LT On-line: Lesson 10

30 Nov, 2000 By: Mark Middlebrook

Managing xrefs

Page 1: Introduction to Xrefs

My previous LT Online tutorial covered the basics of using xrefs-what they are, how to attach them, how AutoCAD handles layers and other named objects in xrefs, and how to avoid problems with xref paths and lost xref DWG files. This lesson covers additional ways to manage your xrefs using options in the Xref Manager dialog box.

The procedures described as show here in Figure 1 work with AutoCAD LT 2000 and 98 and AutoCAD 2000 and Release 14.

Figure 1.

Xref Manager dialog box options
In the previous lesson, you used the Attach button in the Xref Manager dialog box to attach a separate DWG file as an xref. The other buttons on the dialog box are:

List View / Tree View buttons. You can change between a List and a tree view of your drawing's external references by clicking the appropriate button at the upper left of the dialog box. (The figure 1 above shows list view, and figure 2 shows tree view.)

Figure 2.

You also can resize the list view columns by dragging the column dividers and resort the list by clicking the column header names, just as in other Windows dialog boxes.

Detach. Completely removes the reference to the external file(s) from your drawing.

Reload. Causes AutoCAD to reread the xrefed DWG file from the disk and update your drawing with its latest contents. This feature is handy when you share xrefs on a network and someone has just made changes to a drawing that you've Xrefed.

Unload. Makes the xref disappear from the on-screen display of your drawing and from any plots you do of it, but retains the pointer and attachment information. Use the Reload button to redisplay an unloaded xref.

Bind. Converts the xref into a block, thus removing the link to the external DWG file.

Browse. Lets you hunt for an xref that was moved from the folder where it was originally attached.

Save Path. Saves the path in the Xref Found At edit box. You use this button after you've changed the path in the Xref Found At box.

AutoCAD (but not AutoCAD LT) includes an additional xref feature called xref clipping. The AutoCAD Xclip command enables users to "clip" an externally referenced file so that only part of it appears in the parent drawing. AutoCAD LT doesn't include the Xclip command, but if you open a drawing that contains an xref that was clipped in AutoCAD, the clipped view is preserved.

AutoCAD (but not AutoCAD LT) includes another xref-like feature-the ability to attach raster, or bit-mapped, images to drawings. This feature is useful for adding a raster logo to a drawing title block or placing a photographed map or scene behind a drawing. AutoCAD LT can open, view, and plot drawings that contain raster images that an AutoCAD user has attached, but LT can't do the attaching. So if you need a raster image in your drawing, ask an AutoCAD user to place it there for you.

Next time: Change xref layer properties
I had planned to cover the mysterious VISRETAIN system variable and its affect on changes to xref layer properties this time, but you should have enough to chew on for one lesson. In the third and final xref lesson, I'll discuss how to control xref layers and a few additional xref minutiae that might come in handy in your office or at the next cocktail party full of CAD nerds!

Managing xrefs
  Page 1: Xref Manager dialog box options
  Page 2: Getting rid an xref temporarily and permanently
  Page 3: Binding xrefs
  Page 4: What you can't do with xrefs in LT

About the Author: Mark Middlebrook

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