How to use blocks

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algrass
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How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:08 am

I am struggling with using the block feature in QCAD. I tried creating several blocks using the "Create Block from Selection" icon and naming it. But I have been unable to find how to insert such a block or edit it or do any other function with blocks. Perhaps the non-Pro version of QCAD does not support blocks. I don't know. Any help would be appreciated.

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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:15 am

Hello algrass,

algrass wrote:I am struggling with using the block feature in QCAD. I tried creating several blocks using the "Create Block from Selection" icon and naming it. But I have been unable to find how to insert such a block or edit it or do any other function with blocks. Perhaps the non-Pro version of QCAD does not support blocks. I don't know. Any help would be appreciated.


The non-Pro version of QCAD supports blocks. :wink:

Maybe the easiest way for you to learn and manage the block functionality is to open the Tool Bar "Blocklist". To start this widget go to: Menu / View / Toolbars / Blocklist and a widget like this one will pop up ...

Husky-2015.08.11-01.png
Husky-2015.08.11-01.png (11.52 KiB) Viewed 5952 times


This "Blocklist" will display all created blocks. After selecting one of those blocks you can use a mousover to see the options do you have with the selected block.

Husky-2015.08.11-03.png
Husky-2015.08.11-03.png (14.26 KiB) Viewed 5952 times


I guess it is self explaining ... what do you think?
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algrass
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:51 pm

Ah, I have seen the light! Easy now that you showed me. Yet I searched and searched; I guess I must be going blind. Thank you Husky, much appreciated.

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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:43 pm

After creating some blocks and saved them into a file named as Block Template these blocks become available only when this same file is open in QCAD. They are saved therefore with that specific file. How can I save them into a LIBRARY so that they are always available whenever QCAD is being used regardless of which old or new file I am working on?
In Preferences I see a category WIDGET and a subcategory Library Browser and another Block List, but they do not seem to make much sense. The name WIDGET is perhaps inappropriate. The Block List gives options for Hide Internal Blocks or Enable Alternating Row Colors whereas I was expecting a menu similar to the Library Browser to add blocks.

A user manual/tutorial would be useful. There is a so-called Manual on line, but that is confined to explaining succinctly the command in the drop down menus.
Thanks for your help.
Incidentally, I am "working smart" now with QCAD Pro!

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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:12 pm

algrass wrote:... How can I save them into a LIBRARY so that they are always available whenever QCAD is being used regardless of which old or new file I am working on?

"Library" is the right way to go! Have you seen this video? Maybe it will give you a better idea how it works. :wink:
viewtopic.php?f=47&t=2581
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Re: More on Blocks

Postby algrass » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:56 pm

Is there a way to size a block dynamically once inserted into a drawing? Currently I am doing this by using the scale command. It works but it is tedious. Dynamic scaling, by referencing two points, is really the way to go at the time the block is inserted.

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andrew
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Re: More on Blocks

Postby andrew » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:05 pm

algrass wrote:Dynamic scaling, by referencing two points, is really the way to go at the time the block is inserted.


Blocks have by definition one single reference point which is used for positioning, so I'm afraid this is not possible, no. QCAD would have to know the two points you want to use to place and scale the block somehow.

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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:47 pm

Hi and thanks for your reply.
I had to refresh my mind before answering, so I installed my old copy of Autocad 2002 for Windows on my iMac 5k; I had to install Windows first under Bootcamp and it works fine.
In short: I was remembering correctly, this "dynamic" feature, as I called it, was available in Autocad 2002, hence it must be feasible to design it into Qcad. In Autocad it works like this:

I click on the icon for inserting a block. A dialog box comes up which enables me to choose the block and define three parameters for that block: 1- Insertion Point 2- Scale factor and 3-Rotation.

1- Insertion Point, this has two options: 1- Specify on screen and 2- specify by coordinates, x, y & z.
2- Scale factor, this also has two options: 1- Specify on Screen and 2- specify by defining the coordinates, absolute or uniform coordinates.
3- Rotation factor, has also two options: 1- Specify on screen and 2- specify angle of rotation.

