Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating and adjusting layers, part of AutoCAD 2014 Essential Training: 3 Editing and Organizing Drawings.
In order to use layers to organize a drawing, we need to know how to create layers, and manage their settings. In this lesson, we're going to explore the Layer Properties Manager, the one-stop shop for all your layer needs. As you can see, I've just launched AutoCAD, and I'm sitting in the currently unsaved Drawing1.dwg file. Since this drawing is based on the default template, it's virtually empty. If I open the Layer control, you can see we only have 1 layer, layer 0. Now, layer 0 is kind of a special layer, that's because all AutoCAD drawings start with layer 0.
And all drawings have to have a layer 0. You cannot delete or rename that layer. Since layer 0 is current, all geometry that I create will be drawn on layer 0. As an example, I'm going to launch the Circle command and I'll create a circle down here in the corner. If I hover over the circle, the tool tip shows us the circle was drawn on layer 0. To create a new layer. I'm going to move up to the upper left corner of the Layers panel and click the Layer Properties icon. This brings up the Layer Properties Manager.
Within this palette, we have access to all of our layer maintenance tools. When the manager first pops up it's a little narrow, I'm going to click and hold on the right side and I'll drag this out a little bit. In the upper left corner of the Manager, we can see the name of the Current layer. Over here to the right, we can see a listing of all the layers that are in the drawing. Right now we only have one. To the right of the layer name,we can see all of the settings that are associated with that layer. Now these settings are organized into columns much like Microsoft Excel.
If you click and hold between the columns you can drag these out and make them as wide or as narrow as you like. In fact, a nice shortcut to make these column headers easier to read. If you right-click on the column header, you can come down and choose Maximize all columns. To adjust any of the settings in the columns, all you have to do is click on it. Now, we're not going to be talking about all of the settings in this lesson. We'll be talking about the ones used most often. For information about any of the settings, one thing you can do is hover over the column pattern for a popup tool-tip.
For more information, you can also press F1 and access AutoCAD's comprehensive help system. This first setting represents display. If I click this lightbulb, I can turn the layer off. Since this layer is also the Current Layer, I'm getting a warning saying, Hey, if you turn this layer off, you'll be drafting and you won't be able to see what you're drawing. That's alright, I'm going to choose turn the current layer off anyway. And, you can see that layer no longer displays in the drawing. I'm going to move back up and turn that layer back on.
If I come down a little further, we can find a color property. If I click this it brings up AutoCAD's Color Selector, where I can choose a different color for this layer. I'm going to select a green. And I'll click OK. And you can see the changes instantly reflected in the drawing. The next column over controls Linetype. If I click this property, I can select any of the linetypes that are loaded in this drawing. Right now, I only have Continuous and Phantom2. To load an additional linetype, I'll click the Load button and using this menu, I can select from any of the line types that come pre-installed with AutoCAD.
As a side note, if you are doing imperial drafting, you'll want to avoid the line types at the top of this list. All these ACAD ISO line types are pre-scaled for metric usage. I'm going to select the Center times 2 linetype and I'll click OK. This loads it into my drawing, If I would also like to assign this line type to the layer, I will select it from this list and click OK. Once again you can see the change reflected in the file. This next column controls the printed line weight of our geometry.
If I click this setting, it brings up a menu where I can choose a different line weight. The further down on this list I choose, the heavier this geometry's going to appear on the printed sheet. For right now, I'm going to click Cancel and close this dialogue box. To create a new layer, I'll move up and click the New Layer icon. I can also use the keyboard shortcut, Alt+N. Notice the new layer assumes the same properties as the previously selected layer. I'm going to call this layer Object, and I'll press Enter.
Maybe I'd like this layer to be yellow. I'll come down and click the Color property. I'll choose yellow, and I'll click OK. I would also like this layer to have a continuous linetype, so I'll click the Linetype property. Change this to continuous, and I'll click OK. Finally, I'd like this layer to be current. To do that, I'll move up and click the green check. We can see that change reflected up here. When I've finished adjusting settings, I'll click the x to close the Layer Properties Manager. As you can see, the Layer Control is now displaying the object Layer as being the current layer in the file.
I'm going to launch the Rectangle command. And I'll create a rectangle on Layer object. Let's say after creating this layer we'd like to make some changes to its properties. To do that we'll return to the Layer Properties Manager, maybe it would be better if this layer had a different name. To change the name of the layer, I will click to select the layer and then I will click again to get access to the text. I'm going to call this layer part and I'll press Enter. I would also like to change the color of this layer, let's make this magenta.
And I'll click OK. Using the same work flow, we can create as many layers as we like and modify them such that they suit our design needs. In the event you create a layer that goes unused, you can click this red x to delete it from the drawing. One final thing, since this Layer Properties Manager is a palate, we can anchor this to the interface just like we anchor our properties palate. If I right click on this name bar and choose Anchor Left, I can convert this entire palate down to a single icon.
Now if I need access to my layer maintenance tools, I can simply hover over the icon, take care of my layer business, and when I'm finished, I can move away and let the palate collapse. I'm going to leave my Layers Property Manager in an anchored state throughout the rest of this series. As you can see, the Layer Properties Manager makes quick work of creating and modifying layers. Using this tool, we have complete control over the display and organization of our geometry.
- Adding and removing from selections
- Stretching elements
- Creating mirrored copies
- Leveraging grips
- Editing hatch patterns
- Using layers to organize a drawing
- Changing layer states
- Understanding the BYLAYER property
- Taking measurements
- Automating calculations with the Quick Calculator
- Constructing a multi-view part