Civil 3D Update 2018.2

Civil 3D Update 2018.2

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has released the latest update for its Civil 3D 2018 application.  You will find information about the update here.  The update can be installed with the Desktop App or by downloading it from Autodesk Account.

Remember, these new types of releases are not simply service packs.  There are certainly fixes to defects, but there is new functionality to be had these days.


A brief look at the changes:

Various defect fixes.

Profile Layout Direction:

Some profile entities can now be drawn right to left as well as left to right.

Vertical Curves in Offset Profile Slope Transition Regions:

Vertical curves are now created in slope transition regions for offset profiles.

Rail Turnouts and Crossings Commands:

Create and edit rail turnouts and crossovers.


A variety of new PKT-format subassemblies are included in this update.

The Use Targets On the Same Side As the Subassembly check box was added to the Set Width Or Offset Target dialog box in the AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018.1 Update.

Pressure Network Content:

New metric and imperial pressure network content is included in this release.

3D Solid Crossing Appearance Control in Section Views:

Control the appearance of 3D solid crossings that use the style option by modifying the properties of the 3D solid layer.

Multi-Select Projection and Crossing Styles in Section Views:

Control the appearance of crossing and projected objects and labels using Shift-select and Ctrl-select.

Autodesk Civil Engineering Data Translator:

Translate AutoCAD® Civil 3D® files to files that can be used in Bentley® GEOPAK® and Bentley®InRoads®, and translate GEOPAK and InRoads files to files that can be used in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

Civil 3D 2018 and Large Surfaces

Civil 3D 2018 and Large Surfaces

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD 

If you have recently upgraded to Civil 3D 2017 or 2018 or are planning to AND you work with large surfaces (I’ll let you define what a large surface is) you’ll want to read this article!

If you want to skip past all the history and get to the point, the short story is, 2017 and 2018 store the entire surface definition within DREF drawings and this affects performance. This option can be turned off.

Most Civil 3D users know that a large surface should be created in one file and Data Referenced (DREF’d) to another file for use in such things as profiles and corridors. This helps reduce errors and improves performance.  2017 and  2018 are no different, but it contains a new feature which is meant to help another occasional user issue.

When DREFs were introduced they were, and still are, susceptible to the source file being moved. If the source file is moved, not unlike an AutoCAD XREF, the source object cannot be found and the DREF drawing is empty.

Civil 3D 2014 introduced a new feature where all Data References (except surfaces) are actually stored in the DREFd drawing file. If an alignment’s source DWG cannot be found, it’s no problem since the alignment actually lives in the DREFd file.  It’s still a DREF and it will still synchronize when the source file is found, but at least there’s something in the drawing and not a blank slate.  There is no option to turn this feature off, and you likely wouldn’t want to.

Surfaces were not included with this feature because they can be very large and performance would suffer in the DREF file. They weren’t included, that is, until Civil 3D 2017.  Entire surface definitions are now stored in DREF files.  If the source file is lost, you still have your surface.  This is great for drawings containing few or small surfaces, but it can drastically affect performance for large surfaces.

If your source surface is big enough to require an MMS file, there will be a second MMS file for the DREF drawing. These can be very large.  Not only does your drawing performance suffer, but now your hard disk must contain the additional MMS file.

This option is ON by default and I’d leave it there if you primarily work with smallish surfaces. I’d turn it off if you typically work with big ones.  There are two options:

  1. Change the setting in your template (DWT) so that future drawings will have the option set as you wish.
  2. Change the option afterward for drawings containing existing surface DREFs.

The DWT setting can be found in the Civil 3D Settings tab:

If a surface has already been DREF’d, the option can be changed in the Prospector:

2018 has been an excellent version and this feature is welcome to most, but beware of large surfaces.

Vehicle Tracking Update 2018.1

Vehicle Tracking Update 2018.1

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD 

Autodesk has clearly spent considerable resources developing this update.  There are many fixes and enhancements in this Vehicle Tracking 2018.1 update.  You will find information about the update here.  Click this link to view a recorded webinar.  The update can be installed with the Desktop App or by downloading it from Autodesk Account.

