Video Resources for this article
- Layer Properties Manager Overview
- Turning a Layer On and Off
- Freezing/Thawing a Layer
- Locking/Unlocking a Layer
- Which One Should I Use?
When you place a Land F/X block (such as a plant, site amenity, or plan graphic) into a drawing, you're actually working in multiple AutoCAD layers. This is because Land F/X objects (blocks) are made up of linework on several different layers.
For example, although our tree blocks are placed on the layer LP-TREE, the actual linework is on a series of layers beginning with LK-TREE (the K signifies a blocK layer).
In this case, you can turn off the individual LK- layers as desired, or you may Freeze the LP-TREE layer to make all the tree blocks disappear. You can also unlock and lock layers, although we don't recommend this practice. This article will show you how Land F/X blocks and CAD layers work together, as well as how to freeze layers and unfreeze (thaw) them.
You can control your CAD layers through the Layer Properties Manager, accessed by:
- Clicking the Layer Properties button on the CAD Home ribbon
Selecting any of these options will open the Layer Properties Manager for the current drawing. Here, you have the option to:
- Turn layers on and off
- Freeze and unfreeze layers
- Lock and unlock layers
Interestingly, the Layer Properties Manager pictured above is for the drawing pictured to the right, which contains one simple tree symbol and nothing more.
Note that even though this drawing contains only a dot inside a circle, that symbol includes a total of seven layers.
As you can imagine, the layers can add up considerably as you place more and more blocks in your drawing.
Click the lightbulb icon next to the layer name to turn the layer on and off.
Unfrozen layers are followed by a sun icon in the Freeze column. Click this icon to freeze the layer.
Frozen layers have a snowflake icon in the Freeze column. Click this icon to unfreeze (thaw) the layer.
Click the lock icon in the Lock column to lock and unlock a layer.
Important: We don't recommend locking layers except those that contain your Xrefs.
To determine whether an object is on a locked layer, hover your cursor over that object.
If you see a small lock symbol next to the object, as pictured to the left, the object is on a locked layer.
If so, unlock the layer. Access the UNLOCK command by either:
- Clicking the Unlock button on the Home ribbon, or
- Typing LAYULK in the Command line and pressing Enter
The Command line will prompt you to Select an object on the layer to be unlocked. Click the object whose layer you need to unlock. The layer will now be unlocked, and you should be able to select objects on that layer.
We recommend using Freeze Layer in most cases.
These three layer functions act somewhat like each other, so it can be somewhat difficult to determine which one to use.
Freezing a layer was invented several years ago, when regenerating a drawing could really cause things to chug along. Turning a layer off just turns off its display. Freezing a layer completely removes the layer from memory, thus improving performance. Moreover, commands such as Select All will not select objects on a frozen layer.
In practicality, however, Select All is exeedingly rare, and we aren't really concerned about Regen times anymore. Instead, we are benefiting from essentially an unintended consequence of the original Freeze Layer functionality: Removing the layer completely from memory also removes all associated linework even on layers that are within blocks.
Hence, as landscape architecture is essentially the only discipline that routinely uses several layers within blocks, Freeze Layer has become our most valuable tool for turning objects, linework, and layers on and off.
As mentioned above, we only recommend using the Lock/Unlock feature on layers that contain Xrefs.