Join Shaun Bryant for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with layer settings, part of AutoCAD: Tips & Tricks.
- [Instructor] Welcome to the world of AutoCAD once again, and we're going to look at another tip and trick that's going to make you more effective and productive in your AutoCAD workplace. So you'll notice we've got a new drawing open, it's a nice floor plan, and it's called Layers, WorkingWithLayerSettings.dwg. You can download it from the website as usual to follow along with the video. And the name kind of gives it away again, and what we're going to look at is layer settings. Now when you work in AutoCAD with your layers, the whole idea is that those layers allow you to communicate your design intent by providing line types, line weights, and colors.
And then that way, when you're looking at your drawing, you can actually see the wood for the trees. So when we're looking at this drawing, all the red dimensions and gridlines are easily distinguished from, for example, the walls, the doors, and the windows. So let's have a look at these layer settings and how they work. If you just jump over to the Home tab on the ribbon, you'll see the Layers panel, I'm going to click on the little flyout arrow there and pin open the flyout so it doesn't keep jumping back into the ribbon all the time. Now there's a lot of different settings for layers, and I can't cover them all at once in this tips and tricks video.
However, if you jump over to something like my AutoCAD Essentials course for AutoCAD 2017, you can actually go and look at the layers in more detail. There's more videos and exercises in there for you to do. Now we're going to have a little look at layer properties first, so if I jump into the Layer Properties manager, you'll see that we've got all of our layers there, all of our layer names, whether they're on, whether they're frozen, whether they're locked, and so on. If you look at that column on the left hand side, the Status column, you can see there what looks like a little sheet of paper.
And it is, it's a sheet of paper, because each layer is, in essence, a layer overlay on top of your drawing. So you're layering up all the different colors and giving them names because they represent different things on the drawing. It goes back to an old fashioned thing called overlay drafting on drawing boards, where you used to lay acetate sheets of different elements on top of each other and trace the elements from the sheets underneath. Anyway, back to our status, if that little sheet is blue, it indicates that the layer is in use in the drawing. If that little sheet is white, it means that the layer is not in use.
You could potentially use the Purge command and purge those layers out that are white if you don't need them. Layer name, well that's self-explanatory in the column. And also, you'll notice you got the Layer Zero, which is the current layer. You cannot delete Layer Zero. You can give it a different color, different line type and so on, but you cannot remove it from the drawing. It's a default layer. Now, you've got the columns there on Freeze and Lock. Lock is self-explanatory, if you lock a layer, you can't make changes to the object on that layer. If you freeze a layer, that means that the object disappears from the drawing.
You don't erase it or delete it, but it's just hidden. You'll notice there are some snowflakes there. So for example, the layer G-ANNO-SYMB, for symbol, is frozen on the drawing, which means it won't show up on the drawing. The sun symbol indicates that they are on and visible. So what's the difference between on and off, the lightbulb, and freeze and thaw? If a layer is on or off in an AutoCAD drawing, it will still be considered when the drawing is regenerated. If you freeze a layer on a drawing, the layer will not be considered when the drawing is regenerated.
So if you've got a drawing with thousands of layers that you don't need, freeze those layers and the drawing will open and save more quickly. Moving along, you've got color, line type, and line weight. They are all self-explanatory, you set those up for each layer to display the objects on that layer the way you want them to. All of those settings there, though, color, line type, line weight, go up here in the Properties panel in the Home tab on the ribbon. So if you've got all those settings sectored by layer, your color, line type, and line weight will always follow the settings in the Layer Properties manager.
We also have things like Transparency, Plot Style, Plotting, so for example, the layer Defpoints never plots, but if I scroll down to here, you can see that the VIEWPORTS layer doesn't plot either because we've switched it off, we don't want it to plot in our drawings. If I click on it, switch it on, click on it again, switches it off. You can also freeze layers in your viewports. You can also give layers a text description if you wish. Just going to close the Layer Properties manager now for a moment. Now let's have a look at how this on, off, freeze and thaw, and everything else works.
Now I've got Layer Zero as the current drafting layer, so that means that I won't affect any current drafting layers by doing what I'm going to do. But I've got a nice little layer pulldown here, which makes my life so much easier. I don't have to keep jumping into the Layer Properties manager all the time. So there's A-ANNO-DIMS, and that's all our dims on the drawings. So if I now freeze that by clicking on the little sun symbol, they all disappear. How nice is that, look, it's so much easier to see things. You can kind of see the wood for the trees. So I can go in, edit a wall, edit some furniture, and then thaw them out again, and they come back again.
That's how quick and easy it is. So if I thaw out HATCH, for example, like that, anything that's hatched will come back into the drawing. Obviously there isn't anything hatched, but it's just frozen off just to kind of make things easier so hatching can be removed if need be. And obviously, I can switch off the grid. There's the grid there, so if I switch that off, you can see the gridlines disappear. Now if I just scroll down that list a bit, you'll see we've also got S-GRID-IDEN, identicy, that's the bubbles, so they go off as well. So if I now scroll back up again and switch off the dims as well, there you go, you can now see anything and everything in that design so much more clearly.
So you can see your stairs, your doors, your windows. That's the whole idea of your layer settings, so that you can see the design, get on with the design, and then when you're done, you just switch everything back on again. It's that easy, so there's my dimensions back, and we just need the grid bubbles back by clicking on the S-GRID-IDEN layer, and everything's back to where it should be. So that's the whole idea of all of this layer control. I'll just hit Escape there to lose the layer menu that comes up. Now you've got lots of other different little layer settings, so you've got overall off, turn all layers on, unisolate, you can isolate layers, you can freeze, you can lock, so all these little commands here allow you to select an object and then freeze it.
So for example, if I go to Freeze here, I can now go and pick on the layer to be frozen, any object. So if I click on a dimension, freezes off the dimensions like so, press Enter to finish. I then go back to my pull down menu, you can see my dims are frozen, click on the snowflake, they come back again. So all of these layer settings allow you to work quickly and easily in your drawing environment. Go and explore them, go and check them out and see what they do. They're a really, really useful and fundamental tool that you must use in AutoCAD to communicate your design intent effectively.
Skill Level Intermediate
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