If I ignore all these parameters the program assumes that I will specify on screen. Thereafter the block appears on screen and I click on the first reference point of my choice to fix the block, then move the mouse and the block is dynamically scaling uniformly until I click the second point, which then defines the final scale of the block. Very beautiful action on the screen but, above all, very practical.

Do you think you could consider adding this feature to your list of improvements for Qcad Pro? I am not a programmers else I would give it a go.

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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:26 am

Hello algrass,

well - I think everything what you are asking for is already part of QCAD. Maybe not on the same way like AC - but on the other Hand QCAD isn't a copy of AC. :wink:

Maybe it helps to have always a closer look at all given options - there are very powerful.

One example: free rotation and scaling of a block / snap to points ...
... or restricted only to relative coordinates.

algrass wrote:... If I ignore all these parameters the program assumes that I will specify on screen. Thereafter the block appears on screen and I click on the first reference point of my choice to fix the block, then move the mouse and the block is dynamically scaling uniformly until I click the second point, which then defines the final scale of the block. Very beautiful action on the screen but, above all, very practical.




... very beautifully and practical. :wink:
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:15 am

Thanks for your reply, Husky. I am pleased to hear that these functions are already part of the current version of Qcad. I have been trying this function for the last 30 minutes and I don't find it so straightforward and the choice of name was not at all helpful. No criticism implied, I will work with it.

How do I constrain the scaling to move orthogonally to the first reference point? In other words, in this case, I just want to scale the block maintaining the first reference point and no rotation.

This leads me to another couple of questions:
1- Is there a one key action to toggle the snap on and off? Currently I have to do: spacebar>SF>Enter to toggle the snap off. To reapply the snap I am doing three keyboard entries: spacebar>SG>Enter. Sometimes the use of the mouse is undesirable hence a single keyboard entry would be a good solution.

2- Is there a button or keyboard entry to constrain the cursor to move orthogonally? If there is then please ignore my first question.

I apologise if these functions are already there and I have not seen them.

PS: Another 2 question:
1- How can I use my own template as a default template when launching Qcad? I looked in Preferences before asking this questions. Preferences> StartUp but did not find anything to help me choose a default file. I also looked in the other Preference categories. It is probably hidden somewhere else.
2- Is there an add-in that allows to preview dxf files when opening a file in a folder that contains several dxf files?
Last edited by algrass on Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:59 am

algrass wrote:I have been trying this function for the last 30 minutes and I don't find it so straightforward and the choice of name was not at all helpful. No criticism implied, I will work with it.

Understandable - this tool wasn't built to work on that way! But with the knowledge of how a tool works you are able to bent it to your purpose and that is what I did.
The name of the tool is absolutely correct for what it is built for.

Bedtime - I (or somebody else) will answer your other questions tomorrow.
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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:34 pm

algrass wrote:How do I constrain the scaling to move orthogonally to the first reference point? In other words, in this case, I just want to scale the block maintaining the first reference point and no rotation.


The Scale Tool will ask you for a "Focus Point" and you can use the options in the Option Dialog to restrict the scaling to x or y, to x and y or using the mouse to determine the scales ratio directly in the drawing - is that what you are looking for?

Husky-2015.08.23-01.png
Husky-2015.08.23-01.png (25.19 KiB) Viewed 5754 times

If not please post an example drawing. Thank you!



algrass wrote:1- Is there a one key action to toggle the snap on and off? Currently I have to do: spacebar>SF>Enter to toggle the snap off. To reapply the snap I am doing three keyboard entries: spacebar>SG>Enter. Sometimes the use of the mouse is undesirable hence a single keyboard entry would be a good solution.

You need the "Space" key to have the focus on the Command line. Normally it works also direct in a drawing - try to use SG without the Spacebar ...

BTW: That is the reason why I work to 99% with the mouse and the Symbol bars - it's much faster for me ...

algrass wrote:2- Is there a button or keyboard entry to constrain the cursor to move orthogonally?

The question is: Orthogonally to what? There are many tools to restrict the direction - please post an example drawing so we can help to answer this question correctly. Thanks.

algrass wrote:1- How can I use my own template as a default template when launching Qcad? I looked in Preferences before asking this questions. Preferences> StartUp but did not find anything to help me choose a default file. I also looked in the other Preference categories. It is probably hidden somewhere else.

