Take charge of AutoCAD’s layers with Layer Filters
Thanks very much to Jaiprakash Pandey for this excellent guest post on AutoCAD’s layer filters.
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Over to Jaiprakash…
Why filter layers?
The obvious answer is you have to! As you progress in your project you will find that your list of layers becomes large enough to frustrate you. Finding a layer of your choice can become daunting!
To overcome this you need to create layer filters allowing you to categorize layers based upon certain properties or your preferences. You can then look for your preferred layer among that shorter filtered list.
This type of layer filter is created to make a list of layers based upon properties like color, linetype or layer state (on/off, Freeze/thaw & lock/unlock). Let’s start by creating a layer state filter
Creating filter based upon layer state
Click on property filter located on top left of layer property manager window (see image). A layer filter window will pop up provide name of filter. In this case I am providing name LOCK (1).
Now go to ‘Lo… or Lock’ on filter definition and click on the box (2). A drop down window will appear. Select the lock symbol from menu and click ok (3).
A new LOCK property filter will be added to the filters tree and all the locked layers will be mentioned in that layer filter.
Tip: You can use a similar workflow to create filters for on/off, freeze/thaw, plot, linetype, lineweight etc.
Creating filters based upon color
For creating color specific layer filter click on the property filter icon. Now go to color tab on filter definition and click on the blank area under COLOR tab. A box will pop up. Click on that box and you will find select color window. Now go on and select your color and click ok.
A new property filter will be added containing all layers with color you selected.
Creating filters based on Name
This is probably the most important usage of property filters.
Here you can make filters based upon the name of layers. To create filters based on layer name, go to property filter and assign a new name to the filter. Now click once in the name box of filter definition. You will find that a cursor appears followed by star *. Now enter any letter and all layers starting with that letter will be selected. Press ok to create a filter with all layers starting with your selected letter.
There may be situations when you want to make a filter such that only it’s third and fourth letters are known to you (or any letters at specific occurrence of the layer name).
For the sake of this example I will assume that we want to create a filter where third and fourth letters are F and P respectively. Here is the syntax:
this syntax indicates that the first two letters can be anything indicated by question mark (?)
The third and fourth letters are F and P respectively. The asterix * indicates that remaining letters can be anything.
Similar syntax can be used for making filters where you need to select layers based upon letters at certain places in their names. Just keep adding question marks for number of letters unknown in the beginning then add required letters, then end it with * indicating remaining letters can be anything.
Making Group filters
At times you might need to make a filter that does not have any specific property, you just want to choose the layers yourself.
To make a group filter select group filter icon placed next to property filter icon on layer properties manager. A new group filter will be added to the filters tree. Assign a name to your new group layer filter (To rename a filter later, you can also select contextual menu after right clicking on it and select rename to assign a name to the filter).
Tip: Click on ALL in filters tree to make all layers visible.
Now all you need to do is drag and drop filters from your filters list to Group filter on filter tree you just created. To remove a layer from group filter select that layer from filter and right click and select ‘Remove from group filter’ from the contextual menu.
Note: Make sure you don’t delete from the contextual menu else the layer will be deleted from your drawing file as well!
Layer filter best practices
AutoCAD’s layer filters work particularly well with a layering standard such as the AIA ‘American Institute of Architects’ layering standard.
‘L-FP-Door’ = L for landscape, FP for floor plan and ‘Door’ is the name of the component.
‘A-CP-Dim’ = A for Architectural CP stands for ceiling plan and ‘Dim’ stands for dimensions.
The main advantage of following an abbreviated layer naming standard is that, once you make a property filter with name starting with ‘A’ all the Architectural layers will be filtered. To make a filter of all architectural floor plan layers you need to make a property filter with name A-FP-* and layers will be filtered.
Tip: Empty layer filters can Bloat your AutoCAD DWG File. Find out how to purge layer filters here.
Over to you…
Do you use AutoCAD’s layering functions? Will you give them a try in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
Would you like to know more about working smarter with AutoCAD Layers? Read this post: