November 4, 2015

AutoCAD Drawing Housekeeping

As an Application Specialist at Ideate, one of my primary roles is to provide technical support to our customers. I'm still surprised to discover that many support cases are related to drawing file housekeeping. Periodically running the following commands could save an AutoCAD user hours of time and frustration:
-PURGE (All, Regapps, Orphaned Data). 

Use this command when the drawing is open. It attempts to find and fix drawing errors.  I recommend running AUDIT at least once a day.
Use this command when the drawing is closed. It tends to do a more thorough job of fixing errors than the AUDIT command. I recommend running RECOVER on a drawing weekly.

This command will not only run RECOVER on your host drawing but all of its drawing Xrefs as well. Upon completion, a report is generated that can be copied to the Windows Clipboard and pasted into Notepad or MS Word for review. I recommend running RECOVERALL weekly on a drawing with Xrefs.

This is the command line version of PURGE. It gives you additional 'object' types to purge out of your drawing not available in the classic version; such as unreferenced REGAPPS. I recommend running -PURGE>All and -PURGE>Regapps bi-weekly on your host drawing and its Xrefs.

The important point about purging Regapps is that an excessive amount of unreferenced Regapps can cause drawing performance issues. Your host drawing can even get them from Xrefs. Recently I ran the command on a customers' drawings that couldn't be referenced; many had over 80K!  Afterwards, they stayed attached and opened much faster.

Another object type that should be purged is Orphaned data, -PURGE>O.  Unmapped DGN linotypes can unexpectedly bloat the size of the drawing causing serious performance issues. This option is available out-of-the-box beginning with AutoCAD 2015. A DGN hotfix is available for AutoCAD 2012, and for AutoCAD 2013-2014 products. 

If it gets to the point where you are constantly having issues with your drawings to include crashing, the Autodesk Knowledge Network article on How to repair corrupt AutoCAD files is a great resource. It includes all the drawing housekeeping commands discussed above as well as workarounds for saving most of your data.

Lastly, please submit the Autodesk Customer Error Report with your email address each time an Autodesk product closes unexpectedly/crashes and the dialog appears. You may not think sending them in will help you. However, they are used by the development team to identify defects for Hotfixes and Service Packs. A potential immediate benefit is that we can create an Autodesk Support case asking to locate the CERs, review them, and provide feedback on what may be causing the crashing.

So, as you are feverishly working on your design projects, remember to periodically run the above drawing maintenance/housekeeping commands.  They only take seconds to run, but can save you hours of lost time and frustration. Now if only Autodesk had some commands to keep my cubicle in order and clean.
Thank you for reading. For more information on AutoCAD and other Autodesk products, and information on training and consulting for the various products Ideate services, visit our website at

ENI Application Specialist

Daniel is an Application Specialist for Infrastructure Solutions at the Ideate Sacramento office. He is a California licensed Civil Engineer and LSIT with over 9 years land development design experience and 6 years Civil–GIS software consulting. Additionally, he provided 6 years of engineering support at a municipal public works department. At Ideate, Daniel assists Civil Engineering and Surveying firms in maximizing their utilization of AutoCAD Civil 3D through consulting, training, mentoring, and technical support. He conducts standard classroom and custom training on AutoCAD, Map 3D, and Civil 3D.