You will find below "Menu / File / New from Template" the possibility to use your own templates. But you have still to open the template manually - QCAD will not open this for you at every QCAD start.

algrass wrote:2- Is there an add-in that allows to preview dxf files when opening a file in a folder that contains several dxf files?

Unfortunately - No.



@Andrew
Could you please split and move this thread to the "How do I"Section - thanks!
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algrass
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:35 pm

Good morning Husky. Thanks for your replies.
I will reply to your answers progressively.
Scale Tool.
I know how this works but it does not do scaling in the AC fashion. It is fine but somewhat limiting in some instances such as the work I am doing now where I have to scale a block over a picture of a letter to see if my defined block fits the boundary of the letter. The Scale Tool for this work is not the best. Obviously I could make a calculation and define the scaling factor exactly but this would not be practical for me. Anyway, I accept the limitation and try to work with it. However take these comments as suggestions for future improvements.

Re using SF and SG directly without the spacebar, I confirm that it works. So now I reduce my key entries to just two, SF or SG. Why not just S working as a toggle function: Press S once and it toggles to "snap on", press S again and toggles to "snap off".

Re constraining lines to move orthogonally, I believe an example is superfluous. Basically, the Line Segment Tool should have the option of restricting lines to be drawn horizontally or vertically. I know you have two other tools dedicated to drawing horizontal or vertical lines, and you even give the option of determining in advance the length of the segment. And that is useful. But the option I am referring to is equally very useful. Also most CAD programs provide the feature of rotating the line segment by 15 degrees steps by pressing the shift key or some other key.

Shame about not being able to load a user template by default after setting it in Preferences. And likewise, shame that there is not a built-in preview of dxf files. One has to rely on the file name and that can be quite awkward when you have a lot of dxf files.

May I suggest that you consider including these suggestions in your development for future upgrades? It would make Qcad a lot more productive.
Thanks again for your support.

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Husky
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby Husky » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:35 am

Hello Al,

algrass wrote:Scale Tool.
I know how this works but it does not do scaling in the AC fashion. It is fine but somewhat limiting in some instances such as the work I am doing now where I have to scale a block over a picture of a letter to see if my defined block fits the boundary of the letter. The Scale Tool for this work is not the best. Obviously I could make a calculation and define the scaling factor exactly but this would not be practical for me. Anyway, I accept the limitation and try to work with it. However take these comments as suggestions for future improvements.

Yes I understand but I don't agree. I would expect that tool in a graphic software but not that much in a CAD Software. Technical drawings have to be very precisely and I'm personally not that much interested in a tool what just fit something uncontrolled in. I don't say that you can't use a tool like that, but ...

algrass wrote:Re using SF and SG directly without the spacebar, I confirm that it works. So now I reduce my key entries to just two, SF or SG. Why not just S working as a toggle function: Press S once and it toggles to "snap on", press S again and toggles to "snap off".

You can customize your own shortcuts below:
Menu / Edit / Application Preferences / General / Tool Settings

algrass wrote:Re constraining lines to move orthogonally, I believe an example is superfluous. Basically, the Line Segment Tool should have the option of restricting lines to be drawn horizontally or vertically. I know you have two other tools dedicated to drawing horizontal or vertical lines, and you even give the option of determining in advance the length of the segment. And that is useful. But the option I am referring to is equally very useful. Also most CAD programs provide the feature of rotating the line segment by 15 degrees steps by pressing the shift key or some other key.

QCAD is better than the other programs ... :lol:
Line from two points,
choose First Point ...
... and for the second Point: Eye on the option bar - click "Restrict angle or length" symbol.

Husky-2015.08.23-01.png
Husky-2015.08.23-01.png (41.7 KiB) Viewed 5745 times

Hit F8 to have the Angle/Length displayed at the mouse pointer


algrass wrote:May I suggest that you consider including these suggestions in your development for future upgrades? It would make Qcad a lot more productive.

We have for "bugs" and "Feature request's" a separate website - you can use it by yourself to ask for new tools or to report a bug ...
http://www.qcad.org/bugtracker/

Thank you!
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algrass
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Re: How to use blocks

Postby algrass » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:11 am

Good tips, Husky. Thanks.


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