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Civil 3D Label Style Practice

Tags label, line label, curve label, Label Style, Label Set, Label Style Defaults, View, ViewFrame, video


Let’s face it. Most of the time we all tend to initially shoot for some form of published annotation. It’s a habit. For surveyors this means data out of Survey Dbs. The Lord knows, I hope you have moved beyond imported point files to better manage your survey data behind. You Civil 3D design folks heard that too? For civil engineers this often also means linear design stuff that needs to be annotated.

Is it unremarkable that AutoCAD Civil 3D seems to recognize that surveyors and civil engineers don’t think about the same data in the same way? Oh. Never mind.
Become a Member here and learn more.
Let’s get practical.

The State of Babel…er…Label

Old school CAD technology forced us to think our drawing is what we publish. Get it right and leave it alone. To shepherd hundreds to thousands of Text and Mtext objects around is painful and man-hour expensive in practice. In the old days we only had layer management and CAD tools to do the work. We published the drawing we produced. In AutoCAD Civil 3D we don’t do that anymore for good reasons.

Data Behind and Publish On Demand

If we think and act old school like that in Civil 3D, we might forsake or simply ignore the benefit of having replaceable and dynamic Quality Control Label Styles. Ouch. Not Me.
AutoCAD Civil 3D is built to:

  • Increase the civil design speed and control
  • Improve our design and publish quality control capabilities
  • And, at the same time, also reduce our annotative man-hour burden

Take Advantage

If those three things aren’t happening around you today, the good news is they can.

After a while using Civil 3D we all tend to fixate on a few commonly useful version of any Label Styles.
I do. Do you do too? Odds are your Civil 3D template has only those things.
Unless we make Label Styles for a specific Feature or have a set of power tools like our Production Solution products with a rich Set of Feature Styles and Label Styles all set up for you, we can miss the Style productivity boost that’s possible here.

We need to work smarter not harder to get paid.
The right information at the right time pays.

It’s true. Picture this common problem in subdivision design. Sometimes we want that Offset Alignment’s line and curve labels to read/behave as much as possible like Parcel segment labels.
Our Offset Alignment modified with a Widening and included in a Site represents right of way.
An hour before we might care about visualizing what the complex curve geometry details and specific Curve Sub entity Index number of that portion of our cul-de-sac’s right of way.
We want the alignment data behind to be checked and to work against our parcel design criteria.

Someone somewhere is asking, “Civil 3D can do that?”

The odds are also pretty good that soon we may have to go back and see either version of the Labels again. People change their minds and designs change, don’t they? People care about different details at different times.

The replaceable and dynamic (or data driven) both matter. Which matters most is the problem of the moment.

Style Change Skill

The skill and ability to see it now so we can make better decisions is what Civil 3D user productivity is all about. That, however, requires richer Style collection resources and the Civil 3D Style changing skill to employ them.

“Dave? Can our Civil 3D Styles do that?”

There’s both corporate and Civil 3D user personal accountability at work here. Civil 3D Style changing skill takes focused and purposed repetition to acquire. There are a lot of ways to get there in the Civil 3D interface. Do you practice under pressure to perform better when push comes to shove? To know a function or style tool exists in Civil 3D doesn’t mean we do it enough for that to matter.

Some others ask, “What are you talking about? Who cares if it is an alignment or a parcel? I just draw and label polylines or better yet - lines and curves and label them.”

Dudes. Elvis has left the building.

We can learn to think and act differently as we learn to pursue a managed state of current. The following methods and tools may be obvious or not depending on your Civil 3D skill level and habits. Yes. That means there are levels of nuance hidden away here you learn by doing.

Annotative Scale

It’s dynamic and fundamental that Civil 3D Labels automatically adjust to changes in the current Annotative Scale. We may know folks who still say or think, “Really?” Our old AutoCAD habits die hard.  Are you zooming and panning to read more or less annotation instead of attacking this time and space problem another new way? How many clicks does an Annotative Scale change take?

The View On Plan Set Strategy

Old school can be good. Do you employ named Views to restore Annotative Scale changes? Yes. An AutoCAD View does that or not. These functions and requisite skill sets couple well with the Sheet Set Manager skill sets and improved usage of Civil 3D’s Plan Production tools too. AutoCAD Views are also clearly exposed in the Civil 3D ribbon and screen interface.

The practical reality is that all projects contain critical areas. If we identify and track these areas, we benefit with better quality control and more real world productivity.
How does Civil 3D help you automate and manage collections of Views in a project?
Think these Civil 3D skills don’t apply to survey and earthwork grading production work?
You missed the video and the Better Deliverables series. Membership has benefits.

A training video stuffed to the gills with Civil 3D you need to know to Publish on Demand.

Use LSD?

Label Style Defaults – what we call “LSD” - are one of the most powerful ways to make rapid and specific changes to the vast and ever-growing Civil 3D Label Style stack.
What do Label Style Defaults do?
Do your customized Label Styles obey the Hierarchy Rules of LSD so you can make fast adjustments to get what you and your users need now? Production Solution Label Styles do.

We Can and Do Help

In our Release 6 Production Solution products for AutoCAD Civil 3D provide you Label Style mastery.
We supply unmatched replaceable and dynamic Style excellence.
I mentioned Civil 3D Line and Curve Label Styles above. The Line and Curve Label naming conventions are standardized, consistent, and inclusive. You get flexibility in the display of all the related symbol markers too. You are able to quickly identify what a Line & Curve label does; how you might use it; what Civil 3D Feature representation the label is there for. Download all the Production Solution Open Documentation and style naming rules and details here. Yes. We do that too. Why? So you can…

Do Work in Less Time - Get Jump Kit

The Civil 3D Label posts:

Civil 3D Label Style Practice
Compound Interest Labels in Civil 3D
Label Trickery in Civil 3D
Group Labels with Reference in Civil 3D