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On which layers should you create blocks?

When you create blocks (also called symbols) to insert into a drawing, you need to consider what layer to use for the components that make up the blocks. Your choice depends on the results you want and you have four choices:

Component Properties
Insertion Results
On any layer (except 0); color, linetype & lineweight set to ByLayer Block keeps properties of that layer. AutoCAD creates the layer if necessary when you insert it into another drawing. If the layer exists in the drawing but has other properties, the block takes on the properties of the layer in that drawing. If you insert the block on a different layer, it keeps its original properties, but is reported (in Properties window) as being on the insertion layer.
On any layer (including 0); color, linetype & lineweight set explicitly Block keeps color, linetype & lineweight that were set. AutoCAD creates the layer if necessary when you insert it into another drawing.
On any layer (except 0); color & linetype set to ByBlock Block takes on the layer and properties of current layer. AutoCAD creates the layer as necessary when you insert it into another drawing.
On layer 0; color, linetype & lineweight set to ByLayer or ByBlock Block takes on the layer and properties of the current layer.
No new layers are created.

Al Pfennig wrote in this tip: “When creating symbols for inserting into a drawing when the same symbol may be inserted on more than one layer, create the symbol on the zero (0) layer and have color, linetype and linewidth set to ByLayer. This will allow the symbol to take on the characteristics of the layer on which it will be inserted.”

8 comments to On which layers should you create blocks?

  • Sinan Najm

    Hello, I am creating custom blocks to create a versatile office wide palette. How can I utilize the second choice this post mentions? For example, I need to make a block that will always be placed onto a layer called Fire-Protection. This block has a specific linetype, color, and weight. Please help me out! AutoCAD is driving me nuts and driving me away from engineering!

  • Ellen

    The layer options control how the block looks but not which layer you’re on when you insert the block. I would write a custom command that switches the layer and then inserts the block. You could put that on the Tool Palette.

  • Dominic

    I have some detail blocks that have multipe layers, linetypes and different kinds of annotation in them. For some reason, these blocks really slow down AutoCAD 2013. Is there any tricks to making a ‘big’ block more manageable? tx ds

  • Ellen

    I haven’t seen that, but then, I don’t use those types of blocks. Try write blocking one of them so it’s a separate drawing and see if it’s better. Just a way to troubleshoot…

  • how can i prepare block in palettes please show mee breafly
    thank you

  • AC 2011 – I created blocks with the layers I want them on. Every drawing I create they come into the drawing and the layers are added as required. Now I am working on an Architects cad file and every time I bring in a block, it goes to the current layer. Before I shoot myself how do I get this fixed.

  • Michael Crump

    AC 2016. I created my architectural seal on layer 0 with color, line weight and line type set to by-layer. No matter what layer I insert the block on, it goes on layer 0 and does not inherit the properties of the layer that I inserted it on.

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