AutoCAD groups: Complete details and why you should use them

Updated on February 8, 2024 by Jaiprakash Pandey, Affiliate Disclosure

AutoCAD groups are like collection of many objects that act as a common unit.

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There are some great advantages to working with groups, such as the ease of copying the same components within the same drawing without selecting each object individually.

For example, instead of separately selecting and copying 50 items of blocks, you can add 50 items into one group, then just select the single group and copy it as you intended.

You can also name these groups to make them easily identifiable.

In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to create groups, ungroup objects, modify groups, and other options.

If you prefer here is the video version of this article.

Additionally we have covered everything about making groups and more in full detail in our AutoCAD beginners course as well.

Creating Groups in AutoCAD

To explain all about groups I will be working with a coffee table, a reception table, and a conference table set as shown in the following image.

AutoCAD groups

The main objective is to make groups from the individual blocks of chairs and tables work as one object.

You can access the group command from the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel as shown in the following image.

Alternatively, in your command line, type “GROUP” and hit Enter to activate the group command.

Once the command is active, in the command line, you will have two options: “Name” and “Description.”

The first option, "Name” is used to give a name identifier to the group, while the second option is used to give more information about the group.

You can select “Name” by either clicking on it using your mouse cursor or typing N on your keyboard, then hitting enter. 

You will be required to enter the name of the object in the command line, in this case, name it "TABLE1” and then press Enter.

AutoCAD will then require you to select the objects that you want to include in the “TABLE1” group.

So highlight the four chairs and the table from the coffee table set, then press Enter.

If you click on any object from the coffee table set you will notice that a bounding box appears outside the coffee table set and all the objects of the set will be selected.

Congratulations! You have made your first group.

You are in a position to copy the group anywhere within your workspace as if it were a single object instead of multiple objects.

Modifying a group in AutoCAD

After making a group you can still add or remove objects in it without breaking it.

Let's see how it is done in the following steps.

Adding Objects to Groups

In your command line, type GROUP and hit Enter to activate the group command.

Once the command is active, select “Name” and enter the name of the object in the command line as CTABLE then press Enter.

For this case, select all the chairs on the top and bottom sides of the table and ignore the chairs on the left and right-hand sides, as illustrated below.

After selecting the AutoCAD blocks, press Enter to include them in the “CTABLE” group.

The goal is to now add the exterior chairs to the “CTABLE” by manipulating the existing group.

In the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the “Group Edit” option.

Once the command is active, in the command line, you will be required to select a group or a name.

Don't select a name and instead click on any element of the “CTABLE” group from the drawing area, and in the command line, it will be updated as shown below.

Select the first option, “Add objects” by either clicking on it using your mouse cursor or clicking on A on your keyboard, then hitting enter.

Now click on the exterior chair objects that you want to add to the group then press Enter.

Now the “CTABLE” group contains all the blocks you have selected, as shown below.

Removing objects from groups

If you want to remove some chairs from the “CTABLE” group the workflow will be quite similar.

In the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the “Group Edit” option again as shown in the following image.

Once the command is active, in the command line, you will be required to select a group or a name.

For this case, instead of clicking on the group from drawing area select the option “Name” from the command line by either clicking on it using your mouse cursor or by typing N on your keyboard and then hitting enter.

Still on the command line, specify the name, which in your case is “CTABLE” for the “Conference table” group, then press enter.

You will see in your workspace that your group will be highlighted, and in the command line, you will have several options.

Select the option “Remove object” by either clicking on it using your mouse cursor or clicking on R on your keyboard and then hitting enter.

Then click on the specific chairs you want to be removed from the “CTABLE” group, then press enter.

Now if you select the "CTABLE" group the removed chairs won't be selected as they are no longer part of the group.

Creating Unnamed Groups in AutoCAD

So, far we created groups with proper names but you can create groups in AutoCAD without assigning any name to them.

In the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the “Group” option again.

Once the command is active, in the command line, you will be required to select the "name” or "description” of the group you want to create.

But in this case, for creating unnamed groups, you should not select either of the options.

Instead, directly select the objects that you want to group, for our case I will select the “Reception table” set and then press Enter.

