Get Organized with Layer Filters – Part 1

Layers are great, but we’ve all encountered those drawings that are absolutely inundated with layers (sometimes by necessity, other times by ignorance). Whatever the reason, it doesn’t make locating that ONE layer any less arduous. Ironic as it may be, sometimes layers (the supposed foundation to all things drawing-organization) need a little organization of their own. And that my friend is why we have Layer Filters.

In this short series, we’ll explore some ways you can put Layer Filters to use for you. First we’ll take a look at what I call Quick Filters. Typically you wouldn’t use Quick Filters to locate (filter) layers you use every day, but rather assist you in tasks like turning off all hatch layers in a given drawing. So let’s explore how you may accomplish this very common task using Quick Filters.


  1. Open the Layer Properties Manager palette (LAYER command).
  2. In the upper-right corner of the Layer Properties Manager is a textbox containing the text Search For Layer. Click into that textbox.
  3. Inside the Search For Layer textbox, enter *PATT* and notice what happens to the layer list.
    PATTFilterAutoCAD interprets the asterisk (*) as a wildcard character. By adding an asterisk as both the prefix and suffix, AutoCAD will find ANY layer with PATT in its name; A-WALL-PATT, A-PATT, A-WALL-PATT-E – you name it!
  4. With the other layers out of the way, I could simply click the sun to freeze all of the hatch layers in this drawing, or perform a similar batch modification to this gang of layers.

This is just one of many things you can do with Quick Filters inside the Layer Properties Manager. What creative ways have you applied this concept in your own work? Let us know in the comments!

Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.

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