AutoCAD® Civil 3D® is a design and drafting program that supports a wide range of civil
engineering tasks. The AutoCAD Civil 3D Getting Started guide introduces the program and
provides some initial hands-on experience, using sample data included with the product. This
first chapter contains brief descriptions of the significant features in AutoCAD Civil 3D and
provides advice for AutoCAD Land Desktop users who are learning about AutoCAD Civil 3D.
You install AutoCAD Civil 3D using the Installation wizard that opens
automatically when you insert the product media. Using the Installation wizard
you can access several pages of links, from which you can open online versions
of the documentation and locate other information to support the product.
Installing on a Single Computer
To install AutoCAD Civil 3D on a single computer, click the Install Products
link on the first page of the Installation wizard. The Installation wizard provides
links with answers to common installation questions.
For information about installing AutoCAD Civil 3D on a single computer,
consult the Stand-Alone Installation Guide. To access this guide, in the Installation
wizard, click the Read the Documentation link, then click Stand-Alone
Installing on a Network
To deploy AutoCAD Civil 3D on a network, click the Create Deployments link
on the Installation wizard. For information about deploying AutoCAD Civil
3D on a network, consult the Network Administrator's Guide. To access this
guide, in the Installation wizard, click the Read the Documentation link, and
then click Network Administrator’s Guide.
Highlights of AutoCAD Civil 3D
AutoCAD Civil 3D® is designed for land-development professionals, such as
civil engineers, surveyors, engineering technicians, and drafters. Subsequent
chapters of this Getting Started guide introduce the objects and styles that are
the main structural features of the application.
What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009
This release of AutoCAD Civil 3D includes new features and enhancements
to existing features, as described in the following sections. More details about
these enhancements are available in the New Features topic of the Help and
in the New Features Workshop.
You can access the Data Shortcut commands on the Toolspace Prospector tab.
This feature now provides a Data Shortcuts external editor. Also, you can use
the new project export feature, for packing a set of Vault project files into a
ZIP archive, and a related project import feature, for extracting the files into
another project environment.
You can generate Mapcheck reports by selecting labels in the drawing. A new
reporting tool highlights observation tolerance errors for angle, distance,
elevation, and coordinate values in the Event Viewer vista. The Survey Link
Extension enables you to download data from survey data collectors and
2 | Chapter 1 Introduction
convert raw data into .fbk files. Survey figure editing commands are now
A new command enables you to select a series of pipes and structures in the
drawing, and then rename or renumber them. You can use a spanning label
for pipes displayed in a profile. You can use a pipe end cleanup option in
You can now label most AutoCAD Civil 3D objects that are contained within
an Xref. For line, curve, and spiral labels on alignment, parcels, and general
line and curve labels, there are new label anchor points such as start, middle,
and end. General line and curve labels can now be included in parcel tables.
You can now reorder surface operations and can weed points to control the
number of points that are used when creating a surface (TIN). This feature has
been enhanced with more intelligent memory management, data restriction
for improved performance, and point weeding to achieve a simplified surface
which results in improved performance for large surfaces.
You can have dynamic feature lines from alignments,profiles, and corridors.
You can name feature lines for easier identification, and can apply styles to a
selection set of feature lines. You can prioritize feature line styles to determine
split point elevations and can create a feature line from the alignment
geometry. Numerous new feature line commands make it easier to edit
What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 | 3
You can associate agency-specific standards during the alignment and profile
design process to ensure compliance with standards. Additionally, you can
use a new post-design error-checking mechanism, which checks the alignment
and profile geometry for entities that violate the associated standards. You
can now control label styles for different alignment and profile geometry
points in order to label these in different ways. You can also label
superelevation critical points along an alignment. You can create alignment
entities using the best fit tools.
You can create stacked profile views and anchor superelevation band labels
to superelevation diagrams. You can associate agency-specified standards
during the alignment and profile creation process. Also, you can use the
error-checking mechanism which checks for violations of the associated
standards. You can create profile entities using the best fit tools.
You can use survey figures, grading feature lines, polylines, and pipe networks
as subassembly targets in a corridor. The View/Edit functionality has been
A new Mass Haul Diagram wizard is available to generate a mass haul diagram
that remains dynamic in relation to the corridor model.
You can publish render materials on entities for display in Google Earth. Also,
you can import elevation data in a current Google Earth view into AutoCAD
Civil 3D as a mesh.
4 | Chapter 1 Introduction
Hydraulics and Hydrology
Optionally, you can install three new hydraulics and hydrology applications
from the AutoCAD Civil 3D installer. Use the stand-alone applications,
Hydraflow Storm Sewers Extension and Hydraflow Hydrographs Extension,
for hydraulic analysis and planning. Use the Hydraflow Express Extension
application to perform common hydrology tasks, such as designing culverts
and inlets. For more information, click the Help menu in each of these
Sample Data Provided with the Program
To help you learn how to use AutoCAD Civil 3D and start experimenting with
its features, the product media includes sample drawings and data files.
Tutorial Drawing Files
Use these files with the tutorials that are part of the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help
After installation, the default location of the files is the following folder:
C:Program FilesAutoCAD Civil 3D 2009HelpCivil 3D TutorialsDrawings
Getting Started Guide Drawing Files
Use these drawing files with the Exercises chapter of this Getting Started guide.
There is one file for each feature-specific concept discussed in that chapter.
After installation, the default location of the files is the following folder:
C:Program FilesAutoCAD Civil 3D 2009Getting Started Guide
Best Practices Guide Drawing Files
Use these files with the Best Practices guide.
After installation, the default location of the files is the following folder:
Sample Data Provided with the Program | 5
C:Program FilesAutoCAD Civil 3D 2009Best Practices Guide
Sample Drawing Templates
AutoCAD Civil 3D also provides several drawing templates that contain sample
content for settings, styles, and organization of objects. Use these files as a
basis for developing your own content.
After installation, the files are located in the same folder as the AutoCAD
templates. To create a file from a template:
1 Click File menu ➤ New.
2 In the Select Template dialog box, select the template you want to use.
The AutoCAD Civil 3D templates are at the top of the list, with names
such as _AutoCAD Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Base.dwt.
Learning How to Use AutoCAD Civil 3D
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides learning materials to get you started using the
software and complete documentation to serve as a reference. User
documentation for AutoCAD Civil 3D includes:
■ Getting Started guide (this guide)
■ Online tutorials
■ Help system
■ Best Practices guide
■ Moving From Land Desktop to Civil 3D guide
■ Skill Builders
Getting Started Guide
The Getting Started guide introduces important concepts in AutoCAD Civil
3D. After reading through it, and doing some of the exercises with the sample
files provided, you should feel comfortable enough with the application to
start experimenting on your own.
