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Saturday, July 29, 2017

AutoCAD Tip of the Day – Who screwed up the XREF dialogue Box?

One of the things that have frustrated many AutoCAD users starting in release 2008 is the new XREF dialog box.  Big, cumbersome and a pain to navigate, especially when you just want to do some quick XREF management.  If you ever wanted to go back in time to the good old days, when the dialogue box was quick and simple, you are in luck.

Simply type “CLASSICXREF” on the command line, and viola, your dream has come true.  If you have Express Tools loaded (which is HIGHLY recommended) you can use Command Alias Editor to map the shortcut alias “XR” to CLASSICXREF and it will feel just like the good old days.  (More on shortcut keys and Command Alias in future tips)

Post your thoughts and comments on this tip and the new XREF dialogue box in the comments section below.  If you find any of our AutoCAD Tips useful, please let your friend and colleagues know about this site and link to it from your website or blog.

Mike Williams

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24 Responses to “AutoCAD Tip of the Day – Who screwed up the XREF dialogue Box?”
  1. Darrin says:

    Is there any Autocad 09 tips, or MEP revit tips out there.

  2. autocadtipoftheday says:

    Hey Darrin,
    Thanks for the question. Currently our focus in on AutoCAD Products. In the future, we hope to expand our tips to include other software packages, such as Revit. We try to post tips that are applicable in the past few releases of AutoCAD. Given the number of changes made in AutoCAD 2009, we will be posting tips specifically to that release.
    Mike Williams

  3. Keith says:

    Can you answer questions/help with custumizations to autocad electrical 2008?

  4. autocadtipoftheday says:

    I personally do not use AutoCAD Electrical, but all AutoDesk products are based on the same core program, so go ahead and post your question. If I can’t answer it, maybe one of our subscriber will.

  5. Kevin says:

    We just loaded 2009 and so far I cannot seem to find the ‘default’ xref pallet at all. When I hit ‘XR’, ‘XREF’, CLASSICXREF’, or use the ‘A’ menu > Insert > External References, I always get the old style dialogue box. Question: Did AutoDesk change it back for the 2009 release?

    Product version: C.56.0 (UNICODE)

  6. autocadtipoftheday says:

    In my version of 2009, it’s the new xref pallet version. I’ll look into it to see if there is a system variable that controls this behavior.

  7. Joe says:

    One of the problems I have with 2008 is the amount of
    time it takes to load. I think it may hae to do with the
    speed of my computer. I there anything within
    AutoCAD 2008 I can do to speed the loading of the program.

    ClassicXREF will make my life easier thank you


  8. With each release of AutoCAD, the system requirements increase. One thing you may want to verify all files in your file search path. The more files, the longer it takes to load.

  9. Eric Colburn says:

    It’s good to learn and use the “new stuff”, but too much at once can be overwhelming at times. Thanks for this Tip of the Day!

    I’m sure that this will help add some normalcy to peoples work flow while they get used to the new program features, dialogue boxes and interfaces.

    Great post!

  10. Elaine says:

    Is there a line command to put the new “Xref” back as the default???
    I would like to compare working with the classic and the new xref and see which one I like the best. I don’t want it to be an ordeal to get the new box back. Thanks

  11. Hey Eric,
    Thanks so much for the comment

  12. Hey Elanine,
    By default, giving the XREF command brings up the new XREF dialogue box. If you type “ClassicXREF” it will bring up the old one. The new one actually isn’t’ a dialogue box, it’s a tool palette. If you redefine “XR” to bring up the “CLASSICXREF” dialogue box, you can type XREF to bring up the new one (or EXTERNALREFERENCES). Hope that answers your questions.

  13. Elaine says:

    Thanks. I love your tips. I am so glad I found your site. I am in the process of learning Civl3D and really miss Land Desktop. Anything you post that makes me more efficent really helps to compensate for the learning curve on Civil3D.

  14. Jesse Hampton says:

    Hey MIke,
    I have noticed something the other day when I wanted to save down from ’09 some files with an xref there. As part of the request I needed to explode all blocks and get rid of xref associations. Well looking at the new dialogue box I noticed no option for bind/insert of xrefs. Is this option replaced/removed? Is it still there in the classic box?

  15. Jesse,
    The bind option is in 2009. You have to right click on the drawing in the xref dialogue box (that’s one of many things I hate about it). If you use classic xref, it’s in there also.

  16. NCA says:

    Although I don’t have any problems with the new xref stuff, this one is new. It’s good to learn new things. Thanks again to the author!

  17. Jiawu says:

    great tip, thanks

  18. Lea says:

    hi i’m a design student and still a beginner at autocad… i just finished a project where i could use xref and it would saved me a lot time but i couldnt quite get a hold of it… is there a previous post on this site already about the use of xref? for beginners like me~
    Thank you so much!

  19. I don’t currently have a post that give an in depth look at xref’s, but I will put it on the list. The basics that you need to know about xref is that they are simply other drawing files that you insert into another dawning. For example, if you are drawing a set of plans on an office building, you would draw the basic floor plan as one drawing file. Then you would XREF the floor plan into your drawing for the Floor Plan sheet and put all your notes, dimensions, tags, etc… Then you could XREF the floor plan into the electrical drawing and put your lights, outlets, switches, etc. And so on… The cool thing is if the floor plan changes, you only have to fix it in the original drawing and all the XREFs will be updated automatically. I hope that helps.

  20. Natalie says:

    I didn’t know that command, thanks for the tip (I too hate the new xref box!)

  21. Mike says:

    I noticed that along with the “classicxref” you must also use “classicimage” for whatever that’s worth. I do like the ability to manage all from one dialog box though.

  22. Philemon Johnson says:

    I do know, but I am facing problem in downloading an AutoCAD on my computer.
    Can you advise? And I ready want this to enable me practice the AutoCAD on my own.

  23. what problem are you having? Are you downloading it from the AutoDesk website?

  24. Annie says:

    I started using ClassicXref about a year ago when my frustation-level with the XREF dialog box became too painful and I needed to find another solution. It’s great to see the familair box. Thanks for your great tips!

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