LAYWALK, an efficient tool for managing drawings and layers

Laywalk is a very primitive command in AutoCAD but it is mostly ignored or overlooked by most of the CAD users despite its great features and user friendly behavior. LAYWALK allows you to view objects of a particular layer(s) without using On/off or freeze/thaw features of Layer property manager. This is an intuitive way of checking objects in a drawing containing lots of layers.


To start the laywalk window type LAYWALK on the command line and press enter or select the laywalk tool from expanded Layers panel of Home tab. A window similar to the one shown below will appear with a list of all layers in the drawing and a layer count on top of the window.








By default all of the layers in Laywalk window will be selected and hence all objects will be visible. To make objects on a particular layer visible simply click on the name of layer name from this list of layers in the layer walk window and only objects of that particular layer will become visible in the drawing area. In order to select multiple layers, you can use CTRL or shift key.

Selecting Layer from Drawing

If for some reasons you don’t want to select layers from the list of layers then you can also select objects directly from the drawing area and all objects on the selected layer of the objects will become visible.

To make this clear let’s assume that we don’t know the layers of some objects in our drawing and we want to highlight objects of a particular layer.

Select the LAYWALK command and then press enter. Click on Select objects button on the top of this window as shown in the image below.


The Layer Walk window will disappear for a moment and you can now select objects from the drawing area. Click on any object of the layer you want to keep visible, you can select multiple objects from different layers as well.

Once you have done your selection press enter and you will notice that only objects of selected layer will become visible in the drawing area and only those layers will become highlighted in the Layer Walk window as well as shown in the image below.




Other LAYWALK features:

After making a selection of layers from the LAYWALK window if you want to keep only objects of selected layers visible in the main drawing area even after exiting Layer Walk window then uncheck Restore on exit check box at the end of the Layer Walk window. You will notice that visibility of all of the layers will be turned off except the selected layers of Layer Walk window.

You can also purge layers from the layer walk window and if you are not able to find a particular layer in your list then simply use the text field on the top of layer walk window to search for it.


About the Author:

Jaiprakash pandey is a Mechanical Engineer currently working as CAD Corporate trainer. He is an Autodesk AutoCAD certified professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. He provides training in AutoCAD, CATIA and other CAD products to corporate clients. He is a regular contributor to AUGI world magazine and he also develops AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and his own platform SourceCAD. You can reach him on his blog SourceCAD.

Xref Manager

If you are working on a big project and are dealing with a lot of xrefs, you might run into the problem of broken xrefs. The following three reasons might have caused this: one, you did not use relative path; two, you rename the xref folder; third, you move the drawing folder around. The easiest or fastest way to fix the problem is to use the Reference Manager. To use the Reference Manager follow these steps below:

  1. Go to your Windows Start button and go to the following: Programs, Autodesk, AutoCAD, Reference Manager.
  2. On the top left menu, click on “Add drawings”.

    add drawings

    Add Drawings

  3. When the Add Drawings browser pops up, browse for your files location.
  4. Once you have selected your files an “Add Xref” window inquiry will pop up asking you to choose between Add all xrefs automatically or Add only the first-level xrefs. Select “Add all xrefs automatically”.
  5. On the right side in the Reference Manager window, select the Type column label on top to arrange all your files by type so that all your xrefs are grouped together.
  6. You can do (Shift and Select) on your keyboard to select all the xref files at once.
  7. On the top menu select “Edit selected Paths”.
  8. When the “Edit selected Paths” menu pops up, select the little browse button on the right and browse for your new xref path and click Ok.


    Edit Selected Paths

  9. To finish, select “Apply Changes” on the top menu.
  10. An Updating Drawing Format window will pop up. Click on “Yes to all”.


    Updating Drawing Format

Show Partial XREF using XCLIP

Many times we refer to an external drawing, but we only need to show part of it. Sometimes we use a viewport to show the area we need on paperspace. Now I will tell you how you can show partial xref using the XCLIP command.

To achieve that do the following:

  1. Type XCLIP in the command line then select the XREF when prompted to select object.
  2. For clipping options select NEW.
  3. For boundary there are many options: Polyline, polygonal, rectangular, invert clip. I usually use rectangular, but choose the best fit for your needs.
  4. Once you select one of the options, for example, if you choose rectangular, just draw a rectangle around the area you want to show from the XREF and that is it!

