Those of you who are working with the new 2020 versions of the AutoCAD product family may have noticed an enhanced INSERT command.  In previous versions of AutoCAD-based products, the INSERT command would launch a dialog box containing options for selecting blocks and setting Insertion Point, Scale and Rotation.  The new enhanced INSERT command in 2020 introduced a BLOCKS palette, which appears on screen and includes tabs for selecting blocks defined in the current drawing, recent blocks, and blocks from other drawings.


Along with the tabs to access the blocks, the common Insertion Options for Insertion Point, Scale, Rotation and Explode are available down at the bottom of the palette with a new added function called “Repeat Placement” that allows you to continuously insert multiple copies  without having to repeat the command or copy the block.

For some, the new BLOCKS palette might take a little bit of time to get used to, but here are some tips:

  • Left-clicking on the block thumbnail is similar to selecting the block name from the drop-down list in the old Insert dialog box (it specifies which block you intend to use).
  • Setting the Insertion Options after you click on the block thumbnail will apply those options to the block you’ve selected for placement in the drawing (same as the bottom portion of the old Insert dialog).
  • Once you’ve clicked on the block thumbnail and set the insertion options through the BLOCKS palette, it’s business as usual for placing blocks in the drawing; left-click where you want the block to be, or zoom/pan to the pre-set Insertion Point that was specified in the options.

If you’re really not a fan of the enhanced INSERT command and the new BLOCKS palette, there is always the option to go back to the previous version of the command.  In a lot of cases, when commands are updated or enhanced in a newer version of AutoCAD products, the old version of the command is still accessible through the “classic” option.  This was also the case in the past with commands like Array, Layer and XREF, which are now displayed in the newer updated dynamic mode dialog boxes and Ribbon tabs.

To access the classic version of the INSERT command, type CLASSICINSERT at the command line.  What you’ll see is the old Insert dialog box that you might be more familiar with.

Insert dialog

The command shortcut “I” for INSERT has also been updated to refer to the enhanced INSERT command and will launch the BLOCKS palette when used.  If you want to reset this back to the old Insert dialog box, you can use the Command Alias Editor to edit the command shortcut and set “I” to CLASSICINSERT instead of INSERT.  Once you do that, your shortcut will go back to launching the old Insert dialog box instead of the new BLOCKS palette and you’ll still be able to get to the new BLOCKS palette by typing in the full INSERT command at the command line.

Alias edit classicinsert

If you’ve been working in 2020 and using the new BLOCKS palette, but aren’t quite used to it yet, or if you just want to get back to the old classic command, now you know what to do.  But I will say, give it a chance.  The more you use it, the more you might find that there are some added bonuses to the new BLOCKS palette.  The Other Drawings tab is like having a built-in link to the Design Center for pulling block definitions from other drawing files, and the Repeat Placement option could end up saving you some steps in your workflow when having to place multiple copies of the same block.

About the Author

Matt Miyamoto

Project Manager - Civil Solutions<br><br>With over 15 years of experience in the civil engineering industry, Matt provides training, consulting, technical support, and implementation strategies for organizations transitioning to Civil 3D. Matt is a licensed civil engineer, an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI) as well as an Autodesk Certified BIM Specialist: Roads and Highway Solutions. Additionally, Matt is an Autodesk Certified Professional for AutoCAD and AutoCAD Civil 3D.

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