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As we have seen when we place geometry on a layer, it looks like that layer. For instance, if I draw a circle on a green layer, the circle appears green. if I draw a rectangle on a layer that has a hidden line type, the rectangle will have a hidden line type. This is because my geometry has a ByLayer property applied to it. ByLayer means the layer settings dictate how our objects look. Now, I have got a drawing open on my screen, and this drawing contains no geometry, but it does have a few layers.
To view the layers, I am going to use the Layer Properties Manger. Mine is currently anchored to the interface. If yours is not visible on screen, you can always click this icon to turn on the Layer Properties Manager. I am going to hover to open this up. As you can see, I have four layers in this drawing. Each of these layers is a different color and some of these layers have a different line type. I am going to move off the palette and allow it to collapse, and if we look at the Layer control, we can see the current layer is layer part.
Let's start by creating a circle. I'll launch the Circle command, and I'll pick my center point right in the middle of the screen, and then I'll free pick a point to define my radius. Notice how my circle is taking on the appearance of the part layer. Alright, let's select this, then I'll open up the Layer control and I'll put the circle on the center lines' layer, and I'll hit Esc. Now, the circle is taking on the property of layer center lines. Once again, this is because my circle has a ByLayer property, and ByLayer means that the layer is dictating how this circle looks.
Now, it's important to note that we can also force properties on our objects. Over here in the Ribbon is a Properties panel. Take a look at these three settings on the end: this one controls color. this one controls line weight. and this one controls line type. Notice that each of these guys is set to ByLayer. I am going to click the Color property, and then I will select Cyan from the menu. This means that everything that I create from this point on will be forced to have a color of cyan regardless of the layer that it's sitting on.
I am going to create another circle. Let's launch the Circle command again. I'll create my circle from the center of this circle, and once again, I am going to free pick a point. Notice that even though this circle was created on the part layer, this circle appears cyan. Honestly, this is a terrible way to work. If you force properties on your objects, you are greatly reducing your ability to change those objects later. Just for a second, imagine if I created 700 copies of this circle on my drawing, and then later I needed to change their color.
Well, if they had a ByLayer proper, I could change the color of all of the circles by changing the color of the layer. If the color is forced on them, I am going to have to manually select the circles to change their color property. Let's change the color of this circle back to ByLayer. To do that I'll select it, then I'll come up to the Color property and I'll open up the menu, and I'll select ByLayer. When I am finished, I'll press Esc. One more thing. notice my current color is still set to cyan. So, I am going to open up this menu one more time, I'll set this to ByLayer, and now every new object that I create will have a ByLayer color property.
The best advice I can give about the ByLayer property is don't touch it. You should never force properties on your objects. If all of your entities are set to ByLayer making color, line type or line weight changes are as simple as changing your layer settings.
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