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Question re Referenced DLVPs

Tom W.

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I have a main file containing my site model ('file A') then separate files for my building models (files B, C, D, etc).


I bring the building models into my site model file as referenced design layer viewports.


I can edit the class + layer visibilities of the DLVPs on the design layer (in site model file A) but can't see a way of showing different combinations of visibilities in viewports on sheet layers.


For example in file B I've modelled the as-existing structure plus the proposed structure: is it possible to show both conditions in separate VPs side by side on a sheet layer in the target file (file A) from a single referenced DLVP? Or do I need to create separate DLVPs for the different conditions I want to show + control which DLVP is displayed in each SLVP


I haven't really come up against this in the past as I've produced the detailed drawings for each building in their own files then in the site model file have only needed to show the 'whole' of each building without turning different things on + off. But in this case I was thinking I'd produce all the sheets in the main site model file rather than having them spread over lots of different files.


Just wondered what other people's approaches were.



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I’ve come across this before and the short answer is, as suspected, you would need seperate referenced dlvps for each condition.


My workaround is to have a dedicated dl for each dlvp. You can then just duplicate the dl and adjust visibilities as required.

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16 minutes ago, shorter said:

Don’t use DLVPs

Ok I could try that next time if that's your advice. You mean drawing everything in a single file? But that would mean setting up lots of design layers for the different floor levels of the different buildings (four in current project) + the elevations all being relative to the site model zero...? And drawing all the buildings at their actual x/y orientation on the site rather than rotating them to suit after the fact...?

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1 hour ago, shorter said:

Don’t use DLVPs

That's .... intriguing. Why forego the power of DLVP's in a scenario like this?

They keep the master file simpler and give you discrete control of the information being shown from each of the source files etc. etc.


Edited by bcd
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It’s ok…. You don’t have to use DLVPs. There are other referencing solutions that might be more appropriate for your needs. Always choose the best tool for the job etc.


it is so convoluted controlling attributes using DLVPs we quickly reverted to layer import referencing and have never looked back.


anecdotally, we have usually found ourselves unpicking files set up with DLVPs. The files are so complicated with nested referenced DLVPs… and if anything more complex layer structures, that we have generally been able to show that a non-dlvp setup is far more efficient because when you are not wasting time repositioning viewports that have moved due to unmanaged user origin strategies, you are not spending ages trying to find your way around the web of links and attributes.  We once showed an office that if they did not use DLVPs they could do things 10x faster.  In another we showed that by not using DLVP they could issue a site plan with 250 flats without having to reposition them each time they updated the reference.


The KISS approach to layer referencing means things are far more transparent and with judicious use of saved views, filters and well-managed standards far easier to, well, manage!


Our system is usually so straightforward we have no need of turning classes off in different viewports or if we do, we do that on the sheet.


I am not saying we don’t use DLVPs.  We do. But they don’t go anywhere near the final output. They are only ever used as a tool to help coordination or at early stages for repetition but even then are soon replaced with live data.

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Thanks Steven this is interesting + useful to know. I have a ton of questions but I guess I just need to try it out... I have used Layer Import Referencing a couple of times before just as a way to import geometry from one file to another + have deleted the reference afterwards. So bears no relation

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I still use DLVP Referencing, mostly just for Underlays.

(PDFs or even VWXs)


But as Steven said it is tedious.


Also one of the VW developers was astonished that we really use

DLVPs for References and even do SLVPs from DLVPs.

From his Developer side he meant that such recursiveness is

just risky and highly prone to errors.

His resume was, "don't do that".


I am still not sure of how to deal with "referencing" of part Files of the

project into a Master File.

Which you either did in the past to collaborate with other people at the

same Project or just when a Project gets too big to be handled in a single

Project File.

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Hmm interesting... I have one ongoing project where I've been using referenced DLVPs + am pretty happy with how it's gone. I have the main site model file then various source files for the buildings. There is one main building that is repeated three times on the site so this works well: I duplicate the first DLVP + can easily move + rotate the copies + set them at the correct elevations on the site. The other buildings are two garages + a plant room + again it was cleaner + easier to model these in separate files (as with the main building, square to the x/y axes + at Z=0) then bring them into the site model as referenced DLVPs. In the case of the garages I had two different design options so two different source files for each + could easily switch between them in the target file depending on which option I wanted to see.


