Attach Drawing References (Xrefs)
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You can insert any drawing file as an external reference or xref in the current drawing.

When you attach a drawing file as an xref, you link that referenced drawing to the current drawing. Any changes to the referenced drawing are displayed in the current drawing when it is opened or reloaded.

A drawing file can be attached as an xref to multiple drawings at the same time. Conversely, multiple drawings can be attached as referenced drawings to a single drawing.

Tools for Attaching Xrefs

You can use several methods to attach an xref:

You can also use DesignCenter to attach xrefs to a drawing. Use DesignCenter for simple attachments, previewing drawing references and their descriptions, and quick placement by dragging.

You can attach an xref by dragging it from DesignCenter or by clicking Attach as Xref on the shortcut menu.

The saved path used to locate the xref can be a full path, a relative (partially specified) path, or no path.

If an xref contains any variable block attributes, they are ignored.

NoteWhen using the External References palette, it is recommended that you turn on the Auto-hide feature or anchor the palette. The palette will then hide automatically when you specify the insertion point of the external reference.

Receive Notification of Attached Xrefs

An xref icon is displayed in the lower-right corner of the application window (the status bar tray) when xrefs are attached to the drawing.

When one or more xrefs are not found or if any of the xrefs need reloading, an exclamation point is added to the Xref icon. If you click the Xref icon, the External References palette is displayed.

Highlight External References in a Drawing

To find an external reference in a complex drawing, select an item in the External References palette to highlight all visible instances in the drawing. Conversely, select an external reference in the drawing to highlight its name in the External References palette.

Control the Properties of Xref’s Layers

You can control the visibility, color, linetype, and other properties of an xref's layers and make these changes temporary or permanent. If the VISRETAIN system variable is set to 0, these changes apply only to the current drawing session. They are discarded when you end the drawing session, or when you reload or detach the xref.

You can also control the fade display of the DWG xref. The XDWGFADECTL system variable defines the fade percentage for all DWG xrefs.

Xref Clipping Boundaries

Drawings can include xrefs that are clipped. If you want to see the clipping boundary, you can turn on the XCLIPFRAME system variable.

Attachments from Educational Products

If you open, insert, or attach an xref from an Autodesk Educational Product, the drawings you plot contain the following banner: “PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT.”

See Also
To attach an xref
To attach or overlay an xref using DesignCenter
To view referenced files by type in the External References palette
To adjust the fade display of the DWG xref
Quick Reference
System Variables