How to bind Xrefs

When you distribute or archive host drawings (that contain Xrefs) you may want to Save a copy of the host & Bind all Xrefs in it.

  • then you can be sure that all reference data associated with that host resides in a single drawing file.
  • bound Xrefs become a standard block insert in the host drawing and the associated external drawings are no longer required.

Use Bind Bind Types to retain Xref prefixes of dependent symbols.

  • the “|” character in Xref prefixes is replaced with “$#$” where “#” is the smallest integer to make a unique name in the drawing.
  • for example, an Xref layer like T202_5|Solid could generate a layer called T202_5$0$Solid after binding the T202_5 Xref.
  • this is the safest option to use (no risk of duplicate names with different definitions) but results in more names in a drawing.

Use Insert Bind Types to drop Xref prefixes of dependent symbols.

  • this is like Detaching all Xrefs and then using Insert to replace the Xref instances.
  • if you use standards to created your drawings (e.g. layer standards) this may be your most efficient choice.


1) Close all drawings if there are any open drawings.

2) Open the T202_13.dwg in your personal folder.

If you do not see components in this host file you might have forgotten to move the drawing files back into your personal folder.

  • check the My Xrefs folder that you added in the previous exercise (see page 38).
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3) Pick Insert + Xref Manager. Select the T202_5 Xref & pick the Bind button. Select Bind as the Bind Type & pick OK to return to the Xref Manager (see the next step).

4) Pick OK to exit Xref.

5) Pick Dimension + Style. Then pick Close.

The Standard and Custom dimension styles were already in the current drawing before the last step

  • the same 2 styles were also in the T202_5.dwg drawing (this happens often when you work with drawing standards)
  • the T202_5$0$ prefix appears before the same two dimension style names because you used the Bind Bind Type.

You would see this prefix for many other symbols in this drawing

  • such as Blocks, Layers, Text Styles and Linetypes.

» 6) Pick Format + Layer and observe the layer names with the same T202_5$0$ prefix. Then pick OK to exit Layer.

7) Pick Insert + Xref Manager. Select the T202_6 Xref and pick Bind. Select Insert for the Bind Type this time and pick OK. Pick OK to exit Xref.

8) Press the F2 function key to observe the command line history then pick F2 to return.

This time all named dependent symbols were bound without the prefix that was used before the T202_6 Xref was bound.

  • there were duplicate blocks names but AutoCAD ignored the definitions of these blocks.
  • definitions of symbols in the current drawing are used when there are duplicate names.
  • this is not likely to be a problem when you use drawing standards and template drawings to create new drawing files.
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9) Pick Insert + Xref Manager. Press & hold <Shift> while you select the remaining Xrefs. Then pick Bind. Select Bind as the Bind Type and pick OK to return. Pick OK to exit Xref.

You can easily select ALL Xrefs in the current drawing and pick the Bind button to bind all Xrefs in one step.

  • you can select more than one Xref by using the <Shift> key.

If you are binding Xrefs only to distribute drawings to others you might want to Save the host with a new name first.

  • you cannot convert bound Xrefs back to true Xrefs again so you should Save a copy of the original host before binding anything.

You can also use the Xbind command to bind individual named dependent symbols to the current drawing.

  • for example, you could Xbind a dimension style from another drawing so that you could use that style in the current host.
  • but with the introduction of DesignCenter in AutoCAD 2000 there are now better alternatives to Xbind.

10) Save your changes to the current drawing & Close the file.

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