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General Xref Tips
Tip# 3258 By Carl Lowrey On 16-Aug-2009
Rated By 1 users
Categories : DWG
Software type : AutoCAD 2010
Rename File To : No Files to download.
This tipster provides suggestions for locking xref layers, scaling, hiding layers, and more.

Carl Lowrey provides a few tips to help us use referenced files in AutoCAD.

"It's Winter here in the southern hemisphere, so we are very much in work mode. Here are a few xref tips in response to your request. Hope these tips can be useful for some. Cheers!

"Lock your xref layer: If you lock the layer where the xref is inserted, not only will the xref be unmovable but the colors will also change to halftone, making it much easier to distinguish between the xref linework and your linework.

"Hide xref layers: To quickly hide all those extra xref layers in your drawing, select the xref tree in the filters browser in Layer Properties Manager and check the Invert Filter box in the bottom left corner. Now only your layers in the drawing will be displayed.

"Scaling: A common problem encountered by inexperienced users is xrefs not loading at the right scale/position. Before importing the xref, make sure the drawing units insertion scale (type Units on the Command line) is set to the correct units for both the drawing and the xref.

"Attachment or overlay? The Reference Type options when inserting an xref are often overlooked. Using Attachment will insert an xref and allow it to be nested if the drawing is subsequently xref'd into another file. Overlay will attach the selected xref, but it will be ignored if the file is subsequently xref'd. I always encourage my users to use the Overlay option, otherwise many files could get xref'd and cross-xref'd in to files and clutter up layer manager.

"Further to this, using Tree View (F4) in the External Reference tool palette, rather than List View (F3), will better show which xref files have nested xrefs."

Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: Locking the layer your xref is on can be very helpful. It brings up a great point and that is to create a layer that only holds your xref. You can have one layer that holds all xrefs or you can create as many as you need. Do what your drawing or project requires. Tip two will help you when managing your layers. Referencing drawings can add a ton of layers in the Manager. Use a filter. Inserting reference files means that they are drawn in the same units and the same coordinate system. Just be careful.

In Tip four, Carl discusses files referenced as Overlays or Attachments. Attachments will carry through when that file is referenced and you may or may not want that. Overlay is best. That way the other files can still be referenced if both files are needed in one. Let the other users decide if they want both files. Nobody likes a freeloader!


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User comments
Comment by jackson,brandon
Posted on 2009-08-17 15:46:08
While locking the xref layer has it's own uses, using it to fade an xref isn't needed anymore in AutoCAD2010 as it has it's own built in xref fade control. You have to be careful sometimes, an xref on a locked layer can be almost invisible if both are set to fade.
Comment by jackson,brandon
Posted on 2009-08-17 15:48:32
Lynn Allen of Autodesk did a nice blog on XLIST recently, http://lynn.blogs.com/lynn_allens_blog/2009/07/an-autocad-hip-tip-on-listing-nested-xref-layers.html
Comment by Hirschklau,Mitchell
Posted on 2009-09-07 09:12:15
One more thing: It's good CAD practice in general, and very good practice with respect to files which are to be XREF'ed into other files, to PURGE the file to be XREF'ed of any unnecessary or unused layers, blocks, etc., etc. Anytime we associate an XREF with a drawing we are also adding dozens and dozens of layers to manage. Obviously, then, if we can limit our XREF files to only the layers actually used, we can reduce a fair amount of our Layer Management "housekeeping." This seems like a "small" thing, until you multiply the additional time and labor by viewport after viewport, drawing after drawing, and project after project. In general, this is good practice whether drawing is supposed to be a XREF file or not. Drawings which have been purged of unused layer, linetypes, blocks, etc. load faster, save faster, and e-transmit faster.