CAD Basics: Getting To Know Blocks And Layers
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CAD Basics: Getting To Know Blocks And Layers

Friday, 12 June 2020
Video Length:  1:06:05
Presented By:  Jake Lott

The terms "layers" and "blocks" are two basic but crucial foundation points to understand when working in the CAD world. We'll dive into the hows and whys of blocks and layers when it comes to drafting. In developing a better understanding of their importance, you'll gain valuable insights into fundamental concepts such as "defined," "purge," "redefine," and "source," which will in turn build your confidence when navigating through and designing in CAD.

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
  • What is a Layer?
  • What is a Block?
  • What to Think About When Dealing with Layers and Blocks
  • Working with Layers and Blocks
    • Creating Layers and Blocks
    • Understanding the Relationship Between Layer Colors and Plot Styles
    • Cool Tools to Help with Layer/Block Modifications
    • Identifying and Removing Layer/Block "Definitions"
  • How Land F/X Handles Layers and Blocks

0:00 – 3:20: Intro/TOC

3:21 – 5:49: What is a Layer?

A layer is a way to organize objects in a drawing. (3:21)


Benefits of layers (4:20)

5:50 – 8:14: What is a Block?

A block is a named group of objects that function as one object. (5:50)


Benefits of blocks (7:00)

  • Reduce repetitive tasks:
    • Changes
    • Moving
    • Copying
    • Deleting
  • Improved accuracy
    • Quantities
    • Style
    • Component consistency
  • Administration
    • Maintain standards
  • Reduced file size

8:15 – 25:07: What to Think About When Dealing with Layers and Blocks

Things you should be asking yourself (8:15):

  • What are my main points right now?
  • What am I trying to achieve with my layers and blocks?
  • What is my naming convention going to be?
  • Does my standard comply with NCS?
  • Can my setup work well with others?


Why is this important? (10:43):

  • Organization is key!
  • The more you can reduce manual processes, the better change to sustain/maintain your standards.
  • Much easier to troubleshoot
  • Your final decision will ultimately impact how things function within CAD (and with others' files)


Colors = lineweights (12:23)


A look at our default colors and corresponding lineweights (12:58)


How line colors turn into a black-and-white plot (CTB plot styles) (17:00)


Index colors (colors 1 through 255) (17:45)


Using True Colors (18:15):

  • True Colors are set as you create given layers.
  • They're used when you need to show a portion of the plan in color while the rest is black and white.


Layer naming example (19:09)


Block naming example (21:30)

25:08 – 51:59: Working with Layers and Blocks

The Layer Properties Manager (25:17)


Docking the Layer Properties Manager and other panels (26:15)


Filtering layers (26:40)


Creating your own layer filters (28:08)


Turning layers on and off (29:30)


Isolating groups of layers (29:50)


Filtering layers based on specific properties (30:40)


Double-clicking to expand a column in the Layer Properties Manager (31:50)


Freezing a column (32:15)


The Indicate layers in use setting (33:00)


Making mass changes to layers (34:00)


Creating Layers and Blocks (34:40)

Creating layers (34:40)


Changing layer colors (37:50)


Saving layers (Layer States) 38:10)


Applying saved layers to a block (Load Layers) (39:04)


Creating blocks by grouping layers (40:50)


Saving a block using our Save Block tool (43:15)


Placing a block using the native CAD Insert tool (45:00)


Understanding the Relationship Between Layer Colors and Plot Styles (45:45)

Using the Quick Select (QSELECT) tool to select all instances of a color and set them to ByLayer and assign the correct color (45:45)


Cool Tools to Help with Layer/Block Modifications (47:40)

Using our XLAYER tool to view and edit layer properties within Xrefs (48:30)


Using our Layer Color tool to modify layer colors (49:18)


Effecting mass layer color changes using our Change Layer Color tool (50:00)


Identifying and Removing Layer/Block "Definitions" (51:00)

Freezing layers to remove their definitions (51:00)

52:00 – end How Land F/X Handles Layers and Blocks

Freezing blocks with our SuperLayFreeze tool (52:00)


Isolating layers using our SuperLayIso tool (53:17)


Deleting and purging non-purgeable items (such as layers) from a drawing (54:18)


Removing items using our PRG command (56:13)


Using our Redefine Block command to update a block to its latest version throughout a drawing (56:40)


Setting layers to nonplot and adjusting transparency (1:00:30)


Making adjustments to viewport layers, such as transparency (1:01:50)


The Land F/X color-based (CTB) plot styles (1:03:35)


Modifying CTB plot styles (1:04:30)

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