected layers. Then I use the Apply Materials button from the Materials palette. And in response to AutoCAD's Select Objects prompt, I type P (for previous) followed by Enter.
"You can also type MaterialAttach at the Command prompt to bring up the dialog box for attaching materials onto layers."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: AutoCAD's ability to create photorealistic images of objects has greatly improved over the past few releases. There are essentially two ways to assign a material to an object: by object or by layer. One of the simplest ways is to drag a material from the library and drop it onto the object.
Use Leonid's method here to apply a material to multiple objects at one time. Or, you can apply materials to layers using the MaterialAttach command, which opens a dialog box that lists the materials and layers in the file. Drag the materials to the layers to assign them. I suggest applying materials to layers just as you would color or linetype — it can make quick changes easier.
Materials in AutoCAD 2011 are a bit different; there is now a Material Library where you can manage your materials. Drag and drop the materials the same way, or apply by layer. The library lists the materials currently in your file. There you can select all objects that have a certain material type, or you can assign materials to selected objects. Either way, assigning materials is relatively simple.