First Looks: AutoLib Detail Library Manager

31 Aug, 2003 By: Bill Burchard

Store, organize, and reuse AutoCAD details.

Autolib Detail Library Manager
Reuse AutoCAD details

pros: Easy to learn and use; powerful file viewing features; independent of AutoCAD.
cons: Supports only AutoCAD DWG format.
price: $99

ArchMedia, Inc.

A fantastic feature of AutoCAD drawings is that you can reuse them over and over. If you draw a detail, you can use the same detail for future projects. The problem most of us face is how to find an existing detail when we need it. Even if you diligently organize your details in directories, quickly finding the one you want can be difficult. Fortunately, ArchMedia’s AutoLib makes organizing, finding, and reusing your details easy.

Through AutoLib, you identify where your details are currently stored and add those locations to a Master Library. Similar to a My Favorites folder, the Master Library links to your details in their current locations to provide a single place for you to search and view details. For example, imagine you’re creating a Master Library that includes details from three different departments. One department uses a complex directory structure to store its drawings, the second organizes its details into separate project directories, and the third simply dumps all details into a single folder. You create your Master Library by linking to all the details in their current locations, even if those locations are on different servers or individual workstations. Now, all of your organization’s details are accessible from one convenient location.

After you create a Master Library, you can organize the details into sublibraries, creating as many as desired. Like the Master Library, the sublibraries link to the original detail. All users can create their own sublibraries and their own My Favorites library (see figure) that lists most commonly used details.

AutoLib’s My Favorites folder organizes the details that you frequently use.

You create sublibraries on the fly by populating them with links already created in the Master Library. You can also search for details within existing sublibraries, or you can browse other folders outside the Master Library, if your permission level allows. Through sublibraries, you and your office can organize details that meet everyone’s needs most conveniently.

The Master Library and sublibraries display the links to details as thumbnails created by AutoCAD. This means that when you update a detail, the thumbnail also updates.

Search AutoLib for details by using the keywords or multiple keywords stored in the drawing’s properties. AutoLib displays search results in a list. When you select one, the thumbnail displays. If you zoom or pan for a close-up view, AutoLib opens the actual drawing using the Volo View plug-in so you can zoom in close to review the detail. You can also make redline markups, insert notes, and print hard copies of the detail.

AutoLib’s Print Lib is a one-button command that lets you identify multiple libraries and instantly batch print them. The software relies on Windows permissions to control access levels to your library’s details. With the network version of AutoLib, you use Windows permissions to indicate who can modify AutoLib libraries and settings.

AutoLib is a powerful and easy-to-use detail library manager, not just a block manager. You can easily organize your existing details, quickly search for details, and view thumbnails of search results. You can also print, mark up details, and insert comments, all from within the AutoLib interface, whether or not you have AutoCAD.

About the Author: Bill Burchard

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