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Let’s face it. Most of the time in Autodesk Civil 3D we all tend to initially shoot for some form of published annotation. It’s an old school CAD User’s habit. Let’s call this the lust for One and Done. For surveyors this may mean Point data out of Survey Dbs. The Lord knows, I hope you have moved beyond imported point files and COGO points to better manage your survey and design point data behind in your Civil 3D projects.

I trust that you Civil 3D design folks heard that too? For civil engineers the One and Done often means labels on all that linear design stuff.

I often try to remember to point out in Civil 3D training that most things worth reading or watching did not start out that way. Like a movie, a dinner, or political elections, we all would rather not see exactly how the sausage is made.

Data Visibility Matters to Get the Job Done

Is it remarkable that Civil 3D seems to recognize that surveyors and civil engineers don’t think about the same data in the same way? We must recognize that professions are paid to see things differently. Ok. That might take a bit of head scratching and thought to discuss the specfics.
Let’s get practical.

The State of Babel…er…Label

Old school CAD technology forced us to think our drawing is what we publish. Get it right and leave it alone – the One and Done. To shepherd hundreds to thousands of Text and Mtext objects around is painful and man-hour expensive in practice. In the old days, we only had layer management and CAD primitive tools available to do the work. We published the drawing we produced.
For good reasons in Civil 3D we don’t need to do that anymore. People do.

Data Behind and Publish On Demand

If we think and act old school like that in Civil 3D, we might forsake or simply ignore the benefit of having Replaceable and Dynamic Quality Control (QAQC) Label Styles. Ouch. Not Me.
Civil 3D is built to:

  • Increase the civil design speed and control
  • Improve our design and publish quality control capabilities
  • And, at the same time, also reduce the annotative man-hour burden

Take Advantage

If those three things aren’t happening around you today, the good news is they can. Style choice matters.

After a while using Civil 3D we all tend to fixate on a few commonly useful version of any Label Styles.
I do. Do you too? Odds are your Civil 3D template has mostly only those things. The longer we employ Civil 3D the more of those things we have. Then we have to maintain them across Updates and Upgrades.

Unless we make Label Styles for a specific Feature or have a set of Civil 3D Style power tools like our Framework for Civil 3D products with a rich Set of Feature Styles and Label Styles all set up for you, we can miss the Style productivity boost that’s possible here.

We need to work smarter not harder to get paid.
Visible information at the right and place time pays.

It’s true. Picture this common problem in subdivision design. Sometimes we want that Offset Alignment’s line and curve labels to read/behave as much as possible like Parcel segment labels.
Our Offset Alignment modified with a Widening and included in a Site represents the typical roadway right of way.
An hour before we might care about visualizing what the complex curve geometry details and specific Curve Sub entity Index number of that portion of our cul-de-sac’s Alignment right of way.
Then we want the alignment data behind to be checked and to work against our parcel design criteria.

Someone somewhere is asking, “Civil 3D can do that?”

The odds are also pretty good that soon we may have to go back and see either version of the Labels again. People change their minds and designs change, don’t they? People care about different details at different times.

The end goal matters. We must manage better to get there.

The Replaceable and Dynamic (or data driven) both matter. Which matters most is the problem of the moment. Why I go on and on about the need to identify State and known Benchmarks in the Civil 3D project process and our workflows.
Register. Become a Member and find out more.

Style Change Skill

The skill and ability to see it now so we can make better decisions is what Civil 3D user productivity is all about. That, however, requires richer Style collection resources and the Civil 3D Style changing skill to employ them.

“Can our Civil 3D Styles do that?”

There’s both corporate and Civil 3D user personal accountability at work here.
Civil 3D Style changing skill takes focused and purposed repetition to acquire.
There are a lot of ways to get there in the Civil 3D interface.
Do you practice under pressure to perform better when push comes to shove?
To know a function or Style tool exists in Civil 3D doesn’t mean we do it enough for that to matter.

Some others ask,
“What are you talking about? Who cares if it is an alignment or a parcel? I just draw and label polylines or better yet - lines and curves and label them.”

Dude. Elvis has left the building.

We can learn to think and act differently as we learn to pursue a Managed State of Current. The following methods and tools may be obvious or not depending on your Civil 3D skill level and habits. Yes. That means there are levels of experiential nuance hidden away here you learn by doing.

Annotative Scale

It’s dynamic and fundamental that Civil 3D Labels automatically adjust to changes in the current drawing’s Annotative Scale. We may know folks who still say or think, “Really?” Our old AutoCAD habits die hard.  Are you zooming and panning to read more or less annotation instead of attacking this time and space problem another new way?
How many clicks does an Annotative Scale change take?

A View on Plan Set Strategy

Old school can be good. Do you employ named Views to restore Annotative Scale changes? Yes. An AutoCAD View does that or not. These functions and requisite skill sets couple well with the Sheet Set Manager skill sets and improved usage of Civil 3D’s Plan Production tools too. AutoCAD Views are also clearly exposed in the Civil 3D ribbon and screen interface.

The practical reality is that all projects contain critical areas. The faster we systematically identify them and name the better off for all concerned. If we identify and track these areas, we benefit with better quality control and more real-world production productivity.

How does Civil 3D help you automate and manage collections of Views in a project? Oh. That’s right. ACAD Views are not sharable for God knows what reason. But what things that hold Views are sharable between drawings in Civil 3D. This is a not so trivial Civil 3D question.

Use LSD?

Label Style Defaults – what I call LSD so you remember it - are one of the most powerful ways to make rapid and specific changes to the vast and ever-growing Civil 3D Label Style stack.
What do Label Style Defaults do?
Do your customized Label Styles obey the Hierarchy Rules of LSD so you can make fast adjustments to get what you and your users need now? Framework for Civil 3D product Label Styles do.

The Framework Can and Does Help

In our Release 8 Framework for Civil 3D products for multiple releases of Autodesk Civil 3D provide you Label Style mastery.
We supply unmatched Replaceable and Dynamic Style excellence.
I mentioned Civil 3D Line and Curve Label Styles above. The Line and Curve Label naming conventions are standardized, consistent, and inclusive. You get flexibility in the display of all the related symbol markers too. You are able to quickly identify what a Line & Curve label does; how you might use it; what Civil 3D Feature representation the label is there for.
Yes. We do that too.
Why? So you can…

Deliver More Work in Civil 3D in Less Time
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8


Civil 3D Label Style Management posts