DWG Layers’ visibility in ARCHICAD

by GRAPHISOFT, Greg Kmethy and Katalin Götz · updated: 05.31.2011


To control the visibility of objects, usually there are more Layers used in DWG projects. Let’s see how can the different import options in ARCHICAD manage the DWG layers:



File » Open

To define how elements in ARCHICAD will be interpreted use the DXF/DWG Translation Setup dialog.

If the Enable Partial Open checkbox is activated, the DWG/DXF Partial Open dialog box appears while opening the DWG file, listing the source file’s layer set and the layers’ status.

Uncheck the layers which you do not wish to include in the ARCHICAD project.

This function lets you restrict the DWG conversion to just those elements that you really need, thereby increasing conversion speed and reducing the size of the resulting ARCHICAD project. When attaching XREFs, those layers which you do not check here will not be added to the Layer attributes of your ARCHICAD project.

The project will contain only the “ARCHICAD Layer” and the layers from the DWG. The default ARCHICAD layers won’t be available in the file.


File > File Special > Merge

The same options are available as in DWG Open.

The Layers will be incorporated with ARCHICAD Layers.


File > External Content > Attach XREF

When you attach an XREF to your project, ARCHICAD will follow the settings of the DXF/DWG Translator used.

Layer Settings of Attached XREF Files When you attach an external reference file to an ARCHICAD Project, a layer will be created for it. Exception: If you have enabled the Partial Open setting (see above) and unchecked that layer name in the Partial Open dialog box, that layer will not be created in your ARCHICAD project.

The resulting layer names will have the following format: ‘XREF_NAME | LAYER_NAME’. For example, the PEN_56 layer of a DWG file that was attached to the project with the XREF name 3D_STUFF will become the layer 3D_STUFF|PEN_56.

In Layer Settings, the layers of any attached XREFs are listed separately, at the bottom of the layer list.

Layers of XREF projects cannot be unlocked, but you can show or hide these layers.

If you do not want XREF layers to appear in Layer Settings, use the display filter pop-up at the top right of the dialog box and choose “Hide XREF layers”.

XREF layers are not available from layer selection pop-ups in other parts of the user interface (e.g. Tool Settings dialog boxes and Info Box). However, if an XREF element is included in the last selection, its XREF layer does appear – for information purposes only (in italics) – in the Layer chooser pop-up.

When the XREF is detached, a dialog lets you choose between retaining or removing the detached XREF’s attributes, including layers, linetypes and fills.


File > External Content > Place External Drawing

ARCHICAD 14 introduced a new feature to ease control the display of imported DWGs.

If you place a DWG as a Drawing, in the Drawing’s Settings Dialog you can manage the DWG Layer’s visibility with Embedded Layers control. The Layers can either be hidden or shown without any Drawing update.

If you do modify the Drawing source and then update the Drawing in ARCHICAD:

  • any new layers created in the source file will be displayed in the ARCHICAD Drawing
  • any layers deleted or hidden from the source file will be deleted from the ARCHICAD Drawing Should you explode this Drawing, then only the elements on currently visible layers of the Drawing will be placed into the ARCHICAD project.


Library Part

File > Libraries and Objects > Open Object

Import Blocks from DXF/DWG

File > Libraries and Objects > Import Blocks from DXF/DWG

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