What is Xref in AutoCAD! And How to use External References in AutoCAD!

Since I am using Xrefs in almost every project I think that Xrefs deserve special attention, so in the next few posts, I will try to explain everything you need to know about them.

What is Xref in AutoCAD?

In the first post, we are going to look at What exactly is a Xref in AutoCAD.


Xref or external reference is a drawing file that is inserted in the current drawing. It can be easily moved in the subject drawing as it behaves mostly like a Block. Xref 1.JPG

With AutoCAD Xrefs, changes made in the referenced drawings are reflected in the current drawing.
Any changes will be displayed to the current drawing when it is reopened or if you reload the Xref. The attached drawings are linked to, but not actually inserted in the drawing, therefor our current drawing stays light without significantly increasing the drawing file size.

Why should we use Xrefs?

There are a lot of very important reasons why should we use external references in AutoCAD. We have made a list of the Xref Advantages:

  1. As mentioned before, Xrefs keeps the drawing files size at bay.
  2. AutoCAD External References allow many users to work on individual components of a project.
    For example: Architectural Floor plan can be easily used as Xref for a furniture plan, water and sewer plan, electrical plan, etc. If a correction to the said Floor Plan is made it will be automatically applied to all other drawings.
    Example 2: In big projects like building a Power plant, the road designer can attach the Land Survey, Architectural plans etc. as a reference while they are designing the roads. In the same time, the Landscape Architect would attach the pavement plan into his drawings while he is designing the landscape and so on.
  3. You can Xref drawings that they themselves reference other drawings – this is called nesting and is great for keeping an eye on multiple drawings at the same time. Learn about different attachment types.
  4. Xrefs can be added, unattached, updated, reloaded and clipped in the main drawing at any time – that way we have full control over them. Learn about Xref’s “Extras”
  5. We can control Xref’s layers in the current drawing without affecting the host drawing. Should I edit Xref in-place ?
  6. If someone makes a correction in a referenced drawing¬†and forget to tell you, it will automatically appear in your drawing that way mistakes can be avoided. (Corrections will appear after reopening the drawing or reloading the Xref. Don’t worry you will be notified if you need to reload your current drawing)

Hope you find this information useful. You can check other AutoCAD Related posts!

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