Faster Civil 3D Standards with UL

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Most of us Civil 3D users live mnemonics. Simple groups of letters can and do save us Civil 3D users time and effort. Human beings certainly easily attach meaning to such things. As most parents and grandparents learn many a three-year old knows the McDonald’s logo. LOL. Few toddlers can read.

Brand and symbol mnemonics act like command aliases in an AutoCAD pgp file. They become the roots of our workday habits…both the good ones and the bad habits. Maybe you noticed that some of your old ACAD command line good habits became bad ones in Civil 3D? Does Civil 3D require a different form of Defensive Driver Training?


I like to remember the acronym UL. That’s probably because as the Framework for Civil 3D chief architect and advocate for Adaptive Standards for AutoCAD Civil 3D, I also try to live by the UL’s founder, William Henry Merrill’s, famous quote,

“know by test and state the facts.”

UL is another famous case where Underwriters Laboratory’s famous corporate logo became the company brand and that mark itself then became the company name. They even have the two letter dot com address. Shocking.

In any case I do remember UL in AutoCAD because I use it. No. Sadly, you won’t find the UL command in the default ACAD.pgp file. There’s no need. These days just to type the letters gets you 99% of the way there in AutoCAD anyway. How simple can you get? The AutoCAD command you are after is ULAYERS for Underlay Layers.

UL works for D word things like DWF, DGN, and PDF.

Underlay Layers Matter

Got to love the Power of DWFs.
Give me a V. Ok. Maybe I should have covered the AutoCAD modelspace Views built into that DWF drawing that wondrously show up in the publication Sheet Set too.

It is best to remember the Cheapest Publish Results in increasing order of AutoCAD Civil 3D publish performance requirements.

  • DWF – everything is already published as vectors in a coordinate system–
    Can also include layer ON/OFF control, color or monochrome, even markups, and revisions
  • DREF – C3D checks to see if THE ONE OBJECT changed…then resolve
    Survey Db data is similar– But that is NOT exactly true for imported COGO points
  • XREF – C3D checks to see if anything in an entire DRAWING changed…then resolve the entire XREF
  • DWG – Check and resolve everything for every little thing

This says it is way too easy to get lost and confused by making things too complicated when we publish in Civil 3D. You must simplify. The survey says:

You Got To Chunkifize

You can chunkifize your way to faster and better deliverables.

  1. Right Styles
  2. Right Layer State –
    there’s another LM mnemonic that is an alias in the default ACAD.pgp file
  3. Plot to DWF

Now collect and stack multiple DWFs to produce lots of your plan set. Your Next problem becomes where did I preprint that DWF from? Good Golly Miss Molly. Another naming convention in Civil 3D? Oh. Bother.

Tanks for the Memories

Back in the day Autodesk actually hired the one hit wonder DEVO to do the initial DWF rollout. Cute.
A memorable marketing event in Autodesk history.
Speaking of real hits that survive the test of time, I always preferred the jazz funk of the famous horn men from across the Bay in Oakland.

Tower Of Power "You Got To Funkifize" Recorded 2-15-14 at BB King's in New York, NY from Tower of Power on Vimeo.

Who doesn’t like to publish to the Tower of Power hit – You Got to Funkifize. The length of any TOP live track is a good large project deliverable benchmark to shoot for.

Before you DWF It…You Got to Chunkifize

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