Civil 3D Object Layer Drawing Settings

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Civil 3D’s Object Layer Drawing Settings are extremely useful. The Civil 3D Object Layer Settings automatically make the layer assignment for each specific Civil 3D Feature – those things in the Civil 3D Toolspace.

We know that can confuse the Civil 3D newbie. Each of the various components of each specific Civil 3D Feature can be displayed on completely different layers. Ah, the wonders of Style in Civil 3D.
The Surface Feature itself is on C-TOPO. But the contours (when displayed in Plan) are routed to C-CONT-MAJR and C-CONT-MINR layers or whatever other named layers that float your boat.

The Pain of Civil 3D Object Layer Settings

The Civil 3D Object Layer Settings are notoriously nasty and manually intensive to maintain. The Object Layer Settings look like they employ actual AutoCAD layers, but Civil 3D currently still stores them as separate strings and NOT as references to the current Layer system. If you rename to layers, the Drawing Settings Object Layer Settings must be checked and updated manually.

Even moving the correct Object Layer Settings around can be a pain as well. Ron Couillard, of USCAD fame, recorded a nifty Civil 3D undocumented feature tip about that. Here’s the video…

Import Civil 3D Object Layers

I trust you notice that neither the layers themselves nor the current layer properties make a successful transfer from drawing to drawing. The Object Layer Settings act like a Civil 3D Figure Prefix Library which also stores the names of layers not drawing layer references and therefore also must be maintained accordingly. The Framework for Civil 3D even includes tools to fix that. Who knew?

Is there any consistent way to reduce the hassle of Object Layer Settings?

Civil 3D Reference Templates to the Rescue

Build a drawing only the Drawing Settings Object Layers set. Maybe you want to include the other significant Drawing Settings too?

Now attach that new Civil 3D Object Layer Settings resource drawing to as a Reference Template. What happens is shown in this video which covers some other important Reference Template mechanics.

Task-based Reference Templates

By employing a resource drawing in the Reference Template stack we can inject and change the current drawing’s Drawing Settings Object Layers. If we then detach the resource drawing in the Reference Template stack, the current state of the Object Layer Settings remains.

To create this sort of a resource drawing is pretty straightforward.

  1. Create a new drawing from a NoStyles template. This is a template file that ONLY includes the Civil 3D Standard Styles that are built from the current Civil 3D release code.
  2. Inject the appropriate raw AutoCAD Layer Standards file.
    I tend to prefer the INSERT/Explode method, but Design Center, and other various methods also work.
  3. Set all the Object Layer Settings
  4. Purge all the other Layers and Layer States or not
  5. Save

Now you can have your Object Layer Settings cake and eat it too. Now you can build your own quick and dirty resource library to adjust them as needed.

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