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Label Trickery in Civil 3D

Tags line label, curve label, group labels, Point Label Style, label, Style, Style Management, video

People do complain about the nuance and complexity of AutoCAD Civil 3D annotation. Our annotative work is mission critical to our performance and productivity. The work is on the critical path of the successful delivery of our project. Best we pay attention and acquire the necessary Civil 3D skills.

We’ve been boning up and demystifying Line, Curve, and Segment Label Styles in AutoCAD Civil 3D. These do provide an enlightening example of how the CAD common and familiar can become the disconcerting and confusing in Civil 3D. Yes, beyond automatic annotative scaling, they behave differently from CAD text labels. We are trying grasp how Civil 3D’s dualistic replaceable and dynamic Labels can make our production work easier.

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

Want to better understand Parcels in AutoCAD Civil 3D? The infamous Civil 3D Parcels walk-through posts that starts here.

Want to better understand Alignments – the Design Control Manager in AutoCAD Civil 3D? This series of Civil 3D Alignment posts will help.

Speaking of Labels – point labels in this case. Here’s a Better Deliverables video with Label considerations to watch.

Register, Login and get more in-depth help and Deliverables video training for all things AutoCAD Civil 3D.

To Create and Edit Labels Differs?

We learned last time to modify a Line and Curve Label the annotative Label object must already be connected to the Feature’s linear components or the geometry of a CAD primitive. These are not always the same thing. Really.

If there is no connected label on a Feature, no changes are possible. Dooh.

There are a lot of ways to create Features inside Civil 3D. Some of the useful methods can leave you up a creek without a Label Set or an assigned Label where you need them. Remember that when Alignment and Profile Group Labels are the thing…Right click is your friend. Yes. A Right click is always friendly in Civil 3D.

Dirty Ribbons

When you initially Annotate (from the ribbon) a Civil 3D Feature you definitely do not get all of the potential Line and Curve choices. The Label engine inside Civil 3D these days remains Feature Label Style specific. The Annotate tool is the master of the quick and dirty. It favors repetitive consistency. This disguises some of the potential Style tool capabilities in Civil 3D.
You can just slam in standard (even Standard) or familiar labels and modify at will. I do. Do you do too?

“It is faster to Edit than Create”

Obviously we have to learn how to do that. As is all things AutoCAD, there are a few ways to do that. The statement also assumes you :

We sometimes have users say that InstantOn and the Jump Kit Production Solution products have too many annotative choices. I acknowledge that choice can be overwhelming at times. It is useful too.
Hey. We do tell you that you’ll probably want to delete the Styles you don’t think you’ll use from your production templates and certainly from your publishing templates.
The deleted Styles don’t disappear forever either. We’ve got them organized and put away for you in nifty style collections when you do need them later.

Small wonder why the simple annotative task of getting labels on linear objects is at times so befuddling in Civil 3D. Flexibility and complexity can create confusion.

Speaking of strategies and other Civil 3D Label methods - We can Edit in mass.

Toolspace Label Trickery

If you pay careful attention in the Toolspace>>Settings tab you’ll also note you can replace all found instances of one Label Style with another.
Instead of attacking the change from the selected Feature(s) themselves you make the change from a selected named Style in the Toolspace.

“Bob. We need to change all the d&#$ curve labels.”

Replace By Style

The Replace Style command (found in a selected Style’s right click Toolspace menus) is handy for rapid changes in a drawing when you know the Styles you want to change from A to B.
(You should also note the Replace Style command is not Feature specific in all releases of Civil 3D either.)

We all sometimes have to follow someone (maybe us) who messed up. Maybe you’d like a command to slap all the Feature Style and Feature Label Styles assigned in a drawing back to Standard? I know I would. We all may need that niffy chain saw one time or another. Tell Autodesk. Don’t hold your breath.

Back to Standard or Whatever

By the way, you can do this violent act systematically by working from the Toolspace when used in conjunction with Style Purge command.

  • Get rid of the unused Style clutter with Style Purge command
    This will take more than one pass.
  • Style Import will get you back missing Standard styles and
    also kill style assignments/references in drawing Command Settings
    from the ever useful NoStyles template
  • Change the rest with Replace Style

Way Cool. Remember to do the do on a copy of the drawing.

We can Create in a mass.

Label on Reference in the Project

In a working project environment it can be better to annotate references as much as possible. You get the annotation you require when and where you need it, but you aren’t so locked in. You can always kill the reference. Say, “Goodbye”. Reload, re-annotate, and more quickly publish on demand.

“Whoa. Are we talking about Data References or XREFs (external references)?”

Both. In Civil 3D the project principals of divide and conquer are a fact of life. Like in the old ad, we need to “Lift and Separate”. We are responsible to manage while we juggle the balls in the air. That requires systems and a support structure – a Framework for AutoCAD Civil 3D.

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