6 | Chapter 1 Introduction
Access the online tutorials on the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help menu. The tutorials
offer an in-depth guided tour of the major features of AutoCAD Civil 3D, using
realistic engineering drawings and data. For a thorough knowledge of AutoCAD
Civil 3D, it is recommended that you explore the tutorials after you have read
through the conceptual information provided in the Getting Started guide.
The AutoCAD Civil 3D Help system is provided in HTML format with a table
of contents, an index, and a search function. You can print out the Help topics
that interest you. To print entire sections, you might prefer to work from the
PDF version of the Help system. By default, this document is available at the
C:Program FilesAutoCAD Civil 3D 2009Helpcivil_ug.pdf
Use the Search tab in the Help to find topics that contain a particular word
or phrase. For the best results when searching for a phrase, enclose the words
in quotation marks, for example, “Quantity Takeoff.” Search results appear
in the left pane. The Help system home page lists topics by classifying them
by task, by feature, and by job role. The home page also includes links to the
Learning Resources page, the Workflow topics, the New Features Workshop,
Tutorials, the Best Practices guide, and the Moving from Land Desktop to Civil
Civil 3D Best Practices Guide
The new AutoCAD Civil 3D Best Practices guide provides best practices
information to help you optimize your use of AutoCAD Civil 3D. This guide
includes chapters for aspects of AutoCAD Civil 3D such as project management,
templates and style optimization, and specific features including surfaces,
grading, pipe networks, and corridors.
Moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D Guide
Many Land Desktop users are transitioning to Civil 3D. The Moving from Land
Desktop to Civil 3D guide provides concepts, best practices, and procedures for
Online Tutorials | 7
successfully moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D. This guide is available
on the Help menu. It contains information on how to successfully plan for
and transition an organization from using Land Desktop to using Civil 3D.
This guide also contains information on tools for moving Land Desktop data
into Civil 3D.
AutoCAD Civil 3D Skill Builders are advanced exercises that enable you to
practice performing design tasks using Civil 3D drawings. Skill Builders are
available from the AutoCAD Civil 3D website.
To view and download AutoCAD Civil 3D Skill Builders, visit
Autodesk Training Programs and Products
Training programs and products from Autodesk help you learn the key
technical features of your Autodesk software and improve your productivity.
For the latest information about Autodesk training, visit
http://www.autodesk.com/training or contact your local Autodesk office.
Autodesk Authorized Training Centers
Be more productive with Autodesk software. Get trained at an Autodesk
Authorized Training Center (ATC) with hands-on, instructor-led classes to
help you get the most from your Autodesk products. Enhance your productivity
with proven training from over 1,400 ATC sites in more than 75 countries.
For more information about Autodesk Authorized Training Centers, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the online ATC locator at
Autodesk publishes many courseware titles each year for users at all levels to
improve their productivity with Autodesk software. The preferred training
materials of Autodesk partners, these books are also well-suited for self-paced,
standalone learning. All courseware simulates real-world projects with
hands-on, job-related exercises. Autodesk Official Training Courseware (AOTC)
is developed by Autodesk. Autodesk Authorized Training Courseware (AATC)
is developed by Autodesk partners, including titles in a growing number of
8 | Chapter 1 Introduction
languages. Autodesk Official Certification Courseware (AOCC) teaches the
knowledge and skills assessed on the Certification examinations. Visit
http://www.autodesk.com/aotc to browse the Autodesk Courseware catalog.
Gain a competitive edge with your career by obtaining Autodesk Certification,
validating your knowledge and skills on Autodesk products. Autodesk provides
an end-to-end solution for assessing your readiness for certification, preparing
for certification, and obtaining certification. For more information on Autodesk
Certification, visit http://www.autodesk.com/certification.
Autodesk e-Learning for Autodesk Subscription customers features interactive
lessons organized into product catalogs. Each lesson is 20-40 minutes in length
and features hands-on exercises, with an option to use a simulation or the
software application. You can also use an online evaluation tool that identifies
gaps in skills, determines what lessons will be most helpful, and gauges learning
If you are a member of Autodesk subscription, you can access e-Learning and
other subscription services from within your Autodesk product. For more
information about Autodesk subscription resources, visit
Autodesk Training Programs and Products | 9
Designing with Objects
The underlying object model in AutoCAD Civil 3D creates some major efficiencies in the
engineering design process. Because of this model, changes to one object can affect related
objects, and object styles can control many aspects of object appearance and behavior. This
chapter describes both the object model and the AutoCAD Civil 3D user interface for working
The architecture of AutoCAD Civil 3D ensures that each object, such as an
alignment or a parcel, has a standard set of attributes and relationships to other
objects. These objects are “intelligent” in the sense that they automatically react
in predictable ways to changes in related objects. As a result, you do not need
to spend hours ensuring that design revisions are transferred correctly among
surfaces, alignments, profiles, sections, labels, tables, and other objects. The
tedious tasks of redrafting and relabeling are eliminated. Design options and
“what if” scenarios can be created more easily and analyzed with precision,
resulting in significant process improvements.
Exploded representation of the object model
12 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
The following illustration shows a simplified view of object relationships and
data flow in an AutoCAD Civil 3D drawing:
Object relationships and data flow
Object Relationships | 13
Field survey data creates figures and points that can be used to generate an
existing ground surface and parcels. This surface is referenced as other objects
are created in the design process, resulting finally in a designed surface.
Parcels, existing ground surfaces, pipe networks, and gradings can be created
independently, or from data sources not shown in the illustration. Such objects
are usually linked to other objects during the design process, if not at the
beginning. The object type with the most complex set of relationships is the
corridor, because it requires data from an alignment, profile, and assembly.
Changes to any object automatically flow along the arrows to dependent
objects, with predictable results. For example, if you correct the elevations of
an existing ground surface, updates flow to any related grading objects,
corridors, profiles, and pipe networks. As a result, all values represented in
labels and tables are also updated.
In the design process, after you create an alignment you can create many
profiles and sections. However, the display of these in profile views and section
views is optional and separate from the flow of data required to create the
final product—a designed surface. Similarly, the data from objects, such as
parcels and alignments, can be output to a table or report if desired.
