Like I’ve said before, there are multiple ways to setup Sheet Set Manager (SSM). This post shows just one way to do it. I setup SSM with AutoCAD 2008 for Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Transportation using this method.
The first thing I did was take our standard title block and prepare it for use in Sheet Set Manager. To do this I started a new drawing, and inserted the title block linework and text into the layout tab.
Then I went through the text in the title block and converted them to fields (command: FIELD) by editing the text (command: DDEDIT), deleting the text, right-clicking, and selecting “Insert Field…”.
Notice that I selected a field called “CurrentSheetSetCustom”. This allowed me to create my own field that would apply to the entire sheet set. In this case, I wanted a field called “Project Title” to be placed in every sheet. You can create as many of these as you would like. For example, we needed a field for our plan set serial number, project work authorization numbers, project phase, and total number of sheets.
There is also a field called “CurrentSheetCustom”. This field applies to fields that would be custom for each sheet such as a sheet title, drafter initials, etc.
TIP: When setting up your sheet set don’t forget about standard fields built into SSM such as “CurrentSheetNumber”, “CurrentSheetDescription”, etc. Before making a bunch of custom fields, take a look at what SSM offers already.
You can create as many of these custom fields as you need. Later on, when you create your DST file, you will need to remember the names of your custom fields so they match in both the DST and the DWT.
When I was finished I saved the drawing as a DWT and changed my options (command: OPTIONS) to look for it as my default Sheet Set template.
Now that my basic template was finished, I went on to create a standard DST file, the database file that goes with your DWT.
To do this type NEWSHEETSET on the command line. Select the “existing drawings” option.
Type the name of your standard sheet set and select the location where it will be stored.
Then click the “Sheet Set Properties” button. You will get a box that looks similar to this:
Click the “Edit Custom Properties…” button to setup your custom properties. Click the “Add…” button:
Type the name of the custom property into the “Name” field. This should match a FIELD name in your DWT.
TIP: When adding custom field names, look at the “owner” section of the dialog box to tell SSM whether the field applies to the entire sheet set or only to a single sheet. Some fields apply to the entire sheet set (such as a project title) while others apply only to a single sheet (such as a sheet title).
Keep adding custom properties until you have all that you need that match your FIELDs in your DWT. Click OK to get out of the Sheet Set Properties dialog box.
Click “Next >” in the Create Sheet Set dialog box to bypass the “Choose Layouts” section. Since this is going to be a standard DST, you don’t need any layouts yet.
Save both the DST and DWT together someplace where drafters can access to use as a starting point.
Using Sheet Sets
Instead of writing out the process of using Sheet Set Manager, let me show you how Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Department of Transportation use it. I wrote this documentation for training purposes: Download SPU/SDOT Sheet Set Manager documentation…
I have just covered the basics here. There is so much more that Sheet Set Manager can do, including cross-referencing blocks (I touch on this in the SPU/SDOT documentation link above), publishing, archiving, and so much more…
Setting up Sheet Set Manager properly can take hours, but once setup, it saves a lot of time and money on your projects. I would encourage you to dig into the AutoCAD help file, Autodesk’s online documentation (link shown below), AutoCAD discussion groups, and AutoCAD blogs to learn all you can.
Autodesk has written some really good documentation called Sheet Set Manager Best Practices Series…
Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, check out Heidi Hewett’s documentation on setting up and using Sheet Set Manager…
Third Party Add-Ons
I haven’t tested this yet, but JTB World has a Sheet Set Manager Properties Editor that allows you to quickly edit properties on multiple sheets. This looks like a very cool idea!
If you have any questions or comments, leave them here. We can learn from each other. I would love to hear about how you are using Sheet Set Manager on a day-to-day basis.