It is not possible to bind an XREF within an AutoCAD drawing. The following error may appear at the AutoCAD command line:

Error: At least one of the specified xrefs failed to bind for an unknown reason.
Error: At least one of the specified xrefs failed to bind for an unknown reason.


Known causes include:
  • XREF is unloaded, orphaned, or is otherwise missing.
  • XREF is part of a circular reference.
  • XREF is attached more than once.
  • XREF has been edited in 3rd party software.
  • File corruption.
  • Problem with the user profile in Windows.


Do one or more of the following according to the applicable scenario:

Xref is unloaded

See: To Update an Attached Xref

Circular references

A circular reference is created when two files attach each other, which can create a loop when updating. Set one or more of the references to Overlay to resolve this.


File corruption

Check for file corruption. Go to each file involved, run AUDIT and PURGE, and then try the bind again. Also see: How to repair corrupt AutoCAD files.

File cleanup

Follow these steps:

  1. Open one of the problem files and make sure all layers are on and thawed.
  2. Detach any XREFs.
  3. Open a new drawing and INSERT the affected DWG into it.
  4. EXPLODE the newly inserted information so it is no longer a block. 
  5. Go back to the original file and bind the XREF again.
  1. Select the objects by window selection.
  2. Using the WBLOCK command, create a new drawing.
  3. Open a blank DWG using a default AutoCAD template.
  4. Using the INSERT command, insert the file created via the WBLOCK command.

Switch to a newer file version

If using an old drawing version, try saving the file in a newer drawing version (e.g. AutoCAD LT 2018/AutoCAD 2018 Drawing).

Update the Windows user profile

Log on to the machine as a different user than the user who is not able to bind. If other users can bind the files after logging in, the initial user probably needs to reset AutoCAD to defaults or have the user profile rebuilt. See: How to reset AutoCAD to defaults