Working with Civil 3D templates


[Update: Civil 3D 2015 Service Pack 2 has been released (11-24-2014) and resolves the issues related to using acad.dwt as a basis for a new Civil 3D template. Currently, this update is apparently only availble through the Autodesk Application Manager. I would suspect that will change over the next few weeks.]

How do you start creating a new Civil3D template? As most people know, Civil3D ships with a few templates as shown below:

Default Templates

Default Templates

Basically, the choice boils down to either “acad.dwt” OR “Civil 3D NCS.dwt.” Of course, acad.dwt is completely empty of any style or setting including no layers, text styles, etc. While Civil 3D NCS.dwt contains the national cad standards with several styles and settings pre-defined.

If you use the national cad standard layers, then that template would be a great starting point. But what if you don’t use those cad standards? Do you start with the blank acad.dwt and add all of your content? Do you start with the NCS template?

The answer you chose could very well create undesirable results down the road. Let’s take a look at your options after the break…

Probably the easiest answer is to:

  1. start with the NCS template and create what we call WIP.dwg.  This WIP (work in progress) drawing has all of your objects used to test how styles will appear. You may even create a WIP_Background.dwg to use as reference with all of your normal 2D linework and labels.
  2. The details of the WIP.dwg may require you to import layers, blocks, text styles from your existing template. This can be accomplished using Design Center (dc at the command line). Then, as you establish object styles for surfaces, alignments, etc., you can use your normal layers and blocks.

The next step is to then create a template from this WIP.dwg file. You would think it would be as easy as:

  1. Save As a template file and choose an appropriate file name
  2. Delete all objects, entities, etc. from model space
  3. Save and Close.

Not so fast. You’ve still got all of those NCS standards in your file. How do you get rid of them? The easiest answer is another 2 step process.

  1. Start a new file based on the NCS standard and name it as a template.
  2. Second, using the Style Import function on the Manage tab, you can specify your WIP.dwg as a Civil3D standard and let the function clear out unwanted standards. Make sure to click the “Delete Checked” option. This will remove any style in the current file that is NOT in the standard file specified.

Import Styles

Once unwanted styles and settings are deleted, you can purge those cad aspects as needed.

That is as easy as it gets with one exception. What if you started your template using the acad.dwt file? Do you think you would get the same results? You do with one caveat, Civil3D Sites become unstable. How so?

Here’s the test:

  1. Create 2 sites in a new drawing that was originally based on acad.dwt.
  2. Create a feature line in either site.
  3. Now move the feature line between sites. The previous site has now disappeared from the drawing.
  4. Now do an audit. You should see your feature line disappear.

If you try the above test and get those same results, simply create a new template using your template as though its the WIP.dwg file mentioned above and follow the 2 steps to create a template.

I hope this helps!

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About Kevin
Hi… I am a husband, father, brother and neighbor. I am employed as a Civil Engineer and have enjoyed playing the drums for the last 30+ years.

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