AutoCAD 2009 – Layer Palette and performance

AutoCAD 2009 – Layer Palette and performance

If you’ve noticed some normal drafting operations are much slower in AutoCAD 2009 than in earlier releases, try turning off the new Layer Palette and see if the problem goes away. For example, editing viewports with the Layer Palette visible can be completely unworkable. Don’t just auto-hide it, close it altogether.

Another problem presented by the Layer Palette is that any layer changes you make are applied as you make them. This sounds great in theory, but if each operation takes a while to perform then that’s much less efficient than the old method where all changes are made at once when OK or Apply is picked.

I know a non-modal layer interface was a common wish and it sounded like a cool idea, but now Autodesk has actually been kind enough to grant this wish I’m finding I prefer the old method. I generally don’t need access to all that layer functionality all of the time, so it makes sense to only have the interface occupying that big slab of screen real estate when I actually need it. Your requirements may differ, of course.

If you’re a layer Luddite like me, you can use the old interface by issuing the Classiclayer command. Alternatively, if you set the undocumented system variable LAYERDLGMODE to 0, the Layer command will invoke the old interface instead of the new one.


  1. Despite its problems, I think Autodesk was right to leave this particular feature in rather than remove it before release. Many users will be happy it’s there and won’t notice any problems with it. As long as it remains optional and the old modal interface is retained and updated in parallel, I’ll be content.

    As for why problems aren’t fixed before release, it comes down to the development cycle not being long enough. That’s a problem that needs urgent attention, as I noted in this month’s Bug Watch.

  2. I wonder what percentage of 2009 users (non-beta tester users) know about CLASSICLAYER and/or LAYERDLGMODE?

    It’s not like these are highlighted in the marketing tools… For your average Joe at Company ABC who doesn’t read AutoCAD blogs or websites and he/she gets 2009 dropped on their machine – that person will suffer with the poor performance.

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