AutoCAD Layered Drawing ('over elkaar tekenen')

From TOI-Pedia


This tutorial covers a specific method of setting up your drawing in AutoCAD, referred to by TOI in Dutch as over elkaar tekenen.

AutoCAD overelkaar tekenen.jpgAutoCAD overelkaar tekenen ptg.jpg

This method ensures the validity of your floor plans with regard to objects that need to be placed exactly above each other on each floor (such as elevators, stairs, load bearing structures, etc). Floor plans are drawn on top of each other, so not next to each other.


For more information, please refer to Organizing your AutoCAD work - Workflow.


Layers are roughly divided in three categories:

  • Common objects, such as: load bearing structure, (elevator) shafts, etc that will be used on multiple floor plans
  • Floor specific objects
  • General, such as: grids, temporary objects, annotations, etc

Naming layers

It's recommended to use clear and descriptive names for your layers. You could prefix every layer with a tag, indicating its function within this drawing method. For example:

  • _grid
  • _annotations
  • common_collumns
  • common_shafts
  • n01_inner_walls
  • n01_facade
  • n01_glass
  • n02_inner_walls
  • n02_facade
  • n02_glass
  • etc...

Layer Editor Tips

Optional: some tools to make organizing your layers easier

  • Group Filters
  • Layer States Manager

Layer Groups

When you have a large number of layers (maybe 3 or 4 for each floor), turning all these layers on and off may get cumbersome.

To make things easier, you could create layer groups for each floor. To do this, go to the layers properties manager, and select 'New Group Filter'

New group layer.jpg

A new group layer appears, name it (for instance floor2) and drag the layers from the 'All Used Layers Group' to the new group:

Floor1 group.jpg

A group can be frozen or thawed just like an ordinary layer:

Go to the layers properties manager and right click and choose Visibility > Freeze.

Handling the displaying of Layers conveniently

Although you can user Layer Groups and the States Manager to make displaying the correct layers easier, it can still be somewhat of an annoyance. But there is another way that is more convenient: using the viewports in your Layout(s).

Continue with the next section to learn how to setup your Layout to display different layers per viewport.


The basics for setting up your layout are covered in AutoCAD Page setup and Printing Basic. In this tutorial we're assuming you already have some sort of Layout with a viewport for each floor plan you want to show.

Displaying layers per viewport

By default, all viewports will display all layers (that are not frozen or turned off). But you can hide or show layers on a 'per-viewport' basis.

  1. activate the viewport for which you want to set which layers to display
  2. Open the Layer Manager
  3. Use the icon in the Current VP Freeze column to toggle whether to display the layer in this viewport or not.

    AutoCAD Layers CurrentVPFreeze.jpg

Alternatively, you can use the icon in the layers pulldown as well:

AutoCAD Layers Pulldown VPFreeze.jpg

Maximize viewport

Once you've setup all your viewports to display the corresponding layers, there is another benefit besides just being able to plot your drawing as it should: you can use these viewports to quickly change the layers that are displayed in Model Space too!

  • Activate the viewport of the part of the drawing you want to work with (for example: the viewport that shows the plan of the ground floor)
  • Click the Maximize Viewport button:

    Maximize viewport.jpg

    This will maximize the viewport and display the contents in Model Space.

You can navigate and zoom, without changing how your drawing is displayed within that viewport and only the layers that are displayed for that viewport are displayed.

A maximized viewport can be recognized by the red, dashed border around the Model Space.

AutoCAD MaximizedViewport.jpg

The Maximize Viewport button is now changed into Minimize Viewport, which allows you to go back to your layout.

AutoCAD MaximizedVP PrevAndNext.jpg

Using the Arrows next to the Minimize Viewport button, allow you to quickly change to the next or previous viewport.

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