Relative Vs Absolute Pathing

December 1, 2022 Heather Volk


What is the difference between Relative and Absolute Pathing?

Relative Path:

Relative paths are the most flexible and best option for path types. They are partially specified paths that assume the current drive letter or folder of the host file. So if the drawing and location of the XREF remain the same, it will open. If moving one or more folders in the folder tree, you might have issues finding the XREF path. However, if the XREF is in a folder under where the drawing is located it works fine. This is also the default path type.

Absolute Path:

Absolute paths are fully specified hierarchy of folders that includes the local hard drive letter or the network server drive letter. This path style is the least flexible as far as options go. It is also the most specific option.

When using absolute pathing, IF any of the folder names change you lose the path to the XREF’s. They will then need to be redefined or re-pathed to work again. IF the folder gets moved, you will lose the path to the XREF’s, and they will need to be redefined or re-pathed to work again.

No Path:

There is one last pathing type which is No Path. Specifying the “No Path” options is useful when moving drawings or sets of drawings to a different folder hierarchy. However, the XREF MUST be located in the same folder as the drawing.


The default Relative path is the best option, but there are alternatives out there. For more information on XREF’s please check out this video:

This was put on by our very own Mr. Wizard himself.


Created by Heather Volk - IMAGINiT Technologies Technical Support


About the Author

Heather Volk

Sr. Technical Support Specialist, Building Solutions<br><br>Heather is responsible for responding to customer requests and helping them address technical challenges in a timely manner. She is an experienced Computer Aided Design Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. She has strong arts and design professional skills in AutoCAD, plumbing, computer aided design (CAD), project estimation, and facility management, and a history of providing training and technical support.

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