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Autodesk released the new Autodesk Civil 3D 2025 last month. Most of us in Civil 3D Land have more important work to do than install and test the latest and greatest Civil 3D. We have civil engineering and survey project work to get out the door. Truly, the latest Civil 3D 2025 is a faster, less buggy, and generally a better version of the software. Trust me. Sooner, rather than later, that new shinny object will make some sense.

Interested people call me up and want to know –
“Should we upgrade our current working projects to the latest release or update of Civil 3D?”

Generally, my somewhat snarky reply is, “Can you?”
This is a substantive question.

Are we proactive or reactive about our Civil 3D Updates and the Civil 3D Upgrades?

Do we reconsider Project upgrade method and practice beyond the typical Civil 3D Update and Upgrade Blues?

Can we do the How to Upgrade Civil 3D Projects drill?
We need to ask, “Is that particular project ready?”

The Framework for Civil 3D in 2025

Our Jump Kit and Templates Only customers are not surprised that the latest builds of the Framework products are available for Civil 3D 2025 and many other releases of Civil 3D.

Well-built and well-maintained Civil 3D Templates, Civil 3D Styles and Sets, and other Civil 3D resources will Update and Upgrade better.

Our port of the Framework for Civil 3D Sandbox projects to the Civil 3D 2025 release revealed a couple of new Civil 3D 2025 Upgrade workflow issues that deserve comment and attention.

If you follow the Jump On Civil 3D blog, you recognize that I am a big fan of…

The Joy of Batch Save

Yes. There are better joys.

The Civil 3D Batch Save Utility (BS) makes our Framework maintenance and Civil 3D Project Updates and Upgrades possible. These are much easier to pull off in less time and with less effort.

If you prefer to manually update and save every drawing in your project manually or even by script, by all means - Enjoy. All I can really say is, “Sorry.”

Batch Save Mechanics

We will need the Civil 3D project’s current build and the new Civil 3D Update or Release installed on the computer where BS runs.
Do you have the latest Civil 3D Update, Release, and/or Hotfix(es) installed?
The Civil 3D Batch Save Utility knows and it shows.

The most important thing about the Batch Save Utility is to run the process on a copy of the Civil 3D project that only BS has access to. This means for some amount of time the location of the project copy will be different and/or Civil 3D users must not work on any of the project drawings.

Even with network hosted Civil 3D projects BS is demonstrably quicker at updating drawings since BS can run in a headless mode without all the performance load of the entire Civil 3D interface.

Limiting the BS session time out and number of sessions properties in the BS interface  is usually essential. Session time out must account for network access. Too many simultaneous sessions tends to produce more update failures.

You will need at least a simple script that performs PURGE of regapps, an AUDIT, and SAVE of each drawing.
The Autodesk supplied sample scripts and lsp files do work.
See Jerry Bartels’s Automate with Scripts Lisp and Batch Save get started video.
Framework Jump Kit product customers are welcome to email us to get more detailed examples.

Batch Save can actually perform many Project Maintenance and drawing update tasks like replacement or updates to Layer Systems, Block definitions, etc. Batch Save fully supports SCRIPTCALL and the chaining of scripts and LISP commands.

To Process or Not to Process

In most of our working projects, there are usually drawings that we will NOT want Civil 3D to touch.
The Civil 3D Object Model does act like a virus. Eheh.

The easiest way to restrict BS access in to make the drawings read only and/or temporarily remove them from the BS processed project structure altogether.
For larger projects - Remember that we can process parts of a large project separately.
Batch Save runs from a selected root folder.
The good news is that BS ignores references if the drawing will open.

Cautions for Civil 3D Project Upgrades

The on-going Autodesk effort to allow Civil 3D projects to perform better in the Autodesk Docs, the BIM Collaborate Pro, and the ACC (Autodesk Construction Cloud) environments means that Autodesk addresses project Data References (DREF) and file references issues more aggressively with each new Civil 3D Update and Release.

Did you know that the Autodesk Desktop Connector (ADC) and a free Autodesk Docs account allows us to test and report on Civil 3D project portability and reference consistency? Quick and cheap Civil 3D Project validation is way better than a sharp stick in the eye.

I also tend to rant about the Reference Explorer tool that is included in the ADC. I won’t belabor that vital tool again here. See the recent Civil 3D Maintenance and Upkeep Tips post.

Be aware that since Civil 3D 2023+ the code is more sensitive Data Reference (DREF) inconsistencies in projects.

