This built in AutoCAD functionality is often overlooked because it’s not on any menu/ribbon.  This capability can significantly speed up the opening of large files.

  1. Issue the standard OPEN command.
  2. Navigate to the path and select the file (don’t click open !).
  3. Click the “down arrow” button to the right of [Open] and choose the Partial Open option.
  4. Optionally select a named view to load.
  5. Turn on layers you need to work with.
  6. Optionally check the “Unload all Xrefs on open” toggle.
  7. Click the [Open] button to continue.

This method requires a different “working mindset” as some geometry will not be visible in the drawing (even if it’s layer is thawed). To load additional layers, return to the partial load dialog.


Then check the layers you wish to work with, toggling additional layers on will display those layers for editing.

Don’t overlook the benefits of using named views in huge drawings as geometry outside the view area will not be loaded.

Another benefit of this system is to unload all xrefs during load and you can always reload any (or all) during the editing session with the standard XREF (or CLASSICXREF) commands.

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