Layers are fundamental to organizing and controlling the appearance of geometry and annotation in a drawing, and learning the basics of layers is usually an early step in one’s AutoCAD education. This article takes you through some “next steps,” highlighting certain commands and practices that can save you time when working with layers.
Use the Layer Properties Manager to manage your layers
Create, rename, and remove layers
Set the current layer on which new objects are automatically created
Specify the default properties for objects on the layer
Set whether the objects on a layer are displayed or turned off
Control whether objects on a layer are plotted
Set whether a layer is locked against editing
Control the layer display properties for layout viewports
Sort, filter, and group layer names
In addition to the Layer Properties Manager, you can access layer tools on the Layers panel on the Home tab of the ribbon.
All new objects are drawn on the current layer by default. The green check mark on the Layer Properties Manager indicates the current layer.
You can control the visibility of objects on a layer by toggling the layer on/off or by using freeze/thaw.
You can prevent objects on selected layers from being inadvertently modified by locking those layers. By default, objects on locked layers appear faded and a small lock icon is displayed when you hover over the object.
Sometimes drawings can include dozens or even hundreds of layers. A layer filter limits the display of layer names in the Layer Properties Manager and in the Layer control on the ribbon. You can create layer property filters based on the name, color, and other properties. For example, you can define a property filter that lists all layers that include the letters “mech” in the layer name and are set to red.
You can also create layer group filters where you choose specific layers to include in the group. For example, you could create a group called Tool Fixture that includes all the layers associated with the tool fixtures in your drawing. When you click the Tool Fixture group in the Layer Properties Manager, only the layers in the Tool Fixtures group are listed.
Override the Current Layer by Object Type
By default, all new objects are created on the current layer. For some types of objects, you can specify a default layer based on the object type rather than the current layer. For example, if you want all dimension objects to be created on a layer named 040 Dim, set the DIMLAYER system variable to 040 Dim. All subsequently created dimensions are then automatically assigned to that layer.
Add the Layer Control to the Quick Access Toolbar
To add the Layer List control to the Quick Access toolbar, simply click the Customize drop-down on the Quick Access toolbar and select Layer.
Use Make Current (LAYMCUR command) to quickly switch the current layer
Make Current (LAYMCUR command) is a convenient way to change the current layer.
Select an object in the drawing area that’s on the FURNITURE layer. Note: Alternatively, you can start the command and then select the objects.
Click Home tab Layers panel Make Current.
Use Change to Current Layer (LAYCUR command) and Match Layer (LAYMCH command) to quickly change an object from one layer to another
Quickly Copy Objects to a New Layer (COPYTOLAYER command)
Undo Layer Changes With Layer Previous (LAYERP command)
Layer Previous (LAYERP command) is like an Undo command for just layers – it undoes the last change or set of changes made using either the Layer List control, Layer Properties Manager, or -LAYER command.
Receive Notifications of New Layers
You can have the program automatically notify you when any new layers are added to a drawing. New layers might be added when attaching external references or inserting blocks. Also, if you work with shared drawings, new layers might be added by other contributors.
When the Layer Notification feature is turned on, and a new layer is subsequently added, a balloon or dialog box message appears after specified operations that involve file operations, layer states, or plotting. The status bar also displays an icon that alerts you to new layers.
Let’s try setting up an automatic notification for new layers.
Click Home tab/Layers panel/Layer Properties.
On the Layer Properties Manager, click Settings near the upper-right corner.
In the Layer Settings dialog box, make sure that the New Layer Notification box is selected, and select Evaluate New Layers Added to Drawing.
Select Notify When New Layers are Present, then select one or more notification options:
Each option indicates when the notification will display. So, if Open is selected and a new layer is present, a notification displays when you open the drawing. If Save is selected and there’s a new layer, a notification displays each time you save.
How to view a List of Unused Layers
In the Layer Properties Manager, click Settings.
Check Indicate Layers in Use on the Layer Settings dialog box and click OK.
Click the Status column label to sort by status. indicates a layer is not in use.