Here’s a tip I just rediscovered while cleaning out my old emails. It applies to all recent AutoCAD releases.
Let’s say you have a drawing that you think has been used as an xref by at least one other drawing, and maybe more. How can you find out which drawings use it as an xref?
First, turn on DesignCenter. You can do this with Tools > Palettes > DesignCenter, the ADCENTER command, or Ctrl+2. Pick on the Search button at the top (the magnifying glass thingy). In the Search dialogue box, change the “Look for” item to Xrefs (but have a look at what else you can search for, you may find that useful too). You can pick Browse to tell it where to look, and you can make it look down into all the subfolders if you like. Type the xref name into the “Search for the name” field and pick Search Now.
DesignCenter has lots of handy features, such as the ability to drag a block from one drawing to your current drawing without opening the drawing containing the block. Some of the features are hard to find (like the xref search above), but they are very useful once you know about them.
Another handy tool for obtaining all sorts of information about xrefs is the Reference Manager, which was introduced in AutoCAD 2004. This is a standalone program, for which you can find a shortcut in the same Start > Programs > Autodesk > AutoCAD 200x menu as AutoCAD itself. There’s too much good stuff in there to cover in a post like this, but many people are unaware that it exists and I just want to raise awareness. For details, please check out the Help from within Reference Manager itself.
I sent most of the above tip to the users I support in June 2006. I was asked about how to do this by one of my users and found out about it somehow or other, but I now can’t remember how I found out. I may have read about it somewhere on the Internet, but I just don’t know. I have searched and found a similar tip in various places (including Cadalyst and Ellen Finkelstein’s blog) but have not yet seen one that is dated before I wrote about it myself. If you think you know of someone who deserves credit for earlier publication of this tip, please let me know.
Edit: It now appears quite likely that credit belongs to Mai Ezzat, via Ellen Finkelstein, possibly via R.K. McSwain.