How to Delete Layers in AutoCAD (Works for Every Layer!)

Delete Layer in AutoCAD

Many times I faced the problem with deleting layers in AutoCAD. It is common to see a drawing full of hundreds of layers, especially if you are using someone else’s drawing for a base. At this point, it would be great to clean the drawing up and delete some of the unnecessary layers. Here comes the problem, some of the layers cannot be deleted. Sometimes, even when I’ve deleted everything from the drawing I still cannot delete them!

Cannot Delete Layers

There are several reasons why some layers cannot be deleted as the AutoCAD message suggests. We will go through some of them here:

  1. Maybe not all the objects are Deleted. If a layer is Frozen or it is Turned Off the objects are not Deleted. Also if the layer is Locked you cannot delete the objects in it. Note: Try using Zoom > Extend to see if there are objects somewhere else in the drawing that you cannot see at first.
  2. The Current Layer cannot be Deleted, so check if that is the case.
  3. As said in the image, layers 0 and Defpoints cannot be Deleted.
  4. Layers that are X-ref dependent, also cannot be deleted.


When trying to delete layers the fastest way for me is to use the PURGE Command. After triggering it AutoCAD gives us a list of all the Objects and settings that can be deleted. Then I just Purge everything, until all parasites are gone. You can learn more about cleaning your drawings here: 5 Ways you can Improve your AutoCAD Performance

If there are stubborn layers that still cannot be deleted use this little trick – LAYDEL in combination with NAME.

  1. Type in command line LAYDEL
  2. AutoCAD will want you to Select object on layer to delete or [Name]: Type in N for Name
  3. A window will pop up with all the layers listed. Now just Choose the layer to be Deleted and hit OK.

Note: Deleting a layer this way will delete all the Objects in this Layer, together with objects referencing it!

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Change multiple objects to ByLayer Effortlessly!

Set multiple properties of multiple objects to ByLayer with one command!

Today we will look at one really interesting and very useful command that i recently found about. It’s called SetByLayer and what this command does is simply change Color, Linetype, Lineweight, Material and Transparency  of all object you have selected to “ByLayer“. It really comes in handy when you receive drawing from someone for example architect, or if you are using an old drawing that you have drawn and forgot about it.

Now we will look at one little example how and when the command may be a life saver.

Here we have drawing of site improvements. We want to change the color of all architect’s objects to color 8. That is because it will look great with our .ctb file.

I find it extremely easy just to select all x-ref layer and put them into color 8. However as we you can see there are some walls, doors and text left with its forced color. 

Now we will just open the x-ref type in SETBYLAYER. Upon starting the command you will

see in the command line “SETBYLAYER Select objects or [Settings]:  type “S” and a window will pop up. Here you can choose what you want to change – Color, Linetype, Lineweight, Material or Transparency. Make your choice and hit OK.

After setting up our preferred options (I will leave all checked) we can select objects. In the example i will select all by typing “All” in command line. Now AutoCAD will ask us if we want to change ByBlock to ByLayer we will hit Yes. Then it will ask if we want to include Blocks. In that case we will chose Yes again if you want to keep blocks with forced settings you can always select No, and we are ready!

Last step is to go back in our drawing and reload the External Reference. Now you can see the selected objects are changed to BYLAYER.


Use your own TEMPLATE! (Create your own CAD standards!)

Why do I need a template?

The Title says it all, use your own Template! I hate when we at the office receive drawing 

with only one layer – Layer 0, Aahhh it can’t be worst (well for example if coordinates are wrong or local it could be..). Sometimes we will receive a drawing with some layers but only a few and it is really, really annoying to work with such a drawing.

So don’t be one of those people who is using only one or two layers and are too lazy to click 2 times with the mouse. It won’t only help your colleagues, but will help you too!

Now when you are using Civil 3d it comes with preset templates for all its objects, but usually, we drafters create new ones that suit our needs the best. Upon making a new Alignment style, for example, you can set its default layer it will be layer 0 but we can change it to C-ALGN for example, this will help us isolate alignments easier when our drawing becomes full of information. I recommend you to use unique layers, different from someone else’s, that way it will be easier to keep track of your work.

If you are using Custom Template which has all the objects set, but they are all drawn in

layer 0 you can easily find their styles without having to draw every object and then go into its settings to set things up. Just open your Toolspace and then go to Settings tab there you will find all preset settings in your drawing. Now you just have to find objects you want to edit and expand them.
For example, we want to change our Profile styles we Open Toolspace, then we go to Settings, then we expand Profiles and then we expand Profile Styles. Here we will see all saved styles just right-click on a style and hit Edit… In the pop-up window, we go to Display and here we can change our layers.

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