14 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
The user interface of AutoCAD Civil 3D reflects the object architecture of the
application. The major elements are shown in the following illustration:
AutoCAD Civil 3D User Interface
The following notes describe the numbered items in the illustration:
1 Toolspace. For object management. Uses four tabs: Prospector; for
navigating through the object collections, Settings; for managing styles
and settings, Survey; for managing survey data, and Toolbox; for
generating object reports.
2 Item view. For a list view of the contents of the selected folder or a graphic
view of the selected object.
3 Layout tools. For creating and editing objects, such as gradings or
4 Standardized menus. For consistent access to the full range of commands.
Object Interface | 15
5 Tabbed property editors. For modifying individual objects and their
Each part of the user interface is described in more detail in the following
Toolspace for Object Management
The Toolspace window provides an object-oriented view of your engineering
projects. The window is divided into four parts or tabs: Prospector tab, Settings
tab, Survey tab, and Toolbox tab.
On this tab, all of the objects in a drawing or project are arranged in a hierarchy
that you navigate in standard, Windows Explorer–like fashion. To access this
tab, click General menu ➤ Toolspace. To view all the collections in the
Prospector tree, select Master View from the list at the top of the Prospector
tab. The collections available here are Open Drawings, Projects, Data Shortcuts,
and Drawing Templates. Note that Projects lists projects available after you
have logged into an Autodesk Vault server and Vault database. A site collection
includes objects that are related to one another because they share topology.
The following illustration shows a typical structure. The Oak Street site folder
contains collections for alignments, grading groups, and parcels that belong
to the site. The Parcels folder contains the parcel objects defined for the Oak
Street subdivision. Note that the view selected is Active Drawing.
16 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
The Prospector tab in Toolspace
Toolspace for Object Management | 17
On this tab, styles are organized for different object types. Even in a blank
drawing, most of these styles are present in a standard hierarchy. You can
create and modify styles in a drawing, then save it as a template. Subsequent
drawings based on the template will automatically have the same set of styles
available. You can modify object, label, and table styles. You can also control
settings for drawings and commands. To access this tab, click General
menu ➤ Toolspace. In the following illustration, label and table styles for
parcels have been defined:
Each type of object can
have an unlimited
number of styles.
Predefined label styles
can be applied to any
parcel in the drawing.
The Settings tab in Toolspace
18 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
To access this tab, click Survey menu ➤ Open Survey Toolspace. This tab
displays survey project data, organized within databases for survey projects,
equipment, and figure prefixes. The project databases record the survey points,
networks, and figures. The equipment databases record standard deviations
and other operational parameters of individual pieces of survey equipment.
The figure prefix databases record the conversion routines that are applied
when creating lots, buildings, or other figures from survey points.
The Survey tab in Toolspace
The contents of the Survey tab are not specific to a drawing. This tab reflects
the survey data in your AutoCAD Civil 3D Projects folder, so it facilitates access
to survey data from multiple drawings.
The surveyed points and figures in a project can be converted to Civil 3D
points and parcels.
Toolspace for Object Management | 19
To access this tab, click General menu ➤ Toolbox. This tab organizes reports
for each object type. The reports provide useful engineering data from a
drawing in a compact, portable format. AutoCAD Civil 3D includes many
standard reports. Some are in LandXML format, with predefined or custom
XSL style sheets. Other reports are .NET format, with custom dialog boxes
that allow you to select the data and various options.
The Toolbox tab in Toolspace
You can add your own reports to the Toolbox menu. These reports can be in
a variety of formats, including XML, VBA, COM, or .NET.
20 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
The menus in AutoCAD Civil 3D are designed to be as consistent as possible
for all objects, making it easy to find the command you are looking for. This
standardization reflects the fact that the workflows for creating, editing, and
annotating various objects are quite similar.
The object creation commands are at the top of the menu structure, because
logically they are the first steps in any workflow. They are followed by the
editing commands, and then, the annotation commands. Note that all feature
menus provide access to the labeling and table creation commands.
Comparison of the Pipes, Parcels, and Alignments menus
In this release of AutoCAD Civil 3D, the Grading feature line editing commands
are also available on the Parcel and Survey menus. Use these commands to
edit parcel geometry as well as parcel elevations. You can also use the feature
line commands to edit survey figures, including control points.
Menu Standardization | 21
Comparison of the Parcels and Survey menus
AutoCAD Civil 3D comes with several workspaces that you can use as-is or
change according to your preferences. Workspaces are sets of menus and
toolbars grouped together to enable you to customize workspace settings.
AutoCAD Civil 3D workspaces include Civil 3D Complete, Design, Annotation
and Drafting, Survey and Topographical, and Visualization and Rendering.
For more information about using workspaces, see the Help system.
The Annotation menu in the Annotation and Drafting workspace is designed
to facilitate the creation of annotation labels and tables. The Annotation menu
provides access to all label and table commands. The feature menus, such as
the Pipes, Parcels, and Alignment menus, also include options for the creation
To modify label styles and settings, use the Add Labels command to access
the Add Labels dialog box. This command is located on both the feature (Civil
3D Complete workspace) and Annotation (Annotation and Drafting workspace)
menus. For a quicker method to add labels when your styles are already set
up, you can use the direct creation method for specific label types. For example:
Parcels menu ➤ Add Parcel Labels ➤ Single Segment. To access the Add Labels
dialog box to edit or create features label styles, use Parcels menu ➤ Add Parcel
Labels ➤ Add Parcel Labels. See the Help system for instructions on creating
labels for features and objects.
22 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
Annotation Label and Table menus
Menu Standardization | 23
AutoCAD Civil 3D uses shortcut menus extensively. These menus are displayed
when you right-click either one or more objects in the drawing, or an
individual item in Toolspace. You use shortcut menus for quick access to
common functions and commands.
Here are two examples from the Prospector tab. The menu on the left is
displayed when you right-click an alignment object on the Prospector tab.
The menu on the right is displayed when you right-click a parcel.
Shortcut menus for an alignment and a parcel on the Prospector tab
The options on the shortcut menus on the Settings tab are also very similar
for different object types.
24 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides separate dialog boxes, called Layout or Creation
Tools, for designing surfaces, alignments, grading, and other features. Each
layout tools dialog box provides access to object-specific design and editing
commands in a floating dialog box.
Layout tools for Grading, Alignments, and Pipe Networks
Consistent Editing Methods
Object editing in AutoCAD Civil 3D uses an approach that is quite consistent
for all objects. The main editing tools are described in the following sections.
When you click an object or an object collection on the Prospector tab, for
example, Points or Alignments, an item view appears. An item view can be
either a list view or a graphical view, depending on the object selected.
