Collaborating effectively in a team can be defined as all of us being on the same page. Defining a layer standard in AutoCAD® can be a very effective way to maintain standards and have easy collaboration within the team. Layers are a fundamental feature of AutoCAD, used to apply colors, linetypes, lineweights, transparency, as well as control plotting characteristics. Not using layers efficiently or placing everything on layer 0 will only cause rework and headaches for the next person working on your drawing. It is critical to understand layers and use all the tools within AutoCAD to your full advantage. In this article we will review how you can use the features of layers to improve the process and set up a collaborative approach to complete the task or goal.
The layer name format is organized as a hierarchy. This arrangement allows users to select from a number of options for naming layers according to the level of detailed information desired. Layer names consist of distinct data ﬁelds separated from one another by dashes. A detailed list of abbreviations, or ﬁeld codes, is prescribed to deﬁne. Autocad Standard Layer Names; Autocad Import Layers From Excel; Select the drawing with the layer standards that you want to import, and click Open. All the layer standards in the drawing are displayed in the External File list. Under External File, select the layer standard that.
We All Want to Be First
Let’s start by examining how AutoCAD sorts layers. The best place to start is within the layer names themselves. On the Home tab of the ribbon you will find the layer panel located within the center of the ribbon tab as shown in Figure 1. Open a drawing, select Layer Properties, and examine how the layers are sorted within the file.
The name of the layer can be the first step in controlling layers. By default, layers are sorted by name. If you give layers logical names, it becomes easier as drawings become more complicated. From the image below you can see the layers are sorted alphabetically starting with an “A” as the main descriptor. I added B and C to show how the layer sorts. You can select the name column to reverse the order as shown in Figure 2.
The AutoCAD out-of-the-box template file does not include any layers, so you need to establish this standard on your own. Have you ever looked at the layers provided within a AutoCAD® Civil 3D® drawing file? Figure 3 shows the layers that are provided within the Civil 3D Template.
The layers created in the Civil 3D templates follow the National CAD Standards Rules (NCS). For more information about the National CAD Standards layering settings, see http://www.nationalcadstandard.org.
The layers follow the NCS standards as follows, with each element separated by a dash (Figure 4):
- - - -
Discipline Designator: Required; the AutoCAD Civil 3D templates use the C and V discipline designators, which stand for Civil and Survey/Mapping. The discipline designator is one letter.
Major Group: Required; identifies elements such as roads, topographic elements, and storm sewers. To adhere to the standards, custom Major Group fields are not allowed.
Minor Group: Optional; identifies sub-elements such as road profiles. You can include up to two minor groups per layer name, and you can define your own custom Minor Groups. For example, the layer C-ANNO-TABL-TEXT has two Minor Groups: “TABL” and “TEXT,” both consisting of four letters.
Minor Group: Additional layer classes.
Status: There can also be a one letter status indicator on the end.
Your project discipline and company standards define how you create a collaborative layer approach that can be used for your company. Using this system along with templates can prove to be a very effective implementation plan. Architectural drawings follow a similar layer standard from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) published guidelines follow a similar layer convention: https://www.aia.org/ The layers are more designed for architectural projects rather than civil.
The Template File
Open the acad.dwt as shown and add all the layers including their properties to the file and save as a standard template name (i.e., Layers.dwt). Creating a standard set of layers and saving them in a drawing template file makes those layers available for use when starting a new drawing with that template file.
All you need to do when you begin a new drawing is select that template file, then ADD the layers for your standard and save the file as shown in Figure 5. Next time you create a new drawing with this template all your standard layers will be imported and included within your drawing session.
Next up, let’s talk about organizing our layers with filters.
Managing Your Layers with Filters
There are two kinds of layer filters in AutoCAD. These filters allow you to create named sets of layer selections involving many different disciplines. The two buttons shown above the filter section will navigate you to the correct filter as shown in Figure 6.
To create a group filter, select the New Group Filter button in the filters list as shown and the filter will be added. Follow the steps in Figure 7 to create your group filter.
- Rename the filter to a logical name.
- Highlight all the layers you want to be in that group (they do not have to have the same properties or a common name).
- Drag the layers to the filter.
A more detailed way to stay organized is with a properties filter. Upon selecting this button, you have more flexibility based on the layer names you choose. In this example we are going to give a simple criterion—including all the layers with a prefix of A and then we are going to add all the layers with a prefix of V. Keep in mind you can use wildcards (*) after the character to include all the layers with those features as shown in Figure 8.
After you add the letters with the wildcard, select OK and you can now view the layers in your properties filter as shown in Figure 9.
