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Friday, July 28, 2017

AutoCAD Tip of the Day: XREF LAYER Control and VISRETAIN

Have you ever inserted an XREF and then spent time getting all the LAYERs turned on, off, thawed and frozen just the way you want. You then spent even more time setting each layer the color that you want. And once you had everything just perfect, you saved your drawing and exited, only to find when you return that all the time consuming work had been lost.

We’ve all done it at one time or another. And chances are, if you’ve had this problem before, you’ve said (or at least thought) a bunch of cuss words and then thought to yourself “there’s got to be a way to fix this”.

Well, you are right. And if you haven’t already figured it out, the answer lies in the System Variable VISRETAIN. VISTRETAIN controls the visibility state and colors for your XREFs. If it’s set to 1, which in most cases it should be, all the work you do to tweak the LAYERs will be saved in the drawing. If it’s set to 0, all changes will be lost and the drawing will load upon next open to the current layer conditions as found in the original XREF file.

I’m sure many of our subscribers have already found this tip, but it’s too much of a sanity saver to not mention it.

I’d love to hear your comments on this System Variable. How did it help you or hurt you? Do you always have it set to 1 or has that caused you problems? Please post your comments below.

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One Response to “AutoCAD Tip of the Day: XREF LAYER Control and VISRETAIN”
  1. Jim B says:

    Great tip Mike –
    I do wish AutoCAD had clearly defined this variable when x-ref’s came to being. It was treacherous at first when this was happening, remember thinking and yelling things like “I SAVED I SAVED” and “WTF I just fixed that layer, why is it printing” lol It’s been a long time now, but I think not so long for thoughs just learning how to control xref layers.

    Why does ACAD bury this setting, now I think it is a toggle in the layer dialog box?

    I like you just type it in on the command line, and at each upgrade we make sure the starting drawing has it set correctly also.

    Olmpia, WA

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