Toolspace Settings in Civil 3D, Part 3

18 Aug, 2009 By: Phillip Zimmerman

CAD Clinic Civil 3D Tutorial: Making changes to the Label section within Edit Label Style Defaults.

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of Imaginit.

When discussing label values and overrides, the situation is similar to object style settings, but more complex. Labels have more elements: text styles, sizes, orientation, plan readability, dragged states, etc. But, through key settings, you can quickly make all, a branch or a label type's style, conform to a basic set of rules.

Like Edit Drawing Settings, Edit Label Style Defaults quickly sets a drawing's important values. Where you make changes to the Label Style Defaults sets the change's scope. Changing Edit Label Style Defaults at the drawing level sets the values for all drawing labels. Making the changes at the feature level changes all labels for that feature. Making changes for a label type changes the values only for that label type.

Currently, the most challenging issue is tracking down what overrides a setting's value. For example, at the drawing level's Edit Label Style Defaults, to find the style overriding a setting requires reviewing each feature's settings or each feature's label style — no small task. When implementing Civil 3D, you may want to start by clearing all overrides, and then make your own adjustments while noting where and what they are.

Edit Label Style Defaults
The Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box has six sections, each affecting different default label values. In this article, we'll examine the first section, Label. This section sets a label's text style, visibility, and layer. The text style can be any valid style in a drawing (or template). A style does not need to be annotative because of Civil 3D's change-of-scale capabilities. However, even though Civil 3D does not require annotative styles, if a user wants to create AutoCAD text, these styles should be annotative.

The Edit Label Style Defaults dialog box lists six sections, all of which affect label values.

With the need for annotative styles for AutoCAD text, how should one define the styles? Since annotative styles need to have a target paper size, the old Land Desktop notion of Leroy styles makes sense. The Leroy styles recall those days of manually scribing text on a piece of paper. The Leroy plastic strips had embossed lettering that guided a steady hand in drafting notes and comments on the paper. Each Leroy strip included various sizes: L100, L120, L140, etc. L100 featured embossed letters that were 0.1 inch on the piece of paper. Each strip defined a target text height for the scribed text.

Annotative Leroy Text Styles.

Unfortunately, for AutoCAD and LDT, the assumption when creating text was that the drawing would only be plotted at a single scale. Most production people know — and have known for a long time — that that is not the case. Many times, at the beginning of a project, well-intended, single-need plotting scales are supplanted by many others. The scale changes mean that text and symbols are either too large or too small for the new plotting values.

Using an annotative text style for a Civil 3D label does not prevent it from being used as AutoCAD text. The visibility setting allows you to hide the style by toggling off its visibility, instead of turning off its layer.

The style's layer value is important. When you assign a layer to the settings at the drawing level, all labels will appear on this layer. The drawing level is not where you would want to set this layer; it would be at the object or label type level. However, layer 0 (zero) does have implications for all labels in Civil 3D.

Civil 3D's help states: "The default layer is 0. When the layer is set to 0, the labels use the properties of the parent object layer specified on the Object Layers tab of the Drawing Settings dialog box." What this means is, if a label's layer is 0 (zero), it looks to the Object Layers panel and the layer values for that object type label (for example, assigning labels to alignments).

The first question is, if I use the same label styles for existing and proposed alignments, do I have to define a label style for each case using different layers? The answer is yes because, although they are the same label, they are differentiated by existing and proposed, and you may want to independently control their visibility.

This strategy makes you define two alignment styles for alignments, using X-CL-TEXT or P-CL-TEXT. The advantage is you can assign each layer a different color, but what happens when you have two or more proposed alignments? How do you use the same layer but independently control visibility? If you follow the layer 0 (zero) strategy, the label layer names are from the alignment they label. For example, if the alignment is Maple, the alignment labeling layer has the root of C-ROAD-TEXT, suffixed with –MAPLE.

This results in a unique layer for each alignment's labels. The necessary entry in Edit Drawing Settings, the Object Layer panel would be -* (a dash followed by an asterisk). The asterisk appends the object's name to the alignment root label layer name.

The Object Layers panel in the Edit Drawing Settings dialog box.

The Object Layers panel has many object types that can use the layer suffix strategy. You may want to experiment with these settings to see what best suits you. To be sure, there are arguments against layer 0 (zero) label styles. For example, if wanting not only to differentiate existing from proposed, what if existing and proposed are different colors to be plotted by different pens? You may decide that having a single layer root name appended by the object name is not to your liking, and want to use colors from different layers to drive pens.

When setting initial values for label styles, you should define your initial layer strategy. Do you differentiate labels between existing and proposed, or do you want to append the layer names by the object the label annotates? This second strategy assigns label styles layer 0 (zero) and lets the settings in Edit Drawing Settings, Object Layers panel prevail.

In my next tutorial, I'll address the remaining sections of Edit Label Styles.

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!