Understanding the Autodesk Content Browser – Part 5

This is Part 5 of a multi-part series on the Autodesk Content Browser.  This article will address how to add tools and tool palettes to the Content Browser.

Part 1 of the series addresses why you would want to use the Content Browser and how to get to it. Read it here.

Part 2 of the series addresses how the Content Browser is organized. Read it here.

Part 3 of the series addresses the library to which the Content Browser will look.  Read it here.

Part 4 of the series addresses adding a catalog to the library and how to make catalogs available to users.  Read it here.

The most important part of using the Content Browser is having appropriate tools and tool palettes contained within it.  That is where the true power of the content browser comes into play as it gives accessibility to those tools deemed important to be shared with others.

Often you will want to have palettes in the Content Browser that will contain your desired tools.

Add a Tool Palette to the Content Browser

Adding an Existing Palette

Browse to the desired location in the Content Browser and drag an existing palette from AutoCAD Architecture to the Content Browser.   Pick on the palette tab name to drag the palette.

Content Browser Copy Palette

Palettes must be copied one palette at a time to the Content Browser.

Adding a New Palette

Select the New Palette icon in the lower left corner of the Content Browser to create a new palette in the Content Browser at the current location.

Content Browser Create Palette

Add Individual Tools to the Content Browser

You must create or modify a tool on a tool palette in AutoCAD Architecture versus inside the Content Browser.  After creating the tool, pick on the tool and drag it to the desired location in the Content Browser.

Content Browser Copy Tool

If the same tool already exists at that location in the Content Browser, a duplicate will be created.

Bulk Tool Catalog Generator

Autodesk has provided a great tool for us to use to quickly and effectively create tool palettes in the Content Browser.  It allows us to quickly place a large quantity of object styles into the Content Browser so that they are easily accessible.

On the Manage tab, go to the Customization panel and select the drop down arrow next to the panel name.  From the extended list that appears, select the Generate Tool Catalog option.

Content Browser Generate Tool Catalog

The following dialog box appears:

Content Browser Populate Catalog

In the upper left corner of the dialog box, select the “Create a new catalog” option if you desire to create a new catalog.  You will also need to give the new catalog a unique name and choose the location to place the catalog (.atc) file.  By default, it goes to your local “My Documents” folder, but you will likely desire to place this on the server where other users can access the catalog.

Content Browser Populate New Catalog

Next you need to specify where you get the information to place in the new catalog.  In the upper right corner of the dialog box, you must specify whether you want to create the catalog from only one drawing or from all drawings in a folder.

  • If you desire to use all of the drawings in a folder, then you will need to specify the folder that contains the source drawings.
    • All drawings in the folder will be used, so make sure that only files you want to use are in the folder.
    • Any drawings in nested sub-folders will also be used.

Content Browser Populate From Folder

  • If you desire to use just one source drawing, then you will need to specify the one drawing file that contains the desired information.

Content Browser Populate From Drawing

You will next specify how you want to organize the information in the catalog.  You can either group the tools by the source drawing or by the object type.

  • This is a very important decision as you want the users to easily find the tools that they will need.  There is not necessarily a right way or wrong way as it depends on your company’s preferred way of organization.
  • If you organize them by object type, a category will be created for each object type.
  • If you organize them by source drawing, a category will be created for each source drawing.
  • When you choose either one of the options, then you will need to choose whether you desire to organize them into Categories or into Palettes.
    • There are advantages to either option, so make sure that you understand how Categories differ from Palettes.
    • If both options are enabled, the catalog is first grouped by the drawings and then by the object type, generating categories from the drawings, and palettes from the object types.  This can be very handy when you have many of the same object types to organize.

Content Browser Populate Tool Org

You will next specify what type of information you want to be placed in the catalog.  Any or all of the objects shown below can be added to a catalog.  Select the objects for which you desire tools in the catalog.

Content Browser Populate Tool Objects

Pick the OK button to start the process of creating the tools.  Depending on the quantity of drawings and the quantity of object types selected, it can take several minutes to process the files so you will need to be patient.  The following dialog box appears during this process.

Each category and each palette is created in its own ATC file. The category and palette .atc files are placed in the Palettes or Categories subfolders within the folder where the new catalog is created.

What’s next?

The next article will address how to update palettes that have been shared from the Content Browser.  Read it here.

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