Now a new unnamed group is created, and if you click on the grouped objects, you will still see them as having been grouped.

AutoCAD groups

Additionally, if you were to select on objects then click on the “Group” command, AutoCAD will create an unnamed group by default.

Creating a group on top of another group

If you want to create a group from existing groups in AutoCAD, it is also possible.

As an example we will create a new group named “Atable” to capture all the groups (that is, the CTABLE, table 1, and the unnamed group) into one common group.

Simply use the same steps for creating groups as explained in detail above, but in the section of selecting the objects, select all the objects included in all the groups as shown below.

So, in the command line, in the option for “Name” input the name as "Atable,” then press enter.

And just like that we have a group that has multiple groups within itself

Ungrouping Groups in AutoCAD

If you want to go back to the original configuration of the objects acting as individual units, then use the ungroup command.

On the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the “Ungroup” option as shown in the following image.

When the AutoCAD command is active, you will be required to select a group or a name.

You can select any member of the group by clicking on it, and that is it.

For this case, we will ungroup the “Atable” group.

So, after selecting the Ungroup command from the Group panel simply select any object of the "Atable" group and the group is now ungrouped.

After ungrouping, separate smaller groups will be formed again as shown in the following image.

You can further ungroup these smaller groups to get the individual drawing objects.

Group selection on/off

This option is quite helpful when you want to modify some of the members of the group and do not want to destroy the existing group.

In the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the “Group selection On/Off” option to toggle between the “on” and “of” options to select the group.

For example, you can modify the conference table without affecting the entire group, as illustrated below.

Group Bounding Box

This simply acts as an illustration of a bubble that shows the items that are within the group, although if you opt not to see it, you can simply toggle it on or off.

In the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the More Options arrow and click on the “Group Bounding Box” option to toggle between the “on” and “off” options, as illustrated below.

If you click on the group when the bounding box is toggled off, all the members of the group will be selected, but there will be no box surrounding the group members.

Note: When the bounding box is active, there will be only one grip point, but if the bounding box is inactive, there will be multiple grip points for the group.

In the image shown below the bounding box is shown in the image on left and there is no bounding box on the right image.

Working with the Group Manager

Now that you know about making, modifying and breaking the groups its time we talk about some advance group related tools of Group Manager.

You can activate the “Group Manager” either by typing in the command line CLASSICGROUP.

Alternatively from the “Home” tab under the “Groups” panel, click on the drop-down menu, and you will find the “Group Manager” command as shown in the following image.

I will guide you on how to navigate through Group manager in mainly 4 parts as illustrated below.

Part 1: Group Name

You will find the “Display list” which lists all the different groups you have in the drawing.

As shown in the illustration above we have TABLE1 and CTABLE groups that we created in previous examples.

The unnamed group is within the list, although it is usually hidden unless the “Include Unnamed” option under “Group Identification” panel is checked.

If you see a group name starting with an asterisk (*), it is an ‘Un-Named’ group.

Part 2 and 3: Creating a new group using the Group Manager

Under “Create group,” you have three options.

The first is “New <", clicking this button will create a new group.

For this case, in "Group Identification” panel input the name of the new group as “A_Table,” then click on “New <".

You will then be prompted by AutoCAD to select the items you want to add to that “A_Table” group, so select the “TABLE1, CTABLE and the Unnamed group” members and press Enter as illustrated below.

Just like that, you have created your new group, “A_Table” from the group manager option, then press “OK” to save changes.

Note that AutoCAD does not allow the names of the groups to have a space between words.

For example, AutoCAD will find the “A Table” name invalid but the “A_Table” name valid.
 
Additionally, you can create multiple groups within the Groups Manager, then press on “OK” to save all the multiple groups at once.

Part 4: Ungrouping or Exploding Groups Using the Group Manager

In the Group Manager, you can delete an existing group(s) using the “Explode” option found under the “Change group” panel.

When you use this option, it will not behave like the typical “explode” command that is used to explode geometries within the drawing.

This option just removes the grouping geometries, and the components within the group remain intact.

To delete a group, launch the Group Manager then from the “display list,” select the group that you want to delete.

In this case, select "A_Table” then, under the “Change group” section, click on "Explode” then "OK” and the group will be deleted.

