Avatech Tricks: Set Up ADT Tool Palettes the Entire Office Can Use

14 Mar, 2005 By: Brian K. Smith Cadalyst

Architectural Desktop lets users access tools through a centralized catalog library

Creating tools in Architectural Desktop can be a simple task. Creating tools that can be shared by your entire office can be an entirely different story. By using the Content Browser and Catalog Library, you can simplify this task and generate tools and tool palettes that can be shared over your network. With a little time, you can have the entire office using the same tool palettes that update when you make additions or modifications.

The task of creating shared tool palettes can be broken down into three main categories:

  • creating and adjusting the tools locally
  • populating a catalog
  • importing the tool palette from the catalog
Creating a Local Tool Palette
Our first step is to create a local tool palette to work from. When describing tool palettes, I'll refer to a local palette as one that does not refresh from a catalog and is only available to you locally. By using a local palette, you can create the tools and adjust the tool properties to function just as you would like everyone to use it. Click the Properties button on the lower left of the tool palette to activate the tool palette short-cut menu and select the New Palette option. This will create a new palette and give you an opportunity to name it (figure 1). For the sake of our example, I named the new palette Local Palette.

Figure 1. Creating a new tool palette.

Populate the tool palette with tools, then adjust their parameter to meet your needs. It is possible to populate the palette with tools in many ways: drag-and-drop style based content from a drawing to the palette, drag-and-drop content from the content browser to the palette or drag-and-drop style based content right from the Style Manager, just to name a few.

For our example, I have populated the palette with several door styles. By right-clicking on the tool, you can also adjust the properties of any style-based content. Because I dragged-and-dropped the content from the drawing to the tool palette, you'll note the Style Name and Style Location fields that display the drawing location (figure 2). Using a centrally located drawing to populate the tool palette with style-based content makes style maintenance easier.

Figure 2. When you drag and drop the content from the drawing to the tool palette, the Style field displays the style name and the Style Location field displays the drawing location.

Creating and Populating a Shared Library Catalog
The next step is to create and populate a centrally located catalog of tool palettes that everyone can access. From the Navigation toolbar, choose the Content Browser button (or type Contentbrowser on the command line) to activate the Autodesk Content Browser application. Click the button in the lower left corner of the Content Browser to create a new catalog. From the Add Catalog dialog box, click Create to generate a new catalog. Use the Browse button and point to the location on your network where you would like to save it, and name it appropriately (figure 3). Scroll the Content Browser so you can see the newly created catalog. For our example, I've named the catalog Shared Catalog.

Figure 3. Setting up a centrally located catalog of tool palettes.

Click Shared Catalog to edit. It is possible to create categories to better organize your information, but for the sake of this exercise we will just populate the main area of this catalog. To import the palette that was created locally, simply drag the palette from the tool palette set (left-click and drag from the palette name) to the shared catalog. Now the tool palette with all the tools and tool properties are all stored in the shared catalog. You can also rename the palette to a more descriptive name right in the catalog. For our example, I've renamed Local Palette to Shared Doors (figure 4).

Figure 4. You can also rename the palette to a more descriptive name right in the catalog.

Importing the Palette from the Catalog
Our final step is to import the newly created palette from the catalog to the local tool palette sets of your workstations. From the i-drop symbol in the shared catalog, drag-and-drop the palette from the catalog to the local tool palette set. You will notice it will name the palette just as it was named in the catalog and import all the tools. At first glance the tool palette looks the same as the local palette, with one big difference. In the lower right corner of the palette, you will notice a Refresh button that indicates the tools on that palette are referenced from a catalog (figure 5).

Figure 5. A Refresh button indicates the tools on that palette are referenced from a catalog, or shared.

It is now possible to add, remove or modify tools in the catalog palette. Once you alter the tools in the catalog palette, everyone will find the the changes when they reference the shared palette from the catalog.

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About the Author: Brian K. Smith

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