Tips for Building and Customizing AutoCAD Palettes


Having too many options when shopping for a single item, can be a confusing exercise especially when the shopper has no clear cut choice from the variety of brands that are on display in a shops inventory.This confusion can also be used as an example to explain the questions that arise when an AutoCAD user is faced with a variety of tools for accomplishing the same task and as far back as 2004, Autodesk noted this possibility and provided its CAD software users with the option of customizing certain tools and features according to their particular tastes to ease the creative process.

One of the features that assists users in customizing workspaces, is the AutoCAD palette which allows a designer manage his or her tool blocks, hatches and other default tool sets.

Understanding Tool Palettes

On opening the tool palette menu, you would be met with different parameters and folders that can each be manipulated to provide you with the ability to carry out more advanced customization but utilizing this is not recommended due to the possibility of causing more harm than good toyour CAD software’s workspace. Therefore, customizing or creating a tool palette with already designed/created tools is the best way to simplify the task of customizing a palette.

Customizing a Palette

A tool palette can easily be created by following these steps:

  • Navigate to the Tool Palette and right click on its menu bar and a list of customizable palette groups will be shown.
  • Choose the group you want to customize such as “architecture” by selecting it and it would be activated.
  • Now, select customize palette by right clicking on the tool palette’s menu bar and a dialog box will be opened containing two columns; the left column shows the user all the available palettes while the right column shows how each palette has been grouped as well as the groups available in each palette.
  • Next, right click on the left column which brings out its own menu, select “new palette” from the menu and re-name it as “my new architectural tool group” or whatever your choice of words is
  • Visit the right column and search for your new group, if you do not find it there, select the group and manually transfer it into the right column by dragging it across.

Adding Objects or Tools to a Palette

You can add tools to your new tool palette with the following methods:

  • Dragging objects: AutoCAD softwareallows the user to drag geometric objects such as; lines, circles and polylines, different dimension, hatches, gradient fills, blocks, x-refs and raster images into a customized palette group.
  • Selecting blocks, drawings and hatches from the design center and then dragging them into your tool palette. Drawings taken from the data center or anywhere else into the tool palette become inserted as blocks
  • Inserting Commands: you can also include command tags onto your tool palette by using the customize dialogue box to them into your palette
  • The command user interface (CUI)editor in the CAD software interface can also be used to drag commands into your palette from the command list pane or menu

Rearranging Tools and Tool Palettes

Finally, when you have selected the tools you need and placed them into your palette, you can further organize your customized tool set by dragging them according to a set pattern or by sorting. You can also add text and separator lines to a tool palette to further customize the tool palette.

Note that sorting on the AutoCAD software can be done by right clicking on the tool palette and selecting sort by name or type to automatically sort your chosen tools.