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A Handy Guide to Autocad Layers

This post is about Layer management in Autocad, Layers settings and a break down of the different properties. If you want to know about Layers in a video format, check out the YouTube tutorials at the bottom of this post.

If you are starting to use Layers or learning about it, I would like to welcome you to the Advanced Users Club! Layering is one the strongest features in Autocad and I recommend everyone serious about drafting & drawing their projects to learn about Layers, how they work, and how to use them properly.

Side note, AutoCAD is not the only design software to have “Layers” functionality, other popular design software also boasts such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and even web design apps like Wix or Square Space.

Layers allows you to control the properties of your geometry from one central location saving you time and effort in managing your drawing elements and boosting your productivity.

When I say properties, I am referring to line weight, line type, color, and plot settings – don’t worry, I dive deeper below and talk further about the different properties you can control from the Layers.


Examples of Using Layers:

When we create drawings in Autocad, geometry should have different line weights and different line types to represent different things, for example:

  • Usually, walls are thickest in a floor plan followed by doors and windows.
  • Reflected ceiling elements are usually represented using dashed lines in a floor plan.
  • Detailed elements that have a lot of lines are assigned a very thin lineweight – such as a Hatch element.

Based on the examples above, you would have layers for:

  • WALLS: with a thick lineweight.
  • RCP: with a dashed line type – and often, a thin line weight as well.
  • HATCH: with a thin line weight.

General Layer Properties:

Here’s a list of the general layer properties you can assign to each layer:

  1. Color
  2. Name
  3. Lineweight
  4. Linetype
  5. Transparency

Based on the list above, there are visibility controls for the layers such as:

  1. On / Off
  2. Freeze
  3. Lock
  4. Plot / No Plot

Layer Color:

Assigning colors to layers will help you tremendously when working on your drawings.

By the color of the geometry, you will be able to quickly identify the different elements in a project.

Check the 2 examples below:

All Geometry On a Single Layer
All Geometry Properly Layered & Organized

Layer Name:

Beside assigning the layers different colors, you also want to assign a proper name to each layer.

Few tips with naming layers:

  1. Keep the name short: instead of writing “new proposed walls” consider writing: “walls-new”, or even something like “Walls-N”
  2. Add a discipline identifier in the beginning: It’s standard that every discipline adds it’s letter at the beginning of the layer name:

  1. For architectural layers, it would look like this: “A-WALLS
  2. For interior design layers, the name would be: “ID-WALLS
  3. Consider abbreviations: instead of writing equipment, it’s standard to write “ID-EQPT” or instead of “A-Dimension”, you can write “A-DIM

Layer Settings Recommendation:

I compiled a list of standard layers used by both interior designers & architects with proper settings for each category:

Layers List – Recommended Settings

So when you do all these settings in your drawing, you should have a list of layers that look like this:

Layers List in Autocad

AutoCAD Layers Tips & Notes

Below you will find a not-so-long list that I follow when working with layers and mentioning few things that aren’t necessarily obvious:

  1. All objects in AutoCAD sit on a layer. Objects such as geometry, annotations, and even viewports.
  2. Objects can only be on a single layer
  3. I keep all my object properties set to “ByLayer” so that way, it’s always controlled from the Layer settings VS having different objects with different properties.
  4. The default layer in AutoCAD is layer “0”
  5. Any new drawing will always have a layer – usually the layer “0”
  6. I personally never use the layer “0” – I stick to working with my own created layers.
  7. A layer called “Defpoints” gets created when you create a dimension element.
  8. Defpoints layer in AutoCAD does not print by default.
  9. Any element assigned the defpoint layer will not print.
  10. Sometimes, there are elements that I would place on the Defpoints layer such as gridlines that I reference and do not want to print.
  11. Try to create the least amount of layers rather than sprawling into hundreds of layers
  12. I always have a dedicated layer for the following (dimensions, text, Hatch, Misc)

Advanced AutoCAD Layers Topics

If you are ready to move to the next level in AutoCAD layers, make sure to check my newest guide on the topic in AutoCAD Layers – Advanced Guide By Jay Cad

In this new guide I introduce you to complex concepts of Layers and some very handy commands that I think you will find helpful – check it out and let me know!

AutoCAD Layers Video Tutorials – 2023

I always wanted to talk about the topic in video format and go over it so finally got to do it – I made two videos essentially. The first one talks about the benefits of Layers while the second one goes over how to create the layers.

What are layers – I go over the benefits of Layers in Autocad
How to create layers – step by step tutorial

Full List Of Autocad Layers For Interior Design

If you are interested in knowing about the full list of layers used in interior design projects, join us on Patreon!

On Jay Cad patreon page, we share:

  • An Autocad file with the layers list from this blog post already created and ready to be used.
  • Exclusive posts & video tutorials covering advanced topics in AutoCAD .
  • Get access to some of our Autocad blocks collection.
  • Resources & other software that everyone should use and know about when working with AutoCAD.
Jay Cad On Patreon
Jay Cad – Patreon Page

CAD Blocks Store – Free & Paid

In case you missed it, we actually have a CAD blocks store and offer the essential elements for FREE!

  • Autocad Standard Dimension styles – Click here
  • Autocad Standard Text Styles – Click here
  • Autocad Standard Leader styles – Click here
  • Autocad Standard Titleblock 36 x 24 – Click here

Want some premium blocks? Use coupon Code JAYCADBLOG2023 and get 15% OFF your purchase on store.jaycad.com

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