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    By Dennis Collin

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    When working with certain complex drawings, it can be difficult to resolve specific annotation items such as dimensions and text. AutoCAD will generally tend to place elements that are drawn or modified last to the top of a list of objects called the draw order. Exceptions exist in the case of hatch elements, which by default go behind their respective boundaries and text, dimensions and other annotations which go to the top of the draw order list for ease of reading and selection.

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    The Draw Order list can be controlled by the Draw Order function where users can specify exactly how elements are displayed on screen and printed.

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    AutoCAD has a system variable controlling the display behaviour of elements. The system variable is called DRAWORDERCTL and is set within the AutoCAD drawing with a default setting of 3. If set to zero, then elements may not display correctly during editing sessions or at final print time.

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    This setting can be checked by typing DRAWORDERCTL at the command prompt. If necessary, set the value to 3. Bear in mind that this variable is set by document, so it is worth checking the variable with any new drawings that are introduced to a project that have come from an external source.