Using Styles to Speed up Civil 3D Drawings

If you have been working with larger drawings in Civil 3D you may have wished for a way to speed up the drawing. There are some things you can do with styles to assist in speeding up your drawing. If you haven’t used the following tips before you might want to give them a try.

Label Styles

As you can imagine the more data that Civil 3D has to depict, the more processing it will need to do. Labels can take up a lot of resources when they are displayed. Objects that have lots of annotation as part of the label style will add to the time it takes to display and regenerate the data.

The objects that tend to have lots of annotation via label styles are points, surfaces, parcels, section views and profile views. There are definite times when you need all the annotation displayed for example when producing final plots. Yet there may be times during the design process when you could change the style so it didn’t display all the annotation for some of the objects.

There are at least two options – one you could change the objects label style to none in the properties dialog or you could go to the Settings Tab of the Toolspace and create an override that would turn off all the labels for say, points.

For this article I am going to use points for the illustrations below.

If you use Point Groups to control the styles assigned to points then you could use the Point Group Properties dialog to set the Point Label Style to none. This would cause the labels to not display thus reducing the amount of graphical information Civil 3D has to process.


The other approach would be to use the Settings Tab of the Toolspace to access the settings for points. Right-click on the Point collection and choose Edit Label Style Defaults… from the shortcut menu. Expand the Label collection and set the Visibility Value to false.


Either method will reduce the amount of data that Civil 3D is having to render to the screen and will improve performance. Just remember to turn the labels back on when you are done, especially if someone else will be using the drawing next. The other person might be thrown off for a bit not knowing where the labels got turned off.

You can use this same method for parcel labels, section view labels, profile view labels, profile labels, contour labels and point labels. Be aware you may have to perform a regen in order for the screen to display your setting changes correctly.

As you are going through the design process consider if you need to display all the annotation for the objects – you may be able to turn some labels off temporarily which will improve performance for the task at hand.

Surface Styles & Profile Views

Both Surface and Profile View objects can display large amounts of graphical data. By using a different style that displays smaller amounts of data you will notice improvements in performance. This will be most noticeable when setting up plan and profile sheets and when working with large surfaces.

Using dense contour intervals adds more data that Civil 3D will need to process. Also using a style that shows points and triangles for a surface will produce more graphical data that Civil 3D will need to process. If the situation allows switch to a style that displays less data. As an example use a larger contour interval and unless necessary use a style other then triangles.

With respect to Profile Views – using a style that clips the profile view grid vertically and horizontally will help performance as there will be less data to display. You can always switch back to a style that displays the grids before plotting.

In Summary

If you haven’t been leveraging different styles to help improve performance as you work with Civil 3D, give it a try. There definitely are times when you need all the data displayed but remember when things are slowing down that you maybe able to help yourself out by changing the style or the visibility option for labels. Thus by reducing the amount of information Civil 3D is having to process you will improve the performance of the drawing.

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