Layout Tools | 25
The item view presents a table in which you can review and edit data for each
object in the selected collection. For example, if you select a point group, the
item view table includes a row for each point in the group.
Click a table cell to
edit the value.
Item view showing a group of points
When you select an object in the drawing, grips appear on the object. You
can use these grips to click and drag the object to a new location. For example,
when editing alignments, you can use grips to move points of intersection or
points of line-arc tangency.
Direction of drag
Editing an alignment by dragging the grip at the midpoint of a curve
26 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
When you use a grip to drag a label object to a new location, a round reset
grip appears. You can click this round grip to return the label to its original
location. No matter how many times you have moved the label, the reset grip
will restore it to its original location.
Use the round grip to reset label location
Some object types, such as alignments and profiles, use the Panorama window
to display a table of entities that make up that object. The Panorama window
is a floating, dockable window that you can keep open as you work. It can
include several tables, called vistas, on different tabs. Panorama data shown
in black text can be edited; data shown in gray text cannot be edited.
Consistent Editing Methods | 27
Panorama window showing an alignment
When you right-click any object on the Prospector tab, and then click
Properties, you can view all the AutoCAD Civil 3D properties of that object,
and edit some of them. These properties typically include the styles, labels,
related objects, and some structural details of the current object.
28 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
Properties editor showing properties for a surface (above) and a point group (below)
AutoCAD Properties Editor
When you right-click an object in the drawing, and then click Properties, the
AutoCAD Properties dialog box is displayed. You can use this dialog box to
review and edit AutoCAD properties, such as the layer on which the object is
drawn. You can view the style assigned to the object, and can also change it
here. You can also edit an object style on the Settings tab of Toolspace.
Right-click the object style. Click Edit to open the <feature> Style dialog box.
Consistent Editing Methods | 29
Click a table cell to
edit the value.
Editing AutoCAD properties for an alignment
30 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
Exercise: Familiarization Tour
In this exercise, you will explore the Toolspace and Workspace settings.
Using an alignment as an example, you will explore objects and styles located
on the Toolspace Prospector and Settings tabs. You will also examine the
To view Toolspace tabs in AutoCAD Civil 3D
1 Open the file C:Program FilesAutodesk
Civil 3D 2009 Getting Started
To access the Toolspace, click General
menu and click Toolspace.
In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-
pand the Alignment collection. Note
the Alignment Styles, Design Checks,
Label Styles, Table Styles, and Com-
2 Right-click the drawing GSG_align-
ments.dwg. The context menu
provides access to dialog boxes where
you can edit drawing settings, label
style defaults, LandXML settings, and
table tag numbers.
Exercise: Familiarization Tour | 31
3 In Toolspace, on the Prospector tab,
expand the Sites collection and ex-
pand Conway Farms and its Align-
ments. Right-click East-West Drive. The
context menu enables you to open
dialog boxes to view and change
properties such as Object Style and
Make changes as desired and click OK.
Now expand the Parcels collection and
observe how parcel data is displayed
by opening the Properties dialog box.
You can also edit object styles, create
mapcheck or inverse reports, or edit
properties that you can define such as
4 Now you will explore the workspace
settings. You can customize the work-
space menus to suit your particular
tasks or preferences.
In the lower right of the Civil 3D inter-
face, click the Workspace Switching
icon and select Annotation and
Drafting and observe how the menus
5 Select the Annotation menu. Note the
commands for adding labels and
tables. This menu facilitates the la-
beling process during the drafting
stage of your project. Experiment with
the workspace settings and customize
them for your design needs.
Click again to open the Work-
space Settings dialog box. Use this
32 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
dialog box to customize the order and
display of the settings.
Standard Controls for Styles and Labels
Every AutoCAD Civil 3D object has a style assigned to it. These styles are
created, assigned, and managed in a consistent way for all objects. All objects
have an object style and can have one or more label styles. Some objects have
table styles as well. You can browse the collections of styles in a drawing, on
the Settings tab of the Toolspace window, as shown in the following
Style collection folders on the Settings tab of the Toolspace
To create a new style or to edit an existing style, right-click the style on the
Settings tab, and then click Edit.
The Style dialog box for labels is called the Label Style Composer. It contains
a preview window that makes it easy to adjust label location and appearance.
Standard Controls for Styles and Labels | 33
Label Style Composer dialog box showing a point label style
There are many ways to open the Label Style Composer:
■ Right-click an existing style and click Edit.
■ Right-click an existing style and click New.
■ Right-click a label style type and click New.
■ You can also access the Label Style Composer from the Label Style Control,
which is available in many dialog boxes.
You can also access the Label Style Composer while working directly in your
drawing. To quickly access the composer while in the drawing, select a label.
Then right-click and select either Properties or Label Properties. In the AutoCAD
Properties palette, click the label style to display a list of available styles.
For more information about styles and labels, see the chapter Using Styles and
Settings (page 39) in this guide.
34 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
Precision Layout Strategies
When creating objects, such as horizontal alignments, parcels, and profiles,
you may need to use several different methods. Sometimes you want to draw
quick freehand versions, other times you have specific distances and angles
to enter. AutoCAD Civil 3D supports both methods of working.
The main layout tools have settings that you can use to control some design
elements while you draw each object. For example, when drawing alignments
or profiles, you can create a series of linked tangents and add curves later, or
you can have curves of standard dimensions inserted at each tangent
intersection as you draw. Similarly, you can specify a default area for each
parcel and a minimum frontage distance.
You can also use the transparent commands to specify precise point locations
while you are laying out an object. From a current point in an alignment or
parcel, you can specify the next point using standard surveying methods, such
as angle and distance, northing and easting, latitude and longitude, or point
number. As shown in the following figure, for a profile, you can specify a
point by various methods, such as station and elevation or grade and distance.
In each case, you use the command by entering a short code on the command
line (for example, ‘bd for bearing and distance) or by clicking an icon on the
Transparent Commands toolbar.
Distance transparent command in progress on a profile
Object Building Blocks
Corridors and pipe networks share a similar complex structure, in that both
objects are built up from standard components. These components exist in a
catalog, and you can modify them to create additional components.
Precision Layout Strategies | 35
A corridor is created from one or more assemblies, which are standard roadway
cross-sections. You design an assembly from subassemblies, such as lanes,
curbs, shoulders, and ditches. The subassemblies are provided in a set of
catalogs, which you can review by clicking General menu ➤ Catalog or General
menu ➤ Tool Palette Window.
