Spence Watson sent us this handy tip for creating a custom tool palette to manage blocks in four easy steps:
Tool palettes are great for managing blocks in AutoCAD. Using Design Center you can create a custom tool palette in just a few minutes that will ensure your blocks will always be on the correct layer, scaled correctly, and rotated as they should be. Before creating the tool palette, you will need to create a reference or template drawing that has all of the blocks in it. The custom tool palette will pull the blocks out of this drawing, so it’s crucial that this drawing is in a directory you will always have access to. Save this file, then continue with the following steps.
Open Design Center (Command Adcenter) and click on the blocks subcategory of the reference drawing. This will show a preview of all of the blocks in the drawing.
Select all of the blocks that you want added to the tool palette, right-click, and select create tool palette. A custom tool palette will pop up.
Right-click view options on the palette and set how the blocks are to be displayed. Using "icon only" works best for me because I can put many blocks in a palette.
Right-click on each block, select properties, and change the insertion properties: scale, color, layer, etc. You can select a layer from the layer drop-down menu and AutoCAD will create the layer for you in a new drawing if necessary.
You now have instant access to every block that you need to use in all of your drawings! One more thing: if you are using wipeouts, be sure to see my previous tip (#4251) about displaying wipeouts properly when using external blocks. If they are not drawn correctly, they may be inserted with the wipeout on top of the linework.
Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer R.K. McSwain: This is a nice step-by-step guide to creating a tool palette from a drawing file that contains blocks. Let me reiterate that you should give some thought to the location where you save the drawing containing the blocks, because the full path will be copied to the properties of each block. If you put it on your C drive, for example, you will not be able to share that palette with others.
When you get to the last step, make sure you are in a drawing that contains the layers that you want to use, because the choices will be limited to the layers in the current drawing.