I recently discovered the power of using Sheet Sets with Fields in AutoCAD 2008. We have a project that requires us to use sequentially numbered sheets. The client also requires us to use those sheet numbers when referencing between drawings. Since we are still developing the set and may have to insert drawings into the sequence, we may have to renumber many of the sheets, so the dynamic nature of Fields will come in handy.
Let’s start with our Sheet Set. I created a sheet set and inserted all of the current drawings using the Import Layout as Sheet… command in the context menu of the Sheet Set Manager.
I renumbered and renamed all of the sheets to match my drawing list. Note that several sheets are missing (such as sheet 3). This sheet has not been created yet, but is planned. I will insert it once it is created.
Now I want to create a titleblock info block that will contain the sheet name and sheet number. To do this, open a new drawing, reference the titleblock in so as to position the text properly. Now type ATT to bring up the Attribute Definition dialog. Fill in the entries as shown.
Be sure to check “Preset”. Now you are ready to enter the Default Value as a Field. Click on the button with the two rectangles next to the Default entry, or right-click in the Default entry and select “Insert Field…”
The Field dialog box should pop up. Select “SheetSet” from the Field category, then pick “CurrentSheetNumber” (assuming we are defining the sheet number, of course). In this case, it doesn’t matter what you pick for format.
Now click okay and you should see “####” with a grey background. That means that this value is a field. Click OK and place your attribute in the appropriate location.
Now follow a similar procedure for creating the sheet Title attribute. This time when you select the field, select CurrentSheetTitle. Since my sheet titles in the Sheet Set Manager are in “title case” and I want them to appear as all uppercase in my sheet, I selected Uppercase for the format.
You can also include standard, non-field attributes for such things as Designed/Drawn/Checked, as usual.
Detach the referenced titleblock and save the file. I called mine _SAN_TTB_INFO.dwg.
Now I can go into a sheet and insert the info block into the sheet.
Because this sheet is in a sheet set, the values in the attributes are automatically filled in with the sheet number and sheet title. You can tell they are fields because they have a non-printing grey background.
Now let’s say I have a note in this sheet that references another sheet in the set. I want to make this note refer to this sheet no matter what the sheet number changes to. To do this, I start by editing the text, then right clicking where I want to insert the dynamic sheet number, and selecting “Insert Field…”
The now-familiar Field dialog pops up. Under the SheetSet category, I select SheetSet. The middle column will change to a list of sheets in my current Sheet Set. If it doesn’t, it may be necessary to select the current Sheet Set from the drop-down at the top. Now I can select the sheet in the set that I want the note to refer to, then select “SheetNumber” from the Property list in the right column.
Click okay and you’ll see the sheet number inserted into your note. Again, it will have a grey background to indicate that it is a Field.
Now let’s see how we can easily renumber our sheets. Let’s say I want to insert a sheet between sheets 9 and 10. First, I add the new sheet to the set using the Sheet Set Manager’s “Import Layout as Sheet…” tool. I’m not going to go into how to use this, as it should be fairly self explanatory. Another option would be to use the New Sheet tool.
Now the new sheet appears in the bottom of the sheet list. I can drag it up into the position between sheets 9 and 10. Now I need to renumber the rest of my sheets. To this, I right-click on sheet I just inserted, and select “Rename and Renumber…” from the context menu. Now it is a simple matter of changing the sheet number and title for this sheet, and renumbering the subsequent sheets using the Next button. Once it is changed in the Sheet Set list, all of the drawings’ Fields will automatically update.
It should be obvious that this method is quite a bit easier then going through the drawings and updating all of the titleblocks, notes, and callouts.