Do You Really Want To Do This?

Sometimes AutoCAD comes up with a notice noting “Do you really want to do this?” when moving hatches or something related to hatches.

This is most likely (in fact most of the time) related to associative hatches and their boundaries needing to be checked during a move, mirror etc. type command.

This does not always happen in all drawings with lots of hatch, in fact I only encounter it occaisionally these days. So AutoDesk is making hatch better, good for them.

A quick and dirty fix for this problem is to select all hatches and make them non-associative. Then everthing works as normal, well except the hatches don’t follow the outlines, but grip edit hatches make up for that!

Refedit Zombies

One of my colleagues was trying to edit an attached XREF file using the “edit in place” command button (which actually runs the command REFEDIT) and the file would appear to start to open by showing scanning drawing but then would just fail and go back to the host file with the XREF selected.

Upon review of the command line the following error appeared.

“AcDbZombieObject objects cannot be referenced.”

Nice. AutoCAD has zombies that cause issues!


After a bit of research, AutoCAD zombie objects are leftover database entries from other AutoCAD variants, know as vertical variants, such as AutoCAD architecture, Civil 3D, etc.

When opening files created in a vertical version of AutoCAD in “pure” AutoCAD (or LT) an object enabler is used to read the extra information created and stored in the AutoCAD file by the vertical application.

Most of the time AutoCAD will pop-up the “proxy information” box to ask you what to do about this extra information.


This proxy information seems to been referred to under R13 as AcDbZombieEntity, which is another way of putting AcDbZombieObject.


So let’s now translate the error message.

“AcDbZombieObject objects cannot be referenced.”

AcDb – AutoCAD Database
ZombieObject – Additional proxy information

“AutoCAD database additional proxy information objects cannot be referenced.”

Now AutoDesk, wouldn’t that error be much easier to sort? Instantly the user knows that the source file has some proxy information objects that are causing issue, and either the pure AutoCAD is missing an object enabler or the information is corrupt and needs purging.

I found in this case as the reference file did not pop up a proxy box it suggested to me that the proxy information was corrupt and needed purging.

Unfortunately AutoDesk has omitted to offer a purge of these databases from the purge command, or indeed offer any other way to clean up the database. Using WBLOCK to recreate the drawing won’t work as the proxy information is tied to the objects in the drawing.

Thankfully a program addon for AutoCAD full exists under Exchange to remove these corrupt entities. It is called Zombie Killer!

Flickering LT 2014 solved

There seems to be two working solutions to AutoCAD LT 2014 flickering. One is to use a file from a previous version and the other which is far simpler to install is to use a registry patch.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\AutoCAD LT\R20\ACADLT-D001\Variables\AECPSDAUTOATTACH] @=”0″ “StorageType”=dword:00000003 “SecondaryType”=dword:00000001 “LowerBound”=dword:00000000 “UpperBound”=dword:00000001 “PrimaryType”=dword:0000138b

Copy and paste the above into a text file. Rename it to autocadlt2014regpatch.reg (named only for ease of finding, the .reg is the important bit) and double click to install on affected machines. I have found that whilst this file can be stored in a server folder for ease of access, installing from the server is not possible and Windows 7 throws out an error. Just copy to desktop and install each time.


Flickering update

It appears that Autodesk has not fixed the AutoCAD LT 2014 flickering issue in their recent update to service pack one. Very frustrating as it makes the software hard to use. It seems to occur less often now rather than all the time. So I will try the registry patch on this machine to see what that does.

Hatching, select or pick?

In the ribbon hatch system, the default method is to have pick objects, however there is a way to change this, or even to get the old hatch dialogue back if you like that (I have got used to the new hatch ribbon but some still like the old hatch dialogue!)

The system variable HPDLGMODE is the one to change this.

This is the default behaviour of post 2010 AutoCAD. It uses the ribbon interface and pick point is default selection method.

This brings back the old hatch dialogue box if you want it.

This also uses the ribbon interface, however it uses the select objects as the default hatch selection method.

The setting out HPDLGMODE to 0 seems like a good option if you still use boundaries to create your hatch objects and whilst AutoCAD’s hatching system has definitely been refined it still can crash your session so this might be the best way forward until further refinements are made to the hatching system.

XREFs and Layers

A colleague of mine was struggling with numerous issues when using XREFs. The two main ones where having multiple Layer States with XREF prefixes that couldn’t be removed and the other was not wanting to see the XREF layers.

Layer States Dialogue for no XREFs does not work with Ribbon pulldown
Layer States Dialogue for no XREFs does not work with Ribbon pulldown

The first issue was frustrating as whilst there is an option to disable these is in the layer states manger dialogue, checking the box does not disable them in the Ribbon pulldown. Duh. So the solution ended up being, delete the layer states in the XREF.

The second issue was easy to solve as AutoCAD has this feature built-in and it works! It works with both the Layer Pulldown, Layer Palette and Classic Layer! Wow!

Layer Drop Down showing XREF layers
Layer Drop Down showing XREF layers

This is how to remove XREF layers from these palettes. You will need a filter (yup AutoCAD has layer filters!)

Layer Pallette indicating the filter section
Layer Palette indicating the filter section

On the panel on the left, click XREF, this will now show the list of layers for the XREF. Click on the checkbox below that states Invert Filter and voila, you have a list of layers without XREF layers within.

Another flickering update

It appears that changing AecCore.crx inĀ C:Program FilesAutodeskAutoCAD LT 2014 to AecCore.crx.old or similar (in order to stop it working) fixes the flickering symptoms, making the program usable again. However this will most likely break something else as this file is an object enabler. The underlying issue appears to be with the new mapping feature (which makes sense as there is a greyed out map pin next to unrecognised when the bar flickers) and that is not working properly.

We all wait now for a Service Pack or Hot Fix for this from AutoDesk. Please check out this page regularly to see if the hot fix or service has been posted. I will update my blog when it arrives to see if it fixes the issue!


There has always been a way of adding areas of polylines up in AutoCAD as far back as I can remember but it was always hard to remember with lots of areas which were included.

Not any more. AutoCAD has subtly added a new feature (I like these sort of improvements) where it now highlights the areas added.

Area –> A (for add) –> O (for Object), gets you to the add mode for areas and this is what you get, a nice green highlight when the object is selected. Ah, that was satisfying!

Area Add Mode
Area Add Mode