As mentioned last month, there are only two features in AutoCAD used more frequently than Layers. For the record, those other two features are Undo (sadly) and zooming/panning (which were lumped together into one feature.) Let’s continue down the road by exploring some other Layer tools that will help amp up your productivity! After all – don’t we just want to get our jobs done faster so we can focus on the more exciting aspects of design?
Putting object properties back to BYLAYER
If you are a well-behaved AutoCAD user – then you know the importance of drawing with the object properties set to BYLAYER. Occasionally, however, we come across drawings where the user was not so well behaved – and some objects have NOT been set to bylayer (yikes!) This can wreak havoc in a drawing file (and cause the CAD universe to spin off of its axis!) Not to worry – SETBLAYER to the rescue. This amazing tool can even fix nested blocks (the worst offenders) and return them to their happy BYLAYER state. SETBYLAYER can be found nestled in the Modify panel on the Home tab on the ribbon as seen below.
If you take a look at the video below – you’ll see the drawing has quite a few objects that are not set to BYLAYER including the dreaded nested blocks. While some objects such as polylines and text might be easy enough to fix, nested blocks can be quite cumbersome because you typically need to redefine the original block definition (and what a hassle!) Thankfully we can use SETBYLAYER to quickly set all objects back to BYLAYER.
Current active settings: Color Linetype Lineweight Transparency Material PlotStyle
Select objects or [Settings]: ALL
4 were not in current space.
Change ByBlock to ByLayer? [Yes/No] <Yes>:
Include blocks? [Yes/No] <Yes>:
107 objects modified, 2101 objects did not need to be changed.
You’ll have the opportunity to change the ByBlock option to Bylayer (Yes, please!) and of course those pesky nested blocks.
The Settings options allows you to specify exactly which settings you want to be switched to Bylayer. This is a wonderful tool – and it will save you lots of time!
Speedy Layer Navigation Tools
How about a super speedy way to change your current layer? Simply select the Make Current tool (LAYMCUR command) and select an object on the layer you want to be current. It doesn’t get much faster than that!
Did you accidentally put an object on the wrong layer? Match Layer (LAYMCH command) is a handy tool to quickly change an object from one layer to another by simply selecting an object on the destination layer.
Same idea – the Change to Current Layer tool (LAYCUR command) can be used to change one or more objects to the current layer very quickly! Note: This command is hiding under the Layer drop-down panel.
Also hidden in the Layer drop-down is a handy tool that lets you make a copy of an object and change it to another layer at the same time (kill two birds with one stone!) The Copy to Layer tool shaves an extra step off the process (once again – saving time!) You can even change the location of the copy! You simply select the objects you wish to copy to another layer and then indicate the destination layer by selecting it manually or by name as seen in the video below.
The Layer Walk tool (LAYWALK command) was a popular Express Tool that grew up to become an equally popular standard command. This tool makes quick work of exploring what resides on each of your layers (certainly much faster than turning layers on and off). It literally lets you walk through your layer list as it shows you what is on each layer. You can highlight the layers one at a time, select multiple layers or even reverse the process by selecting objects and have the correlating layers highlight in the Layer Walk dialog for you!
By far, however, is my all time Layer command favorite – Layer Delete (or LAYDEL). This powerful command also started out as an Express Tool for deleting those pesky layers that just refuse to purge (or delete). You know what I’m talking about – you’ve turned off all the other layers to see what could possibly be left on this one rebellious layer only to find nothing! You’ve tried everything but this layer still refuses to disappear from your CAD life…well now your AutoCAD wish is granted with this amazing command!
LAYDEL doesn’t care what’s on that impervious layer – and it is happy to remove it from your AutoCAD life. It doesn’t even care if it is referenced in a block definition – it will redefine that block on the fly and then proceed to delete that layer from your life. Now THAT is Power! Just remember…where there is power…there is danger! Use your new super powers for good!
And of course, there are two layers that LAYDEL won’t let you delete – 0 and defpoints (for good reason of course).
Be sure to try some of these Layer tips and you might just save yourself a little time here and there! Maybe you’ll have enough time to enjoy a well deserved latte (insert your afternoon drink of choice here!)
Until next time – Happy AutoCADding!