How Do You Check for Xrefs in AutoCAD?

In AutoCAD, you can easily check for Xrefs (external references) in your drawings to ensure that all the required files are linked correctly. Xrefs are a powerful feature that allows you to reference external files, such as drawings or images, into your current drawing. Checking for Xrefs is essential to maintain the integrity and accuracy of your CAD projects.

Why Check for Xrefs?

Before diving into the process of checking for Xrefs in AutoCAD, let’s understand why it is important:

  • File Management: Xrefs help keep your drawing files organized by allowing you to separate different components of a project into multiple files.
  • Collaboration: When working on a project with multiple team members, it ensures everyone is referencing the same up-to-date files.
  • Data Integrity: Verifying Xrefs helps identify any missing or broken links that could potentially lead to errors or inconsistencies in your drawing.

The Process of Checking for Xrefs

To check for Xrefs in AutoCAD, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Reference Manager

The Reference Manager is a dedicated tool in AutoCAD that allows you to manage and review all the external references in your drawing. To open it, navigate to the “Insert” tab on the ribbon and click on “Reference Manager” in the “Manage” panel.

Step 2: Review External References

In the Reference Manager window, you will see a list of all the external references used in your drawing. This includes both attached and overlay references. The attached references are linked directly to your drawing file, while overlay references do not affect the geometry of your drawing and are used mainly for informational purposes.

Take a moment to review the list and ensure that all the references are displayed with a green checkmark, indicating that they are found and loaded correctly. If you see any references with a red “X” mark, it means that AutoCAD cannot locate the referenced file.

Step 3: Resolve Missing or Unresolved Xrefs

If you encounter any missing or unresolved Xrefs, you need to resolve them to maintain the integrity of your drawing. Right-click on the problematic reference and select either “Reload” or “Detach” from the context menu.

  • Reload: This option lets you browse for the missing file and relink it to your drawing. Locate the file on your computer, select it, and click “Open”.

    AutoCAD will update the reference with the new location.

  • Detach: If you no longer need a specific Xref in your drawing, choose this option to remove it completely. Keep in mind that detaching an Xref will eliminate all its associative properties from your drawing.

Repeat this process for each unresolved Xref until all references are either reloaded or detached successfully.


In conclusion, checking for Xrefs in AutoCAD is an essential practice to ensure that all external references in your drawings are correctly linked and up-to-date. The Reference Manager provides a convenient way to review and manage these references effectively. By regularly verifying Xrefs, you can avoid potential errors and maintain data integrity in your CAD projects.

Note: Remember to save your drawing after resolving any missing or unresolved Xrefs to apply the changes permanently.