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Combine Xref Files Before Sending AutoCAD Drawings
Tip# 4383 By David Gaskill On 20-Oct-2014
Rated By 3 users
Categories : DWG
Software type : AutoCAD 2015
Rename File To : No Files to download.
Combine all of a drawing's xref files into one to make sending the file easier.

Do you ever have to send AutoCAD drawings with xrefs? Here is a tip for combining all the xref files into one file to make sending them easier.

While in a drawing with xrefs, activate the xref dialog box. I’m old-school, so I type in xref at the Command line.

In the xref dialog box, right-click the xref files below the top-level drawing, then select Bind — or you can use Insert. (The difference is in how the line types are handled. I like Bind.)

Notice how the file is added as a block to the original file.

If you used Bind, there will now be additional layers with the xref name in front of them. (If you use Insert, the xref name will not show up but the layers will).

This is handy when transmitting files with xrefs because it ensures that the files needed to open the top-level file will be there. Warning: This will affect the file size.

Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer R.K. McSwain: Prior to eTransmit, there was a tool called Pack n Go. Both of them will package up drawing files for transmitting to outside users. Sometimes these tools can be overkill, especially if you just have a few xrefs or none at all. David's tip here explains how to bind xref files into drawing blocks, so that everything will be contained in a single DWG file for easy file sharing.

See also tip #2251 and tip #3063.


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User comments
Comment by Amacher,Brian
Posted on 2014-10-20 14:00:08
I'm and old school student too. I remember when 'rubberbanding' lines was new. That said, binding can cause your client more greif than good, plus remove his control of the content. E transmit is the best anwser for 95% of anything sent out. Just put it all in one folder, they can bind it themselves if they wish too.
Comment by Estrada,John
Posted on 2014-10-20 18:31:14
Binding everything first is just nuts. Talk about messing up the integrity of the files! Here I e-transmit, run all those files through reference manager to strip paths (then DWG convert if necessary). It all gets bundled back up into one zip file. That file gets sent out for the consultant (or whoever) to use as they will. THEY can bind if they'd like but they are shooting themselves in the foot when they do as future updates will not be seamless.
Comment by Somppi,Robert
Posted on 2014-10-21 11:10:27
Sometimes files are sent for purposes other than coordination and binding XREFs can actually be the preferred way to exchange files. Also, ETransmit is capable of binding XREFs for you.
Comment by Troiano,Joseph
Posted on 2014-10-22 07:40:19
If you use ETransmit to bind Xrefs the Xrefs will not bind if they have errors in them and you won't know this because AutoCAD does not provide an error messages for this. If you must use ETransmit to bind Xrefs, use the Audit command on your Xrefs before using ETransmit. I agree with the other comments about not binding Xrefs and using ETransmit to place all files in a single Zip folder.
Comment by colaco,rui
Posted on 2015-08-25 23:12:47
Combine and get into a mess. Defeats the prupose of generating the drawings in X-ref in the first place. If it is only for review the send a dwf file.

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