DesignCenter to the Rescue
Now what about those drawings you get from a surveyor, client, or the new person in the office who did not set up the file correctly? You can simply insert your template into the drawing file at 0,0 and all the layers will be added in. How about using DesignCenter? From your problem drawing, type ADC at the command prompt and navigate to your template file as shown in Figure 10.
- Select the Layers Tree item and all your layers will be displayed in the window.
- You can select all the layers or just the ones you need and drag and drop into your drawing. All your standard layers will now be inside your new drawing.
Create a Macro to Force a Standard Layer
You can use macros to create standard layers within your file. Follow the sequence below to create a button macro that will set a current layer and its properties from a button. By selecting the button, the macro will force any current layer properties to the new properties in the macro.
1. Type CUI at the command prompt then layer in the command list to get the command as shown in Figure 11.
2. With your tool palette open, left-click and drag the Layer Properties Command onto your palette. Note: we only want to get the image and the start of the command in there. Figure 12 shows the layer command added to a blank palette.
3. Right-click your layer command in the palette (Figure 12) and select properties.
Follow the sequence as is on the command line. Notice the number of returns which are represented by a semicolon in the command string shown in Figure 13. Enter the command string and select OK. Your button is now ready to use—forcing a standard layer in your drawing.
For a video on creating or resetting a layer in AutoCAD with a macro, visit:
Renaming a Group of Layers
You can easily use the rename command to rename a group of layers using the same functionality with wildcards as you did in the layers properties filter. Type rename at the command prompt as shown in Figure 14 and follow the four steps to rename the layers.
- Select layers.
- Highlight all the layers you would like to change.
- Change the wildcard in the first box to C-* and in the second CIVIL-*. This will change all the prefixes of those layers from “C-“ to “CIVIL-“.
- Select Rename To:
The Layer Translator
For a video on this topic, please visit the AKN for a Screencast: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/community/screencast/43810cee-6129-4193-b43b-86e909c906d2
In the Layer Translator, you specify the layers in the current drawing that you want to change or translate, and the layers to translate them to. The translation maps the layers in the current drawing to different layer names and layer properties in a specified drawing or standards file, and then converts them using those mappings. The Layer Translator is one way to ensure these properties are corrected, and quickly.
- Incorrect Layer Name (Our standard is to have a prefix of two letters).
- Color set to “white” and not to “Bylayer” (Bylayer is our standard).
- Linetype set independently of the layer (Bylayer is our standard).
To solve this problem, I opened up one of our company standard detail drawings and checked all the properties and verified it was completed correctly and, more importantly, to our standard. I then saved the file as an AutoCAD Standards file named MY_COMPANY_STANDARDS.dws. We are saving this to a standards file so we can use it again to check other details against our standard.
Next, open the detail drawing created by intern. Move over on the Ribbon > Manage tab and this time select Layer Translator as shown in Figure 15.
You also need to check the layer translate settings by selecting the settings button in the lower left portion of the window. The settings button will control what we want forced onto each layer. This is important, as in some instances you may not want one of these items selected.
List of options described from AutoCAD Help:
- Force Object Color to BYLAYER
Specifies whether every object translated takes on the color assigned to its layer.
- Force Object Linetype to BYLAYER
Specifies whether every object translated takes on the linetype assigned to its layer.
- Force Object Transparency to BYLAYER
Specifies whether every object translated takes on the transparency assigned to its layer.
- Translate Objects in Blocks
Specifies whether objects nested within blocks are translated.
- Write Transaction Log
Specifies whether a log file detailing the results of translation is created. If this option is selected, a log file is created in the same folder as the translated drawing. The log file is assigned the same name as the translated drawing, with a .log file name extension.
- Show Layer Contents When Selected
Specifies which layers to display in the drawing area.
It’s time to map our layers. Figure 16 shows the layer Translator mapping setting.
- The “translate from” section. Take your time and look at the names and properties of the layer you are translating from and verify this is correct. This section shows the layers which are contained within your current drawing.
- The “translate to” list. This list shows the layers that you loaded from another file or created as part of your standard. You can use the Map Same button to quickly map layers with the same name (that may have different properties).
- Layer translator mappings. In this area you can see the setting that will be converted after the translation is complete. As you define your layers to map, they are listed in the box at the bottom as shown. You can edit the properties on the new layers using the edit button, remove mapping with the remove button, and save mapping configurations with the Save button.
- When you are done, hit the translate button in the lower right of the window. Don’t worry if you make a mistake—you can save the mapping file and start over.
Autocad Layer Color Standards
Your original drawing will be changed per the translations you mapped. I left the background black to visually show how the layers and colors change. Layers were purged and object settings were changed to match our standard.