Roadway assembly (left), with subassemblies shown in a tool palette (right)
Each subassembly has a defined cross-section, and some subassemblies
automatically adapt to their location. For example, the slope of a road lane
changes as superelevation is applied, and a side slope automatically creates
either a cut or fill slope, depending on the relative elevation of the existing
The dimensions of a subassembly, such as the width of a lane or the height
of a curb are stored as properties. If you want to create a new subassembly
based on an existing one, use this simple procedure:
1 Right-click a subassembly in the Tool Palette, copy it, and paste it.
2 Right-click the subassembly that you copied and click Properties.
3 Rename the subassembly and modify the numeric parameters.
You can also create custom subassemblies from AutoCAD polylines. In this
case, you must also specify the subassembly behavior within an assembly and
in the process of corridor creation. You can define custom subassemblies and
their behavior using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts, then use the
AutoCAD Civil 3D COM application programming interface (API) to link these
to the main application.
36 | Chapter 2 Designing with Objects
A subassembly definition references point, link, and shape codes. Points are
the vertices of the subassembly, and they can be attachment points for adjacent
assemblies. Links are the line segments or curves between the points. Shapes
are two-dimensional polygons that represent the cross-sectional shape of the
subassembly. The following figure shows a coding diagram for a Basic Curb
and Gutter subassembly:
A pipe network is constructed from various pipes and structures that appear
in a parts list. You can see the available lists on the Toolspace Settings tab by
expanding the Pipe Network ➤ Parts Lists collection.
AutoCAD Civil 3D includes a utility called Part Builder, which you can use to
edit the dimensions of parts and create new ones. You can create a new part
by saving an existing one with a new name, and then modifying its dimensions
in various tables.
Detail from a Part Builder edit window for a concentric cylindrical
Pipe Networks | 37
Using Styles and Settings
Styles determine the display format and some aspects of the behavior of objects and their
labels. This chapter explains how you can use various settings and the versatile set of styles
in AutoCAD Civil 3D to establish CAD standards and promote efficiency at every stage of the
You can use styles to control object appearance and behavior, with flexibility
and ease, and to establish design standards. If you are the CAD manager in your
organization, you may find that time spent creating styles for others to use pays
off in terms of efficiency and standards compliance.
AutoCAD Civil 3D is an object-oriented program that works with intelligent
objects. The objects reference a style, which can be changed at any time. Any
style can be copied by dragging it from one drawing to another. The new drawing
knows where to put that style in the Settings tree. You can then apply the new
style to existing objects.
Any label style can be copied by creating a child style. A child style derives its
default settings from its parent, the existing style. To create a child style for a
label, on the Toolspace Settings tab, right-click a label style. Click New. In the
Label Style Composer dialog box, make changes to the settings as desired and
click OK. The child style will appear underneath the parent style in the Settings
tree. See the Labels and Settings (page 57) exercise at the end of this chapter.
You can use styles to manage the display of objects at different phases of a
project. In the following illustration, the upper drawing uses surface and parcel
styles appropriate for a preliminary layout, while the lower drawing uses different
styles for the final presentation:
Early layout phase
Final drawing phase
Using customized surface and alignment styles for different phases of a project
40 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
Types of Styles
AutoCAD Civil 3D includes styles for objects, their labels, data tables, and the
bands that annotate profile views and section views. Each of these styles is
described in the following sections.
Each object type includes a Basic style. Use this style as it is, or as a basis for
building custom styles. You can create styles to meet the needs of a particular
project, a group of users, or any other design requirement. Groups of styles
can be collected into a template (.dwt) file, so that all drawings based on that
template share the same style configuration.
All object types have similar style controls, and a similar set of style collections
on the Toolspace Settings tab. You access the style editing dialog boxes by
right-clicking one of the styles and then clicking Edit.
The following illustration shows some common style editing tasks for points,
surfaces, and alignments:
Types of Styles | 41
1 Point style: using a custom
2 Surface style: smoothing
3 Alignment style: changing the
color of the line components
Editing the style for three different types of objects
42 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
In addition to feature-specific styles, AutoCAD Civil 3D includes multipurpose
styles that apply to several objects. Most of these styles apply to grading objects
and corridor assemblies, and control the appearance of components, such as
markers, feature lines, and slope patterns.
Labels are associated with many objects, and their content is updated whenever
the object itself is changed. Labels are also controlled by styles. You can modify
the label styles in the same way that you modify the object styles: right-click
a style name on the Toolspace Settings tab, and then click Edit. You can create
and save label sets for alignments, profiles, and sections, which allows you to
apply multiple label types in one operation. For example, an alignment label
set could include labels for major stations, minor stations, and geometry
Labels can include text, blocks, lines, ticks, and leaders. You can easily create
labels and preview their appearance in the Label Style Composer dialog box,
as shown in the following illustration:
Label Styles | 43
Alignment station labels and parcel area Table styles can also
labels appear in the drawing as they appear be customized.
in the preview of the Style Composer.
Previewing customized label styles for alignment stations and parcel area
44 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
When composing a label style, you work with the following types of attributes:
■ Location. Controls the location of the label in relation to the object.
■ Text. Specifies which object data is displayed, and sets the size, color, and
font for the text.
■ Appearance and Visibility. Defines the bounding box, color, lineweight,
linetype, and other aspects of label appearance, and sets the visibility of
any of the label components.
■ Dragged State. Determines how a label changes if it is dragged away from
the default location to a place where it is more readable. For example, you
can specify the addition of a leader line with arrow.
■ Plan Readability. Automatically rotates any upside-down label text so it is
readable in plan view. Otherwise, if labels are oriented in relation to an
object, they might be displayed upside-down.
■ Orientation. Sets the rotation angle of the labels in relation to the object
you are labeling, the current view, or the world coordinate system (WCS).
Setting the label style defaults provides an efficient way to standardize some
key aspects of label appearance and behavior for all objects in the drawing.
To review and edit these defaults, right-click the drawing name on the
Toolspace Settings tab and click Edit Label Style Defaults.
All label text is controlled by the Text Component Editor. To access the Text
Component Editor, in the Label Style Composer dialog box, click the Layout
tab. Select a component from the Component Name list, or create a new text
component. Under Text, click the Value column for Contents, and then click
. You can use this editor to simultaneously edit the text for an entire group
Label Styles | 45
Use the Properties list at the top of the dialog box to specify which object
property to include in the label. For example, a parcel area label can include
properties such as the parcel area, perimeter, number, and street address. Each
property component can include character strings and data codes, as shown
on the screen on the right. After you select a property to include, use the table
on the left to specify the format of text inside the double brackets (<[text]>).
