Show what's normally hidden...

No, I am talking about things normally hidden in AutoCAD drawings. Sometimes you just want to reveal more and show data which normally stay hidden.

There are several areas of hidden data, hidden parameters and information deep in the DWG drawing database. And here are some methods how to dig out this data.

  1. The most obvious item - the geometry. Reveal hidden layers by thawing and enabling all layers (the LAYER command). Unhide hidden (isolated) objects by the UNISOLATEOBJECTS command.
  2. Hidden attributes - display hidden attributes in blocks by the ATTDISP command.
  3. Empty texts - some drawing contain texts with space-only characters. Such texts are not visible until you set the QTEXTMODE variable.
  4. Hidden face edges - 3DFaces with hidden edges can be revealed by setting the SPLFRAME variable to 1.
  5. Proxy objects - proxy objects from vertical versions of AutoCAD and AutoCAD add-ons without object enablers can be displayed by setting the PROXYSHOW variable
  6. Drawing tables - a DWG drawing does not contain only geometry but also non-graphical objects: styles, tables, linetypes, etc. You can list them e.g. through the VisualLisp IDE. Start the VLIDE command and use View > Browse drawing database.
  7. EED - Extended Entity Data - can contain valuable information. You can list the EED contents for any drawing object with the Express Tools command XDLIST.
  8. Hyperlinks - if you attach a link (URL) to a drawing object, you may want to show it again. Use the SHOWURLS command.
  9. Field relationships - you may have a number of dynamically linked texts (fields) reflecting properties of other objects (acreage, lengths, etc.). Use the FIELDLINK utility to draw temporary lines linking fields and their dependent objects (see
  10. History - the history of a drawing is normally hidden - you cannot tell what was drawn first and what next. With the LISP utility "HISTORY" you can animate the history of your DWG drawing (see
NB: You can find all mentioned commands and variables in the AutoCAD commands database on