Recreating Problem Drawings Part 1: Purge and Audit

January 4, 2021 Archie Dodge

Recreating Problem Drawings

Part 1: Purge and Audit

In this blog series, we will be covering a method that I regularly use to recreate problem drawings that crash too often, or even corrupted to the point that it will no longer open. If you have experienced these types of drawings and are looking for a potential solution, read on!

Keep in mind that this method typically has great results, but on occasion, may not be able to revive a drawing that is beyond repair. 

With that being said, the first step in recovering problem drawing is to clean it up as much as possible. To do so, we first need to purge out any unused objects and drawing assets, such as blocks and line types, from the drawing.

If the problem drawing can be opened, the command PURGE can be used to purge unused elements from the currently open drawing.

After executing the PURGE command in your problem drawing, ensure that all the check boxes are checked in the Options section of the PURGE command dialog. These boxes will allow you to purge nested items and orphaned data but note that zero-length geometry and Empty text objects may be greyed out, we will purge these using another method once we close this PURGE dialog box. Once all the option boxes are checked click on "Purge All", choose “Purge all checked items” in the confirmation dialog that follows, and AutoCAD/Civil 3D will start the purge process. If “Purge nested items” was not check in the options, you may need to click on “Purge All” multiple times until it is greyed out. Once the “Purge All” button is greyed out, close the PURGE dialog box.

With the PURGE command dialog box now closed, type -PURGE into the command line. Note the dash (-) prefixing the command; this allows for the command to be executed on the command line rather than in a dialog box. Executing the command in this manner reveals new command line options for the PURGE command. The command line options that we are interested in are the Regapps, Zero-Length geometery, and Empty text objects.

To purge these elements, use the command line entries below to purge each type in succession.

Purge Registered Applications:





Purge Zero-Length Geometry



Purge Empty Text Objects



Purge Orphaned Data



Now that the problem drawing has been cleaned of any extraneous assets, we now need to AUDIT our file to scan the drawing for issues and fix them. For that, type in AUDIT into the command line, then select the command line option of Yes to fix any errors found.

Once the Audit command has been executed, it will scan the drawing for issues in two passes as it attempts to repair issues.

After a PURGE and AUDIT has been done, save the file and close it so that we move on to the next step in our workflow to save this drawing.

If the problem drawing cannot be opened, the RECOVERALL command should be used. The RECOVERALL command should be executed from any open drawing other than the problem drawing, or from the Application menu under Drawing Utilities > Recover > Recover with Xrefs.

Once the RECOVERALL command has been executed, select Recover the drawing file from the dialog box that appears, then browse to the drawing exhibiting the undesired issues and choose open.

After opening the file, AutoCAD/Civil 3D will go through the process of opening the main file and all its externally reference files, going through the AUDIT process on each in turn. Once complete, you will be presented with a log that will allow you to view any found issues in their respective drawings.

At this point, you may be able to open the file to run the PURGE process talked about earlier in this blog post as the RECOVERALL command only deals with auditing drawings, not the purge process.

Now that we have purged unnecessary elements from our problem drawing and fixed issues using the AUDIT command, we can move on to our next step in our workflow which is to save layer property states to be called upon in our final recreated drawing.

For that, we will continue on in the next video titled Recreating Problem Drawings Part 2: Layer States Manager

About the Author

Archie Dodge

Civil Solutions Applications Expert<br><br>Over 12 years of experience in geotechnical engineering design, and land planning design, ranging in projects from dams, gypsum stacks and coal ash piles, to subdivisions, parks, and an airport expansion. Autodesk Certified Professional in Civil 3D and an expert in Autodesk infrastructure software. Trainer and consultant with IMAGINiT Technologies.

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