Selection Set Filter Lists

An entity filter list is an association list that uses DXF group codes in the same format as a list returned by entget. (See the DXF Reference for a list of group codes.) The ssget function recognizes all group codes except entity names (group -1), handles (group 5), and xdata codes (groups greater than 1000). If an invalid group code is used in a filter-list, it is ignored by ssget. To search for objects with xdata, use the -3 code as described in Filtering for Extended Data.

When a filter-list is provided as the last argument to ssget, the function scans the selected objects and creates a selection set containing the names of all main entities matching the specified criteria. For example, you can obtain a selection set that includes all objects of a given type, on a given layer, or of a given color.

The filter-list specifies which property (or properties) of the entities are to be checked and which values constitute a match.

The following examples demonstrate methods of using a filter-list with various object selection options.

SSGET examples using filter lists

Function call


(setq ss1 (ssget '((0 . "TEXT")))


Prompts for general object selection but adds only text objects to the selection set.

(setq ss1 (ssget "P"

'((0 . "LINE")))


Creates a selection set containing all line objects from the last selection set created.

(setq ss1 (ssget "W" pt1 pt2

'((8 . "FLOOR9")))


Creates a selection set of all objects inside the window that are also on layer FLOOR9.

(setq ss1 (ssget "X"

'((0 . "CIRCLE")))


Creates a selection set of all objects in the database that are Circle objects.

(ssget "I" '((0 . "LINE")

(62 . 5)))

Creates a selection set of all blue Line objects that are part of the Implied selection set (those objects selected while PICKFIRST is in effect).

Note that this filter picks up lines that have been assigned color 5 (blue), but not blue lines that have had their color applied by the ByLayer or ByBlock properties.

If both the code and the desired value are known, the list may be quoted as shown previously. If either is specified by a variable, the list must be constructed using the list and cons function. For example, the following code creates a selection set of all objects in the database that are on layer FLOOR3:

(setq lay_name "FLOOR3")
(setq ss1 
  (ssget "X"
	(list (cons 8 lay_name))

If the filter-list specifies more than one property, an entity is included in the selection set only if it matches all specified conditions, as in the following example:

(ssget "X"  (list  (cons 0 "CIRCLE")(cons 8 lay_name)(cons 62 1)))

This code selects only Circle objects on layer FLOOR3 that are colored red. This type of test performs a Boolean “AND” operation. Additional tests for object properties are described in Logical Grouping of Filter Tests.

The ssget function filters a drawing by scanning the selected entities and comparing the fields of each main entity against the specified filtering list. If an entity's properties match all specified fields in the filtering list, it is included in the returned selection set. Otherwise, the entity is not included in the selection set. The ssget function returns nil if no entities from those selected match the specified filtering criteria.

NoteThe meaning of certain group codes can differ from entity to entity, and not all group codes are present in all entities. If a particular group code is specified in a filter, entities not containing that group code are excluded from the selection set that ssget returns.

When ssget filters a drawing, the selection set it retrieves might include entities from both paper space and model space. However, when the selection set is passed to an AutoCAD command, only entities from the space that is currently in effect are used. (The space to which an entity belongs is specified by the value of its 67 group. Refer to the Customization Guide for further information.)