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Export from Civil 3D Cleanup Arts

Tags export, layers, block, symbol, DGN, Layer Standards, Symbol Set

I mumbled Export from Civil 3D things for civil engineers and surveyors; waved my hands about DWF; and then sent the folks off to go paint the fence and wash the dishes. As with many useful skills in life:

Doing Offers the Eyes to See


The Export Civil 3D to DWG and DGN post began our search for an Export from Civil 3D Cheat Sheet. Some sweaty students came back and asked questions. Some quests were senseless so I sent them off to move rocks around in their gardens. Others noted that the AutoCAD Cleanup section of the post was ominously vague. Truly. There are videos that cover many of the basic details better than the written word might. But clean-up vagaries is a good point…

Elaborate on AutoCAD Cleanup

Those of you with a bit of AutoCAD experience will note that most of these Export from Civil 3D AutoCAD cleanup issues directly or indirectly relate to AutoCAD tables.
We must first venture onto the Lay Lines.
Ok. Maybe that is a weird historical and literary pun. A ley line an alignment. A ley line is fun. It’s a bit magical.

Quick Layer Cleanups

Do you want to change the Object Layer properties of some of the exported results?
Most of the time, yes.

Both the Export from Civil 3D commands tend to favor explicit by object properties by default even if the original drawing did not work that way. Why?
The data argument would be that it is much easier to generalize object property results after a conversion rather than specialize them.

Typically, you want the exported AutoCAD primitives in modelspace to all have By Layer properties.
Employ Quick Select and change the properties of the selected objects all at once in the Properties box.
That is what we usually want of exported primitives in modelspace.
Perhaps it is true that the opposite of By Layer is what we want for objects in paperspace?

Now We Walk and Merge

Stop! Right now is the time for a QAQC Layer walk through the AutoCAD export results. Since you separated for the export you have a small set of exported objects and Layers to check.
See the LAYWALK command and Jerry Bartel’s Laywalk in Civil 3D video.
In particular you are looking for gross errors (stuff on incorrect Layers) and specifically Layers that remain referenced with nothing on them.

Hanging Chads in LALA Land

To date both the versions of Export from Civil 3D appear to leave unnecessary Layer table references in the export drawings when Civil 3D points are involved. There may be other Civil 3D Features with these same issues. This seems to come and go occasionally with releases, updates, and service packs. Sadly, that means we have to check. Oh. Bother.

How to fix these?
Employ the LAYMRG command. See the LAYMRG command help.
In the Merge Layers dialog box
Select the empty Layers and merge the empty layers contents to Layer 0.
LAYMGR will also automatically purge the Layers for you. Awesome.

How to Redefine Layer Standards

You can automate Layer renames with a simple AutoCAD script.
This typically means you have AutoCAD Standards dws files for both tables and a spreadsheet to generate the AutoCAD script(s).
How to make those is covered in detail in
Members>>Documentation and Help>>Spreadsheet Tools>>Layer Standards.  
Register to get there. It is out there in LALA Land.

Your AutoCAD exports will have a limited and varied set of Layers.

  1. Add the whole DWS set
  2. Script rename the whole result
  3. Purge the unused Layers

Yes. The Framework’s Layer Standards Spreadsheet Tools contains the formula code in cells to do all of this. Work smarter not harder. Discover the adaptive standards for Civil 3D in the Framework.

Be Prepared

If you cannot match the layer|level lists in a one to one fashion, The Layer Translator is also good solution. Again it helps to plan, prepare, and have DWS files ready.

The AutoCAD Layer Translator allows you to create and reuse a set standard layer translation operations and those con contain combining objects from multiple layers into one. See LAYTRANS command help. LAYTRANS also updates the properties of all the Layers (not the objects) to the standard drawing you specify.

Yes. The Layer Translator includes both the LAYWALK and LAYMRG tools for good reason.

Symbol, Block and Cell Cleanups

Recognize that the actual content of the graphics only matter to you and your client not the software.

Both forms of Export from Civil 3D only the drag over the referenced named blocks just like the referenced Layers.

Dueling Symbol Sets

You need a match list of named graphic symbols for both to and from conditions just like the Layer DWS files above. You have two drawing files with complete but different named blocks. The names are the same but the graphic contents may differ. In Framework for Civil 3D speak this is a Symbol Set.

Your AutoCAD exports will have a limited and varied set of blocks.

  1. Insert|Explode in the whole drawing with the complete set of blocks
  2. Script rename the whole Symbol Set result to the other standard
  3. Insert|Explode the updated export drawing into a copy of your second standard
  4. Purge the unused

What does Insert|Explode mean? Ok. Someone did ask…
Employ the AutoCAD Insert command to insert the entire drawing at 0,0,0 with the Explode checkbox checked in the Insert dialog box. This inputs all the parts of the inserted drawing as pieces not as a whole.

Yes. The Framework’s Symbol Maintenance Spreadsheet Tool contains the code in cells to produce the rename script and insert scripts to assemble the drawings. Work smarter not harder.

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