Only the items within the group will be left intact and the initial group will be deleted from the list, then press “OK” to save changes.

Following animated image shows this in action.

More settings in Group Manager

The Group Identification panel has options using which you can edit the name and description of the group and make other settings.

Find Name

Settings such as “Find Name <” in the group identification panel will come in handy when you are working with multiple groups and you are not sure which component falls in which group.
 
So, by selecting this option, you can click on the component in the drawing, and it will give you the group’s name.

Highlight group objects

"Highlight<” option in the group identification panel comes in handy when you want to clearly show the components of the selected groups in the display list.
 
Before using the highlight option, it is always best to check the “Include Unnamed” checkbox, then “zoom extents” of your workspace to see the highlighted group.

Remove objects

“Remove <” option of "Change Group" panel removes already selected components from the selected group in the display list.

Add objects

“Add <” option of "Change Group" panel adds to the already selected components in the selected group in the display list.

Rename groups

"Rename” option of "Change Group" panel allows the renaming of the selected group in the display list to something new.

You will have to modify the displayed name in the “Group Name” section to see the changes.

Re order groups

If you want to change the order of selection of the items in the group, you can use the “Re-Order” option of "Change Group" panel.

It means that different components are given different orders when creating the group.
 
Once you click on the “Re-Order” option, a pop-up window of “Order Group” will appear, and you can select the group name from the display list and remove the position, enter new position numbers for the object, or select the number of the object.

Highlight group objects
 
Additionally, you can highlight the specific components in the workspace that you want to re-order using the “Highlight” option of "Change Group" panel.

Reverse group order

If you click on the “Reverse Order” option, it will just reverse the order number of the components in the group.

For example, if the order number was 1, 2, 3, once the option is selected, the new order number will be 3, 2, 1.

Description for the groups

If you want to update the description of any group, just select it from the Display list of Group Manager, then type in your description and click on the “Description” option in the “Change Group” section.
 
Selectable Option

By making your group selectable, it creates a boundary that helps in selecting the group when working in the workspace.
 
Well, sometimes it can be annoying when you want to modify your drawing, but the moment you click on the group components, you are met by a constraint that does not allow you to move one component at a time.
 
That is where this option comes in handy.

You can change the group to make it non selectable by selecting the group in the display list, and then click on the “Selectable” option in the “Change Group” section.

You will notice that once you click on the “Selectable” option, in the display list, the column for “Selectable” will change from “Yes” to "No”.

When it shows "No” it means that you can now select different components in the group without it being treated as a typical “block”.

After making these changes click "OK” to close the Group Manager palette.

Frequently Asked Questions

So by now you have a good idea of how to create groups, modify groups and even deleting them, let's answer some of the questions that you might have:

What is the difference between Groups and Blocks in AutoCAD?

The main difference between groups and blocks in AutoCAD is that groups are more flexible for dynamic, on-the-fly organization, while blocks provide a structured and reusable approach for creating libraries of content.

However, their main similarity is that both groups and blocks help organize objects in AutoCAD.

How to Convert AutoCAD Groups to Blocks?

Simply use the create block command to convert the group into a block, but AutoCAD will continue to recognize the components as a group in the Group Manager.

Locate the “Create Block” command located in the “Home” tab with the “Block definition” panel.

Then highlight your group, for this case the “TABLE1” then go through the block options, press on “OK,” and you will have a block created from the group.

The group will not be deleted from AutoCAD, rather, both the group and the newly created block will exist.

How to Copy, cut, and paste AutoCAD groups?

When a group is either copied (Ctrl+C) or cut (Ctrl+X) and then pasted (Ctrl+V) in the same workspace or even another workspace, it loses the grouping settings.

The only way currently to reserve the grouping settings is by using the “Copy” command within AutoCAD to create duplicates of the groups you want.

Alternatively, using the “Mirror” command works as well.

Summary

That is how you can create groups in AutoCAD, modify them, and even use more refined options like the Groups Manager to streamline your design process.

There is quite a lot more about AutoCAD groups that we have covered in our AutoCAD beginners course.

Let me know in comment area down below which of the mentioned group options you are planning to use in your drawing workflow.


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