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Get AutoCAD to Set Your Current Layer for You

14 Sep, 2015

Let’s face it, we are constantly changing our current layer while drawing. What if we could get AutoCAD to change our current layer for us?

Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how you can get AutoCAD to do some of the work for you – saving you some valuable drawing time!

Video Transcript

Hello there, this is Lynn Allen. Thank you for joining me for another AutoCAD tip, courtesy of Cadalyst magazine. I hope everybody is being nice to you this week. I'm going to be nice to you. I'm going to share with you a couple of tips that allow you to very quickly change your current layer, and in some cases, have AutoCAD change it for you.

Let's face it, we spend so much time changing from one current layer to another, and you know how I don't like having to do any extra picks or clicks, right? Let's make your life a little bit easier when it comes to layer.

First off, a few releases ago, AutoCAD added in this great option for hatching so that you can set a default layer for all of your hatching. It just automatically lands on that layer. All you have to do is go into the Hatch command. You have to be using the Ribbon. Hope you are using the Ribbon. There's kind of a top secret option underneath Properties that allows you to simply set it to Hatch Layer Override, so when you do hatching, it places your hatching on that layer. Then when you are all done hatching, it will put your current layer back to what it was before. It's awesome.

I'm going to go ahead and select Hatch, because well that seems like a logical layer to put your hatching on. From that point forward, I don't have to worry about setting my current layer for hatching. Love that, right? So there's one.

If you are in AutoCAD 2016, go to the Annotate tab, and you will see that they also added in an option for dimensions. You will see that there's a dropdown list so that I can set a default layer for my dimensions. Once again, when I do need dimensions, it will set that layer to be current. Then when I'm done, it puts the current layer back to what it was before. Now there is a trick though. There's always a catch, right? You have to use the new Dimensioning tool, which is so awesome, I don't know why you wouldn't. But it only works when you are using the new Dimensioning tool.

I wish I could tell you that there's also great option for text or blocks or whatever the situation is that you happen to be doing. For me, I find the fastest way, since we don't have those types of setups, if I want to make sure my text lands on the right layer, I want to drop the list down (once again, I'm lazy). There is a very cool option that I have talked about before that allows you to set your current layer based on objects. Very, very simple.

I'm going to click the LayMCur tool (I don't know how you say that -- click that tool right there on the screen), and then I'll go ahead and select, in this case, some text. It will make sure, you can see up here, it changed my current layer to that particular layer. Now it leaves it at that layer, so I can automatically put it back when you are done, I'm assuming, adding some more text to your drawing file. That's a super speedy way to also set your current layer.

Hopefully those three tips will come in handy, save you some time, give you some extra time to do more fun things in life like watch football. Hope everything is going well for you, and I'll see you back here in two more weeks. Thank you so much for joining me.


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Comments

Re: Get AutoCAD to Set Your Current Layer for You
by: Dan Jurado
on:
September 15, 2015 - 9:08am
The easiest way to edit the acad.pgp (pigpen) file is with the ALIASEDIT command. I even made a shortcut for it; AE. I use LC for "Layer Current" Put the PGP file in a drive you can get to from any computer that you use and add the path to the Working Support File Search Path in OPTIONS and you can get to it from anywhere. You should add the path to your TRUSTED LOCATIONS too. - It's not automatic but it's handy!
 
Re: Get AutoCAD to Set Your Current Layer for You
by: Dave__S
on:
September 14, 2015 - 5:39pm
I would say "Layer Make Current - named Lay-M-Cur" (in a likely vain attempt to avoid sounding like I am giving guidance to a randy mongrel). As an old-school command-line CAD user (when possible), I edited my Acad.pgp file so 'SL' launches LayMCur - I used to use a SL.lsp ('Set Layer') to accomplish the same thing. For those who have good typing skills, abbreviations stored in the Acad.pgp file are often the fastest way to commands. Make a backup copy of the stock version before you play with it the first time. Don't know where to find it? Autodesk and Microsoft have conspired to hide it well. First, in Windows Explorer (aka 'My Computer"), go to the View setting and make sure that 'File name extensions' and 'Hidden folders/items' are checked so they are visible (the 'AppData' folder is preset to hidden). See your operating system Help file for details but this is similar for XP/7.x/8.x. Now browse deeply to the formerly concealed folder. This path is a bit different for each release and each version of Autocad and it's verticals. Yes this means you have a separate Acad.pgp file for each version. I personally have not had problems copying a valid file from one Autocad version to another (e.g. 2012 to 2014 or Autocad to C3D) to avoid making the same change in multiple files. For this example, I am using base Autocad 2014, Acad/Map 2014 and Civil3D 2014 for path samples. Autocad 2014: C:\Users\"YourUserName"\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2014\R19.1\enu\Support\Acad.pgp Acad/Map 2014: C:\Users\dseslar\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3D 2014\R19.1\enu\Support\Acad.pgp Civil3D 2014: C:\Users\dseslar\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\C3D 2014\enu\Support\Acad.pgp In some of these folders, there are several Acad.___ files so having file extension on makes it easier for me to distinguish the file I want (.pgp). The Acad.pgp file is a simple ASCII text file that can be easily edited in Notepad. Avoid using Wordpad or MS Word - they likely will inject hidden formatting characters that will make the file unusable. The required pattern is fairly evident (e.g. A, *ARC) and the number of spaces between the comma and the asterisk (*) can vary between one and many without issues. You can change existing abbreviations to suit yourself - Autodesk won't know and other users with their own login have their own pgp files. For example, Autodesk decided long ago to use 'C' for Circle and 'CO' for Copy - since I copy far more than I create circles, I changed these to 'CI' for Circle and 'C' for Copy. If you duplicate abbreviations, the last definition created (lowest line in file) will be the one available. These do not need to be in alphabetical order by command or by abbreviation. Save your edits, restart Autocad and your new abbreviations are now available. What? You don't want to restart Autocad to get your new abbreviations? (END OF PART ONE)
 
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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

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