Monday, February 28, 2005

Will All Text Please Step Forward

I had occasion to use the TEXTTOFRONT command today. It allows the user to automatically grab all of the Text, or all of the Dimensions, or Both, and "bring them to front". It is very quick and easy to use.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Lynn Counts Blocks

In her blog, Lynn Allen offered what I thought was a very elegant and easy way of count blocks in a drawing.

This is accomplished by using the EATTEXT command which brings up the Attribute Extraction Wizard. If we press the "NEXT>" button three times, to accept the defaults for the first three screens of the wizard, we end up at a table with all of the blocks listed and counted. Do not forget that you can size the dialog box to view more data at once.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Catch a Coordinate

The Coordinate Tracker in Civil 3D can be a useful way to VIEW and USE the X and Y values of your cursor location and a Z value from a surface.

To call up the Coordinate Tracker use the General pull-down, select Utilities, then select Coordinate Tracker from the flyout menu.

When it is present you can first select within it a surface from which it will display the elevation of the cursor location. You can then select the Coordinate Capture Keys (by default this is Ctrl+Shift+Z) to lock in the X,Y,Z, values.

There are also buttons that allow you to push the X,Y the Z or the X,Y,Z values as they were captured or edited versions to the command line.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Label Scaling Simplified

Labels in Autodesk Civil 3D follow very simple yet useful rules.

In Model Space the label size is a multiple of the drawing scale and the label style text height. A label style text height of .1 in a 1:20 scale drawing would create a 2 foot tall label. A label style text height of .2 in a 1:40 scale drawing would create an 8 foot tall label.

In Paper Space it is even simpler. A label always appears the exact height of the label style's text height. This is irrespective of the viewport's zoom magnification also referred to as viewport scale. A label text height of .1 will always plot as .1 inches.

These rules also apply to labels that you xref. As mentioned in an earlier post that means labels are only created once and can be used for drawing at different scales.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

LandXML Part II

With LandXML you can import the following types of data into Civil 3D:

COGO points
Point groups
Alignment profiles

Note: The LandXML Import command does not support cross sections.
Note: The LandXML import functionality automatically handles the conversion between the units specified in the LandXML file and the current drawing units.
Note: LandXML does not transform coordinate systems automatically, so no specific coordinate system transformation is applied other than what is specified by the translation and rotation settings.

You can export the following types of data from Civil 3D:

COGO points
Point groups
Alignment profiles
Alignment cross sections

Monday, February 14, 2005


Although, it has been around since Land Desktop Release 2i as an extension (this was version 0.88) and Land Desktop 3.01 in its current version (version 1.0) LandXML is not often the first solution users think of when it is necessary to transfer data between different applications, or between different offices or users.

LandXML is a non-proprietary data standard created by a consortium of industry partners.

It can be used for any of the following:

1. To transfer data from a supported software application to another supported application (like LDt to Civil 3D).

2. To archive data at important milestones.

3. To convert data from imperial units to metric or vice versa.

4. To globally translate/rotate coordinates.

Click on the title of this post to get to the website.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Cad Digest

The Cad Digest website has a specific area they call "Autodesk Civil 3D Reading Room". It contains links to information about Civil 3D. They title the different sections "Features", "Tutorials", and "Reviews". This can be a good source of information.

Click on the title above to get to this site.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Blog Stats

Just a quick note about this blog.

In one month we have had over 3,500 page views, by over 1300 different visitors, from 71 countries.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Cause and Effect

When you edit this object type...These objects are updated...

Surfaces-----------------------------Grading, Profiles
Parcels-------------------------------Grading, Corridor
Alignments--------------------------Grading, Corridor, Profiles, Sections
Grading------------------------------Surfaces, Corridor
Subassembly------------------------Assembly, Corridor

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Named Layer Filters

Named Layer Filters (NLFs) have become a big issue with Autodesk 2005 products and Civil 3D is no different. For most Autodesk 2005 products their respective Service Pack 1's addressed a slow opening Layer Property Manager (LPM). They do so basically by ignoring all Pre-SP1 NLFs. They are still present, just not visible.

We often receive inquiries about the length of time it takes for the LPM to open. With the service packs installed older named Layer Filters, although still present, are ignored and not visible, in the LPM. This allows for the LPM to open quickly. The interesting fact is that these same named layer filters are still visible is pre-SP1 versions of the software.

After the installation of the SP1's, the moment a new Named Layer Filter is created all old layer filters were removed and only the new ones are left.

Either way this points out that many users have a tremendous amount of WASTED drive space because their drawings contain dozen, hundreds, even thousands of unused, unwanted, or unneeded Named Layer Filters. It is not unheard of that a typical drawing contains several dozen NLFs. These NLFs may constitute 100s of KBs of drawing size. If this is multiplied by the hundreds, or thousands of drawings on company hard drives, we have much wasted space!

This was all perpetuated by a practice that many consider a bad practice. That is to save a drawing to a new name and then erase all existing objects instead of using a drawing template (.dwt). This left the drawing with all of its existing NLFs. This coupled with the fact that all versions of Autodesk products up through 2004, when used to "Drag 'n Drop", "Copy/Paste", or "Wblock" an object from one drawing into another would copy all the NLFs from the 1st drawing into the 2nd. NLFs have propagated over the years to give us the current problems.

Users should be aware of the Named Layer Filters and take steps to manage them. There are many ways to remove unwanted NLFs.

By the way, the propagation of NLFs does not occur with the 2005 products.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

What's in a Name?

While rooting around in the Autodesk Civil 3D 2005 Help system, I ran across the following:

Object and style names restrict the use of certain characters.

When naming an object or style, do not use the following characters:

< (less than)
> (greater than)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backward slash)
+ (plus sign)
“ (double quotes)
: (colon)
; (semi colon)
= (equals)
| (pipe)
, (comma)
* (asterisk)
? (question mark)
‘ (single quote)

It seemed obvious. But one should never assume.