For more information on the layer translator, visit CSI: CAD Standards Implementation from Autodesk University: https://autode.sk/2T0ozBa
We have only scratched the surface of layers and the tools you need to develop a successful standard to help collaboration within your design team. Layers can help you turn on, off, filter, and display the objects you need to stay productive. Assign default properties to certain layers and lock those layers for better control. Layers help you stay organized within your drawing and provide clear communication to all regarding the purpose of the layer. All these factors play an important role within CAD standards and collaborating effectively at your company. If you start the drawing correctly you will have fewer problems during the later phases of the design process, which will provide a more collaborative approach to how we work.
Sam Lucido is a CAD Services Manager with Haley & Aldrich, Inc. He has more than 25 years of experience involving design, user support, and customization. Sam is an AutoCAD certified professional and an Expert Elite Member. He uses his vast knowledge about AutoCAD and Civil 3D to help provide support to engineering and design teams by holding hands on workshops and online training. Sam is a top-rated Autodesk University Speaker and an AUGI Board Member. You can reach Sam at CADProTips.com or by email at [email protected]
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CAD Standards are a set of guidelines for the way Computer-aided drafting (CAD), or (CADD) Computer Aided Design and Drawing, drawings should appear, to improve productivity and interchange of CAD documents between different offices and CAD programs, especially in architecture and engineering.
AEC (Architecture Engineering and Construction) standards
CAD layer standards
- BS 1192, which relies heavily on the Code of Procedure for the Construction Industry
- AIA Cad Layer Guidelines, 2nd edition (1997), has a great usage in the USA;
- ISO 13567-1/3, International standard, common in Northern Europe;
- AEC (UK), an adaptation of BS-1192 based on Uniclass.
- A/E/C CAD Standard, Tri-service (USACE/Air Force/NAVFAC) CAD standard created/maintained by the CAD/BIM Technology Center for Facilities, Infrastructure, and Environment…
- SIA 2014 (1996), Swiss standard for engineers and architects, based on ISO 13567.
- ÖNORM A 6240-4 (2012), Austrian standard for digital documentation in technical drawings, based on ISO 13567.
Samples of standardised layers:
- A-B374--E- (ISO13567: agent Architect, element Roof window in SfB, presentation graphic element);
- A-37420-T2N01B113B23pro (ISO13567: agent Architect, element Roof Window in SfB, presentation Text#2, New part, floor 01, block B1, phase 1, projection 3D, scale 1:5(B), work package 23 and user definition 'pro');
- A-G25---D-R (ISO13567: agent Architect, element wall in Uniclass, presentation dimensions, status Existing to be removed);
- A-G251-G-WallExtl-Fwd (AEC(UK): agent Architect, element External Wall in Uniclass, presentation graphic element, user definition 'WallExtl' and view Forward);
- A210_M_ExtWall (BS1192: agent Architect, element External Wall in SfB, presentation model, user definition 'ExtWall');
- A-E04---E- (ISO13567 SIA 2014: agent Architect, element Stair in SIA classification, presentation graphic element);
- A-WALL-FULL (AIA: agent Architect, element Wall, Full height).
Thickness for pens and plot: 0.13 mm Gray, 0.18 mm Red, 0.25 mm White, 0.35 mm Yellow, 0.50 mm Magenta, 0.70 mm Blue, 1.00 mm Green. In AutoCAD usually parts to be printed in black are drawn in 1 to 7 basic colors. Color layer: Green-Center, Magenta-Measure of length and Blue-Hidden.
|Description||Line thickness in mm||Color Codes|
|Out Line||0.20 or 0.25||White, Cyan, Yellow, Blue|
|Hidden Line||0.00 or 0.05||Blue, Gray, 241|
|Center Line||0.10 or 0.15||Green, Red, Blue|
|Note||0.18 or 0.20||White, Cyan, Green, 41|
|Thin Line||0.00 or 0.05||Gray, 08, 111|
|Reference Line||0.000||Magenta, Gray|
|Hatch Line||0.000||Magenta, Green, Gray, red|
|Color-9 to 256||0.000|
|Leader Line with Arrows||0.000||Gray Color-9, or 8, Red|
|Text||0.18 or 0.20||Cyan, Green|
Text and dimension
Heights: 2.5 mm, 3.5 mm, 5.0 mm, 7.0 mm (stroke thickness (lineweight) should be 0.1 of the character height).Font styles: 'Romans.shx - Romantic Simplex', 'ISOCPEUR.ttf'. Exceptional use of screen fonts (arial, Times New Roman etc.).
