Welcome back to my BricsCAD Journey. Today, we’ll explore the tools for attaching and managing external references.

Attach Reference Files

BricsCAD allows you to attach externally referenced drawings, images, and pdf files to the current drawing. Easily access the attach tools from the Insert tab on the Quad. You can also access them via other methods including the Command line (XATTACH, IMAGEATTACH, PDFATTACH).

Insert references from Drawing Explorer

You attach reference files in BricsCAD the same way you do in AutoCAD®. First select a valid file type: DWG, Raster image, or PDF.  Then, specify attach options in the relevant Attach dialog box. Supported raster images include: BMP, JPG, JPEG, PCX, PNG, GIF, TGA, TIF, TIFF, JP2, J2K, ECW, and SID.

Attach References

Note: The dialog boxes do not include preview images. However, when attaching a PDF file, you can select which page to attach from the page list.

Manage Reference Files in Drawing Explorer

After you attach an external file to the current drawing, BricsCAD creates a reference link to the file. You can view and manage those links like in AutoCAD®. However, instead of using an External References palette, you use Drawing Explorer.

Access Drawing Explorer from the General menu on the Quad. It’s also accessible via other methods including the EXPLORER command.

The Quad Drawing Explorer tool

Or, you can use the familiar XREF, IMAGE, or PDF commands. Doing so automatically opens Drawing Explorer with relevant panels displayed for that reference type.

External References

The External References panels include detailed information such as the referenced DWG file name and size. Additionally, it displays the number of insertions for each DWG reference. Nested references are clearly indicated by the greyed-out attachment type.

External References Panel

To help you visualize the individual references and relationships between them, you can change to icon or tree view.

The right-click menu and toolbar offer additional controls. You can easily attach new xrefs, detach existing ones, or purge those that are unused.  And you can reload, unload, bind, insert, and open attached references. Additional items on the right-click menu make it easy to switch the saved path between relative, absolute, or just the file name. And, on the toolbar, the “Run extended search for missing attachments” tool enables you to easily fix broken reference paths either individually or for multiple references simultaneously.


The Images panels display detailed information about the images that are linked to the drawing. The menu and toolbar offer tools similar to Xrefs but specifically relevant for images.

Images panels

When you add images in BricsCAD, you can select and attach multiple images at the same time, unlike in AutoCAD®.

Select multiple images

PDF Files

The PDF Underlays panels display detailed information about PDF files that are linked to the drawing. The menu and toolbar offer the same tools as for images.

PDF Underlays panels

Note: BricsCAD doesn’t include the ability to import geometry from PDF files. However, one of the many 3rd party BricsCAD developers offers an add-on application that enables you to open and convert PDF files directly in BricsCAD.

What’s next?

The next stop on our BricsCAD Journey takes us to Layers and Linetypes. I hope you’ll join me!

Getting started with BricsCAD?
Register now for a webinar “BricsCAD in 20 minutes”

Have a specific (technical) question?
Visit our support page

A quick overview of Heidi’s Journey

Here is an overview of all the articles of Heidi’s journey:

1) First impressions
2) Download and install
3) Welcome to BricsCAD
4) Exploring the interface
5) Command access
6) Exploring trial levels
7) Exploring each workspace
8) Drawing Entities
9) Settings for Drawing Entities
10) Drawing with Styles
11) License options
12) Working with blocks
13) Working with references (Current article)
14) Working with Layers and Linetypes
15) Editing Entities
16) Entity Manipulation
17) Selection Methods
18) Drawing Explorer
19) Settings
20) Classic Edition