AutoCAD 2004 Training

AutoCAD 2004 Design Center

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this tutorial is to familiarize you with the use of AutoCAD Design Center in managing drawings and objects in a drawing. After studying this tutorial, you should be able to:

AutoCAD Design Center

The AutoCAD Design Center is a graphic interface where you can manipulate and re-use drawings and drawing objects  (blocks, layers, external references, and customized contents) from drawing files, network drives, and Internet locations. This way, you can speed up drawing constructing.

To open the AutoCAD Design Center, use the ADCENTER command by selecting the AutoCAD DesignCenter item of the Tools pull-down menu. To close the ADCENTER, you can select the [x] button at the upper right corner of the Design Center or use the ADCCLOSE command.

The shortcut toggle key for opening and closing the Design Center is [Ctrl+2]. [Ctrl+2] means holding down the [Ctrl] key in conjunction with the [2] key.

The AutoCAD Design Center can be docked to one side of the screen (Figure 1) or be placed in a floating position (Figure 2). To toggle docking and floating, you can double select the grab bar of the dialog box.

<Tools>          <AutoCAD DesignCenter>

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Figure 1  Docked AutoCAD Design Center

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Figure 2 Floating AutoCAD Design Center

The AutoCAD Design Center has two panes: Palette (right side) and Tree View (left side). At the top of the design center, there are eleven buttons. They are:

[Desktop]    It displays the hierarchy of all the files and folders on your computer and network drives in the Tree View pane. Depending on the kind of objects selected in the Tree View pane, the Palette pane displays folders, files, or objects of a file. Figure 3 shows the drives in the Palette pane when My Computer is selected in the Tree View. Figure 4 shows the drawing icons in the Palette pane when a directory containing the drawing files are selected.

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Figure 3  Selecting My Computer

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Figure 4 Selecting the directory, acadupdt

[Open Drawings] It displays the drawings opened in the current drawing session. Figure 5 shows the drawing objects in the Palette pane when an opened drawing is selected in the Tree View pane.

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Figure 5  Opened drawings

[History] It displays the locations that you have connected by using [Favorites] button. See Figure 6.

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Figure 6  History showing locations connected

[Tree View Toggle] It displays or hides the Tree View pane. Figure 7 shows the Tree View hidden.

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Figure 7 Tree View hidden

[Favorites] It displays the shortcuts to the files and folders contained in the Favorites folder. The Palette pan in Figure 8 shows the Internet shortcuts. Figure 9 shows the Internet Browser when a shortcut is selected.

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Figure 8 Favorites

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Figure 9 Exploring the Internet

[Load] It displays the Load DesignCenter Palette dialog box. See Figure 10. You can also search the Web. See Figure 11.

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Figure 10 Load DesignCenter Palette dialog box

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Figure 11 Select Hyperlink dialog box

[Find] It enables you to find drawings and contents in drawings. Figure 12 shows the Find dialog box.

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Figure 12 Find dialog box

[Up] It enables you to move up one level from the current location. Figure 13 highlightes the Up button.

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Figure 13 Moving up one level

[Preview] It displays a preview of the selected file at the bottom of the Palette pane. See Figure 14.

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Figure 14 Preview

[Description]   It displays text description of the selected object in the Paleltte pane. Description of a drawing can be recorded by using the DWGPROPS command. See Figure 15.

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Figure 15 Description

[Views] It provides four ways to display the content in the Palette: large icons, small icons, names, and names with details.


You can access shortcut menus by selecting the right button of your mouse. Figure 16 through Figure 18 show the shortcut menus.

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Figure 16 Shortcut

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Figure 17 Shortcut

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Figure 18 Shortcut

Key Points

AutoCAD Design Center can be opened by using the ADCENTER command and closed by using the ADCCLOSE command. The shortcut key to open and close the Design Center is [Ctrl+2].

The Deign Center has two panes, Tree View and Palette. In the Tree View pane, you can display the hierarchy of all the files and folders on your computer and network drives, the opened files, or the history of connected locations.

In the Palette pane, you can display the folders, files, drawings, and objects in the drawing. In addition, you can display a preview and a description of the selected file.