In this video, Shaun Bryant demonstrates how to use the External References palette to find and replace external references (XREFs) in a drawing.
- [Instructor] Welcome to another AutoCAD Tip and Trick for you. Now what we're going to look at this time is finding and replacing our external reference files. Now you'll notice I'm in the insert tab on the ribbon. Make sure you're in the same. And you'll notice we've got a new drawing for you, which is HostDrawing.dwg. So this is the HostDrawing, hosting the reference drawing. So where's that reference drawing? Well, it's in the same folder as this drawing, the 14_HostDrawing.dwg file.
If I just click on the reference panel on that little arrow there, that'll open up the reference manager, the external reference's palette there, and you can see that we've got external reference 002, EXTERNALREF002. Again, download that from the website and make sure it's in the same folder as this particular drawing. Otherwise, you'll end up with a broken XREF link. So make sure they are both in the same folder when you download and obviously, before you start this video.
And then the 14_HostDrawing will find your EXTERNALREF002 file. Now, I'm just going to close the external references palette. The reference file is here, if I click on it, you'll see it highlights and you'll see that the external reference tab kicks in on the ribbon, allowing me obviously to edit the reference if I want to. I'll just hit escape there to deselect it. So what happens now if, let's say for example, I've got a new version of the reference file and it's in a different location.
So what I'll do here now, is basically make a change to the actual location of my reference file What I can do here is copy the reference file to a different folder. So I'll go back to the reference palette here. Now at the moment, the EXTERNALREF002 file is there. So if I right click, I can actually open that file. I'm going to open that file up. As you can see, I've only got EXTERNALREF002 open now.
If I just close the external references there, like so, can you see I've got the EXTERNALREF002 file open this time? Now what I'm going to do, I'm going to do a save as and put it in a different location. It'll be a duplicate of the existing reference file. So I do a save as, like so, and it's trying to save it into the same folder as the 14_HostDrawing. I'm going to cheat a little bit. I'm going to add a new folder, and I'm just going to call it XREF, like so. So I've got a new subfolder called XREF.
Then what I'm going to do is, I'm going to go into the XREF folder, double click on it, and I'm going to save an external reference file in there, 002, in that folder. And then, as you can see, it's all there, I'm going to save it, I'm going to go up here to the file tab and close it. Now, that will not affect the reference that I've got in place already. They both have the same file name, don't panic about that. We go back to the reference panel, and we click here now on the arrow to open up the external references palette again.
You can see, if I just extend this a little bit, that the safe path is a relative path at the moment. That's the little dot and the slash there. What that does is, it basically tells you it's a relative path and it means the EXTERNALREF002 is in the same folder as the 14_HostDrawing. Now, I can right click on my reference and I can do a find and replace. I need to find the safe path and replace it with a new path.
So there's my XREF folder. If I go in there, and it's got one level, I need to actually select the folder. Don't want to select the XREF, I need to select the folder, the new location. So if I do an open now on that and replace all, can you see one reference was successfully updated and it was a success? And you'll notice now that the relative file part has that XREF subfolder in it. So I can basically load up a newly revised reference file that is in a different location, without having to detach the external reference file.
I can actually just go and find and replace with a new reference that's in a different location.
Skill Level Intermediate
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