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Filter via Layer Names
Tip# 3794 By Nick Antonov On 11-Dec-2011
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Categories : Layer Tools
Software type : AutoCAD 2012
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Senior GIS Draughtsman Nick Antonov talks to us about AutoCAD layer filters.

"When I am working on a complex drawing with few xrefs attached and lots of layers, I'd like to manipulate the object properties by layer (color, linetype, etc.). However, when there are a lot of layers and the prefix of the xref is added to the layer name in the Layer Manager, it's not easy to choose layers by name similarities (for instance, all layers that have Road or Civil in the name).

"When I am using the Search field in the Layer Manager along with a wild card (*), I can only filter layers containing specific strings of characters. For example, *road will display any layer that has road at the end of the name, and road* will show any layer that has road in the beginning, but *road* will show any layer that has road at any position in the name.

"One wish for future releases of AutoCAD relates to the Layer Properties Manager: It would be nice if one could filter and browse layers that exclude specific features, as we can with layers that include specific features. Currently, we can click on the tree of layer filters in the filter column: All Layers, All Used Layers, and Xref Layer (which displays only xref layers; by expanding the tree one can show only layers of specific xref attached). I haven't found a way to show only layers in the drawing that aren’t xref layers."

Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol:
Filters are a very useful tool when you're working with a plethora of layers. They are fairly easy to set up: Open the Layer Manager and click the New Property Filter button. Select the attributes you would like in this filter. To filter by name, use a wild card, which takes the place of other text in the name and is represented by an asterisk (*). AutoCAD will ignore all text in the layer name until it finds what is after, or before, the asterisk. You can use more than one asterisk.

You could set up a filter that includes all of your annotation layers that are set to not plot. Try *anno*nplt* (assuming your annotation layers have the anno text and that nplt is in the layer name). There is an option to select the no plot setting in a layer. Now to answer the tipster's wish list item: There is a way to exclude items from a filter. Create a filter to include the items you want to exclude, like *COGO* for example. This will show all layers with the text COGO in it. Now in the Layer Manager, at the bottom, click the Invert Filter button to turn it on. This will reverse the filter to exclude layers with the filter criteria in it. Select the Xref Layer filter, then turn on the Invert Filter option to show all layers that aren’t in an xref!


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User comments
Comment by Chafee,Cedric
Posted on 2011-12-12 16:37:49
The tilde ~ is the "exclude" function in the Layer Filters. I have set up a "Non-Xref" filter with "~*|*" in the layer name area and it works like a charm. This has worked for our company for several years.