Surface Contours are Missing in AutoCAD Civil 3D (3 Possible Solutions!)

Your Civil 3d Surface Contours are not shown? Don’t worry, the missing surface contours problem can be due to several different reasons. Here, we will go through each possibility one by one.

Surface Contours are turned off

The first, and maybe the most obvious reason for missing contours, is that they’re turned off in the current Surface Style. To check if that is the case, follow the steps below.

  1. First open the Toolspace, under Prospector, extend the Surfaces tab so you can see your surface there.
  2. Then right-click on the surface name and select Edit Surface Style
  3. A window will pop up, go to the Display tab and check if the Visibility of the Major and Minor contours is turned On.
  4. Hit OK to close the window.

If the contours are on, and you still cannot see them on the screen, proceed to the second solution.

Surface or Contours’ Layer is turned Off (or Frozen)

The second reason for missing the Surface Contours is also quite an obvious one. More particularly, the layer could be turned off.
Here, however, you can find one small hurdle. You have to check, for both the Contours’ and the Surface object Layers. This is because the contours could have nested different layers.

First, let’s check the counters layer, go back to the Surface Style window, and under the Display tab, check what is the layer of the Major and Minor Contours. Then check if the said layer/layers are turned On (or frozen).

Then, if your terrain contours are still not shown, let’s check if the layer of the whole Surface Object is turned On/Off. To do that, go again to the Toolspace, under Surfaces, where you can find your surface. Right-click on it and choose Select, to select the surface object.

Now, as the surface is selected in the object Properties you can check what is the layer of the surface object. Then check if the said layer is turned On or Off.

AutoCAD Civil 3D Level of Detail

This is an option, that I personally found out about, fairly recently. It is supposed to hide some of the linework from the more complex drawings.
Unfortunately for me, it tends to hide out the surface Contours when the Terrain is more complex. This left me wondering, why the surface contours are missing from my Civil 3D drawing…

To turn it off, go to View Ribbon, and under Views drop down menu, click on Level of Detail.

I hope these suggestions helped you to bring back your missing contours.
If you know about other Civil 3D options that can mess with the Surface Contours, please let us know in the comments below.

If you want to learn more Civil 3D Tips & Tricks, check out our other AutoCAD Civil 3D posts!

Move, Copy and Rotate. All with one command!

Spending time in some repetitive tasks is a thing that nobody likes to do. There are some basic commands in AutoCAD that we just can’t work without like Copy, Rotate and move. However, when we have to copy several objects and then align or rotate them we can get annoyed fast! This process can take lots of time in typing and selecting.

Well, as Title suggests today we are going to look at one command which can perform all these tasks at once! The tool is called MoCoRo and it is a part of AutoCAD Express Tools. 

MoCoRo – Move, Copy and Rotate and more!

MoCoRo is “hidden” tool that most of the people are unfamiliar with, even though it sounds like heaven. There are many people who have heard about it but don’t use it. Maybe because we are so used to type in CO  to trigger copy, RO for rotate and M for move that using another command for those tasks looks a bit odd.

To use this great tool we have to type in command line MOCORO then AutoCAD will prompt us to select an Object. After selecting objects we have to select Base Point, selecting Basepoint is very important and in the beginning can be a bit tricky. When we have our base point selected AutoCAD will give us some options:


It’s all clear I think so we can start doing our job. If we have chosen copy, and we want to rotate the newly copied object we just hit Enter, Space or Right click. This won’t close the tool but will give us the options again.

This is a really great command that can save us lots of time just give it a try!



How to find Closest Distance Between 2 Objects?

AutoCAD Civil 3D is very useful and powerful software. Along with it’s great functionality related to road design, pipe design, vertical planing etc. it provides many small and very very useful drafting tools.

Today we are going to look at one of them it is called Minimum Distance Between Entities and as name suggests we are going to find the closest distance between two objects.

This usually isn’t hard job even if we don’t use this tool however it takes time and we all know the time is very expensive. For example we will look for the closest distance between our building outline and property line.

As you can see it is not so easy to find exactly which corner is the closest to the property line.

Where to find the tool?

The handy tool we are talking about is found in the Analyze tab at the ribbon, then we go to Inquiry panel’s dropdown list. Here we can see it – Minimum Distance Between Entities.

The command is MinDistBetweenEntities, it is long one but if AutoCAD will help us
writing it. We just have to write “Mind… and it will auto-suggest the command.

How to use it?

We just have to fallow these simple steps:

  1. We start the tool in one of the two ways we looked at
  2. Now Civil 3D will ask us to select the two objects. We select the objects and hit enter.
  3. Civil 3D will give us option to draw an line that connects the 2 closest points. Here we hit yes because we would like to place dimension there. And we are ready!


As we can see in this picture these were indeed the closest distances!



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