How to Manipulate Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD

By Bill Fane

After a dynamic block is inserted into an AutoCAD drawing, you can select it and modify its display through a special set of custom grips. That’s what AutoCAD calls them.

When you select a nondynamic block, you see a single grip at the insertion point. When you select a dynamic block, you see at least two (and maybe more) custom grips, as well as the insertion point grip. The custom grips usually look different from the regular object grips, but not always, so be careful while clicking grips.

The following steps show you how to make your dynamic blocks do the things you just spent all this time teaching them to do:

  1. Insert a few blocks that contain some dynamic parameters, such as visibility or action parameters. If your block inserts don’t have any action parameters, go to Step 4.
  2. Select a block that includes some action parameters. The block insert displays a number of grips. If the insert displays only a single square grip, it isn’t a dynamic block.
  3. Click one of the custom grips. For example, clicking a round grip opens the rotation parameter of the object. Then you rotate the component as required.
  4. Select a block that includes a visibility parameter and then click the visibility grip. Choose the desired visibility state from the menu that appears. For additional information on manipulating actions and visibility states, look up Dynamic Blocks in the online help system.
Variations on dynamic blocks
Variations on dynamic blocks (original on the right, and a handy grip tip on a chair at left center).

Dynamic blocks are a powerful — and complicated — feature. Prior to AutoCAD 2010, the Block Authoring Palettes contained 10 selectable parameters, 8 actions, and 20 parameter sets. AutoCAD 2010 added 12 geometric constraints and 6 dimensional constraints. AutoCAD’s online help system is your best resource for more information on all the possibilities of dynamic blocks. The quickest and most direct way to AutoCAD’s own help on the subject is to type Dynamic Blocks into the Search box on the program title bar.