The Civil 3D Simple Style Rules

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Every once in a while a new Framework for Civil 3D customer calls and asks why we put the “- JS” at the end of all the Framework Style names. This simple suffix device serves a very significant purpose and help to answer the first most important question about using and customizing AutoCAD Civil 3D…

“How do you know the difference between Styles?”

The Civil 3D software doesn’t care what we Name anything, but the odds are the Name will matter to you and the others you work with pretty quickly. Civil 3D users need to own this responsibility or suffer the consequences which are chaos and inconsistency in your production drawings and projects.

Styles are just one of the many places where the Names inside Civil 3D are mission critical.
Consistent and well thought out namepaces or naming conventions sit behind all successful production use of AutoCAD Civil 3D and every effective AutoCAD Civil 3D customization. This is why we consider and make the Framework’s naming conventions an Open Source resource. You can download the Framework standards and rules here.

Truth be told these Simple Style Rules for Civil 3D were first released by yours truly about a decade ago. They have certainly been copied, spread around, and sometimes added to. This is a good thing. They have withstood the test of time.

Yes. There a certain sarcastic flippancy to this version. I think the realism adds to their charm and makes the Simple Style Rules more memorable.

The Simple Style Rules

Never edit a Style in a production drawing.

  • This creates chaos and inconsistency in your production drawings and projects.
  • You will be tempted to break Rule #1.
    • You will do it.
    • You will probably regret it later.
  • You are much more likely to lose data and/or corrupt styles and related features when you edit styles that are In Use in a drawing.

If you must make a change to a Style in a production drawing…

Always Use Copy and/or New to create a different named version of the style

  • Know and understand the Civil 3D user Hierarchy Rules
    If you do not like things and want to change them, do so at the highest level possible.
  • Take ownership of the Copy by replacing the JS with your initials
  • Every character in the name matters to matches and to the sort
  • Employ the Apply button when changing tabs and before using the OK button
  • Save frequently when editing styles

Always test your results

  • Use a standard test drawing that includes both Civil 3D data and typical production Layouts that actually plot or publish and that you understand thoroughly.
  • You will break Rule #3.
    • You will regret it later.

The Known Good

If you obey the Simple Style Rules, you can not only check project drawings against your current templates, but identify and often quantify where the changes are.
When it comes time to upgrade to a new release your upgrade will be much easier to manage.

All it really takes is to seize some personal ownership and accountability for the problem.

Why Employ a Suffix?

Once in a while I still get asked the question. It’s only human to want to employ predicates to take ownership in Style, Template, and Drawing Names.

The functional problem is that the Civil 3D interface – the Toolspace, dialog boxes, and picklists sort by the classic ASCII sort and/or sometimes no sort at all.

We need to reserve the beginning characters of Style names to help Civil 3D users more easily identify differences and more easily make effective choices. The use of a suffix is employed to allow users to perform better under pressure in a production work environment.

Most Times the Simple is Simple

Someone recently pointed out to me via email that the Simple Style Rules haven’t really been updated for all the new ways Civil 3D can check, import, and help you maintain your Civil 3D working and publication templates. In other words, what about Reference Templates etc.

Funny thing is if you obey the Simple Style Rules, all the tools and changes made to them in the future will work all the better. If you don’t obey, you will have much more complicated issues to fix and deal with.

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