Rotating Reference Files


Is it possible to rotate a drawing placed using the References menu item (often called an X-ref? or Xref drawing)? That is, can I rotate a Referenced Drawing?


PowerCADD v5 or newer
PowerCADD v7 and Mac OS? X Tiger or newer recommended

If you used References in PowerCADD prior to version 7, we recommend you review the PowerCADD 7 user manual for some important tips and information on improvements made with respect to References.


PowerCADD's References menu item allows you to place an external drawing file (the Source Document) into your current PowerCADD drawing (the Destination Document). This feature has been around for several versions but there are some twists that are easy to miss, particularly when it comes to rotating reference drawings.

After you have placed a Reference Drawing (the Source Document) in your Destination Document you can rotate the Reference Drawing to any angle. The dynamic / automatic links for updating are retained. Note, in versions prior to PowerCADD 6, rotating a Reference Drawing to angles of 90 or 180 would result in a rotation that slightly off by a few seconds. In PowerCADD 6 and 7, this has been fixed and rotation of Reference Drawings are accurate regardless of what rotation angle is specified.

What to Do

To rotate a Reference Drawing, do this:

Stage One: Placing the Reference Drawing:

  1. open your Destination Drawing (the drawing you want place the Reference drawing into)
  2. Choose References menu -> Place Reference...
  3. locate the Source Drawing on your hard drive (the drawing you want to reference)
  4. Follow the screen prompts to Place the Reference drawing into your Destination Drawing with the desired options

Stage Two: Rotate the Referenced (X-ref) drawing:

  1. Select the Referenced Drawing to be rotated by choosing Reference menu -> The Reference name -> Select (note, in versions prior to PowerCADD 7 the Reference name is a numbered item which appears at the bottom of the Reference Menu)
  2. Choose Arrange menu -> Rotate
  3. In versions prior to PowerCADD 7 You are prompted to Unlock the Reference Drawing , Press Unlock
  4. Complete the rotation operation just as you would with any other object (note, you can dynamically rotate items or specify an exact amount)

You cannot use Edit menu > Undo to undo the rotation operation. We recommend saving your drawing before rotating referenced drawings and keeping a written record of the rotation angle used so can always rotate the drawing file back to it's original angle if you made a mistake

The result:
The Referenced Drawing is rotated the specified angle. The next time the saved drawing containing the Rotated Reference (X-ref) is opened, the Referenced Drawing is automatically rotated to the previously specified (saved) rotation angle and any revisions made in the Source Drawing are included.

quicktime Demo Movie (895KB Download) of the above stages and steps using PowerCADD v6. (need movie help?)

This can be a very handy technique to speed up drawing production on large projects where site plans, road layouts or building designs are at odd angles. You could do your general drawing in the traditional vertical and horizontal layout, then use References and rotate the reference drawings to suit a particularly unique angle into one master drawing.

Don't forget, the active Destination Drawing may contain more than one Referenced Drawing (X-ref) and they could all be rotated to different angles. This article doesn't address how to manage multiple references but some simple planning and layering techniques can go a long way to make working with single or multiple references a very cost effective drawing management feature.

We hope that helps

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