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Moving objects in front of — or behind — other objects: DRAWORDER

When you draw only simple objects, such as lines, rectangles and circles, it doesn’t make much difference which object is in front (on top) or in back (behind), because all objects are wireframes. You can see every object, unless one object is exactly on top of another–which isn’t considered a good practice.

But when you attach images, fill (hatch) objects with a solid fill, or create text, which object is in front and which is behind can be very important, because these objects can hide other objects.

For example, you may want an image to show on top of a solid fill.


There is a DRAWORDER command, but the easiest way to put the image on top is as follows:

  1. Select the image. (Click on its edge.)
  2. Right-click the image.
  3. Choose Draw Order> Bring to Front.

Here you see the result.


There are two other commands that change the display order of objects:

  • HATCHTOBACK sets all hatches in the drawing behind all other objects. You can’t specify the draw order of individual hatches. This command also applies to solid fills. Using this command can make it easier to select the objects that are hatched.
  • TEXTTOFRONT brings text, leaders, and dimensions in front of all other objects in the drawing. Note that text and dimensions within blocks and xrefs cannot separately be brought to the front. You can specify which type of text to bring to the front, but not individual text objects. So bringing dimensions to the front brings all dimensions to the front.

Do you use these commands? In which situations do you find them helpful? Leave a comment!

5 comments to Moving objects in front of — or behind — other objects: DRAWORDER

  • I have found that draw order isn’t as reliable as I would like it to be. Even after setting the draw order, geometry seems to ‘float’ back up to the top unexpectedly.

    A tip I picked up from the forums, is to get the draw order sorted out, then select all the items and cut and paste them back into the same position.

    This seems to re-write the order of the items in the files database, preventing them from slipping out of sequence.


  • Tony

    I noticed the same problem that Paul mentioned, but I had a different workaround. Once you’ve done all your sending to back, bringing to front – even though things aren’t displaying in the right order, save the file, close autocad, and re-open. They’ll come back in the right order. My guess is that AutoCAD is altering the DWG file correctly, but not it’s own memory/cache. Both Paul’s and my solution forces the cache to clear and refresh.

  • Elizabeth

    I miss the send to back/move to front buttons that are available in AutoCad but seem to be missing from LT. I use them to send xref’s to the back so I can see the active line work over the xref’d lines. I also use them to send blocks to the back (typically fixtures and casework) so they don’t obscure the building linework.

    I can’t get the tips above to work. How do you grab the edge of a hatch? When I click on an xref and then right click, I don’t get a drop down menu. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  • Ellen

    I don’t have LT, but for the hatch, try clicking it in the center, rather than on the edge. It has a handle at the center.

  • steven

    did not work

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