By Dennis Collin
Layers are a key aspect of AutoCAD in that it allows users to sort their drawing data into ‘groups’ which can then be allocated display characteristics that make detailed drawings easier to read. This can include colour, line type pattern, line weight and transparency.
At times however, the number of layers can get a bit overwhelming, especially with coordination drawings which typically involve external reference files from consultants, which can result in several hundred to over a thousand layers! Layer filters can help us meet our deadlines and check that not only elements are placed on the correct layer, but also the appropriate layer settings are correct and visible prior to printing and issue.
As we can see in the example below, the use of filters makes the checking of layers much easier on the eye, than to review layers in an unfiltered list in the initial image.
Clicking on the layer filter manager lets us create layer filters so we can sift those hundreds of layers into a much shorter list, where we can then ascertain layers have been correctly set, on and plottable.
Common filters to set can include Locked Layers, Frozen, Non-Plottable and layers relating to annotation information such as text, hatches or dimensions.
For layer names, wild cards can be set for the name. E.g. to show any layers with the word text in the layer name, use a string *text*. The asterisk denotes any character. Question marks indicate individual characters. I.e.. ??Text will only show a layer with the word text with two preceding characters.
If External Reference Files (Xrefs) are being utilised AutoCAD automatically creates filters for each Xref drawing as the layers can literally double in quantity, compounding our layer management task.
Layer filters complement AutoCAD’s Layer State Facility which is discussed in a blog post here:
These tools are best saved in a template, so that they can be employed in a consistent manner with multiple projects. Indeed, a template is something that is discussed and demonstrated in all of our AutoCAD training courses.
For more details visit https://training.cadline.co.uk/ or give one of our team a call on 01784 419922.