Civil 3D Reference Template Mechanics

Tags Reference Template, template, Style Management, Style, implementation, customization

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 introduced Reference Templates. The concept of Reference Templates is to finally deliver a way to standardize Civil 3D Style Management a bit more effectively. We can now systematically manage the Styles in your current production template by referencing Civil 3D Styles from other separate Reference Templates. These are included a managed stack of resources. Reference Templates can mean…

Better and Worthwhile Style Collections

I’ve written previously about Reference Templates. See the end of this post. People ask for more specific details so it appears to be time to put on the pointy gray hat again and twist my notorious eyebrows into magical shapes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

One Template to Rule Them

You can choose to believe the Autodesk myth of one template to rule them. Yes. Complex literary metaphors are always great fun. You might assume Reference Templates can then magically fix any Style maintenance problem because you use them. We all know the Lord of the Rings story I refer to here. You know the tale about the one ring and “in the darkness bind them”. This earlier post is about that. See below. I won’t repeat myself here.

If you believe in the one template to rule them myth, you already have the pick and shovel. There’s lovely land in the Iron Hills. Be off.

Let’s Get Physical

If you want to perform practical production template magic, you’ll need to separate out your Style Tools into a library of collection resources first. If you can’t find the eye of newt when you need it, the magic itself becomes the quest. This leads to the temptation to endlessly meddle and wandering about in the Wildness of Style or fruitless quests in dark mine projects managed by demon-possessed coworkers named Bob.

Yes. This is tedious, repetitive, and harder than it looks which is why sane/most people don’t do it. The Roots of Civil 3D are deeply intertwined like spaghetti in a bowl or maybe like the arms of Guardian of the Gate of Moria. I think Civil 3D Style tools are more alive than dead. But that’s just me.

Power of Names

You cannot cast useful Civil 3D spells of the useful sort without getting the Names of Things act together. You can know this and still not do this - which is insufferable. Your collected library will speak volumes.

If that sounds too painful, you can get the Framework for Civil 3D. Release 7 was built to do template construction and Reference Templates from the ground up. A healthy potion of practice is included in Jump Kit. The good wizards of this age will do you favors for a small price.

Task Based Template Mechanics

You might have to think about the following paragraph a bit if you previously bought the one template to rule them myth that Civil 3D’s older restraints and Autodesk made popular.

I’m certain that skilled Civil 3D users will get it that task-based Reference Templates (Style Collections) will make a lot more sense until the work is ready to publish. Then we can reference the managed data behind in our working templates into publication drawings that reference our publication Reference Templates.

Really. It’s not my fault Civil 3D sounds circular because it is.

This is the Civil 3D Land of many templates that must be managed. How many templates are there already for AutoCAD Civil 3D? 
If you and your users don’t want to be accountable to manage them, then you have your ditch and they their shovels.

Reference Template Good News

  • The Style References are all about the Style definitions alone.
  • Reference Templates attachments ignore all the current Template Settings.
  • More significantly in regards to Label Styles, the referenced styles inherit the current drawing’s Label Style Defaults.

The receiving top end template controls the Settings. All of the above is exactly what we want. Of course, as skilled Civil 3D users we already know we can import Settings from elsewhere. That does not mean Autodesk won’t change these behaviors in new releases, Service Packs, or Updates.

Reference Templates Embrace the Principals of All In or Out

  • You get all the Styles in the stack of Reference Templates.
    Inclusive membership is everything.
  • Manage the availability of Style by the principal of deletion in your Reference Templates
    (The Power of NOT).
  • There is currently no way to identify Styles that do not update except by visual check in the Toolspace.
    Therefore the first rule of Civil 3D still applies - Manage your Style names.

Style Names were always mission critical important in Civil 3D. Reference Templates change where Style definitions are found. Therefore, By Name replacement becomes possible and very useful. However, Style with the same Names but different properties can also be potentially more confusing to users. You’d better have a plan.

The Root Template

Perceptive folk have to ask,

“What Styles should go in the root template that contains the other Reference Templates?”

That depends as I’ll explain elsewhere.
“Get your AutoCAD Styles act together and call me back in the morning, next week, or whenever.”

“What? AutoCAD Styles?”

You know the AutoCAD Layers, blocks, textstyles, etc that your Civil 3D Styles will reference. Civil 3D uses a lot more of these than most people realize. Think about Civil 3D General>>Marker styles for example. The Civil 3D diva sings a Big River of these tributary references. It’s a big CAD Standards watershed, if you catch the drift.

The Framework for Civil 3D includes a host of Spreadsheet Tools and the resources to back you up and to help you do this. If you don’t do this work and get these fundamentals straight, the Style decisions get more multifarious.

Many of you may recall the Battle of the Five Armies? Oh, never mind.

Get the Magic of the Framework for Civil 3D

Posts About Reference Templates in Civil 3D