What is AutoCAD Xref External References?
Xref is a short term for external reference in AutoCAD. It describes a referenced external document. Document here could be a dwg drawing, picture, PDF, etc. Referencing an external document or drawing means bringing data from another drawing into your current drawing.
Assuming we are working on a group project which is one design but which is split into parts for a team of two people to work on. For this tutorial, our group project is a proposed house plan with a map or location footprint. While one person in the group works on the map/footprint the other works on the building plan.
The first person will reference the other’s drawing in his current drawing so that while working on his part, any modification the second person makes on their part will reflect in the first person’s drawing. The first person is to strictly work on his part but whatever modification is made by the other person will reflect in his design and any modification the first person makes will also reflect in the second’s design.
In engineering industries, this is external referencing is used because most times, work needs to be split in order to ease and hasten design.
Table of Contents (click to navigate)
How to reference an external file
For this tutorial, we have a building plan drawing as shown below. We are going to reference another drawing, a site map/footprint in it.
Click on the insert tab (blue arrow). Next, click on the small arrow close to the reference icon (red arrow), or simply click Attach (green arrow).
Select the drawing to be referenced. In this case, Map.
The scale is set to one is to one, the insertion point is set to the origin, rotation to 0, etc. Click OK.
Below is the building plan drawing with referenced footprint/map. The arrow points to the building plan on the map.
Now, if the footprint drawing which is referenced here is modified outside here, the alterations will reflect here in this design. Let’s modify the footprint and see how it reflects in this design.
Open the footprint drawing, by clicking on the open icon and selecting the map. Below is the unmodified footprint.
Stretch the vertex of the drawing so you will have a different design.
Below is the modified map.
Save the drawing and go back to your previous design where you had referenced the map. You would receive a prompt asking you to reload the map that it has been modified. Click reload map.
This is what the modified map and building plan looks like.