- 2:1, 20:1, 200:1 ...
- 1:1, 1:10, 1:100 ...
- 1:2, 1:20, 1:200 ...
- 1:5, 1:50, 1:500 ...
- 1⁄16 in = 1 ft
- 1⁄8 in = 1 ft
- 3⁄16 in = 1 ft
- 1⁄4 in = 1 ft
- 3⁄8 in = 1 ft
- 1⁄2 in = 1 ft
- 3⁄4 in = 1 ft
- 1 in = 1 ft
- 11⁄2 in = 1 ft
- 3 in = 1 ft (QUARTER SCALE)
- 6 in = 1 ft (HALF SCALE)
- 1 ft = 1 ft (FULL SCALE)
File naming standards
- BS 1192:
Discipline (1 char), Element (2 char, using SfB Table 1 or Uniclass), Drawing type (1 char, P=preliminary, X=special/xref, L=layout, C=component, S=schedules, A=assembly drawings, K=co-ordination drawing), Unique number (3 char), Revision (1 char, A=emission, B,C,D...= revisions).Samples: A22P012G.dwg (architect, internal walls in SfB, preliminary design, sheet 012, revision G).
Samples: ZE1G-124.dwg, XE1G-100.dwg
- AEC (UK)
Project (unlimited char), Discipline (2 char max, recommended mandatory), Zone (optional), View (1 char, rec.mand.), Level (2 char, rec.mand.), Content (rec.mand.), Sequential number (up to 3 char);Samples: 1234-A-Off-P-M1-Furn-11c.dwg (project #1234, architect, office zone, plan, mezzanine 1, furnitures, version 1.1 revision c), A-P-01-Part (architect, plan, 1st floor, partitions), 1234-A-S-055.dgn (project #1234, architect, section, sheet 055), A-S-xx-AA.dwg (architect, section, full building, section AA), A-P-x-Grid.dgn (architect, plan, all floor, grid), 1838-S-C-P-03 (project 1838, structures, building C, plan, 3rd floor).
- Other local:
Job number (4 char), Agent (1 char), Section (4 char), phase (1 char), sheet number (2 char), revision (2 char)Samples: 0512-A-00A_-1-01-02.dwgJob number (3 char), View (2 char), section (2char), phase (1 char), revision (1 char)Samples: 123p0s2d0.dwg (job 1239, plan, 2nd floor, definitive drawing, emission), 459s0BBD0.dgn (job 123, section B, definitive drawing, emission).it produces a large number of photos that could then be CAD into a file format
Mechanical CAD standards
Model-based definition (MBD) is a method of product specification using elements within 3D models as defined by ASME Y14.41-2012. ASME Y14.41-2012 is based upon ASME Y14.5-2009 symbols and definition methods, such as Geometry Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T).
Subscribers of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have the standards ISO 1101 and ISO 16792 for model-based definition.
Product Data Quality
PDQ is a field of PLM relating to the quality of product data, particularly the geometrical and organizational quality of CAD data. Checkers, software that analyze CAD data formats, are often employed before and after data translation.The checkers can check the organization and quality of the data against internal company standards and international or industry standards.These checkers can be built into specific CAD packages or work on a number of CAD file formats.
In 2006/2007 Part 59 of STEP ISO 10303-59 Product data representation and exchange: Integrated generic resource: Quality of product shape data is under development. It defines how to represent quality criteria together with measurement requirements and representation of inspection results.
- ISO Standards Handbook - Technical drawings, a broad collection of all basic ISO drawing standards
- Vol.1 Technical drawings in general, ISBN92-67-10370-9
- Vol.2 Mechanical engineering drawings, construction drawings, drawing equipment, ISBN92-67-10371-7
- ISO 128 Technical drawings—General principles of presentation
- ISO 13567Technical product documentation - Organization and naming of layers for CAD
- ISO 16792 Technical product documentation — Digital product definition data practices, for the presentation of 3D models and GD&T
- ASTM F2915 Additive Manufacturing File Format
- IGES Initial Graphics Exchange Specification
- Kiziltas, S.; Leite, F.; Akinci, F.; Lipman, R. (2009) “Interoperable Methodologies and Techniques in CAD”. Chapter 4. In: CAD and GIS Integration. Karimi, H.; Akinci, B. (ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 73-110.
- X3D ISO standardized royalty free 3D format - CAD Interchange sub-component of interest here.
- ^A/E/C CADD Standard R4.0Archived 9 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine July 2009.
- AutoCAD Layer Names for Architecture / Interiors (PDF available)
- aec-uk.org Home of the AEC(UK) standards.