What is the Defpoints layer in AutoCAD

You must have noticed Defpoints layer in layer property manager of AutoCAD which is automatically created. Have you wondered why this layer is created automatically and what is the use of this layer, keep reading this article to get answers.

What is Defpoints layer?

This layer is automatically generated when a dimension is created in your AutoCAD drawing, this layer stores information about definition points of dimensions. Objects on this layer are visible in drawing area but these objects will not appear when you plot your drawing, plotting is turned off for Defpoints layer.

What is Defpoints layer

Fig 1 – Defpoints as seen in dimensions

Definition points are reference points for dimensions these are same points which appear at grip location when a dimension is selected. In the image above you will notice tiny points at the location of red circles, these points are visible only in the drawing area and they are never plotted.

A Defpoint layer cannot be deleted and if you try to delete it then an error message will appear as shown in figure 2. Although LAYDEL command can be used to delete this layer but I would not recommend it as it may corrupt your drawing.

What is Defpoints layer

Fig 2 – Defpoint layer and error message

Should I place objects on Defpoints layer?

Drafters generally harness this property of Defpoints layer to place objects on this layer which they don’t want to plot for example viewports and construction geometries but it is not a good practice as it may lead to unexpected changes in drawing such as.

If you freeze layer 0 then anything placed on Defpoints layer will become partially locked and you will not be able to select objects on it.

On running AUDIT command all objects placed on Defpoints layer will be transferred to a new layer $AUDIT-BAD-LAYER and as a result, objects will remain visible in the plot.

So try to always create a new layer with its plot turned off and then place all objects which you don’t want to show in the plot like viewport and construction geometries on that layer.

How you use Defpoints layer and do you also use it for placing no-plot objects? 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. Miksa September 14, 2018 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Hi John! I am a senior designer and I have never used the Defpoints layer as a “NO PRINT” layer.

  2. riswan March 27, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply


  3. Sue and Craig's art July 20, 2017 at 12:49 am - Reply

    i steer clear of Defpoints and layer 0. They both act funny so i find it much easier to create a no-plot layer. it’s frustrating to come across linework on defpoints because when you try to isolate the layer it disappears. which makes changing linework from defpoints to an appropriately named layer very timely and annoying.

    thanks for the article.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey July 20, 2017 at 1:56 am - Reply

      Thanks for your input, defpoints is certainly not the layer on which you put your normal drawing objects.

  4. Nancy October 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Does anything else get put on the $AUDIT_BAD_LAYER?
    Many years ago I created No Plot and Viewport layers when I heard it shouldn’t be used for elements but never had a good answer to why and the bad layer when auditing was never mentioned.

  5. Mike Flores September 18, 2015 at 2:25 am - Reply

    I use all the time, espicially for Vports. I’ve never had a problem with the Audit business and I’ve been using it since DOS rel. 11. (circa 1987). What I like about it is that it’s “bullet-proof” as far as not plotting and being able to forget about the no-plot setting getting changed. That said, if I do see the Audit problem show itself, I’ll reconsider.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey September 27, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      Still its better to avoid using defpoints layer when you have virtually unlimited number of layers to play with in AutoCAD.

  6. John September 14, 2015 at 12:17 am - Reply

    This is excellent! I need to present this to the senior designers at work who struggle to keep us in the previous century. They use the defpoints layer for non-printing notes to future designers doing a revision as well as non-printing reference geometry in the model or drawing tab. And of course, since it comes from someone else besides myself, they might be accepting of it. As for myself, I have been making a layer called NO_PRINT ever since they began to allow non-printing as an option for individual layers.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey September 14, 2015 at 9:31 am - Reply

      I am Glad to know that you don’t prefer using Defpoints layer for keeping no plot objects.

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