Sheet Set Template Customization

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We have a bunch of new release AutoCAD Civil 3D customers. What are people waiting for?

It’s about time to rehash the essentials of Sheet Set Template customization. Honestly, nothing significant has changed very much since the release of the AutoCAD 2006 products – a nice tweak here and there.

The same inherent madness and Autodesk built-in weirdness remains. (sigh)
If you never touched Sheets Sets before, then weird in the operative word. Weird is good like bad is good I suppose.

Sheets to the Wind

Heidi Hewett’s famous post “Sheets Happen” on Sheets and the Sheet Set Manager says almost everything pertinent there is to say. Kudos! Sorry that we dropped the reference link in the new website. We fixed that. See the Members page when logged in as a Member. Register here.

Easy to Customize

The Product Solution’s built in vast array of Layouts supplied in our Sheet Set Template drawing contain basic titleblocks and other Sheet related blocks that are easy to customize. This is another one of those mission critical drawings you need to have even if you don’t take the path of least resistance that is our Production Solutions.

Here are:

Seven Pillars of Sheet Set Manager Customization Wisdom

  1. Edit the SSM named Layouts in the supplied <release number>_Sheet Set Template.dwt
    • Work on a copy of the <release number>_Sheet Set Template.dwt 
    • In Release 6 we supply both Vertical and Horizontal versions of the dwt
      and the separate block drawings in separate Titleblock folders for convienence
  2. Change the titleblock graphics with the Block Editor
  3. Shove about and tweak the attributes with the Block Editor
    • Do BATTORDER in the Block Editor
  4. Save and overwrite the existing block names or note changes you make to them.
  5. Use BATTMAN to line up and assign the Sheet Set, Sheet, and Other field properties connections
  6. ERASE and INSERT the new adjusted titleblocks into the array of Layouts
    • Only erase the title blocks and not the Civil 3D configured Viewports in the Layouts
      These all have the requisite AutoCAD Civil 3D viewport properties assigned to them and the appropriate annotative scales for the named Layout
    • Resizing the Viewports is a Grip edit no brainer
      Remember the size of these viewports pass directly over to ViewFrame created from them
    • You can preplace north arrows and scales in Plan viewports
  7. Edit the US_Sheets.dst (the Sheet Set Template) to point to your revised and renamed Sheet Set Template and the included new blocks.
    As a matter to note:
    • Many people don’t recognize that the ENTIRE folder structure below a Sheet Set Template goes along for the ride,
    • Any drawings, resources, etc included in this folder structure can be customized and standardized for the requirements of your project publications
    • We supply a UDS (Uniform Drawing Standard) compliant set of folders
      You should feel free to modify that and their contents to meet your specific project needs.

The Tough to Chewbacca Details

Anyone who customizes Sheet Sets howls until they get it after all.

Mtext or Attributes Field Connections

To be clear, we use the attribute method and not the Mtext method to manage the connection of AutoCAD field properties to the titleblock annotation.
Is it better? No, not necessarily.
However, in some ways the attribute method might make more sense to those with raw or long time AutoCAD skills.
Then again using attributes might just confuse old school ACAD folks even more.
You don’t manually fill out the field connected attributes at all - the connected field data does that work.
This fact is far from obvious even for the experienced.
The method works. That matters.

Well, I fibbed a bit too.  We do use Mtext field connections for the built-in titleblock plot stamps.
These are easy to configure from the plot dialog box. Why fight City Hall?

Title Block Graphics

Some common helpful graphic hints:

  • If you use lots of different lineweights, just force the plotstyles of the line work.
  • DWFs plot faster than other referenced image types because they are effectively pre-plotted by definition.
    You can DWF plot almost anything from model space.
  • Keep an AutoCAD point primitive or tiny line segment at the 0,0,0 insert point of the block.
    This makes adjusting the location of the titleblock relative to the varied plotter and Layout connected details much easier.
    You won’t chase your tail.
  • If you want to employ referenced titleblocks, images, DWFs, etc., remember to reference them relatively from the contained Sheet Set folders.
    These are part of your project?
    You will get cleaner published deliverables packages that are more flexible to relocations with less end-user confusion.

We do our best to make this all real as possible from end to end for every customer.
That makes sense.

A Working Project

The Production Solution InstantOn products all come with an in-depth working AutoCAD Civil 3D project. The project includes a project Sheet Set. It includes example sheets and Sheet Set Manager Subsets of sheets created by using many if not all of the standard methods of assembling published Sheets and Subsets in AutoCAD Civil 3D. These include:

  • Xref and Dref generated basemap methods
  • DWF generated basemap methods
  • Drag and dropped Views on to preconfigured Sheets in the Sheet Set
  • Plan Production generated Subsets of both Plan and Profile and pages of cross sections
  • And more

Play in the Project and Learn

  • Renumber and rename the existing Plan Production Subsets in the Projects Sheet Set
  • Add and remove Sheets
  • Make a Project Cover Sheet template in the Sheet Set
  • Test Publish (in various ways) parts and pieces of the project Sheet Set to your output devices and standard publication methods

One fine day there should be a video. Meanwhile there are lots of related posts and answers here.

Well Sheet – Time to Get Back to Work