To create a new layer, click on in the Object Properties toolbar, the Layer & Linetype Properties dialogue box, illustrated below, appears. This is a tabbed dialogue box and can be used to control either layer properties or linetype properties depending upon which tab is selected. The Layer tab is always selected by default. Now click on the "New" button. A new layer called "Layer1" is automatically created in the layer list below layer 0. As you can see from the illustration, the layer name is automatically highlighted for you so that you can give the layer a more meaningful name. When you have entered an appropriate name, press the key to complete the operation. You have now created a new layer and given it a name. Notice that by default it has been assigned the colour white and the linetype "Continuous".
There are a few restrictions to consider when you are naming layers. The most annoying is that you cannot use spaces within layer names. So, for example, the layer name "Tree trunk" is illegal. However, it is common practice to replace the space with either a hyphen or an underscore, both of which are valid layer name characters. So, the layer names "Tree-trunk" and "Tree_trunk" are both acceptable. Some other special characters are also not allowed. If you do use an illegal character, AutoCAD will alert you with the error message box illustrated above. Notice that it very helpfully tells you which characters are legal. Basically, if you stick with letters and numbers you won't experience any problems. In addition to the hyphen and underscore mentioned above, the dollar sign is the only other symbol allowed.
The only other restriction relating to layer names is the number of characters used. Layer names can be between one and thirty-one characters long. This should give you plenty of scope to devise understandable and descriptive names for your layers. It is good drawing practice to name your layers sensibly, bear in mind that other people may have to work with drawings which you create. If you enter a layer name longer that 31 characters, AutoCAD will display the error message box shown on the left.
Layers are always listed alphabetically in layer lists, the user has no other way to control the list order. It is worth bearing this in mind when naming your layers. Keep similar object layers together by devising a hierarchical naming structure. For example, if you are drawing a tree symbol which comprises a number of elements, your layer names might be, "Tree_canopy", "Tree_text", "Tree_trunk" etc. This will cause all the Tree layers to be displayed together, see the illustration on the right. This is quite important because in complicated drawings there may be many layers and searching for the right group of layers can waste a lot of time.