How to modify your list of scales

When you scale your view in the plotted drawing or paper space, you can use the standard scale list from AutoCAD in the property manager of the viewport instead of using the old method XP factor…. But if you cannot find the scale, do not worry. You can always add or modify the list of scales in the dialogue box. It is really simple: From your AutoCAD command type SCALELISTEDIT. Select the scale from the list to modify. If you need to add more select the “ADD” button. When the add scale dialogue pops up, name your new scale and change the “Drawing units” according to your scale. Hit “OK ” and you are done. Pretty simple! Take a look at our handy list of scales available for your use here

Importing AutoCAD files to Revit

You can import AutoCAD files into Autodesk Revit and then manipulate it from there as a Revit file or you can xref the file. See this tutorial on how to xref CAD files and the Revit Help blog.

NB: Importing a CAD file will not automatically convert the drawing to 3D.

To import as a link file:

  1. Go to the insert tab.
  2. Select “link CAD“.cad to revit
  3. Browse for the CAD file that you wish to link. cad to revit
  4. On the positioning tab leave the default position ”Center to Center”. You can also change that to “Origin to Origin”.
  5. On the “Place at” tab select the level you want to import the file. For example, level 1or level 2 if you have many levels or floors in your project.
  6. Pick your color preference on the “Colors” tab. You can set the link file to show black and white, invert color or the original color.
  7. On the Layers tab leave “All” selected, if you want to import all the layers from the file.
  8. Leave the “Import units” as Auto-Detect. revit-cad-3
  9. Select “Open”.

Now that the file is showing in the drawing as a cross reference file. You can also turn on and off layers from Revit as you wish, the same as in AutoCAD.

To import as part of Revit:

  1. Go to the insert tab.
  2. Select “Import CAD”.
  3. Browse for the cad file that you wish to import.
  4. On the positioning tab leave the default position ”Center to Center”.
  5. On the “Place at” tab select the level you want to import.
  6. Pick your color preference on the “Colors” tab.
  7. On the Layers tab leave “All” selected, if you want to import all the layers from the file. Otherwise, you can select which layer to import individually. By doing so it will not import any object on unselected layers.
  8. Leave the “Import units” as Auto-Detect.
  9. Select “Open”.

Once the file is imported you can edit the CAD drawing as a Revit file.

NB: We used Revit MEP 2010 for this tutorial. I believe the steps are similar in Revit MEP 2009. You start from File, Import/Link, CAD formats.

Engineering and Architectural scale table

Below are two standard scale tables for Engineering and Architectural drawings.

To obtain the scale factor of an Engineering drawing scale:

  1. Multiply the feet of the desired scale by 12.
  2. For example 1″=50′ scale would be 50×12 = Scale Factor 600.
Engineering Scale
Drawing Scale Scale Factor Viewport Scale
1″ = 10′ 120 1/120xp
1″ = 20′ 240 1/240xp
1″ = 30′ 360 1/360xp
1″ = 40′ 480 1/480xp
1″ = 50′ 600 1/600xp
1″= 60′ 720 1/720xp
1″ = 70′ 840 1/840xp
1″ = 80′ 960 1/960xp
1″ = 90′ 1080 1/1080xp
1″ = 100′ 1200 1/1200xp
1″ = 200′ 2400 1/2400xp
1″ = 300′ 3600 1/3600xp
1″ = 500′ 4800 1/4800xp
1″ = 1000′ 9600 1/9600xp

To obtain the scale factor of an Architectural drawing scale:

  1. Multiply the denominator of the desired scale by 12.
  2. for example 1/4 scale would be 4×12 = Scale Factor 48.
Architetural Scale
Drawing Scale Scale Factor Viewport Scale
1/128″ = 1′-0″ 1536 1/1536xp
1/64″ = 1′-0″ 768 1/768xp
1/32″ = 1′-0″ 384 1/384xp
1/16″ = 1′-0″ 192 1/192xp
3/32″ = 1′-0″ 128 1/128xp
1/8″ = 1′-0″ 96 1/96xp
3/16″ = 1′-0″ 64 1/64xp
1/4″ = 1′-0″ 48 1/48xp
3/8″ = 1′-0″ 32 1/32xp
1/2″ = 1′-0″ 24 1/24xp
3/4″ = 1′-0″ 16 1/16xp
1″ = 1′-0″ 12 1/12xp
1 1/2″ = 1′-0″ 8 1/8xp
3″ = 1′-0″ 4 1/4xp
6″=1′-0″ 2 1/2xp
1′-0=1′-0″ 1 1xp
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