Join Jim LaPier for an in-depth discussion in this video What are XREFs?, part of AutoCAD for Mac 2016 New Features.
- XREFs, or external references, are separate files we display in our current drawing. These files can include other drawing files, PDF files, or image files. For drawings, we can import a snapshot of that drawing file into our current working drawing to use as a reference, hence the term, external reference. An external file referenced into the current one. Imagine this scenario: our architecture firm is designing a new residence, or working with other firms providing plumbing details and interior designs.
The interior designer does not need to necessarily move walls or windows, but they do need to work in tandem with us as we complete our architectural plans. The interior designer can take the file on our shared server and reference it as an underlay in her drawing. She can use the geometry of our architectural plans to plan out her spaces and arrange her furniture.
As we update our plans, perhaps moving or stretching the certain walls, the interior designer will get a notification that something has changed. She can reload the file, see where the changes have occurred and adjust her plans accordingly. XREFs are useful within offices as well, allowing multiple people to work collaboratively on the same project in different aspects.
XREFs are also useful for keeping files small, like dividing the geometry among files, which is especially helpful for 3D models. Other types of reference files include PDFs and image files. These are mostly used for tracing geometry like floor plans from archives, raster images of products, or topographical maps. XREFs are added and managed from the reference manager which can be opened from the tools palette screen or by pressing command seven on your keyboard.
From here, we can add new references, or modify existing ones, including unloading them, reloading them, or detaching them all together. It is important to remember that reference files are simply displaying an external file in your current drawing. These files are not imported into the DWG file itself, and are not contained inside the file. Each time you open a DWG with an external reference, AutoCAD for Mac has to look at the path or location of the reference to display it.
If the file is moved or renamed, the underlay will not display. This is important if you plan to share your file by emailing it, and want the recipient to see the external files. You must send those separate files with the original DWG file. This also brings up an issue some users can encounter when working in a mixed environment of Mac and Windows work stations. Mac OS X loads drives as volumes which are named by the volume name itself. Windows, however, assigns letters to its drives, like the C drive, or the P drive.
In the case of network locations, the path to the file can be different from Mac OS X to Windows. For example, the project drive for your office might be mapped to the drive letter P on the Windows work station. On a Mac OS X system, the same location on the network would be named as the project volume. This means that while a reference file may not change name or location, AutoCAD and AutoCAD for Mac are looking along different paths to find the same file. Fortunately, AutoCAD for Mac 2016 has a solution for users referencing files on a network that are accessed by both Mac and Windows users.
- XREF server path mapping and ByLayer display
- Converting text to mtext
- Moving geometry from model space to paper space with Change Space
- Dimensioning with the DIM tool
- Pasting geometry with Paste As Block
- Working with section plane tools
- Creating smaller PDF files with AutoCAD for Mac 2016
- Rendering online