The Data Shortcut Editor Tool is also therefore more aware of Data Reference (DREF) inconsistencies in projects.

Updates to the more automated Fix Data References tools and the Data Shortcut Manager Tool since the Civil 3D 2023+ updates and releases mean we have better DREF consistency fixit tools inside Civil 3D.

We should learn to employ them.

Old Project to New Project

Fix the Civil 3D Project References before you employ Batch Save to any Civil 3D 2023+ release.

  • Copy the Civil 3D Project
  • Use the Data Shortcut Editor tool to update the project location to the new location
  • Manually update any Data Reference (DREF) source drawing names and file folder locations that we want to change.
  • Open Civil 3D and Set the Working Folder to the proper location
  • In the Civil 3D Toolspace Prospector tab
    Allow the Fix Data References tool to find a fix Broken Data References.
    We should know the name and folder location of any changed DREF source drawings.
    Civil 3D may need multiple path locations if your project DREF locations are structured that way.
  • In the Civil 3D Toolspace Prospector tab
    Double check that all the shared DREF source drawings are found in the new project location.
    Remember that Civil 3D is perfectly happy to resolve a DREF (or an absolute file reference) from another project location. Dooh.
    This is yet another reason why access to the Autodesk Desktop Connector’s Reference Explorer tool is so vital.
  • It is probably a Best Practice to then run Batch Save in the current project release build after any project inconsistencies are fixed.
  • Stir and Repeat
  • Run Batch Save in the new target Civil 3D build and repeat the checks above in the new build project

Do the Do. It’s good for you.

“The Keys to Success are often only discovered in the tedious repetitions of practiced execution.”

The most significant aspects of practiced repetition and execution are to examine our habits and rebuild our heuristics to match the current and changed circumstances.
Simply put - We do not want to validate our own false expectations.

If we try to fight the last war, the real-world results generally suck.

Batch Save and Civil 3D Project Maintenance

Our Civil 3D Projects often have longer life spans than any particular build of Autodesk Civil 3D. This can effectively create nearly invisible issues in our project work environment.

Many Civil 3D corrupted drawing issues are related to poor Project structures, bad Civil 3D user Data Reference (DREF) mechanics, and even our Civil 3D project drawings saved in multiple builds of Civil 3D.
The Batch Save Utility helps – a lot.

Location Location Location

Copying an entire complex Civil 3D Project structure and all those diverse references and moving that new project to a new storage location is a lot more complicated and tedious than an Update or Upgrade in place.

Update the Project In-place Strategy

An Update the Project In-place Strategy with the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility does not force us to manually to manually check, validate, and perhaps update all of the many project DREF (Data Reference), TREF (Reference Template), and other discrete file references in all the project drawings.
This is good news and bad news.

In place conditions:

  • A just in time backup of the Civil 3D Project before and probably after the Batch Save or manual Update is mandatory
  • Isolation of the entire Civil 3D Project is vital if Batch Save is employed
  • Staged partial project Upgrades are probably safer for larger projects and these require more attention to planning and execution.

The bad news is:

  • The project continues operation in the new Update or Upgrade with little or no QAQC or changes to the current content.
    All the common project warts and blemishes remain.
    Some issues may be more apparent in the new Civil 3D build.
  • One of the more serious issues of the In-place Strategy to consider is the Civil 3D User tendency to open the Updated project in an older release of Civil 3D.
    In other words, a change of storage location makes the use of the correct version of Civil 3D more obvious to all.

Copy the Project First Strategy

The Copy the Project First Strategy does force us to manually check, validate, and perhaps update all of the many project DREF (Data Reference), TREF (Reference Template), and other discrete file references in all the project drawings.
This too is good news and bad news.

We do tend to:

  • Find and fix the usual set of bad actors that appear in most Civil 3D projects
  • Discover how the new Civil 3D and tools actually respond to the quirks of our project

The bad news is:

  • This takes multiple Batch Save Updates and individual manual visits to each and every project drawing or not
  • The process can distract us from addressing the Civil 3D User behaviors and skills that introduce the bad actors into our projects in the first place

I’m an advocate of the accountable Civil Users performing the Batch Save post process Update steps and checks whenever possible.

Holding the folks accountable tends to encourage Civil Users to perform the initial project maintenance work with more discipline in the first place.

We all want to skip the Civil 3D Update and Upgrade Blues altogether.

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