February 14, 2017

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Synergis’ Application Consultant, Jim Swain
Sometimes it can be very challenging to make sense of a drawing created by someone else. Here is a house drawing and as you can see it’s a bit of a mess on the screen.
The first thing I do to try and make sense of these drawings is run AutoCAD’s Layer Walk command (LAYWALK).
When this command is fired up a dialog box is shown, listing all the layers in the drawing:
The title line for the dialog box shows how many layers there are in the drawing. In this case there are 125 layers.
Layers that are visible have a blue highlight. If a layer isn’t visible, such as if it is OFF or FROZEN, there is no highlight. So, out of the 125 layers in this drawing at least the PLUMBING_2 layer isn’t visible.
The button in the top left let you pick geometry from the display. After you finish picking, then hit Enter, only those layers are displayed. Kind of like how Isolate works.
The top line also lets you filter the amount of layers displayed in the dialog box and on the screen.
Clearing the Filter check box let’s all layers be displayed in the dialog box, but doesn’t affect what’s shown in the drawing.
For me, the most useful way to run the command is to scroll to the top of the list in the dialog box, click on the top layer, then use the down arrow on my keyboard to scroll through the list. That way I can see what is on each individual layer in the drawing. You can also use the CONTROL and SHIFT keys to select multiple layers.
Here is the geometry on each of three similarly named layers: STAIR_1, STAIR_2 and STAIR_3
Finally, this tool would be very painful if it wasn’t for the check box at the bottom of the dialog box. Restore on exit is on by default. This means that when you close the dialog box, even by hitting the red X button, the layer visibility from before the tool was started is restored.
So LAYWALK is my go to command when I first open a busy drawing and need to figure out how things are organized. It’s been in AutoCAD as long as I can remember, and has been definitely helped my sanity on more than one occasion.
Until next time,