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Cross-Reference Drawing Files Successfully
Tip# 4304 By Danny Korem On 12-May-2014
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Categories : DWG
Software type : AutoCAD 2014
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This list of AutoCAD tips will help you with file sharing for the purpose of file referencing.

Here, frequent tipster Danny Korem shares a multitude of AutoCAD tips regarding file sharing for the purpose of file referencing.

Most of AutoCAD’s users work as a part of a design team, and cross-referencing is fairly common. We all use each other’s drawing files as background for our daily work and for checking on progress and modifications. The great thing is that if we replace older files with newer versions, we enable the workflow to keep flowing. Sometimes clients become frustrated when they try to attach a DWG file and it takes minutes, during which time AutoCAD does not respond properly. Here are the actions I take to help them:

  • Get rid of unused annotation scales. Try doing this as you maintain your files. If you get files that contain excess annotation scales, locate the ones designated custom in the list and delete all unnecessary scales (used scales are not to be removed), or reset to the list of scales governed by the list in options.
  • Avoid unreconciled layers. If layers have been created or added to a file you are trying to attach, AutoCAD will inform you about that, enabling you to take advantage of the layer filter, which is automatically generated. Select all the layers and right-click the Reconcile Layers option. Though it’s an option, if you do not reconcile those layers, they won’t plot.
  • Find and fix file problems by using the Audit option with the Yes option for Fix Problems. Only if you do it twice will you be able to tell whether the problems were fixed. Mark problematic files for future, deeper treatment.
  • Check to see if files were purged. I always purge my files, both in AutoCAD and in the e-transmit sessions. Yet, check it, especially if you have a routine for doing so automatically.
  • Remember that Purge won’t get rid of regapps, which need to be treated by –Purge or another app. I use the free app by Blackbox from the Autodesk Exchange.
  • Look for strange phenomena, such as a text style with no name, and get rid of the problem.
  • Zoom to extents and find out if some trash geometry or sketches were left behind. Unnecessary stuff is easy to get rid of. I opt to Erase All and then, using the Shift key, I unselect everything I’m going to leave as is.
  • If you’re attaching a multiple layouts DWG and you are using its model, you might like to get rid of the layouts.
  • Use the quick-select feature to get familiar with the file to be attached. This will give you an idea about the objects you might soon meet. Focus on clips, xclips, and so forth.
  • Don’t alter the design or touch the geometry! They are not yours. Their intellectual property status is identified by a logo, and even if the file is not protected by attached digital signatures, responsibility and rights both belong to another person or entity.
  • Check both your file and the file to be attached, and verify they are both saved in WCS. If you use units (and you should), check to see whether the file to be attached does the same to avoid messing with scales.
  • If you experience problems, you might consider attaching a PDF (only if created with DWG to PDF by Autodesk) since it is vector based and may contain layer information.

Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer R.K. McSwain: Whether you are the one sharing the file or the recipient, you’ll probably find something useful here. Nobody likes to receive a drawing file cluttered with useless information. Nice, clean drawing files make everyone’s job easier.
 

 

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User comments
Comment by Clack,Murray
Posted on 2014-05-12 13:31:50
One additional trick I like to use is to WBLOCK out only the information the second-hand party NEEDS. This works great in case you have a lot of layout tabs, previous versions of your designs "off-to-the-side", or things the second-hand party simply doesn't need.
Comment by Sanders,Richard
Posted on 2014-05-12 14:28:04
@Clack,Murray; IF you decide to take the more extreme measure of "WBLOCK" be sure to remember the step of making a no-plot layer active (Defpoints works fine as well) and draw a line starting at 0,0,0 - dump the other end wherever you feel convenient in the area of the drawing you are using. That way, when you xref the WBLOCK'd drawing back into your work, you have 'something' at 0,0,0 to establish your reference point. All: Another item for the quick-reference list: All drawings meant to be xref'd into other drawings should always use "Overlay" to bring in other drawings used as a reference within that xref (rather than "Attach"). *For instance: IF an xref named "X_Consultant-TradeA.dwg" brings in a site plan "X_Site.dwg" - perhaps with scaling, a floorplan "X_Floorplan_1A.dwg", a reflected ceiling plan "X_RCP_1A.dwg", and perhaps even *your* trade plan "X_Consultant-TradeB.dwg" for reference in adding work, ALL of those should not only use the same BASE point coordinate (0,0,0 being by far the simplest...), but they should also ALL be brought into "X_Consultant-TradeA.dwg" using "Overlay." If ConsultantA inadvertently uses "Attach" instead, perhaps by unwitting default, then every other person on the project using their drawing will end up with both their own xrefs AND their sheet drawings attempting to drag in EVERY ONE of those other xref'd files...some of which they may not even have, which slows down or occasionally locks up the works. Also, remember to always use "Relative" paths, so that everyone copying a copy of the project folder with all those drawings onto their own PC, or network drive, or WAN, or archive, will still be able to open the drawings! (...without detaching and re-attaching - after inevitable searching - all of the files xref'd into each sheet they wish to open)
Comment by Maeding,James
Posted on 2014-05-12 15:15:30
No one mentioned AEC objects of higher version being left in a file. We use the C3D Civil Batch Converter which essentially explodes the objects then wblocks all to a new drawing. Be sure UCS is on world, and INSBASE at 0,0 if you use it. Purging C3D styles is an issue also. I did a prog that deletes the ROOT node of drawing dictionary which is the styles. Very heavy handed if you needed the styles though. Perfect if you are not using C3D though. I tell firms to have 1 copy of C3D on sub though, just for converting files with the "explode aec objects" turned on. Curious if non-c3d products can explode the objects.... You can also use AcCoreConsole.exe to automate most of this cleaning with scripts if you want, and have acad 2013 or later. Its acad command line only, and faster than loading the graphics.


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