Here we are, the final post of this series deep diving into blocks. Its been a great run and how could we finish off without looking at block’s close cousin, External References (aka XREFS).

Perkins Library Reference Desk, 1970s

Perkins Library Reference Desk, 1970s

Xrefs are drawings that are externally linked to a drawing. As the Xref changes it updates in all the drawings it is attached to. An Xref is really just a block that the definition resides in an external drawing opposed to locally within the host drawing. Many aspects of blocks are identical to an xref.

Block Vs Xref - List View

Block Vs Xref - Properties

Now, this series is about blocks, not xref’s, so the only thing that is important is how do we convert the xref into a block? To convert an Xref to a block you Bind the xref, which copies the definition into the host drawing.

In the Xref Manager, right-click the xfref and select Bind.

Xref Bind

Two options are available: Bind or Insert

Bind Xref - Bind or Insert

What’s difference? It’s All About the Layers, Because you know, I’m all about that layers, no levels. I’m all about that layers, no mixing… ‘Bout that layer, no treble

The externally attached drawing has its own set of layers, in which could already exist in the host drawing. If you want to merge the xref’s layers into the host drawing use insert. If you want to maintain the xref’s layers as their own then use Bind. Remember though that if layers exist in both drawings, the layers will assume the properties of the host drawing. This means objects may appear differently after binding.

Xref Layers Bind vs Insert

In the image above the list on the left has the xref bound with the Insert option, the list on the left is with the Bind option. Notice that with Bind the xref’s layers have the drawing name appended as well as the layer that the xref was placed on when attached to the host drawing. In this example the xref layer A-WALL became 1344465995$0$A-WALL.

So in review, xrefs are just blocks who’s definition exists in an external drawing opposed to the host drawing. Xrefs can easily be converted into a block