Blocks in AutoCAD are analogous to Shared Cells in MicroStation/PowerDraft. These are a group of geometry or entities that act as one object and can be inserted and manipulated in a design. Blocks or Cells are made of reusable content and can include symbols, repetitive components like plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, equipment, etc. Blocks can have their own properties, can inherit properties from various layers and can also include business information like manufacturer, numbers, cost, etc. Blocks, can be collected into libraries so they can be used in multiple drawings. Use of Blocks saves time, ensures consistency and reduces file size. It will be an understatement to say that Blocks are highly used in the AutoCAD design world.
AutoCAD users who want to further their design process using MicroStation/PowerDraft (due to a client mandate or simply to migrate to a better software) and are concerned about design information stored in Blocks, here is information on how MicroStation/PowerDraft handles DWG block information.
You can open DWG files directly in MicroStation and work in DWG Workmode. Blocks in a DWG file behave as Shared Cells in MicroStation/PowerDraft. A Shared Cell is a cell or block that is defined only once but can have multiple instances in a design thus not increasing the file size.
Blocks in a DWG file when opened in MicroStation can be accessed from the Cell Library and can be inserted in a design. AutoCAD has a small library of some standard blocks which you can use in your drawings, this library of blocks can be accessed from the design center palette in AutoCAD and the Cell Library in MicroStation, then be inserted or placed on the drawings.
Go to the tab “Open Drawings”, click “Blocks”, it will extract and display all blocks in the file (see image below):
Invoke Cell Library Dialog (Drawing > Annotate > Cells dialog launcher), it will show all DWG Blocks (Shared Cells), the same as in AutoCAD (see image below):
Enter cell origin to complete the placement.
In order to create a detail library of commonly used assemblies, you may export a group of objects to a separate drawing file and save them in different locations. AutoCAD command “WBLOCK” will work, which can be inserted or places into other drawings as a block.
Select the block file and click [Open], this file as a block including the blocks contained in this file will be attached.
Select the folder and click [Select Folder], all DWG blocks under this folder will be attached.
We hope this article helps answer any questions you have regarding the ability to work with AutoCAD drawings that contain blocks when opened in MicroStation or PowerDraft. MicroStation and PowerDraft fully support DWG Blocks, and it is easy for you to bring your DWG projects into MicroStation/PowerDraft and make a smooth transition.