The Hierarchy Rules for Civil 3D

Tags customization, implementation, Style, Style Management, settings, lsd, Label Style Defaults, hierarchy

The vast majority of Styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D are annotative. Mostly these are Label Styles although Table Styles can also help us out significantly as well. These Styles are designed to pump out the Civil 3D data we create in the Civil Features in alpha-numeric or “textual” formats.

When you check out the Label Styles in the Toolspace>>Settings tab you also discover the Label Styles have Label Styles Defaults (LSD). Yes.

LSD can Bend your Mind

Label Style Defaults

As AutoCAD users we’re simply not used to the idea that Styles would be related to and reference one another. All of ACAD classic “Styles”: Layer, Block, Textstyle, Linetype, and Plotstyle do not have a formal relationship with one another. The relationship exists only in our own minds and how we use the software.

Since Civil 3D Style is another step up in Style abstraction (things point to other things) the software must be more formal about all the references and the maintenance of their properties. Hence we have hierarchy inside Civil 3D. This is Good News.

LSD at it many levels allows you to control and manage the many properties of your Label Styles by Drawing, by Feature, and by the Type. For some Features like Alignments and Profiles there are many Types of Label Styles.

The entire Settings system in AutoCAD Civil 3D operates in a hierarchical fashion. The Feature Settings Defaults and the more complex LSD structure allows you and everyday users to apply consistent and specific property changes to entire collections of Label Styles. Simply put – almost any shared or common property changes may be cascaded downhill from a particular branch in the Civil 3D Toolspace>>Settings tree.

The Hierarchy Rules for Civil 3D

Here are the basic rules:

Get the Drawing Settings Right

  • Adjust the Default settings for your common usage in you production template(s)

  • Document your changes

  • Check Drawing Settings in new drawings

  • Review Drawing’s Label Style Defaults

Get the Feature Settings Right

  • Adjust the Default Styles for your common usage in your production template(s)

  • Document your changes

  • Check the current Feature Settings before you bring in data or start to work

  • Review Feature Label Style Defaults

  • Employ Label Style Defaults to make faster consistent changes by the appropriate Label Style Type (level in the Toolspace tree).

Label Style Construction and Maintenance Issues

  • Always Add & Name the components in Label Style in Parent Styles

  • Be careful of connecting the component parts differently in Children

  • Never change the component Name in a Child Style

  • Expressions employ in Label Styles CANNOT be renamed only rebuilt

  • Collect Expressions used in Label Styles in one Style that references all the Expressions

  • Always Import that Expression collector Style first.

The Feature Command Settings will employ the Feature Settings plus the Civil 3D command’s specifics unless you change the Command Settings in a drawing or a template. Civil 3D is far from perfect about obeying this general rule and that varies from release to release as well. Civil 3D 2014, Civil 3D 2013, and Civil 3D 2012 are more consistent.

Honestly, the Command Settings are a bit more problematic especially when we talk about Creating a Feature. At the moment of creation we often must make design time decisions about the Feature we may not be able to change later. Because of other Settings already in place, many of the potential choices may be eliminated by the time we get to the specific Command’s Settings we’ve set. Huh?

This simply means that humans are first and foremost creatures of habit. The Command Settings work well to optimize USER design time choices by reducing the choices, but doing too much of that form of optimization also reduces the flexibility and the need to make conscious choices at the same time. That isn’t always the most efficient and productive thing to do. Use tweaked Command Settings in moderation.

InstantOn is Ready to Run

All our Production Solution products for AutoCAD Civil 3D rely on and obey the Hierarchy Rules. Therefore quick changes are easier to do and far easier to maintain in both templates and project drawings.

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