There is one critical change that will affect all users.  There has been a mid-cycle format change for the vehicle tracking objects.  Don’t worry, the drawing format is not changing, just the vehicle tracking objects; roundabouts, swept paths etc.  What this means is if a drawing is saved with 2018.1 and then opened in 2018 without the update, the vehicle tracking objects will appear as proxy objects and therefore not editable.  All users’ workstations must be updated concurrently.

Since grip-editing is very popular method for editing vehicle tracking objects, it is recommended to install the Map 3D hotfix previously blogged.

A brief look at the changes:

  • Object format change.
  • Get units from the drawing.
  • Parking tool enhancements.
  • The majority of the enhancements are related to roundabouts and their corridors.
    • Better baseline and region development.
    • Slip lanes are now 3-dimensional.
    • Fixed overlapping corridor links.
  • Defect fixes.

Civil 3D Update 2018.1

Civil 3D Update 2018.1

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD 

Autodesk has released the latest update for its Civil 3D 2018 application.  You will find information about the update here.  Click this link to view a recorded webinar.  The update can be installed with the Desktop App or by downloading it from Autodesk Account.

A brief look at the changes:

  • New corridor rehab workflows and subassemblies.
  • Crossings and projections improvements.
  • The new Infrastructure Parts Editor introduced with Infraworks 2018 is now supported in Civil 3D.
  • Reference templates improvements.
  • Defect fixes.

AutoCAD Update 2018.1

AutoCAD Update 2018.1

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD 

Autodesk has released the latest update for its AutoCAD 2018 application.  You will find information about the update here.  The update can be installed with the Desktop App or by downloading it from Autodesk Account.

A brief look at the changes:

  • Xref layers override improvements.
  • View and viewport improvements.  Please note that if this update is applied to Civil 3D, these improvements are available, but do not appear in the ribbon.  See this document for details.
  • High resolution monitor support.
  • Defect fixes.

Civil 3D / Map 3D Hotfix

Civil 3D / Map 3D Hotfix

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD 

Autodesk has release a new hotfix for Civil 3D and map 3D 2018.  The issue occurs when grip-editing an AutoCAD arc and some other objects.  The position of the mouse is different from the position of the grabbed vertex. 

The issue occurs when you move the vertex a second time within the same selection and only for AutoCAD Objects.  There are two other problems this hotfix addresses.

Click here to for more information and to download the hotfix.  Download the ZIP file and be sure to read the “hotfix readme.txt” file for installation instructions.

Update: Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D Now Available!

Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D

By Prem Joseph, Technology Consultant at SolidCAD

The Canada Ontario Styles Kit is available to download and contact SolidCAD today!

Here are some Key Highlights  listed below:

  • DWT template containing Ontario Civil 3D settings and object/ label styles
  • Plan, Profile and Plan and Profile (MTO)template sheets
  • Predefined assemblies for creating intersections
  • Pay Item Data based on Ontario Provincial Specifications categories and MTO Contract Preparation System(CPS)
  • Pipe and Structure catalogue based on Ontario Provincial Standard Drawings
  • Figure Prefix Library and Description Keys specific to MTO Surveys and Plans standards
  • TAC (metric) design criteria for roadways
  • NCS Layers
  • MTO IESCAD Layers
  • Linetypes and Hatch Patterns
  • MTO IESCAD .LIN and .PAT files
  • MTO Description Keys
  • MTO Point Marker and Label Styles
  • MTO Survey Settings and Styles
  • MTO Alignment Object
  • MTO Stationing Styles
  • TAC Design Criteria
  • TAC Superelevation Tables
  • Preset “Assembly Set” created for Intersection wizard
  • Pipe and Structure Labels
  • Pipe and Structure Rules
  • OPSD Pipes Catalog
  • OPSD Pay Items and Categories
  • MTO – CPS Pay Items and Categories

Civil 3D – Tip of the Day

Civil 3D Object Tooltips

By Prem Joseph, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

If you’ve been using Civil 3D for a while, than you’re probably loving the object tooltips!

There are two types of tooltips (Proximity and Rollover)  for Civil 3D objects, which you can find from Civil 3D help documents.

So let’s review them!


A rollover tooltip displays information about an object when you hover the cursor directly over it. If the object highlighting setting is on, the object will be highlighted when this tooltip is displayed.


A proximity tooltip displays information about the current location of the cursor with respect to one or more objects in the drawing. More specifically, it displays information about the proximity of the cursor to the objects. These tooltips are displayed without having to hover the cursor over any specific entity in the drawing.

