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Understanding the ByLayer property

From: AutoCAD 2013 Essentials: 03 Editing and Organizing Drawings

Video: Understanding the ByLayer property

When it comes to assigning colors, linetypes, or lineweights to your objects, it's best to let the layers dictate these properties. Using layers, you can control the appearance of your geometry by simply changing Layer settings. In this lesson we're going to explore the importance of the ByLayer property. On my screen I have a civil engineering example. This is a drawing of a series of single-family lots. Take a look at this geometry that represents trees. If I hover over one of these objects, we can see in the tool-tip that this entity was drawn on layer v-vegetation.

Understanding the ByLayer property

When it comes to assigning colors, linetypes, or lineweights to your objects, it's best to let the layers dictate these properties. Using layers, you can control the appearance of your geometry by simply changing Layer settings. In this lesson we're going to explore the importance of the ByLayer property. On my screen I have a civil engineering example. This is a drawing of a series of single-family lots. Take a look at this geometry that represents trees. If I hover over one of these objects, we can see in the tool-tip that this entity was drawn on layer v-vegetation.

Also notice that the Color and Linetype property is set to ByLayer; that means that this object is getting its color and linetype from the Layer settings. This is by far the best way to work, because if I need to change the color of this object for instance, I can easily do that by changing the color of the layer. For example, I'm going to open the Layer control and I will drag down until I find the vegetation layer, I'll click the Color property, and I'm going to change this to magenta for the time being.

Notice that not all of the trees have changed. Let's zoom in on this lot and I'm going to hover over one of these trees and we'll find out why. This object is sitting on layer v-building and it was forced to have a color of green, so while these trees looked correct, they were actually sitting on the wrong layer. As you can see, if you force properties on your objects, it can create confusion in your drawing. Now how does something like this happen? If I open the Properties panel, notice we have some settings here at the top, color, line thickness, and linetype, also note they are all set to ByLayer.

This means that all the objects I create will be getting their color, line thickness and linetype from the Layer settings. Honestly, having all of these set to ByLayer is the way you always want to work. If however I was to come up and open one of these menus, I'm going to change the default color property to be green; this means that any object I create from this moment on is going to be green, regardless of the layer that it's sitting on. Let's create a circle on the layer 0. Now this isn't too bad, the problems occur if I have to change these properties later.

Since this is a single circle, if I wanted to change the color I could select this and go back up to the Properties panel, and I could change this to Cyan for instance. What if there were 700 of them though? Then I'd have to chase all of them down, select them and change their color manually. If however I drew these objects on their own unique layer, I can simply adjust the Layer properties to control the appearance of the objects. As you're working, a general rule of thumb to go by is if you want an object to be green, put it on a green layer.

If you want an object to have a hidden line type, put it on a layer that has a hidden line type. I'm going to erase this circle, and let's correct these remaining trees. I'll start by selecting them, then I'll move up to Properties and I'll change this back to ByLayer, they are now yellow, because they're matching the property of the building layer that they're sitting on. I will then select them again, I'll open the Layer control and I'm going to place these on the vegetation layer.

Finally, I'll open the Layer control again and we'll change the color of the vegetation layer back to green. When I'm finished, I'll press the Escape. Before we leave, I'm going to make one more check, I'll open the Properties panel and I want to make sure that all of my color, lineweight, and linetype settings are back to ByLayer. When it comes to the ByLayer property, the best advice I can give is to leave it alone. If you let your layers control the appearance of your geometry, you eliminate possible confusion and making changes can be as quick as adjusting your layer settings.

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