Making selection filter in AutoCAD using FILTER command

Selecting objects using normal AutoCAD selection techniques is fairly simple, but for very large drawing files the selection may often become a tedious and error-prone task. Selection filter in AutoCAD can ease this process allowing you create selections quickly.

Although you can use “natural” filters like Layers and Quickselect but when you require even more specific tool then Object selection filter can be used which can ease your filtering task to a great extent.

This tip is especially useful if you don’t have LISP routine for creating complex selections, you can create this filter and save it for future use without ever requiring LISP.

To explain this feature I will use a sample drawing containing four layers Layer 0, layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3. Circles of radius 1 and 2 units on different layers and Rectangles on different layers. You can download the drawing here.

Scenario 1

Making a filter that selects all circles of layer 1 with radius 2 units.

Type FILTER in the command line and press enter, the Object Selection Filters window will appear. Now select Layer from Select Filter drop-down menu.

selection filter in AutoCAD

The Select button, next to drop down menu will get highlighted. Click on the Select button and pick layer 1 from it. Click on Add to List button to add this filter criterion to our filter box, now we need to add other criteria of the radius.

Select circle radius from Select filter drop-down menu. You will notice that drop-down menu next to X gets highlighted and you can select operators from them like greater than, less than equal etc. In this case, we want to select circle with radius equal to 2 hence select Equal operator.

Enter the value of radius ie 2 in the box next to operator drop-down menu and click on add to list button again.

Now click apply then select entire drawing and press enter you will notice that only objects which meet these criteria are selected.

Grouping operator:

At the end of Select Filter drop-down menu you will find grouping operators **begin AND, ** end AND, ** begin OR, **end OR and also some other operators like XOR and NOT these operators are used to make complex selections in AutoCAD objects.

These operators are always used in pairs where each begin operator must end with its equivalent end operator as shown below.

**begin AND



**end AND

In the above example if you use AND operator then the filter will be created if both the criteria of DATA 1 and DATA 2 match, if OR operator is used then the filter will include objects that fall in either of the criteria.

In the next example, I will make another filter using these grouping operators.

Scenario 2

Making a filter that selects all circles on layer 2 with radius two unit and all rectangles of layer 3.

Add the following operators in the same order as listed below using the Select Filter drop-down menu.

**Begin OR

**Begin AND

Layer = Layer 2

Object  = Circle

**End AND

**Begin AND

Object  = Circle

Circle radius    = 2.00

**End AND

**Begin AND

Layer  = Layer 3

Object  = Polyline

**End AND

**End OR

Now in this list of operators, you will notice that it starts and ends with OR operator (marked red) and in between, we have three criteria. All the inner criteria start and end with AND operator.

The first criteria marked with green color will include all the circles on layer 2. The second criteria marked with blue color will include all the circles with radius 2. The third criteria marked with black color will include all rectangles of layer 3 as the only polyline in the geometry is the rectangle.

Final filter will comprise of all these criteria because we have used OR operator to open and close this filter list. All objects meeting any of the three criteria will get selected and our final selection will look like this.

selection filter in AutoCAD

Saving object filters

After making so much effort in creating this filter you would definitely like to save it for future use. To save this filter enter the name in the blank box next to save as in the named filter panel of Object selection filter window and click on Save As, the filter will be saved in the current drawing.

Do you have questions related to this tool? Let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce. I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.


  1. Rajib Dey February 6, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

    We are interested to republish your exclusive cad tutorial in our BIM website. So we seek your permission. Please confirm at

  2. Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I have kept and modified the old ssx lisp routine that is very fast and useful in 99% of situations and wherever the selection set is likely to be needed again shortly I have another lisp that I can assign a global variable to it. The more complex system that replaced ssx has more complex power, but the extra time and effort needed in most situations,is more a burden than a help.

    • jaiprakash pandey January 29, 2015 at 4:00 am - Reply

      Yes I agree with you it does takes a considerable amount of time but with a user having no knowledge of LISP this is the only hope to get around this tedious task of filtering.

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