When you finish modifying the values, click the right arrow at the top of the
dialog box to send the updated component to the screen on the right. Use
the screen on the right to modify the standard text strings outside the brackets
and to cut and paste entire components.
Managing Label Styles
Use the AutoCAD Properties palette to manage most labels. The palette displays
the Standard AutoCAD properties and also the label properties such as Label
Style and whether the label is visible, flipped, or pinned.
You can simultaneously edit an entire group of labels. For example, you can
create additional label text for inclusion on all labels by performing a single
action. Some types of labels, such as station labels, are group type labels. To
edit a group of labels, right-click a label, which highlights the group, and click
either Label Properties or Properties to access the AutoCAD Properties palette.
Also, you can select and edit a single label. To edit a single label within a label
group, use Ctrl+left-click to select a label. Right-click the label and click either
Label Properties or Properties to access the Properties palette. To select more
than one label (subentity) within a group of labels, continue to press Ctrl and
click additional labels.
46 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
You can use the Style Selection menu in the Properties palette to bulk-edit
label properties. This is a convenient method of editing labels without having
to navigate to the Toolspace Settings tab. You can quickly create, edit, or copy
styles while working directly within the drawing.
Select the Edit/Create option to open the Select Style dialog box where you
can create a new style, copy the currently selected style, create a child style,
or edit the currently selected style using the Label Style Composer.
You can now directly edit or change a label style using the Edit Label Style
option. In the drawing, select the label to edit. Right-click and select Edit Label
You can also edit an existing label style in Toolspace. In Toolspace, on the
Settings tab, right-click the label style you want to edit and click Edit. Use the
Label Styles | 47
Label Style Composer to edit the label. In the Label Style Composer, click
to access the Text Component Editor.
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides automated data tables for points, surfaces, parcels,
alignments, and quantity takeoff. As shown in the following illustration, these
tables provide a concise display of object data as an alternative to using object
labels. The table styles control the data properties and the displayed
components of the table. Data properties include the data format, order of
columns, text style, and whether the table title and column headers are
repeated if the table is split. Display components include the borders,
separators, fill, and text. You can control the visibility, color, linetype, and
scale of each component.
Example data table for the Ridge Road alignment
Use the Table Tag Numbering dialog box to set the default starting number
and increment options for table tags. To access the Table Tag Numbering
dialog box, navigate to the Toolspace Prospector tab. Then, right-click the
drawing name, and select Table Tag Numbering. You can also access this dialog
48 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
box from the Add Labels dialog box. You can use General line and curve labels
alone or with parcel segment labels to create a table.
The table tag settings for segment labels are no longer controlled by the site
and can be found in the drawing settings, DWG node and is drawing-wide.
By default when creating table tags, the settings control the starting number,
and increment number.
Use this dialog box to set your table tags automatically
Note that duplicate tags are not created unless you manually create them with
the EditParcelTagNumbers command. When table tags are created, it prevents
the creation of duplicate tag number within the drawing. When renumbering
table tags, you can create duplicates by changing the starting number or
increment in the settings (table tag renumbering section of the dialog).
Table tags support the following tag mode labels: general line, general curve,
parcel line, parcel curve, alignment line, alignment curve, and alignment
Profiles and sections are displayed in a graph format. These profile views and
section views can be annotated with data bands along the top and bottom of
the grid. Each band marks significant points along the length of the profile
Band Styles | 49
or section. For example, in a profile view, you can have separate bands for
vertical geometry, horizontal geometry, superelevation data, and pipe networks.
The following illustration shows part of a profile data band above a horizontal
geometry band. In the profile data band, at each major station you see the
elevations of the existing ground and finished grade profiles. The horizontal
geometry band shows the location of a curve and some engineering data about
Part of two profile view data bands
Separate band styles exist for each band type. In each style definition, you
can specify what data to display and details of the band format, such as the
height and position of the band (above or below the grid), and the color of
components, such as borders and labels. If you want a standard set of bands
for use with profile or section views, you can define these as a band set and
apply them as needed.
Profile and Section View Styles
You modify the appearance of a profile view the same way you modify the
appearance of other objects, by changing its style. The profile view style
controls the format of the graph on which the profiles are displayed, as well
as the title and annotations on the axes.
Customizing profile view styles is a good example of how styles can be
modified for different stages of your project. In the design phase, you may
use one profile style that has few grid elements and limited annotation. By
limiting annotation and grid elements you reduce drawing size and improve
drawing performance. During the plotting stage of the design, a second style
may be used that includes extensive annotation and uses more graph elements
50 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
than the design style. For more information about profile and section view
styles, see the AutoCAD Civil 3D Help.
Using Styles with Layers
Most objects in AutoCAD Civil 3D have several components. For example, a
surface includes contours, triangles, and points. You can control how these
components are displayed either by using layers or by setting the display
properties directly in the object style. You use the Layer Properties Manager
dialog box or the object styles dialog boxes respectively to do this.
The Display tab of the object styles dialog boxes provides a number of settings
that are similar to those in the Layer Properties Manager dialog box, such as
visibility, color, linetype, and lineweight. This duplication means that you
can control object appearance using only styles, only layers, or a combination
of the two.
Display properties defined in the object styles dialog boxes override the settings
defined for the drawing layers in the Layer Properties Manager dialog box.
For example, you can use two different styles to distinguish the display of
existing ground and finished grade surfaces, even if they are drawn on the
The following illustration shows how you can use both style settings and
traditional layers to control the display characteristics of an object. The style
shown in the upper drawing directly modifies the color and visibility of the
Using Styles with Layers | 51
surface components, so that the surface points are turned on and colored red,
even though the layer on which the points are drawn (0) is turned off and
colored white in the Layer Properties Manager dialog box.
The style shown in the lower drawing assigns the surface components to layers
already defined in the drawing. In this case, the color of the major and minor
contours is set by the C-TOPO-MAJR and C-TOPO-MINR layers.
52 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
Visibility and color
of the surface
are controlled by
settings on the
Display tab of the
Visibility and color
of the surface
are controlled by the
Managing object appearance using style settings (above) and layers (below)
Using Styles with Layers | 53
Most labels are implemented as independent label objects and are not
highlighted when the parent object is selected. Label object properties are
separate from the parent object. You can use the LIST command to display
the label properties.
Label objects can include references to other AutoCAD Civil 3D objects by
including Referenced Text components.
