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Walking Through Layers with LAYWALK

August 23, 2011

Have you ever needed to check whether objects are on the correct layers of your drawings? Is everything on the right layer? Have you repeatedly toggled layers on and off to show and hide them for temporary viewing?


All of these actions (and others) can be accomplished with a simple but useful command in ZWCAD 2011, LAYWALK – short for “layer walk”. Let’s take a look at how it helps you manage layers in your drawings.


Tutorial 1: Showing and Hiding Layers


When you first open the Layer Walk dialog box with the LayWalk command, all of the drawing’s layer names are listed. All those not turned off are down selected (are highlighted) automatically, so you can see the layer visibility settings as they were in the drawing before you started this command.




Now, whenever you select a layer name from the list, the corresponding layer is displayed in drawing area, and other layers are turned off instantly. (You don’t need to exit the dialog box to see the changes.) This allows you to view dynamically only the objects assigned to this layer.


You can hold down the Ctrl key to select more than one layer for viewing at a time; also, you can hold down the Shift key to select a contiguous group of layer names. A simpler way to select multiple, contiguous layer names is to click on one layer, and then drag down the list with your mouse.


The dialog box works in reverse, too: when you choose one or more entities in drawing by Pick button, the dialog box highlights the layer names of those entities. In this way, it functions like the Layer Isolate command.



Tutorial #2: Filtering Layer Names


At the top of the Layer Walk dialog box, there is a text entry box, in which you can input expressions to filter the names of layers. This shortens the list of layer names displayed, and is very useful in complex drawings with many layers. The filter function supports wildcard characters, such as * (all characters) and ? (any single character). For example, if you want to list and view all layer names starting with the letters “gr”, then follow these steps: (1) enter gr*” in the text entry box, and then (2) tick the “Filter” option. Notice that the dialog box lists only those layer names that begin with “gr.”



Tutorial #3: Using the Right-click Menu


You can right-click on the list of layer names at any time to display context menu with additional functions for selecting, viewing, and summarizing the layers.



For example, the Hold Selection option keeps your current selection always turned on as a reference; based on it, you can select other layers. The on-hold layer is prefixed with the “*” character; you can select it, release it, or release all.


Another useful option is Inspect, which provides a detailed summary of the currently selected layers; see the figure below.



Tutorial #4: Using Other Controls in LayerWalk


You may notice the Purge button at the bottom of the dialog box. It allows you to purge empty layers from drawings, those layers that have no entities. This button is disabled until you select one or more empty layers.


The Restore on Exit option means that the layer state will be restored after you end this command -- regardless of what you’ve done while in the dialog box. When this option is turned off, keeps the layer state when you exit the dialog box, which can be very useful.


By the way, this command works both in model space and in layout tabs.


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