September 2001                              Issue 09:11


Reference Files
by Fred Canfield

Searching and Loading

When a drawing containing reference files is loaded the following things happen:

  1. The drawing may or may not contain the path and name of a reference load file (.REF).  If it does the xxx.REF is loaded.  If it exists on the path as stored in the drawing.  No searching is done for the .REF file.

If it does not exist (either in the drawing or in the specified path), the reference file is regenerated as in 2 below.

  1. The drawing may contain the path and name of drawing files (.VWF).  These drawings are loaded as read only reference drawings.  A full path to each reference drawing is contained in the original drawing.  If the reference drawing file does not exist at that path then the following paths are searched (in order) for the reference drawing:

    • The path of the currently open original drawing

    • The "Drawing" path from the Options\Path dialog

    • The "Reference Drawing" path from the Options\Path dialog

    • The "Reference Files" path from the Options\Path dialog

  2. A Temporary Reference load file is created in the "Working Files" path.  The reference load file contains all primitives within all the reference file drawings.

The reference files and their positions, scaling, rotation, clipping, and layer definitions may be changed throughout the drawing session by one or more of the following:

  • Through the interactive "File\Reference\Setup" dialog

  • Loading a Reference file through "File\Open" dialog.  This loads a previously saved reference load file (.REF) that replaces all currently included reference drawings

  • Loading a Reference Setup file through "File\Open".  This loads a previously saved reference setup file (.RFS) which contains the positions, scaling, rotation, clipping, and layer definition parameters for one or more reference files.  These parameters will be applied to the existing reference drawing files as they are regenerated.

Creating and Saving

The permanent reference files can only be created and saved by performing a "File\Save As" function.  This will save either the current parameter settings (saving a reference setup file) or the entire temporary reference data file including all reference drawings and their current parameters (saving a reference file).

When a reference file is saved the full path and name of the file is stored in the drawing file so that it may be used the next time the drawing is loaded.  Thus saving quite a bit of regeneration time.  However, if any changes are made to the reference file setup information during a drawing session the name is deleted from the drawing file and you must do another "File\Save As" to create a new reference file. for all the latest Info!

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  • Q  My Status bar (in version 2000) is 4 lines instead of 2.
  • A:  To remedy, please follow the procedure below:
    • Close all sessions of CADVANCE.
    • Delete Cadvance.TBF, located in the root CADVANCE program folder.  ("TBF" stands for Tool bar file)
    • Launch CADVANCE.  Size the CADVANCE program window as desired, with the number of status bar lines desired.
    • Save a Cadvance.ini file and create a toolbar file when prompted.
    • Exit CADVANCE the launch CADVANCE.

    More information on CADVANCE.TBF is included in the CADVANCE 2000 online documentation.


  • Q:  When I do a View / Fit, it shows up as a tiny postage stamp size on the screen.  What do I do?
  • A:  This is due to a tiny stray object in the drawing.  In CADVANCE 99 and up, you can use Ex-Window (Exclude Window) around the visible part  of the drawing.  Click on "Point" on the Status bar, then select "Ex Window", then select the "postage stamp", then hit [DELETE].  Save the drawing.  The extraneous objects will be removed, and when you do a View / Fit it will display properly.  If you have an older version of CADVANCE, copy the valid portion of the drawing and paste it to a new CADVANCE window.


  • Q:  How do I get CADVANCE to default to the dimension files I keep on the network drive?  I've set the drive and path in the .ini file, but it keeps defaulting to C:\Cadvance.  We keep the dimension files on the network so we can share common files without needing to update each machine when changes are made.
  • A:  Cad.dim is initially loaded from the working directory or the CADVANCE directory.  In Cadvance.ini, the "Dimension Setup File" is only used if the .ini file is deliberately loaded with "Apply to Drawing" check-marked.  You will need to use File/Open/*.ini, open Cadvance.ini with "Apply to Drawing" selected, then CADVANCE will recognize the dimension setup file as it exists in Cadvance.ini.  Another alternative is to create a macro.


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