Project Template in Civil 3D

We’ve all seen project templates in Civil 3D that come pre-installed. There are a few folders to help organize drawings. Typically, you would create a new DWG, save it into one of those folders and start adding content.  Maybe you then have to make a data shortcut. No create another file, make more content, and maybe add the data shortcut. Continue this until you have the full set of construction documents. Just this process of building a new set of project files can take at least a few days to complete.

But.  What if you had a template based on a specific project type where most, if not all of the drawings, data shortcuts and xref’s were already established? Can’t be done you say? Read on doubter of efficiency…

Here’s the basic steps to accomplish this feat of, well, engineering.

  • Create the project template with a set of typical folders.
  • Add DWGs, XLS, DOC, JPG, DST and any other files you use to those same folders. Presumably, you have a file naming convention that doesn’t change from project to project. If you add a prefix or suffix to filenames, just add placeholders in this project template as a reminder (i.e.- PPPP-R-Topo.DWG).
  • Add XREF’s to sheet and reference files, making sure to use relative paths. Yes, it doesn’t matter what level of folder structure the DWG may exist, AutoCAD will figure it out with the relative path. Just save the host DWG first.  Smile
  • Add Civil 3D “container” objects to the appropriate files. By container, just create the objects with no data. Make sure to utilize your object naming convention here as well.
  • Create a data shortcut project such that the _shortcuts folder falls in the appropriate place in your project template.
  • Create data shortcuts using those container objects.
  • Create references of those data shortcuts in the appropriate reference files.

That should just about complete most of a typical project for you. Create a new project using the new project template and you most of the way there. A few minor steps to do to complete the project creation.

  • Use the data shortcut editor to resolve the paths of the objects to the new project location using find and replace (CTRL + R).
    Data Shortcut Editor
  • Associate all DWGs in the new project folder to the new data shortcut project.
    Associate Project to Drawings
  • Rename any files with prefixes or suffixes accordingly. If there are many, this could easily be done with a batch or script file.
  • In sheet set manager, make sure to adjust where new sheets are to be saved, etc.

That’s it! No, really, that’s it. Now creating a new project should take about 5 minutes or less! You could even take an existing project and strip out the content and creating the project template would be that much faster!