AutoCAD 2008 offers many enhancements to layer functionality including a new Layers panel in the Dashboard. The Layers panel provides quick access to various layer tools including the Layer Properties Manager.
In the Layer Properties Manager, you can right-click over the column headers to turn different columns on and off. The new customize option enables you to toggle the visibility of multiple columns at the same time.
Some of my favorite enhancements to layer functionality in AutoCAD 2008 are the new viewport layer properties: Viewport color, viewport linetype, viewport lineweight, and viewport plot style. These new properties enable you to apply layer properties on a per-viewport basis. If you have a drawing with many layers- displayed in multiple viewports- you can emphasize certain layers in one viewport while de-emphasizing them in a different viewport. Rather than changing the global color, which would change the layer color in all viewports, you can change the new VP Color within a particular viewport. Using new viewport layer properties, you can display drawing information the way you want without having to create and manage multiple copies of the drawing objects.
Layers with viewport overrides are highlighted with a blue background. You can change that background color using the new settings dialog box, accessible from the lower left corner of the Layer Properties Manager. If you want to restore layers to their original, global properties, you can right-click in the Layer Properties Manager and select the option to Remove Viewport Overrides. You can remove overrides from only the selected layers or from all layers, and you can choose whether you want to remove them from only the current viewport or from all viewports.
In AutoCAD 2008, you can combine the flexibility of viewport layer properties with the efficiency of layer states. The Layer States Manager is directly accessible from the dashboard or the new LAYERSTATE command, without requiring you to first open the Layer Properties Manager. It has been updated with new functionality that enables you to import layer states directly from DWG, DWT, or DWS files. You can easily restore an existing layer state from within the layer states manager. Or, for even greater efficiency, simply choose the appropriate layer state from the new layer states drop-down list in the Layers panel of the dashboard.