Tutorial: Working with Layer States

A layer state stores the state (attributes) of all layers in a drawing at a given moment.

Table of Contents



Layer states are an advanced concept that can be useful if you operate on drawings with many layers or if you require different layer settings for different uses of your drawing. A drawing might for example use one layer state for printing and another one for bitmap exports or SVG exports. A layer state stores all layers with their attributes (color, linetype, lineweight, etc) at the moment the layer state is created or updated. When a layer state is restored, all layer attributes are restored to the attributes stored in the layer state.


Consider this example drawing of a floorplan:

This drawing was created with the dark background of a typical CAD model space view in mind. The walls are solid filled to make them well visible and the windows are shown in a bright cyan.

When it comes to printing, we might want to replace the solid fill of the walls with a darker hatch pattern and make the window layer darker as well. Further, we might want to quickly switch to a version without the interior elements and with darker colors, perhaps for a bitmap export for a website on a bright background.

We create our drawing with the following layer structure:

  • Walls
    (contains the solid fills of the walls)
  • Walls Hatch
    (contains a hatch for the walls)
  • Windows
    (contains all windows)
  • Interior
    (contains the furniture and other interior elements)

Before thinking about alternative layer states, the current ("normal") layer state should always be saved, to make it easy to switch back to this state at any time.

Creating a Layer State

  1. Choose Layer > Layer States > Add...
  2. A dialog is shown to enter the name of the layer state. Make sure to name your layer states in a meaningful way to avoid having to look at all layer states to find the one you need. We name this layer state in this example "Normal".

We can now modify the layers of our drawing to create the desired look for printing. In this example, we switch off layer "Walls" and switch in layer "Walls Hatch" instead. We also adjust the colors and linetypes of our layers as desired. Once we are happy with the look, we store this layer state under the name "Printing".

Additional layer states can be created in the same way, for example a layer state for bitmap export for a web site perhaps without interiors, etc.

Activating a Layer State

You can now switch between layer states using Layer > Layer States > [Layer State Name] > Activate. In our example, we can switch between the layer states "Normal", "Printing" and "Webpage":

Layer State: Normal

(bright colors, solid fills):

Layer State: Printing

(hatch instead of solid fill, darker colors):

Layer State: Webpage

(darker colors, interior layer switched off):

Updating a Layer State

When a drawing is updated, new layers might be added or layers might be removed or changed. To keep the layer states up to date, you can update an existing layer state using the menu Layer > Layer States > [Layer State Name] > Update.

A typical workflow would be to activate a layer state, adjusting the layers as desired and then updating the stored layer state.

Renaming a Layer State

To rename a layer state, choose

Layer > Layer States > [Layer State Name] > Rename. 

Removing a Layer State

To remove a layer state, choose

Layer > Layer States > [Layer State Name] > Remove.