But in this project I produced all floor plans, sections, construction details, etc in the individual source files + in the site model file was quite happy showing each of the DLVPs in the same state i.e. with the same layer/class visibilities.


The only disadvantage was that because the site model was absent from the building model files I was unable to make reference to ground levels in these drawings. Or looking at it the other way, because I was limited in what I could do in the site model file in way of changing layer/class visibilities of the DLVPs, I could show the finished buildings in context but not show just the foundations + structural elements for example with everything else turned off.


In the current project - the subject of my original post - I thought I'd try + generate all the drawings in the target file, but because I have existing, to be demolished + proposed structures all in the same source file, plus three additional source files I've yet to generate, this is going to result in a lot of DLVPs in the target file on a lot of different design layers. But we'll see how it goes + next time I'll try the Layer Import Referencing approach...


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16 hours ago, zoomer said:

Also one of the VW developers was astonished that we really use

DLVPs for References and even do SLVPs from DLVPs.

This is the VW solution to ACAD xref, Revit linking,

If it's not rock solid for everyone it needs to be.


I use use and demonstrate them as a convienent and modern way to compartmentalize geometry, classing & data and don't encounter critical errors.

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DVLP are not the only solution for referencing. They are not exclusive.  They are not the only equivalent to xrefs and linking which themselves have different options (attachment or overlay, etc). Layer Referencing is easily managed IF you manage your CAD system. If you don’t then DLVP certainly help brush things under the carpet and we tend to find they are used when someone does not understanding referencing. No am not saying you don’t but we often find that users are confused by the erroneous message that DLVP is ‘modern’ to use your words and therefore layer referencing isn’t and therefore dogmatically refuse to use it.

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16 minutes ago, shorter said:

If you don’t then DLVP certainly help brush things under the carpet


Yes, Layer referencing is still valid, if you are working hermetically, have a sophisticated class & layer mapping system in place for each external collaboration and/or have time to trace over external files.

I think the future of Layer referncing will be project sharing and the future of DLVPs will be DLVPs.

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What the … do you mean ‘hermetically’?


perhaps these projects we have been managing with 15 architects and £500m construction costs is the new ‘hermetic’.


we have been working on huge projects in 2d and 3D using layer import, often with multiple design teams PLURAL using layer referencing.


could not have done them with dlvp and we didn’t need PS either.

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1 minute ago, shorter said:

nd who “traces over external files” and more importantly who doesn’t have a sophisticated cad management system?

One of the compelling features of VW is how widely it can be and is used; from single seat practices up to the giant projects you describe.

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Then you should have no problem using layer referencing.


How do you manage graphics across hundreds of drawings and files; or copy data between files; or avoid nested references; or synchronise resources; or align data to user origins or internal origins without moving it; or reference from multiple locations into one viewport (without nesting); or avoid circular referencing?


with layer referencing all the above are possible simply by using layer referencing.


and with layer referencing I can still create viewports on design layers and yet not reference using design layer viewport referencing.


the only thing I miss about design layer viewport is the ability to navigate to the referenced file by double clicking. That said, this is a problem if using cloud serving as most are now.


i do not miss the proliferation of viewport layers like we used to have to do with layer links when using dlvp because they have to have a single file as their source. Not so with LR and VPs on DLs.  We can reference multiple layers from multiple files and associate them with one viewport.


i do not miss moving dlvps because no-one has bothered to coordinate their data properly.


not saying LR is perfect but it has been far better and more reliable solution than dlvp on the projects we work on.

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The other problem Is that too many people including software vendors look at auto desk and assume they are looking at a paragon. If you want to know how referencing should work look at MicroStation. Even then I think the ability to layer reference and utilise referenced and active layers in a single viewport on a design layer or a sheet layer is more useful than even microstation referencing.

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We also only use Traditional Layer referencing based on initial testing of referenced DLVPs back in 2008 (and quite possibly also on Stevens advice at some stage or other). It does make managing certain files complicated due to the number of layers, but with filtering & layer tags it has become easier.

I am finding that with the proliferation of styles for different objects - which often. don’t update in referenced files without a bit of a kick, as well as the introduction of data tags (which don’t work on referenced layers - but I guess also don’t work on referenced DLVPs either?) it is getting a bit more complicated to manage.

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