some lisp program could help but I am lispiliterate.
you can set up a layer standards file that can do all kinds of stuff but I have not used it in a while but it is worth looking into.
you can set the layer setting to notify of new layer, on open, during plot, etc and you at that time are presented with a list of "unreconciled" layers that you can then freeze or leave on then reconcile. this proces would continue to go on as long as new layer are created.
When a new layer is present in an xref, the Unreconciled Layer popup should appear. You can then freeze all new layers, then reconcile them. This will keep new layers frozen in your drawings.
Also, I try and teach all my coworkers that if an xref is already in heavy use, and they need to create a new layer, that before they save the xref, that they'd freeze the layer. This way it will at least show up frozen, but you'll still need to reconcile.
If you freeze the layer in the base drawing then save the base drawing. then it will be frozen upon being opened in any drawing that references it.
This would require the layer to be unfrozen in the drawing that you want it to show up in.
In cases where a drawing is used as a reference in many places, we may want new layers to show in some and not in others, so having a global option is not the answer. I think that Autodesk has attempted to accomodate the situation via the Reconcile feature. I don't think there is an ideal solution.
However I do wish Autocad's Visretain variable were enhanced so that it could be applied to nested references. Then we could set up base files consisting entirely of references, set the layer states as needed for a plan set, and then when that base file is referenced into various plan sets they all share the same layer state of the basefile. Any adjustment to the layer state of the basefile gets propogated to all the sheet files.
I believe SSM incorporates that ability: if you save views with layer states desired in plans; when you drag and drop the views into a plan via SSM the layer states are honored.
I don't have SSM in our LDT 2004 so I haven't used it to any extent. What do you do if you need to change the layer state after the sheets have been cut Joe?
I haven't tried but it would be nice if you only had to update the layer state in the base drawing
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