Xrefs (external references) let you view another drawing within your current drawing without actually inserting that other drawing.
Why use xrefs?
- Xrefs keep your drawing smaller.
- Each time you open a drawing, AutoCAD loads a current copy of the xref, so that you always have the most updated version. The drawing contains a link to the xref, so you don’t have to worry if what you’re seeing is outdated.
- You can attach and detach xrefs easily. You can also load and unloaded them to display or hide them, without losing the connection.
Xrefs are ideal for times when you need to reference another drawing but don’t want the relationship to be permanent. They are also ideal for situations in which multiple people work on a drawing. For example, both an electrician and a plumber might add an architect’s plans to their drawing as an xref.
Attach an xref
Follow these steps to attach an xref:
- Choose Insert tab> Reference panel> Attach (the ATTACH command) to open the Select Reference File dialog box. (In earlier releases, this was the XATTACH command.)
- Make sure Drawing (*.dwg) is visible in the Files of Type drop-down list in the dialog box. If not, click the list and choose it.
- Navigate to the drawing you want to attach, choose it and click Open. The Attach External Reference dialog box appears.
- Set the Reference Type to Attachment (the default). If you want, you can specify the scale, insertion point, and rotation in the dialog box. Click OK.
- If you used the settings you see in the dialog box here, you’ll be prompted for an insertion point. You’ll see an image of the xref, so you can place it by eye if you want. Click to place the xref.
- An overlay is useful when you’re sharing drawings over a network. If someone else attaches your current drawing, that person doesn’t see the overlay, only the main drawing.
- In the Scale section, you can check the Uniform Scale checkbox to ensure that the Y and Z values are always the same as the X value. This ensures that the xref isn’t distorted from its original ratios.
Do you use xrefs a lot? What tips do you have to make using xrefs easier and more efficient? Please leave a comment and let everyone know!