Most AutoCAD designers use layers to manage their different drawing object types. Drawing annotation objects such as notes, dimensions, multi-leaders and hatching are placed on different layers than the actual part objects. So during the process of creating a finished drawing, you will be switching layers frequently. AutoCAD has many great layer control commands but you still have to execute them. I want to tell you a method of switching layers automatically when various objects are placed.
To demonstrate this process I will be switching layers automatically from the current layer to the dimension layer and back when a linear dimension is placed. I will use the Tool Palette to accomplish this magic. The first thing to do is create a new palette tab to place your commands on. Right click on any existing tool palette tab and select New Palette. Give it any name that makes sense to you and your ready to add commands.
The easiest way to add the Linear dimension command to your new tool palette is to first place a linear dimension in a drawing. Next select the dimension and then right click and drag the dimension to your new tool palette. Remember you must drag the dimension by any point EXCEPT a grip.
Next you will right click on the Linear Dimension icon on the tool palette and select Properties.
In the Properties dialog, set the Use Flyout to No and the layer to your drawing dimension layer. If you want all dimensioning commands to be available from this palette, leave the Use Flyout at the original value but my command will just be for Linear dimensions. Select OK to finish.
You are now ready to try the automatic layer change routine. Set your current layer to say Object or any layer other than Dimension. Draw a rectangle in model space and make a paperspace viewport so you can place some dimensions. If you use annotative scale in model space, set your scale so you can easily see your dimensions. Select the Linear dimension command from the Tool Palette and voila, the dimension is placed on the dimension layer and when the command finishes, the current layer is returned to being active.
The same process can be applied to text, hatches, and multi-leaders to automatically switch to the palette object assigned layer, place the object and then return to the current layer. This method of switching layers solves two problems. Trying to remember to switch layers for different objects and the boring task of having to do it all the time.