Using Drag-and-Drop to Manage Civil 3D Styles

With Civil 3D 2007’s use of Styles to control the display of objects it’s a great idea to create various Styles that incorporate the CAD standards your organization has developed. The easier you make it for the users to apply your organizations standards as they work the more compliance with standards you should have. My guess is that most people don’t purposely avoid using standards just to be difficult but that it’s faster or easier for them to use another method.

In some situations your organization may work with other organizations where they will need a set of your CAD standards when they start their work on the project. All your Civil 3D 2007 Styles reflecting your organizations CAD standards should be saved in a template drawing. This template drawing is then what you or someone in your organization uses every time they begin working on a project. Thus you may have times when you provide your template drawing to other organizations so they can adhere to your organizations CAD standards. This is often the case with government agencies.

There is always the possibility that once people use your template to begin a project they may make changes to your Styles. They may also make new Styles and apply them to objects in the drawing. Now while it is usually the project manager’s role to ensure that consultants and others working on the project adhere to your standards, you may still find that your design drawings don’t completely reflect your standards.

What can you do though if you find one of your Civil 3D drawings that has different Styles applied to one or more objects thus creating a discrepancy in your CAD standards? Well, it should be fairly straight forward to just change the offending Style back to your organizations Style for that particular object. This takes time but should be fairly straight forward as long as it was another Style that was applied and they didn’t edit your existing Style. But what can you do if they edited your organizations Style? You might be able to find the changes quickly or it could take you some time to figure out what all has been changed and depending on how many Styles were changed it could take quite some time to sort out this kind of problem.

Here is an idea that might make this process easier for you. This works only if the style was edited and the Style name is still the same as your original Style name. Let’s look at an example where the drawing we have now is not displaying our parcel label according to our standards. The reason for this is that someone has edited the parcel label Style and, in this drawing, the display of the parcel label no longer conforms to our CAD standards.

Below is and example of the altered Parcel Label Style. The Style we are using is called “Name & Area in Feet”. The Parcel Label should show a cyan border and text with the border having rounded corners.


One way of solving this problem is to overwrite the Parcel Label Style named “Name & Area in Feet”. We can utilize the Multiple Documents Interface (MDI) in Civil 3D 2007 to accomplish this. With Civil 3D 2007 running and with the drawing you are having issues with opened – take advantage of the MDI in Civil 3D 2007 and start a new drawing based on your organizations template file.

Once both files are open use the Windows pull-down menu to tile them vertically or horizontally – this example will use the vertical option. With both drawings on screen select the blank drawing that contains the Parcel Label Style that is part of your organizations standards so it is the active drawing.

Below is picture showing both the problem drawing open and a new file open that was started from a template containing the correct Parcel Label Style. Notice that the blank drawing is active.


Now you need to select the Settings Tab of the Civil Toolspace. For this example the Parcel node will be expanded to expose the Label Styles node.  From here the Area node is expanded to display the “Name & Area in Feet” Parcel Label Style. At this point the “Name & Area in Feet” Parcel Label Style can be Drag-and-Dropped into the drawing that is not displaying the correct setting for our Parcel Label Style.

This dialog box appears – leave it set to the default of Overwrite and select “OK”.


The following picture shows the offending drawing now displaying the parcel label properly.


Now the blank drawing can be closed, the drawing of interest Maximized and then be sure to save the drawing so the Parcel Label’s will display properly in the future.

The picture below is a close up of the proper display of the Parcel Labels.


Now you have another tool in your toolbox to assist you in managing your Civil 3D 2007 Styles. Just remember that this technique only works if the Parcel Label Style has been edited and has the same Name in both drawings.

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