By Luke Howells
Whether we are using standard AutoCAD or Autodesk Civil 3D we all use templates to intitiate new projects to apply company drawing standards, text styles and drawing frames. Many users are comfortable making new layers, styles and blocks to keep within their own templates, but very few have taken a deeper look.
If we examine a template file inside of Autodesk Civil 3D most of the settings are housed in their own functional area where we can create and control how different elements are displayed. For example under the Surface heading we can create surface, label and table styles. However, there is also a folder under each heading simply titled commands, but what the folder contains is far from simple.
What are the Commands?
The commands folder and ultimately the list of commands inside, provide the implementation of styles and settings within the drawing. Every time we click a button from the ribbons or right click to invoke the shortcut menu we are instigating a command function.
If we take creating a surface as our example, regardless of how we choose to intitiate creating a surface, the command used in the background is called ‘Create Surface’.
We are always offered the start screen from the create surface wizard where we can name and apply a surface description.
The surface style and render material are already pre-set. This is because the default styles and settings are defined in the ‘Create Surface’ command definition which is specific to our template.
When the surface definitions are added, and the surface is displayed, its appearance properties are also pre-determined by the ‘Create Surface’ command. The use of minimum and maximum heights and angles produce the surface constraints.
These options can be amended in the surface properties after creation, but being able to speed up the efficiency of drawing production with the removal of repetitive tasks is key. Defining the most common values in the template means that the post-creation editing is reduced.
Inside of each of the command options we can select and change some, if not all, of the default criteria for its creation.
One of the changes I often apply is within Autodesk Civil 3D versions 2018 and 2019. The UKIE template default for the ‘Create Surface’ command is set to not restrict the maximum angle for triangulation. I adjust this setting in the Build Options menu.
Each of the function types and command options will have their own set of values that can be changed. Once you have made any changes be sure to save your amended template, I personally overwrite the default .dwt file so that the next time a new drawing is launched the changes are applied automatically.