The layer behavior of label objects is different. For example, their new default
layers are specified in the Drawing Settings and can be changed using the
AutoCAD Properties palette (rather than modifying the label style with the
Label Properties dialog box).
You can control the behavior of labels in one of two ways, by referencing
either the layer in the style or the layer that the label resides on.
In previous releases of AutoCAD Civil 3D, all group type labels were subentities
of the parent object. If the parent object was frozen, the labels would disappear
with the frozen parent object. Independent object labels are no longer
subentities of the parent object. However, if you desire to control the object
layer in conjunction with a parent object, you can set the layer that the label
resides on to 0, which will make it behave as if it were a subentity of the parent
object. In this case, with the layer set to 0, if the layer of the parent object is
frozen, the label will also be frozen (and will no longer be visible).
Table Creation and Label Types
In this release of AutoCAD Civil 3D, when creating parcel tables, you can
select general line and curve label types and parcel segment labels, including
any line or curve labels, that are applied to a line, curve, feature line, or
You can create an alignment segment label that references a general line or
curve style for inclusion in a table. General line and curve label styles now
have a Tag Mode that supports general line and curve labels, parcel segment
labels that reference a general line or curve style, and alignment segment labels
that reference a general line or curve style.
The Add Table commands (Add Line, Add Curve, and Add Segment) are
available on the Lines/Curves menu, the Grading menu (for feature lines),
and the Survey Menu (for figures and survey figures). The Renumber Tags
command is also available on these menus.
54 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
Settings in AutoCAD Civil 3D provide many preset values, ranging from values,
such as drawing units, scale, and coordinate system, to optional defaults, such
as the layers that the different objects are created on, and the use of tooltips.
You can access the setting dialog box by right-clicking the appropriate
collection on the Toolspace Settings tab, and then clicking Edit Feature Settings.
You can work with three levels of settings:
■ Drawing settings establish values for the whole drawing. If you are creating
a drawing template, ensure that these are set correctly.
■ Feature settings control behavior for a particular feature, such as Parcels
■ Command settings apply to individual commands within a feature, such
as the CreateParcelByLayout command within the Parcels feature.
Each lower level object in the settings hierarchy can either inherit or override
settings in the level above it. The following illustration shows an override set
for area units at the Parcels feature level. The arrow in the Child Override
column of the Drawing Settings dialog box (upper drawing) indicates that an
override has been set at a lower level. The check mark in the Override column
in the Parcel Settings dialog box (lower drawing) indicates that the value set
in this dialog box overrides the setting at a higher level. At the drawing level
you can cancel an override by clicking it. You can prevent overrides by locking
Object Settings | 55
Area units for parcel objects
are acres, overriding the
drawing setting. For other
objects, area units remain
set to square meters.
How feature settings can override drawing settings
56 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
Exercise: Object and Label Styles
In this exercise, you create and modify a child label style.
Using parcel labels as an example, you will learn how to create a child style
and observe how changes to parent styles affect the child styles.
To create and change label styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D
1 Open the file C:Program FilesAutodesk
Civil 3D 2009Getting Started
In Toolspace, on the Settings tab, ex-
pand the Parcel collection, and then
expand the Label Styles collection.
Now expand Area and right-click the
Standard style. Click New.
2 On the Label Style Composer dialog
box Information tab, the new style
name is Standard [Child].
Make changes as desired and click OK.
Observe that in the Label Style collec-
tion, the new child style appears under
Exercise: Object and Label Styles | 57
3 Right-click Standard and click Edit.
In the Label Style Composer dialog
box, on the Layout tab, change the
Border Visibility setting to True. Note
that now a visible border is displayed
around the label.
Click OK to close the dialog box.
4 Right-click the Standard [Child] Label
and click Edit.
On the Layout tab, observe that the
change to the parent style has affected
the child style, which now also has a
Border Visibility setting of True.
58 | Chapter 3 Using Styles and Settings
This chapter outlines a process for creating drawing templates. You can use drawing templates
to save time by establishing a consistent format for drawings and a standard design process.
AutoCAD Civil 3D provides a number of features that contribute to a standard
appearance and behavior for all your drawings. These can all be specified in a
drawing template, which is saved as a .dwt file. Your organization may need
several templates for different customers or project types. Then, whenever you
start a new drawing, you can open a template that contains all the required
settings and styles. The general process for setting up a template is described in
the following sections.
Units and precision for
alignments are set in the
STA=22+00.00 template file.
Area: 8321.86 sq. m
Lot labels are controlled by
a parcel label style, which
could also be defined in the
Defining standards using a template file and a label style
62 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards
As a basis for configuring your drawing settings, choose an existing template
that is closest to your needs. To see the available templates, click File
menu ➤ New. If you want some preset object styles, the four templates that
have names beginning with “_AutoCAD Civil 3D”, are recommended. The
names of these templates, such as AutoCAD Civil 3D (Imperial) NCS Base.dwt,
indicate some of their settings. The metric or imperial label indicates the main
unit of measure.
After choosing your initial template, the next step is to review and edit settings.
On the Toolspace Settings tab, right-click the drawing name and click Edit
Drawing Settings. The Drawing Settings dialog box includes five tabs and
Use the table on the Object Layers tab to assign objects to layers, and create
or rename layers. When designing your use of layers, consider the following
■ Objects on the same layer are turned on and off together if you change
the layer visibility. For maximum display flexibility, spread objects and
their components across several layers.
■ The color of a layer affects all objects assigned to that layer that are drawn
in a style that uses the ByLayer color setting. If you set up styles this way,
you can change the color of many objects by simply changing the layer
Use the Abbreviations tab as a central location in which to set the abbreviations
used in object labels, especially for alignment and profile geometry points.
Using the Ambient Settings tab requires a careful review, because it provides
global default settings, such as the precision of numeric values, and the
visibility of tooltips. One very useful setting is the General setting, Save
Drawing Settings | 63
Command Changes To Settings. If you set this to Yes, then whenever you
change a setting, such as the radius of an alignment curve, it is saved as the
default value for next time. Another important setting on this tab is
Independent Layer On. This must be set to No if you want to be able to control
object visibility by turning layers on and off.
