Set Paths to Referenced Drawings
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You can view and edit the file name and path used when locating a particular drawing reference (xref). Use this option if the referenced file has been moved to a different folder or renamed since it was first attached.

You can choose from three types of folder path information to save with an attached reference: a full path, a relative path, and no path.

Specify a Full (Absolute) Path

A full path is a fully specified hierarchy of folders that locates the file reference. A full path includes a local hard drive letter, a URL to a website, or a network server drive letter. This is the most specific but least flexible option.

Specify a Relative Path

Relative paths are partially specified folder paths that assume the current drive letter or the folder of the host drawing. This is the most flexible option, and enables you to move a set of drawings from your current drive to a different drive that uses the same folder structure.

If the file that is being referenced is located on a different local hard drive or on a network server, the relative path option is not available.

The conventions for specifying a relative folder path are as follows:


Look in the root folder of the host drawing's drive


From the folder of the host drawing, follow the specified path


From the root folder, follow the specified path


From the folder of the host drawing, follow the specified path


From the folder of the host drawing, move up one folder level and follow the specified path


From the folder of the host drawing, move up two folder levels and follow the specified path

NoteIf a drawing that contains referenced files is moved or saved to a different path, to a different local hard drive, or to a different network server, you must edit any relative paths to accommodate the host drawing's new location or you must relocate the referenced files.

Specify No Path

When no path information is saved with the attached external reference, the following search is initiated in the order shown:

Specifying the No Path option is useful when moving a set of drawings to a different folder hierarchy or to an unknown folder hierarchy.

Know when a Referenced Drawing has been Relocated

If the drawing you are working on contains an xref that has been moved to a different folder, a message is displayed at the site of the xref when you load the drawing. The message indicates that the xref cannot be loaded using the old path. When you specify the new path, the xref is reloaded into your drawing.

Use Project Names to Define Referenced Drawing Paths

Project names make it easier for you to manage xrefs when drawings are exchanged between customers or if you have different drive mappings to the same location on a server. The project name points to a section in the registry that can contain one or more search paths for each project name defined.

If the program cannot find an xref at the location specified by the search path, the prefix (if any) is stripped from the path. If the drawing has a PROJECTNAME value set and a corresponding entry exists in the registry, the program searches for the file along the project search paths. If the xref still is not located, the program search path is searched again.

You can add, remove, or modify the project names that exist in the registry. The folder search paths beneath the project name can also be added, removed, or modified.

The search paths beneath the project name can be added, removed, or modified in the same manner as the project name. The order in which the folders are searched can also be modified. Projects and their search paths can only be edited through the Files tab in the Options dialog box. You cannot edit project names at the Command prompt.

Once you have established a project name and the search paths you want associated with that project name, you can make that project name the currently active project. The program searches the paths associated with that currently active project for xrefs that were not found in the current folder of the host drawing, the full search path, the current drawing folder, or the program support paths.

Change Reference Paths in Multiple Drawings (Advanced)

When you relocate drawing files or the external files that they reference, including other drawing files, text fonts, images, and plot configurations, the reference paths that are saved in the drawing need to be updated. The Autodesk Reference Manager lists referenced files in selected drawings and provides tools to modify the saved reference paths without having to open each drawing file. You can also use Reference Manager to identify and fix unresolved references.

Reference Manager is a stand-alone application with its own Help system. To access it, click Start menu (Windows) (All) Programs Autodesk AutoCAD Reference Manager. If you are working on a network, it may not have been installed on your computer.

WarningReference Manager is intended primarily for CAD managers who thoroughly understand paths. It changes multiple paths at once, and you cannot undo your actions. Use extreme caution, especially if you are working on a network.
To change the path of a DWG reference
To display the currently defined project names
To add a project name
To remove a project name
To modify a project name
To add a search path
To delete a search path
To change a search path
To make a project current
To clear the current project
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