Civil 3D Reference Templates and Project Placeholders

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Someone called this week and asked if the Framework for Civil 3D supports and/or supplies Reference Templates. Good question. In brief, we supply the resources in the latest Framework for Civil 3D 2019 products. Maybe we should produce and AddOn for 2018 products? In any case you have to choose to employ them and do so effectively.

Quality People Time

If we continue to work the same in business, we lose business. This corporate and organizational reality transpires not because we are ignorant, unskilled, or lazy. Sadly, we are often at the most risk while we are the most skilled and successful. I alluded to this danger in the recent A Tale of Projects and Plant post.

The competition basically finds new ways to increase their productivity and decease their man-hour investments in the project work. We unwittingly choose to continue to waste our people time at a level they find to be unacceptable. We never see the unseen and unexpected consequences of our success.

We all know that evolving software tools can be a man-hour minefield. Civil 3D is famous for this.
Are the new tools worth the implementation cost?
A perceived hassle in the upgrade and the practical adoption may hide significant but as yet unseen man-hour savings or unexpected and painful new costs.

From my perspective the solution to the real problem is to work to reduce the upgrade hassle continuously.

The Framework for Civil 3D goal is all about the achievement of a savings gain and the avoidance of painful costs. People have had a lot of practice with the Framework at this.

Let’s get practical.

Reference Template Function

  • The initial Civil 3D 2017 Reference Template functionality is technically limited.
    See the posts about that.
  • The Civil 3D 2018 and Civil 3D 2019 version which includes the more detailed Reference Template stack functionality and tools are better, more flexible and detailed, but still imperfect. See the posts about that.

If you register on the site, there is an entire section in Members dedicated to Reference Template tools and issues.

All versions are unquestionably useful when you consider the long-term cost and chaos of the alternative. The Chaos of Style and those costs is something we all experience all too well in Civil 3D.

Project Drawing Placeholders

I consider that project Civil 3D drawing/Feature Placeholders to be a similar challenge to the implementation of Reference Templates. The real benefits of Placeholders are hidden until we make the small investment to build, employ, and continuously improve them. The two separate technologies seem to complement each other well.

We can employ the device of Civil 3D Project Templates to establish the practical insides of project development workflows. The trick is to start small and keep it simple. The temptation is initially try and do too much. Don’t overcomplicate matters and overwhelm the people you hope to help.

Reference Templates and Project Placeholders

I trust that you notice the Principal of the Separation of Powers by Civil 3D Features expressed in the Civil 3D Project Template explored in the video.

Placeholders in a Civil 3D Project Template

Default Working Drawings

  • Prototype Working drawings pointed to Project Reference Templates
    These employ your default Drawing Name convention

Default Data Reference Drawings

  • Prototype NoStyles drawings for typical Civil Features
    These employ your default Feature and Drawing Name conventions

Project Reference Templates

  • AutoCAD Layer Standard and Customs Blocks to modify
    INSERT (Exploded) into a NoStyles template
  • Drawing Object Settings as a Reference Template
  • Style Library and/or Settings as a Reference Templates

How you chose to name and organize your Civil 3D Project Template folders and files is up to you and the types of common projects you work on. You do want to remember to keep the plan flexible and adaptable so those profitable uncommon projects become less and less of a production challenge.

It seems clear to me that we need a Civil 3D Project to continuously improve all projects.

To Manage Civil 3D is a Project
Get the Framework for Civil 3D


Project Startup Posts

Civil 3D methods and tools to strip man-hours from project work. Most posts include videos.