As you know, gCADPlus allows you to create drawings using standard object types such as lines, arcs, circles, and text. There are many situations when you need to create the same group of objects over and over again. Most landscape plans will include many instances of (say) the same plant species symbol. After drawing one, you can use the COPY command to avoid redrawing the others, but there is a better way. It involves the use of a special object type called a block.

A block is a single gCADPlus entity usually containing many other entities inside it. Think of a block as a 'super' object. You can create a new drawing of a plant symbol that contains several lines and arcs. You can then group them into a new object called BuxusHedge that you can copy, move, rotate, erase, and so on as though it were a single object. 

A block has a name, optionally a description and can simply be made up of a few lines and circles, or as complex as (say) a design for a complete courtyard. Symbols used to indicate the position of plants in a design are great examples of blocks, but seats, pavers, water features etc. are others.

Blocks save time

You only need to draw a block detail symbol once. Not only can you replicate it within the current drawing, but you can also easily share it with other drawings that use the same detail. Another advantage is ease of editing. If it becomes necessary to change to a different sink then you only need to revise the definition to automatically update all the sinks in the drawing.

Movie Learn how to make a block symbol, speed drafting and cut file size in landscape drawings.
Movie This movie provides an overview of the use of blocks in gCADPlus.

Block browse This movie discusses the use of in-built blocks - the library of plant symbols, details etc.- in gCADPlus landscape drawings.

gCADPlus Block library

gCADPlus contains many in-built blocks that are reached (and inserted) via the Library drop down menu. The figure below shows the gCADPlus Library drop down menu.


Tip: A number of the templates available when the New option is chosen to start a project also contain additional blocks.

The figure below shows the result of navigating to the sized group above and to the tall trees section within it. A block selection dialog box is open and the block called UPlantTallTree10 is highlighted (selected). A preview of the contents of the block shows at the right.

Tip: This block is in fact a separate gCADPlus drawing and is inserted into the drawing when you select the open option. 

Library blocks

In the figure below, the UPlantTallTree10 symbol is placed into the drawing. In the figure, once in place, it remains selected.

Insert block

Examining blocks in a drawing

There are a number of ways that can be used to determine the blocks in a drawing. Selecting the BL icon on the Format toolbar is perhaps the easiest.

Blocks selection

When selected, this BL option throws up the dialog box shown below. You can think of this dialog box as a block browse facility. Much useful information is displayed including the number of entities contained within the block and the number of instance of the block in the drawing.

Number of blocks

The block can be renamed, edited or inserted into the drawing. 

Creating a block in a drawing

The figure below shows that we have selected a circle and some lines and are about to make a block suitable for indicating a Grass Tree (Xanthorrhea spp)


Block command This movie shows how to create the Grass Tree block shown above inside a gCADPlus drawing.

Each block symbol can consist of elements on different layers. This enables the production of several plans from the one drawing, just by a mouse click, turning layers on and off as needed. Reusable symbols are of great value when it comes to details that normally accompany landscape drawings.

Blocks can be edited 'on the fly' using Block Edit. Make changes in the block and watch those changes being reflected in every instance of the block.

Clearing out unwanted blocks

Make efficient blocks

Block command Editing a title block in a landscape drawing that has come from the AutoCAD environment. We show how many AutoCAD users make inefficient blocks and greatly boost the drawing file size.