Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the interface, part of Civil 3D Essential Training.
- Before we get started working on tutorials I'd like to take you on a quick tour of the interface. This will also give us a chance to synchronize our settings, so that what you see on my screen matches what you see on your screen. First of all, Civil 3D uses a ribbon style interface, much like what we have in AutoCAD. The ribbon is divided up into these tabs. Note the tab names are task based, you can use that to your advantage when you're looking for tools. For example, if I wanted to create some text labels I would probably find the command on the Annotate tab.
If I wanted to add content to the drawing, like external references or blocks, I would probably find that command on the Insert tab. Each tab is divided up into these panels. A panel represents a small collection of related tools. The ribbon tab we'll use most often in this title is the Home tab. This one contains a nice general purpose collection of tools. Now, you may notice that my ribbon looks a little different than yours. That's because the screen resolution I'm using is probably smaller than what you're using on your monitor.
For that reason we are not seeing all of the text labels next to these icons. Now, there is something I can do on my end to kind of stretch things out. If I come down and right click on the ribbon, notice there is a Show Tabs and Show Panels option, we can use these options to hide the display of tabs and panels. In the Show Panels menu, I'm going to come down and remove the check next to Clipboard to hide the display of that panel. As you can see, that stretches everything over and we can now see some of the text labels.
Take a look at this area on the left side of the Home tab. I like to call this the creation area. If you want to create a Civil 3D object this is where you'll go to do it. Keep that in mind. On the left side of the interface we'll find the Toolspace palette. As you can see, mine is currently displayed. If yours is not, you can turn it on and off using the large Toolspace button here in the Palettes panel. The Toolspace palette is divided up into four tabs. As a side note, each of these tabs is also controlled using a toggle in the Palettes panel.
If you want to turn these on and off you can do that using the icons right here. The tabs we'll be using most often in this title are the Prospector and Settings tab. The Prospector tab is where Civil 3D displays the data that's in the current drawing. As you can see, the data can be organized into these groups. The Settings tab is where we'll adjust our drawing settings. Likewise, the Civil 3D styles that control how our data looks are organized into these groups. We'll talk more about Settings and Prospector a little bit later.
At the bottom of the interface are some tabs. These represent model space and the sheets of paper that we'll use to plot drawings. Now, if your tabs are not displaying, let me show you how you can turn them on. I'm going to right click in the middle of the screen and I'll come down and choose Options. In the Options dialogue box we'll go to the Display tab, and then we'll come down and make sure that the Display Layout and Model tabs option is selected. Almost to the bottom of the interface is the Command line. Now, this is the same Command line we use in AutoCAD.
As you can see, mine is docked to the interface. This Command line can also be floating. Let me show you, I'm going to click and hold on this handle, and I'll pull this out into model space. If your Command line is floating, I would recommend that you dock it, just so it takes up less space. We'll do that by clicking and holding on the handle, I'll pull this to the bottom of the screen until we see that rectangle, and then I'll release. You can then adjust the height of the Command line by clicking and holding on this top line, just drag it up and down. A good rule of thumb says that you need to see three lines of text in your Command line.
But since I'm working with a small screen size, I'm only going to display two. This area at the bottom of the interface is called the Status Bar. Here's where we'll find a series of toggles that control how Civil 3D works. Now, these are the same toggles that we have in AutoCAD, there's no new ones in Civil 3D. I would like us to be using the same settings. So, here's what we're going to do, if you are using Civil 3D 2014 and prior, I'd like you to look at the bottom of your interface, you'll find a collection of buttons, right down at the bottom middle.
I'd like you to run down the line and turn each of those items off. The blue ones are turned on, the gray ones are off. Just as an example, I can click one on my screen here to turn it off. So, if you're using 2014 and prior, turn all of your Status icons off. When you're finished, I'd like you to turn two of them back on. We'll turn the Dynamic Input on. You can do that by clicking the button if you know which one it is, or you can press the F12 key. Likewise, I'd like you to turn on your Running Objects Snaps. You can do that by clicking the icon, or you can press F3.
At this point, if you are using Civil 3D 2014 and prior, you are set. Hold on just one second. If you are using Civil 3D 2015 and newer, I'd like you to follow along with me. We're going to come over and click the Customization button. We'll open the Customization menu, this allows us to add and remove items from the Status bar. Up here at the top, I'm going to click to turn on the coordinates. I will turn off the Grid and Snap Mode toggle to give myself a little more room down there. We won't be using those items in this course.
I'll make sure Infer Constraints is turned off. I'm going to turn on Dynamic Input. I'll keep Ortho Mode and Polar Tracking. We won't be using Isometric Drafting, so I'll turn that one off. I'll leave Object Snap Tracking and the 2D Object Snap turned on. Let's turn on LineWeight. We'll forgo Transparency. We'll turn on Selection Cycling. We'll forgo the 3D Object Snap. I'll turn on Dynamic UCS. We won't worry about Selection Filtering or Gizmo. And then I'll leave both of the Annotation items turned on at the bottom.
When I'm finished, I'll click in the middle of the screen to close the menu. Now that we have the appropriate toggles at the bottom of the screen, we're going to do the same thing that the 2014 and prior people did, we'll turn them all off. So let me turn off my Dynamic Inputs, everything else is off all the way down to the Annotation icon, that's as far as we are going to go, we'll leave this one turned on. Once we've done that, we will then turn on the same two that we used in 2014 and prior. I'll press F12 to turn on Dynamic Input, or we could click the icon.
I will then press F3 to turn on the Object Snaps, or we could click the icon. Next, this is something that all of us can do, I wan everybody to right click on the Object Snap menu and choose settings, and in the Drafting Settings dialogue box ensure that the Endpoint and Center Object Snap are the only two that are selected, and then click OK. Now, even though Civil 3D is a ribbon style interface, we still have some toolbars. If we look at the right side of the screen we'll find the Transparent Command toolbars.
These Transparent tools add functionality to many of our commands. And we'll look at several of these as we progress through the title. For right now, I just want to ensure that they're displayed on your screen. If you are not seeing the Transparent toolbars, I'd like you to go to the View tab, remember, task based, I want to view something. We'll come down to Interface, I'll select the Toolbars button, we'll go to Civil and we'll make sure that both of the Transparent toolbars are turned on. Let's go back to the Home tab, and I'd like to do one more thing, I'm going to turn on my Properties palette.
We can do that by clicking the icon here in the Palettes panel, or we can press Ctrl + 1. This is the same Properties palette we use in AutoCAD. The nice thing is, we can adjust our Civil 3D properties using this palette as well, so I'd like to have this on my screen. Now that it's here, I'm going to right click on the name bar and I'll choose Anchor Left to push this to the left side of the interface. I will then right click in the margin, and I'll choose Icons Only. This will reduce that entire palette down to a single icon.
So while I'm working, if I get to the point where I need properties, I can come over and hover, adjust the property I need, and when I move away it will collapse. Let me mention that the size of this can be adjusted. When it's open you can click and hold on this edge to make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Alright, at this point, regardless of the Civil 3D version, your system is virtually identical to mine. Now that our workspaces have been synchronized, we are ready to start working through the tutorials.
- Exploring the design data in drawings
- Creating, connecting, and grouping points
- Customizing label styles
- Defining existing ground surfaces
- Designing horizontal alignments
- Controlling alignment properties
- Creating profiles and profile views
- Sharing design data
- Creating and managing parcels
- Building assemblies
- Modeling advanced roadways
- Defining gravity-based pipe and pressure pipe networks
- Creating sections and section views
- Analyzing designs
- Generating plan sheets