Understanding the Autodesk Content Browser – Part 1

The Content Browser  included with AutoCAD Architecture has a tremendous amount of organization capability for a company when used for more than just the default installation.  It is a repository of tool catalogs, tool palettes,and tools that can be shared among AutoCAD Architecture users within a company.  To assist users who desire to understand and get more capability from the Content Browser, this is the first of a multi-part series of articles on the Content Browser.

While the Autodesk Content Browser gets installed during the AutoCAD Architecture installation process, it is a separate program that actually runs outside of AutoCAD Architecture.  That means that you can run the Content Browser without even having AutoCAD Architecture running.

The Content Browser works in conjunction with AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP, so it is possible to have information in the Content Browser for both software packages.  By default, each software package installs its own copy of the Content Browser and will point to different folders so one Content Browser does not show tools from the other software packages by default.  Tools in one Content Browser will not necessarily work in a different software package other than the one intended.

Why would I want to use it?

The primary reason to use the Content Browser is to make sure that all users in your company have access to and hopefully use the same tools.  We continually strive to improve speed, accuracy, and consistency within our companies and the Content Browser can help with that goal.  By using the Content Browser as our central location for shared tools and content, we can ensure that every member of our design team has access to the most up-to-date tools.

The following are some typical specific examples of usages for the Content Browser:

Custom Product or Project Type Palettes — Many architects work on a variety of types of projects which have varying needs, so you can create a group of palettes specific to a project type so users only see the tools used for that project type.   A set of palettes can be created for school projects, while another set of palettes can be created for strip centers, and yet another set of palettes can be created for homes.  Many companies have project teams that are divided into project types, so it makes logical sense to divide palettes into project types.

Project Specific Content — If you are using Projects and the Project Navigator, you can set things up so the only information seen in the Content Browser is the content desired for each specific project.

Office Specific Content — Many companies have more than one office and each office may have its own needs or desires for what is used in their office.  The Content Browser can be set up so that each office has its own section.

Custom AutoCAD Architecture Styles — Most companies have developed their own custom styles for the various object types, such as walls and doors.  You can use the Content Browser to separate out the company styles from the out of the box (OOTB) styles that come with AutoCAD Architecture.

Standardized AutoCAD Architecture Content — AutoCAD Architecture comes with a lot of content that is never used by many companies.  You can separate out the content that you actually use from the rest of the content.  AutoCAD Architecture ships with 13 different north arrows and how many companies really want the user to use all of those different arrows.

Standard AutoCAD Block Library — Even plain AutoCAD blocks can be put on palettes, so it is easy to organize your company’s existing AutoCAD block library into a section of the Content Browser.

Hatches — Everyone has their favorite hatch patterns that they use.  Put those on a palette with the correct properties so that everyone else can use the same hatch and be consistent.

Standard Detail Library – Company standard details, sections, etc so it is easy to organize your company’s detail library into a section of the Content Browser.

How do I get to it?

Because Autodesk Content Browser is a separate program, it can be launched from either outside AutoCAD Architecture or from within AutoCAD Architecture.

To launch the Autodesk Content Browser from outside AutoCAD Architecture, go to the Windows Start menu and go to All Programs -> Autodesk -> AutoCAD Architecture 2014 -> Autodesk Content Browser.

The AecCB.exe file in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2014\ACA folder is the file that is being executed, so you can also launch Content Browser by clicking on this file from within Windows Explorer. (Note that this file will be in a different location if AutoCAD Architecture was installed to a different location on your computer.)

To launch the Autodesk Content Browser from within AutoCAD Architecture, you can do one of the following techniques:

  • Type ContentBrowser at the command line; or
  • Press the CTRL and 4 keys simultaneously; or
  • Select the Content Browser button from the Content panel of the Insert tab.

What’s next?

The next article will address the organization of the Content Browser.  Read it here.

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One thought on “Understanding the Autodesk Content Browser – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Understanding the Autodesk Content Browser – Part 2 | Applying Technology to Architecture

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