Both Blocks and Groups are a collection of AutoCAD objects treated as a single object, so how do I determine when to use one over the other? The first thing you have to ask yourself is how you plan on using the objects. The main things to consider are; If you are going to need the set of objects to be (1) Used in multiple drawing (2) Include Attributes (3) Store it on a Tool Palette or Menu (4) Or be able to Search for the content, (like Content Explore… ). Then you want to use a BLOCK… If the set of objects are (1) Just for temporary use (2) Or if you need to have different variations on the set of objects (like similar design layouts…). Then you want to use a GROUP!

So what’s new with Object Groups…

Well Groups have been around since… well, AutoCADosaurus days; but the Groups were kind of underrated and hid deep in the menus like dust under the rug. But in AutoCAD 2012 Group functionality has been streamlined making it easier to use… and is now starring in the HOME Ribbon Tab on its comeback tour…

The Group tool replaces the traditional Object Grouping dialog box with a simple prompt to select objects. You have the option of providing a group name and description. The Ungroup tool ungroups the objects like Explode does for Blocks. You can use the Edit Group tool to add and remove objects or to rename the group. These tools are also available from the right-click menu when a group is selected.

A Group Selection toggle allows you to control whether objects are selected individually or as a group.

Tip: Shortcut Shift+Ctrl+A

Expanding the Group panel provides access to Group Manager dialog box as well as the Group Bound Box, which controls how groups are displayed. When enabled, AutoCAD displays a single grip and a bounding box around the group.

The Purge tool has been updated to support the purging of groups that contain no objects.

So what is the difference? Lots of things… The way they are Created, Stored and Used. But knowing this with help you decide on which is the best one to use and when!


  1. Good article. I generally like to use groups of blocks in individual drawings. For example, I will draw one bay of pallet racking, create a block of it, and then copy paste it for the whole row of pallet racking. I will then group that whole row together to be more easily manipulated.

  2. Sorry for the delay, The New Associative Array function might be worth taking a look at as well! (If what you said I pictured in my mind correctly.) It also allows independent editing of the content while still in Associative mode.

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