On the Ambient Settings tab, you see a blue arrow in the Child Override
column next to any setting that is changed for one or more features (objects)
in the drawing. You can cancel the override by clicking the arrow, and you
can click the lock icon to lock any setting and prevent overrides at the feature
After configuring the ambient settings, you should work down through Point,
Surface, and other features in the Settings tree, right-clicking each feature and
selecting Edit Feature Settings. Doing this allows you to examine the default
styles for each feature and its labels, the feature name format, and other settings
that you may want to modify. The ambient settings you configured at the
drawing level are available at the feature level in case you want to override
Maintaining a standard for the use of layers is easier if you have a drawing
template with predefined layers, and styles that reference those layers when
objects are created. For additional consistency, save your template as an
AutoCAD standards file (.dws format). Then, in the template, enter the
STANDARDS command and in the Configure Standards dialog box, link the
standards file to the template. If you want to enforce the standards, you can
click the Settings button and activate notifications of standards violations, or
64 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards
override such violations. For more information, see Define Standards in the
Ideally, your drawing template will have the perfect set of styles for your
projects, but this usually takes some time to evolve. To assist the process,
create a demonstration drawing that contains one or more surface, alignment,
and other object types. Or you can explore the Sample_styles.dwg, that is
supplied with AutoCAD Civil 3D. After a default installation, you can find
this file at: C:Program FilesAutoCAD Civil 3D 2009Best Practices
GuideSample_styles.dwg. This provides a good laboratory in which to display
and develop styles. Consider designing styles to reflect the information
requirements at different times in the project. For example, create styles for
objects in the design phase, and other styles for their final presentation. Also,
you can create styles for different users of the drawings, showing object details
and labels that present the data each type of user needs.
The styles for labels are another template item that should be developed with
a top-down approach, similar to that for drawing settings and feature settings.
At the drawing level, click Edit Label Style Defaults. In this context, you can
set global standards such as those for text font, size, and label behavior around
curves. As with the object styles, after setting label style defaults you can review
the feature-level settings and apply any required overrides.
In this release of AutoCAD Civil 3D, you can use general line and curve label
styles for parcel segment labels, and for alignment line and curve labels.
Previously, general line label styles could be used to label only lines, curves,
and polylines. The general line label styles are now available from the parcel,
alignment, grading, and survey menus. For more information, see Label Objects
(page 54). Parcel tables now support general line and curve label types and
display either general line and curve labels or parcel segment labels. For more
information, see Table Creation and Label Types (page 54).
Object Styles | 65
Plan Production Tools
You can use AutoCAD Civil 3D plan production tools to automate the process
of creating construction documents from your designs. Select an alignment
in your drawing, and using the plan production tools, you can quickly create
sheets that automatically display the desired data.
You can use the View Frames wizard to create view frames along an alignment.
Click General menu ➤ Plan Production Tools ➤ Create View Frames to open
the View Frames wizard. After creating the view frames, you can easily create
sheets for construction plans. Click General menu ➤ Plan Production
Tools ➤ Create Sheets to open the Create Sheets wizard. See Plan Production
Tools (page 149) to explore the view frame and sheet creation process. For more
information about Plan Production tools, see Plan Production Tools in the
Enhancing Drawings with Visualization Tools
AutoCAD render materials can greatly enhance the appearance of your
drawings by simulating real world materials for a more realistic view of the
design. Experiment with the render materials to determine which will work
best for your drawings. You can use this feature to enhance renderings of
surfaces, corridors, and pipe networks. Click View menu ➤ Render ➤ Render
to render the object with the selected material. Click View menu ➤ Render
➤ Materials to open the Render Materials dialog box, where you can create
new materials and add or remove materials from the current drawing. For
more information, see Render Materials in the Help system.
66 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards
Exercise: Drawing Settings
In this exercise, you will open a file that contains alignments and look at some
ways to work with drawing settings in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Using alignments as an example, you will learn how to edit the drawing
settings to specify the default layer on which new objects will be created.
To set up object layers in AutoCAD Civil 3D
1 Open the file C:Program
FilesAutodesk Civil 3D 2009 Getting
Click View menu ➤ Zoom ➤ Window.
Draw a rectangle that includes the
sketch lines at the bottom. Your view
of the drawing should look like this.
2 In Toolspace, on the Settings tab,
right-click the name of the drawing
and click Edit Drawing Settings.
3 In the Drawing Settings dialog box,
click the Object Layers tab.
This tab shows the default layers on
which the various objects are created.
You will change the default layer for
Exercise: Drawing Settings | 67
4 On the Object Layers tab, in the
Alignment row, click the C-ROAD
In the Layer Selection dialog box, se-
lect the C-ROAD-CNTR row. Click OK
twice to exit the Settings dialog boxes.
5 Click Alignments menu ➤ Create
Alignment From Polyline.
In the drawing, click the cyan polyline
at the bottom of the drawing.
6 In the Create Alignment dialog box,
for Alignment Style, select Major Road.
Note that the Alignment Layer is set
to C-ROAD-CNTR. New alignments
will be placed on this layer.
7 The new alignment is drawn on the
C-ROAD-CNTR layer, using the Major
68 | Chapter 4 Designing Drawing Standards
Managing Project Data
The project management feature of AutoCAD Civil 3D is based on Autodesk Vault, a database
for storing and sharing data among members of a project team. This chapter explains how
to set up and use Autodesk Vault to manage your projects. The project management system
also includes the data reference methods known as External References (xrefs) and Data
Shortcuts, which you can use for less complex and smaller projects.
The Collaborative Environment
The project management system supports shared access to project files by an
entire design team. There are three mechanisms for the sharing of design data
within a project:
■ Object references in Autodesk Vault
■ External references
■ Data shortcuts
Before deciding which method to use, consider the complexity of drawings, the
number of drawings involved, the size of your project team that will access and
edit the files, and your requirements for ease of use as opposed to your need for
data security. Each mechanism is best suited to particular project requirements.
The heart of the project management system is a set of project folders in an
Autodesk Vault database. These folders can contain databases of point objects,
along with official copies of surfaces, alignments, and other objects. When you
want to edit a particular drawing, you can check it out from the database,
which locks it so that other users can get a read-only copy, but cannot edit
As shown in the following illustration, you can import some read-only
reference objects from the Vault database, such as surfaces or alignments into
a drawing. These reference objects participate in the design process within
your local drawing. You can change their style and labeling, but you cannot
change their geometry.
A user with edit permissions for the reference object can check out the drawing
that contains the master copy and change it. When the edited version is
checked back into the database, any open drawing that contains a reference
copy is updated with markers in the Prospector tree and the Windows System
Tray, advising the user that the drawing does not include the latest version
of the reference object. The user can choose to update the object or not.
Whenever a drawing that contains a reference object is opened, it automatically
retrieves the latest version of the reference object.
70 | Chapter 5 Managing Project Data