so what's the file setup here? You mentioned hotlinked files.
is the file setup similar to which of the 2 below?:
or setup 2:
if it's setup 2, External drawings will take alot longer to load only because every time you update a drawing, it has to:
1. open the source Model file
2. update the drawing
3. close the source Model file
if you're updating one drawing from multiple Model files, it will repeat the 3 steps above for each drawing. that takes time. sure you can open all 6 model files at once to skip stels 1 & 3, but no-one else gets to work on those files.
If your file setup is closer to Setup 2, my suggestion is to use PMK exports from each of the Model files. all your saved views will be exported as PMK files. these will still be brought into the Layout files as "External Drawings", but the updating will be instantaneous, as it avoids steps 1 & 3.
note of caution: this may cause issues with Linked Markers. you might want to do some tests prior to permanently switching to the PMK method.
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