Beyond Export Layout in Civil 3D

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A useful Export out of AutoCAD Civil 3D seems to be the theme of the week in Civil 3D Land. Last post I harped on Export command issues in Civil 3D 2015-2017. I delivered some useful tips and work arounds to produce editable digital output too. Maybe that leaves you…


Jerry Bartels of Autodesk just happened to do a Tip for Tuesday in the Civil Immersion blog on the EXPORTLAYOUT command. If you’ve taken a whack at Export at time or two, you’ve seen some of the results of EXPORTLAYOUT. The command is employed within Export as part of the batch process to produce the generic Sheet output for both DWG and DGN. The command produces a picture of an AutoCAD Layout in modelspace. This sort of replicates the Sheet Model concepts used in Microstation V8+ DGN. Jerry’s video is worth a watch.

The EXPORTLAYOUT Command Video

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As usual with almost every demo out of Autodesk staff there are a number of important things left unsaid or shall I say avoided in the video.
Yes. EXPORTLAYOUT does do the job as advertised – You get a CAD picture.
Your end customer may need more than a picture and/or more than one of just one Sheet.
You might now foolishly assume that an EXPORTLAYOUT is now the place to start to get to an editable digital result for another CAD or GIS package. Have fun with that.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Civil 3D requires that we plan and manage the Dynamic Model in our civil engineering and survey project. We can prepare things in advance before you employ EXPORTLAYOUT to get a result that is much easier to clean up.

The Plan Production tool in Civil 3D works really well to produce both Plan and Profile Sheets and Pages of Sections. This requires a thoughtfully designed collection of Style for Civil 3D. You can get that here.

Prep to Publish on Demand

Typically, most people employ XREFs to manage the Plan portions of the Plan and Profile sheets. The file used in the video shows that classic workflow. The Plan Production tools require that you understand the nuanced behaviors of Civil 3D Viewframes and Viewframe Groups which are not the same thing.

Register and watch the Deliverables Civil 3D video training course to get up to speed. Registration is easy and has no nasty backside. We never spam our Members. I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two.

You’ll perhaps discover a Plan and Profile publishing drawing only needs a DREF alignment, the related DREF Viewframe Group, and the appropriate DREF surfaces to function.

Well Ok. You need Sample Lines collected in a Sample Line Group to produce Pages of Sections. This is a different publish drawing with basically the same exact concept and a similar execution process. Our infamous Civil 3D Book of Alignments might be a useful resource to peruse and ponder.

Prep for Project Publication

As I hinted at in the last Export post I often use Invisible DREF Civil 3D Features and unloaded XREFs to get these publish drawings set up and ready to rip. I use the word “rip” here intentionally, because once you do the setup you can rip out a replace the Plan view stuff from these publication drawings.
Maybe you want to use DWF preprints not XREFs? DWF backgrounds have a stunning and usually positive effect on deadline crunch-time plotting performance. DWFs also get you built in Markup and QAQC feedback loops in your production process. That’s all worth mentioning

If you do this all the time you can prebuild these publication drawings into your Civil 3D project and fill in the data behind blanks in a systematic fashion. Technically, this is called a placeholder strategy or the...

Workflow with Dummies

You are working all the time on your Civil 3D Project Template improvement, aren’t you?
The more complex the project the more these carefully prepared (and replaceable) setup publication drawings pay you back in the end. Our InstantOn in-depth example Civil 3D projects now include both STB and CTB examples of these. Get InstantOn.

If you employ Civil 3D 2017 you can attach Reference Templates to these publication drawings. Maybe the light goes on? You can now change the Template references and change the published Styles?
There’s no doubt we get more Intelligent Publish on Demand flexibility in 2017.
The new DREF Corridor models functionality in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 open even more replaceable publication opportunities. I hope that makes sense to you roadway, pipeline, and subdivision Civil 3D geeks. Your job may depend on your ability to execute on it.

Separate the Publication of Civil 3D Features

I won’t belabor the importance of Civil 3D Feature separation again. For digital export you can employ dumbed down to ACAD results. Produce the exports and then recombine them all into a single AutoCAD DWG that you can Insert Exploded into a copy of your Plan and Profile publication drawing.

Now when you employ the EXPORTLAYOUT command you have a better crafted results with a lot less cleanup hassle. You will just adore what EXPORTLAYOUT does with textstyles.
Maybe the Civil 3D dev team will someday get it that they could output the Sheet in the right coordinate location at the right scale and forget about all that textstyle crap too. Ah well. Don’t hold your breath.

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