Improving CAD Standards
+1 805-541-1003


100% - 0 votes

Improving CAD Standards

Jul 31, 2015
Video Length:  1:06:56
Presented By:  Jake Lott

We see the concept of "CAD standards" as a system of change for the better just as much as a static and rigid list of commonly followed procedures. Defining and enforcing best practices is arguably the most important aspect of setting a CAD standard.

According to Autodesk, "Standards define a set of common properties for named objects such as layers and text styles. You or your CAD manager can create, apply, and audit standards in drawings to enforce consistency. Because standards make it easier for others to interpret drawings, standards are particularly useful in collaborative environments, where many individuals contribute to the creation of a drawing." We'd like to offer a slightly different perspective: An ideal standard is, in fact, as much a system of change for the better as it is a static and rigid list of commonly followed procedures. As such, defining and enforcing a logical set of best practices is arguably the most important aspect of the concept of "standards." Land F/X gives your office incredible capability of developing and maintaining your CAD standards. This webinar will take a glimpse into how our software can enforce your office standards when it comes to layers, blocks, labeling, and schedules – all while being flexible where needed. Think of it as an opportunity to take a deeper look at why your standards are the way they are – and improve upon them for the better!

Links referenced in webinar:


Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • Discussion on Standards in General
    • What is a standard?
    • What makes a good standard?
    • “My dad is stronger than your dad.”
  • Setting Your Office Standards
  • Things you should talk about when setting your standards
    • Layers and Line Colors
    • Text and Dimension Styles (DimStyles)
    • Blocks
    • CTB plotting files
    • Sheet setup
  • How to Translate Your Standard to Another Standard
  • BatchMan


0:00 – 5:39: Intro/TOC

5:40 – 13:30: Discussion on Standards in General

What is a Standard? (5:40)


What are your standards?

  • Whatever we want for the project.
  • We just use what we are given.


Why is that your standard?

  • I’m not sure – it’s just how we have done it.
  • That’s how we like it.
  • We have to do it this way.
  • That’s the industry standard way of doing it.


Note: If you can’t be flexible or back up “Why?”, it’s not a good standard.

  • Example: A firm insisting that a specific type of object has to be on its own layer. If they can’t provide a good reason for this standard, it’s not a good standard.


Autodesk’s definition of a standard (8:05)


What makes a good standard? (9:05)


  • Legibility
  • Efficiency
  • Short learning curve
  • Adaptability



Thinking of your mission statement:

What are you trying to achieve with this statement?



If your standards had a mission statement, what would it be?



“My dad is stronger than your dad” (10:57)

Having different standards is not a big deal; it’s what makes you unique. But…

Standards need to be enforceable and adaptable.

13:31 – 55:09: Setting Your Office Standards

Have a discussion with your firm. (13:55)

Create a checklist of things you should think about when making and setting your standard.


Helpful links from our documentation:


Things you should talk about when setting your standards:

  • Layers and line colors
  • Text and dimension styles
  • Blocks
  • Callouts
  • CTB plotting files
  • Sheet setup


Layers and line colors (23:01)

Old way: Setting everything to layer 0, then moving items to appropriate layer once they’ve been placed.

Current way: Making the correct layer and setting it to current. Then drawing and inserting items to the current layer.

Land F/X way: Placing pretty much anything and having it come in immediately on the right layer, based on how you have set up your layers at the beginning – regardless of which layer is active.


Layer States: A great way to keep all your desired layer sets organized and readily available for any project at any time.


BatchMan: Another great tool to set and convert our default standard to match your own.


Text and dimension styles (DimStyles) (28:40)

Think back to your standards mission statement:

  • Do you have the ability to switch between your styles efficiently and effectively?
  • What is your current process?
  • What do you wish you could change?


What are the restraints in your current process or standard?



Branch out and research font websites to see what is out there:


One example: Is it time to give up SHX fonts for TrueType fonts?


TrueType fonts advantages:

  • Better spacing control
  • Better ability to do bold and italic
  • Ability to use special characters


Comment from Jeremiah: Many tech support issues we see are the result of the use  of certain SHX fonts. (31:24)


Blocks (33:21)

Why does Land F/X have so many layers in our blocks?

  • Having those layers gives us the flexibility to show and add as much detail as we want, while still being completely organized and automated.
  • The layers are less of a concern for us because the hard work is done for us.


Show those layers who’s boss!

Things have come a long way since the days when you had to rely on the Layer Properties Manager to manage your blocks and layers.


Editing layer colors and names from the General Preferences (36:30)


Layers within blocks (37:25)


Handy commands, options, and tools for working with blocks:

  • XLIST command: Identifies the layer that contains an object in an Xref (38:15)
  • Filter within the list in the Layer Properties Manager (39:00)
  • LAYFRZ command: Makes items on the selected layer invisible. (39:34)
    • Freezing Work Areas (40:26)
  • Highlight tools: Allow you to find and even select specific objects, such as plants, throughout your drawing. (40:57)
  • Verify tools: Help you find unlabeled blocks, such as plants. (42:10)
  • BatchMan: still a great tool for adjusting and adapting our blocks to your layer standards. (43:20)



CTB plotting files (44:20)

Note: We highly recommend using CTB (color-based) plotting files rather than STB (name-based) plotting files. (44:20)


CTBs give you:

  • Visual confirmation
  • List of 20 colors you need to think about (vs. hundreds if not thousands of layer names)


Think back to your mission statement:

  • Short learning curve
  • Efficient
  • Adaptable



Handy tools for working with CTBs (46:10):

  • Change Layer Color tool (46:30)
  • BatchMan (allows you to make these types of changes through multiple files at a time)



Sheet setup (48:10)

What type of setup will you be able to adjust easily when needed?




  • Layers
  • Layouts
  • Title blocks
  • Dimension styles (DimStyles)



Sheet setup as “fire exit”: Protects your drawings in case of corruption.


Toggling through separate drawing files from the tabs at the top of your AutoCAD interface is just as easy as toggling through different layout tabs. (50:20)



Land F/X allows you to set up different Preference Sets with different dimension styles, font sizes, etc., for different projects or clients with different style requirements. (51:20)



What trade-offs are you willing to have to make your template more flexible? (52:00)

55:10 – 1:00:07: Translating Your Standard to Another Standard

Note: Always work in your standard until you need to provide the final product to a client or other firm in their requested standard.



Know what it is that you actually need to provide. (56:50)

  • Is this something on which you can use your own preferences? (e.g.: text styles, ATB styles, labels)
  • Will you need to create a unique Preference Set specifically to accommodate their text styles, labels, etc.?
  • Is this a recurring client/firm you are working with? Or just a one-time occurrence?


Note: Don’t be afraid to ask why. If they can’t come up with a viable reason, can you help them come up with a better solution? (59:00)

1:00:08 – end: BatchMan

Accessing the BatchMan tool from the F/X Admin ribbon (1:00:08)



BatchMan allows you to perform specific actions on multiple files, including an entire folder of files and folders within folders.


Demonstration of BatchMan tool (1:00:18)



Changing layer names and colors using BatchMan (1:02:40)

Log in to