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    By David Lewis 

    On a recent AutoCAD training course, I was asked if there was a way to convert 2D level data back into 3D in a drawing that had been flattened and exploded, meaning the text was no longer associated to its respective point and neither the text or point were on the correct level.

    Initially my thoughts were to use Civil 3D as it already has a tool for converting 2D level information into a 3D surface, by elevating the text based on its content, however no such tool currently exists within AutoCAD. When similar results need to be achieved in AutoCAD I have proposed a solution that I will explain over the course of this 4 part blog.

    Part 1: Positioning text for extraction

    1. Start by turning off all layers except the layers the required text and points have been placed on. This will allow you to check that all the data you require is placed on the correct layer before manipulating it.
    2. Select all text and points, right click on screen > Clipboard > Copy with base point and type 0,0,0 into command line. See Fig 1:

      acad-part1-positioning-text-extraction-1.PNG

    3. Now open a new drawing right click on screen > Clipboard > Paste to original coordinates. See Fig 2:

      acad-part1-positioning-text-extraction-2.PNG
    4. Navigate to the quick select option located on the properties pallet in the new drawing and select it. See Fig 3. This will open the Quick select dialogue box. See Fig 4:

      acad-part1-positioning-text-extraction-3.PNG
    5. In the dialogue box use the drop down arrows and make sure ‘Apply to’ is set to Entire drawing and Object type is set to Text. Then press ok to accept the selection. See Fig 4. This will select all the text in the new drawing.

      acad-part1-positioning-text-extraction-4.PNG
    6. Make sure the ‘insertion’ snap is turned on, then select the move command on the ribbon and move all the text from the insertion point of the text to the centre of the point. See fig 5:

      acad-part1-positioning-text-extraction-5.PNG

    Assuming the position of text on the drawing was not changed after it was initially plotted, this should have placed most of the text in the correct X, Y position based on the X, Y position of the points. However, in most cases text will have been moved for presentation purposes, so it is important to check the drawing for any erroneous text and move it onto their respective points individually by placing the insertion point of the text onto the centre of the point.

    The aim of this exercise is to position all text by insertion on the point, so when it is later extracted the X,Y position of the insertion point of the text matches the X.Y position of the centre of the point.

    Note: In cases where it is clear the text has been rotated uniformly at certain areas, it may be worth copying them into the drawing on a separate layer and moving the group in isolation.

    Save the drawing and continue to Part 2 : Extracting 3D data from 2D text.