The Text Component Editor -- Layout Panel (CAD Clinic: Civil 3D Tutorial)

31 May, 2007 By: Phillip Zimmerman

Defining the properties of a label in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

In last month's "CAD Clinic: Civil 3D," I began to define a Pin and Parcel Area label. The initial steps of defining a label occur in the Label Style Composer dialog box. This dialog box contains the Information, General, Layout, Dragged State and Summary tabs.

This month, I'll concentrate on the Layout panel and the Text Component Editor. The values in the Layout panel and the Text Component Editor define the properties a label annotates. The label properties for each object type vary, and you must view the list to familiarize yourself with the values.

The Layout Tab
The Layout tab contains the Component Names for each text component of a label. A label component can contain a single or multiple properties of an object. For example, a label can annotate only the area of a parcel or the area, perimeter, pin and other parcel properties. You select which properties to use in a label in the Text Component Editor.

The Layout panel has three sections: General, Text and Border.

The General section contains the Name, Visibility, Anchor Component and Anchor Point of the Component Name. When creating a label component, Civil 3D names the Component Text.1. You should rename the component to a more suitable name.

The Anchor Component defines where the Component name is located in the drawing. If the label has several components, one component must be anchored to the feature. The remaining components can be anchored to other label components. For example, if the Area label is anchored to the feature (parcel centroid), the Pin is anchored to the Bottom center of the Area text. The Anchor Point is the attachment point of the Component name to another component or feature. If the Anchor Point is another component name, you will need to choose from the AutoCAD text justification points.

You can choose from AutoCAD's text justification points.

The Text section contains the contents of the label and its position within the label. See the first figure for more information. The Content's value is the formatted property set in the Text Component Editor. The remaining entries affect the x and y offset, color, attachment, rotation and text height of the component. Civil 3D's ability to resize its labels is a direct result of defining the text height as a paper size. This allows Civil 3D to resize a label's text when a new scale is set for a viewport.

The Border section defines an outline for the text component. The border can have corners that are square or round, a background mask, a gap between the border and the text and a background color.

If wanting to have several lines of text enclosed in a single border, define a single content entry with multiple properties. The Name Area & Perimeter label has one label component with three properties. When toggling on a border, the border encloses all of the label's text.

If the properties name, area and perimeter were separate label component names, each would have its own border.

Creating Component Content
You create a Component name by clicking on the left-most icon to the right of the component name drop-list arrow. When selecting this icon, Civil 3D creates a new component name with default values.


You need to rename the component and set other necessary values if they are different from the default values. The default content for the label is the text string, Label Text. You change the text by selecting the cell and typing in a value. However, you need to add one or more properties to the label instead of using static text. Adding and formatting properties for the text content is done in the Text Component Editor. You call the editor by clicking in the Value cell for Text Contents and selecting the ellipsis (see the figure above).

The Text Component Editor defines label text, properties and the property's formatting. The right side of the dialog box is the area for text, justifying, setting fonts and organizing the label properties. The left side selects and sets the property and its formatting. The blue arrow in the center left transfers the settings on the left side to the right side preview area. The blue arrow is important even when editing the format of an existing label component. After editing the format values on the left side, you must select the blue arrow to transfer the changes to the right side. If you don't do this, the label doesn't change to the values you thought you set.


After determining the properties for a label component, set the format of the text and label values. The Text Component Editor's Format tab overrides the default text style, color and font. You can also set the component's justification, add underlining and symbols and import text (TXT and RTF files).


If the text should be left-justified, select all of the text in the right side and select Left from the Justification list on the left side of the dialog box. All of our text will be left justified and the first line prefixes the parcel PIN number with PIN.

The list of properties changes by the object and label type. A parcel area label has different properties than a parcel line segment. You should review the properties list for each label and object type. Some of the properties lists are quite long.


The next step is selecting a parcel property for the PIN label. You select the Properties tab in the center of the dialog box to view the Properties panel. At the top left of the dialog box, you click on the Properties drop list arrow and select Parcel Tax ID from the list. This places the modifiers and their values on the left side of the dialog box. There is only one modifier for the PIN. To make the Tax ID content for the label, click on the blue arrow to transfer it to the right side of the dialog box.

The next property for the label content is the parcel's area. In the right side, place the cursor after the greater-than sign and press the Enter key to start a new line. Enter in the text "Area:" for the prefix to the area value. At the top left of the dialog box, click on the Properties drop list and select Parcel Area.

A list of area modifiers appear on the left side. First, set their values and then click the blue arrow to transfer the settings to the right side. The last item to add is a SQ FT suffix after the area on the right side.


To complete the content creation for the label component, click on the OK button to return to the Label Style Composer dialog box.

To add an outline and background mask, toggle them on and set their values in the Border section of the Layout panel.


Labels, Labels, Labels
This month, you've learned how to define a new label component name, define its content and add a border. The three sections of the Layout panel define how the label initially appears in a drawing, what content it contains, the format of the content and if the component has an outline and background mask.

For the next two months we'll cover working with Google Earth data in Civil 3D. In September we'll look at the Dragged State panel and discuss how its values affect the label when it's moved to a new location in the drawing.

About the Author: Phillip Zimmerman

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!