The most important object information is displayed at the beginning of the tooltip. For alignments and surfaces, the tooltip displays the station/offset information for the closest alignment to the cursor and the elevation of the topmost surface.

If you keep your cursor in the same location, additional information is displayed in an expanded tooltip that shows up to four more items. Which items are displayed depends upon the objects in the drawing and whether tooltips are enabled for that object. If there are five alignments and five surfaces in the drawing, for example, the proximity tooltip will display three alignments and three surfaces. Alignments are shown in order of proximity to the cursor. Surfaces are shown in order from highest elevation, to lowest elevation.

On the Toolspace Settings tab, right-click Surface –> Edit Feature Settings

Notice the “New Entity Tooltip State”

On: Sets the default state of tooltips for new objects to be turned on.

Off: Sets the default state of tooltips for new objects to be turned off.

Civil 3D – Tip of the Day

Civil 3D Label Styles-Using Expressions

By Prem Joseph, Technology Consultant at SolidCAD

For every project, we either use out-of-the-box styles or create new styles to meet specific requirements of the company we work for or the project we are working on.

Once they are included in our template, we have everything covered, right?

But what if you need to display a property of an object that isn’t available under the Label Style Composer? Or maybe we want to display the label in a different way based on a certain value of the object?

First, let’s take a quick look at the fundamentals of the Expressions.

Expressions are located under the Settings tab of the Toolspace, under the Label Styles folder. (See Picture Below)

The New Component dialogue box consists of a number of components that are used to create the Expression.

  1. In the Name field enter a relevant, identifiable name for your Expression
  2. The Expression field will contain all the formulas and properties as the Expression is developed.
  3. Buttons that may be used to aid in the development of the Expression (you can enter by the keyboard if you prefer)
  4. The available object properties that may be inserted in the Expression field.
  5. Functions that may be used in the development of the Expression
  6. Choose how the results of the Expression are to be formatted. Usually always Double. (Unitless)

Let’s use an example and create an Expression that will truncate a pipe length label to the nearest 0.50 metre.

We get this request at times because not everyone wants the accuracy of a pipe length shown to the tenth of a metre.

To create the Expression right click on the “Expressions” and select New (See Image Down Below)

here are the STEPS

In the dialogue box enter a name and description for the Expression that reflects the resultant label style. (Image 1)


Pick the Formula button to expand the Expression Functions, in our case select the ROUND function (Image 2)

Image 1

Image 2

NOTE:  The image to the right shows an arrow pointing to a button that inserts the ROUND function to the Expression window.


Next we need to add the Object Property by picking the Object the Properties button and picking the appropriate Property.

In our case we will select 2D Length-Center to Center which is automatically inserted into the Expression window. (See Images Below)

Now we just need to add a little more math to complete the Expression and then click OK.


The new Expression will be displayed in the Preview window of the Toolspace>Settings tab under the Pipe Label Styles and is now available to be applied to a pipe label

To add the Expression to the Label Style create a New pipe Label by copying and editing an existing style.


Copy the default Length Description and Slope label style and rename it Rounded Length and Slope (See Picture Below)

Then select the Layout tab and in the Text section on the Contents row pick the corresponding cell in the Value column and pick the Ellipse button to access the Text Component Editor. (As seen in the picture below)

In the preview window of the Component editor highlight the “2D Length…” string and press delete to remove it from the label.


In the Properties section pick the down arrow and locate the “Pipe Length to Nearest 0.5m” Expression that was created, set the Precision to 0.1 and click the UPDATE arrow to update the label in the preview window.

Click OK twice to closer the Component Editor and Label Composer.

Apply the new pipe label to the pipe object and the center to center length with be rounded to the nearest 0.50m.

Software Update for Autodesk Civil 3D

Performance Enhancement Tool for Autodesk Civil 3D 2014-2017

By David Hill, Technology Consultant at SolidCAD

Autodesk has received reports of major performance issues when opening, purging and plotting Civil 3D drawings in versions 2014-2017.

For Civil 3D 2017, the performance enhancement tool is part of Service Pack 1.1 and the recent release of Service Pack 3 for Civil 3D 2016 addresses this issue however earlier versions require an update applied to each user machine.

Please use the following link to review details on the issue and download the appropriate updates.