XREF Malpractices  – What are the worst Attachment practices?

The only reason for XREF Malpractices -AutoCAD Files, Image Files, DWFs, Microstation DGN Files, PDFs Underlays, Point Cloud Files &/or Coordination Models -that are not working, mistaken, not up-to-date- or else, is that AutoCAD will allow it.

Most Typical Attachments (like DWGs & PDF Underlays) have the Following ATTACHMENT DIALOG BOXXREF Malpractices: The Worst attachment practices in AutoCAD

In Here, everything seems pretty much similar to any other Insert Dialog Box But then, once the file has been attached, Chaos makes its quiet way making it accessible to those that will “try something else”, unintentionally err, or even for those who are
“XREF-Delinquents” and are ready to commit a crime against Humanity within their CAD Everyday Work. After deciding or following your CAD Standard You Click OK and all is Good..,isn’t it?

Now, take a look at this:


Provided that you followed a CAD Standard Procedure like:

  1. Attach at designated Layer,
  2. Locate at X=0.0000, Y=0.000, Scale=1 The Units are right and…
  3. you know You always use a one-Level
    X-REF so it’s always an attachment and You can Forget about Overlays…
  4. You might use Full Path/ Relative Path/No Path.

I Cannot Imagine any reason why any CAD Standard Framework  should encourage a CAD USER to touch the Saved Path Line and I am not sure why this possibility exists in AutoCAD. Yet many things that shouldn’t be done in AutoCAD are possible….

XREF Malpractices -Why Attach other files to our’s?

External Referencing is probably the best option to combine various design disciplines files into your Host Design File. So, stick to it the best way you can and don’t reinvent the wheel!!!
If a case similar to the Files Reference Picture- seen here – emerges and a different file is created, notify all your co-designers so they detach their actual copy and attach the new one. Otherwise everybody will be losing control at some point…

XREFs Best Practices:

XREFs (External References) are pointers to external data files that are reflected at the actual current Host File. Those pointers have been enhanced dramatically since they made their 1st appearance many years ago. The files to be referenced should be spatial & Layer Indexed to work faster in the Host File and achieve the following:

  1. XREF Geometry can be used for editing native host file geometry
  2. XREF Layers can be treated by touch
  3. All XREF Layers’ Properties can be changed & Saved so their appearance fits your file looks and output in means of on/off, freeze/thaw, linetype, color, transparency, etc. In Order to keep the specific visibility achieved in the host file as a cross session framework – the VISRETAIN Parameter should be turned on and then file saved.
  4. There is more than one single way to attach a reference to your Sheet File – and that is in the Sheet Set Manager framework.

Here are some XREF Attachment Best Practices Written in the Past

Hope my message is crystal clear, if not, please let me know! Please Comment, Like and Share

2 Responses
  1. Chris Walker

    Good to see that I’m not the only one who understands Xrefs and that they should be attached/inserted on their own layer.
    I’m sure that you have had the same problems as I have with people using Vectorworks….

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