Use Layers to Manage Complexity

You can use layers to control the visibility of objects and to assign properties to objects. Layers can be locked to prevent objects from being modified.

You can reduce the visual complexity of a drawing and improve display performance by controlling how objects are displayed or plotted. For example, you can use layers to control the properties and visibility of similar objects, such as electrical parts or dimensions. Also, you can lock a layer to prevent objects on that layer from being accidentally selected and modified.

Control the Visibility of Objects on a Layer

You can make drawing layers invisible either by turning them off or by freezing them. Turning off or freezing layers is useful if you need an unobstructed view when working in detail on a particular layer or set of layers or if you don't want to plot details such as reference lines. Whether you choose to freeze layers or turn them off depends on how you work and on the size of your drawing.

In a layout, you can freeze layers in individual layout viewports.

NoteInstead of turning off or freezing a layer, you can dim the layer by locking it. See “Lock the Objects on a Layer” below.

Assign a Default Color and Linetype to a Layer

Each layer has associated properties such as color and linetype that are assumed by all objects on that layer when the setting is ByLayer. For example, if the Color control on the Properties toolbar is set to BYLAYER, the color of new objects is determined by the color setting for the layer in the Layer Properties Manager.

If you set a specific color in the Color control, that color is used for all new objects, overriding the default color for the current layer. The same is true for the Linetype, Lineweight, and Plot Style controls on the Properties toolbar.

The BYBLOCK setting should be used only for creating blocks. See Control the Color and Linetype Properties in Blocks.

Override Layer Properties in a Layout Viewport

Some layer properties can be changed using overrides on a viewport basis in layouts. Using layer property overrides is an efficient way to display objects with different property settings for color, linetype, lineweight, and plot style. Layer property overrides are applied to the current layout viewport.

For example, if you want objects on the Electrical layer to display prominently in one of two layout viewports, you set a Color override on the Electrical layer for each of the two viewports. By setting the color red for one viewport and gray for the other, you easily accomplish this objective without changing the global color property assigned to the layer. See Override Layer Properties in Viewports for more information.

Lock the Objects on a Layer

When a layer is locked, none of the objects on that layer can be modified until you unlock the layer. Locking layers reduces the possibility of modifying objects accidentally. You can still apply object snaps to objects on a locked layer and perform other operations that do not modify those objects.

You can also dim the objects on a locked layer. This serves the following two purposes:

The LAYLOCKFADECTL system variable controls the dimming applied to locked layers. Locked layers that are dimmed are plotted normally.

NoteGrips are not displayed on objects that are on locked layers.