Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Transfer Object Layer Settings Between Drawings

I found a nice "undocumented feature" in Civil 3D 2011 today. I found this totally by accident and though I lost a couple of minutes worth of changes to a template, I know that this find will save me a lot of time in the future, especially when a drawing is started from the wrong template.

One of the frustrating things about working with old drawings is that everything gets placed on Layer 0. Some of this can be corrected by using commands such as AECIMPORTSTYLES and AECCIMPORTSTYLESANDSETTINGS as posted by Scott McEachron of the I.II.I consortium. I haven't had great success with those commands yet, but as Scott stated, the commands are undocumented and unsupported.

Well here's another undocumented and unsupported feature (some might even call it a bug):

You can copy the Object Layers settings from one drawing to another...in seconds...FOR FREE! Want to know how? Here you go:

Before you begin, I will state that I'm using Civil 3D 2011 on the Windows 7 64-bit OS. I can't guarantee that it will work on older versions of Civil 3D or on a different OS.
  1. Create a drawing from a template that contains the correct Object Layer settings. I'll call this drawing "TEMPLATE".
  2. Now open a drawing that doesn't have the correct Object Layer settings. I'll call this drawing "BLANK".
  3. Make Toolspace visible (type showts at the command line or locate the toolspace button on the Home Tab of the ribbon).
  4. Select the Settings tab on the Toolspace palette.
  5. Set the view dropdown to Master View.
  6. Make sure that the "BLANK" drawing is current (it's shown at the top of the list in the Settings tab).
  7. Now scroll down until you see the "TEMPLATE" drawing in the Settings tab.
  8. With your cursor positioned over the "TEMPLATE" drawing name, right click and select Edit Drawing Settings... from the list.
  9. Select the Object Layers tab and verify that these are the object layers that you want used in the "BLANK" drawing.
  10. Now all you have to do is left click on OK.
Voila! You have just changed all the default Object Layers in your current drawing, "BLANK", to those in the "TEMPLATE" drawing. Feel free to check for yourself.

I'm interested in hearing if this trick works on older versions of Civil 3D and/or other operating systems, both 32-bit and 64-bit so please leave me a comment.


Justin Ralston said...

Worked for me in 2010 on xp pro

Anonymous said...

Sweet! If this works on OLDER versions (like 2009 or older) I am going to be upset - you don't know how much time I spent playing with those layer settings in drawings that didn't originate in Civil 3D.

TimStalin said...

Well, I can confirm that this trick/bug works for every version/OS back to 2009.

Oh those wasted hours. It also explains why a drawing reset all the object layers back to 0 for no apparent reason.

TommieR said...

Thanks for testing and posting your results. I hope Autodesk keeps this "feature" in future versions and adds the ability to copy the Abbreviations and Ambient Settings in a similar fashion.

camdinga said...

Now if I could just figure out how to apply this to existing objects in my drawing........

Tommie Richardson said...

If you're applying a new description key, that's easy. Changing object layer settings on existing objects in the drawing, not so much. Maybe assigning a standards file could help some.

Alan M. said...

Holy crap. Why have I never googled this before. This would have saved me hours and hours of work and pulling my hair out. And it almost seems like an accidental bug. I knew I could drag and drop setting from one drawing to another using Master View, but this makes that feature almost pointless if you have your template set up properly.