Alignment Stations Through COGO Points! (Civil 3D Stations On COGO POINT!)

Working as a Civil Engineer more particularly doing Road Design, Often I have to work on Road rehabilitation/Reconstruction Projects. When doing design for rehabilitation it is of great importance to use correct point elevations, in order to calculate more accurately Asphalt quantities. Usually, when surveying an Existing road we try to survey at 10-meter sections. However, it is practically impossible to survey a Miles long Road through at exactly 10m (33ft.) sections. This is why we need to place Stations through our Alignment at different increment, exactly where we have surveyed a point. So how do we manage that?

Some programs are able to place stations at surveyed points, but Civil 3D doesn’t allow us this. Today we will go through a method that allows us to do just that!

Stations At COGO Points

First, let us take a look at our example, we have Points for the Left and Right Edge of pavement and the Centerline.

The points are approximately at 10m intervals, now we will add Alignment stations along them. Of course, we can use our Guide for Adding custom stations along Alignment in Civil 3D. but, imagine if we had a thousand points? It would be suicidal time lose for our project. So let’s take a look at the new method that will allow us to Automatically place Stations Along Alignment at Cogo Points.

  1. Open the Toolspace and go to the Toolbox tab.
  2. Now expand Reports Manager, then Points and double click on Station Offset to Points.
  3. A window will pop up, there we select the points we want to use for Alignment stations. Then click on Create Report.

  4. AutoCAD Civil 3D will create an HTML report and will present it into your browser (you can change the format in “save report to“). Now just copy the data in the report and paste it into a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet (or google sheets).
  5. At this point, we need only the Station Data so we delete everything else and revise the Spreadsheet to look like this:
  6. Then we save the file in .txt format and open it in the Notepad. There we revise it yet again in order to end up with something like this:

    Note: Numbers have to be separated by “a space”
  7. Going back to Civil 3D we Start creating Sample Lines on our Alignment. Now we paste the Number data from the Notepad into the AutoCAD’s Command line.

Now we have Stations exactly where we have Cogo Points!

Set Sample lines to look like Stations

Since I have my sample lines set to look like Alignment Stations and you might not have those set up we will briefly go through the process of setting them. You can find a more detailed explanation of Setting up Alignment and Sample Line Labels in Civil 3d here!

  1. Go to Edit Sample Line Labels In Group…
  2. There create a New Label Style.
  3. Go to Layout and Add Text Component. Under Contents I have: <[Sample Line Station Value(Ukm|FD|P2|RN|AP|GS|UN|Sn|ORD)]>
    To display my station number. However, you can add Station Km or much more.
  4. After finishing with the Label, Add it to the Sample Line Labels and hit Ok.

You can also turn Sample Line “Line” off in order to hide those lines that go through my Stations.

We will take a look at How to Create a Profile View through Cogo Points in another Post. Stay tuned for that!

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OOPS!! It is not possible, I haven’t deleted it!

The Problem

It is common problem to select and delete object by accident and realize that the object is missing after you have done some more things on your drawing.
Other situation would be if you have deleted something and after a little time you realize that it would be good to have your object back.

Solution

Yes, we all know about UNDO command. We see it in every software and it is one of the most important commands in AutoCAD. However if we want to bring back last erased object, we would have to lose all other commands that we have used after deleting it.

The OOPS command, yes OOPS! What this command does is retrieving the Last Erased Object, without affecting any other newly placed object or command.  On the other hand UNDO will retrieve the Last Command you have used.

OOPS command can be very powerful and useful I will try to create one little example just to help you understand it better:

UNDO Command
OOPS Command

Note: You can also use OOPS after BLOCK or WBLOCK because these commands can erase the selected objects after creating a block.

You cannot use OOPS to restore objects on a layer that has been removed with the PURGE command.

Can’t Select More Than One Object (AutoCAD gone crazy!)

Objects select is not working properly

I bet everyone has had this problem. You are trying to select objects one by one, but oops, there is something wrong with selecting. Only the last object is selected.

The other problem you might have is trying to deselect an object using shift + left click, but AutoCAD doesn’t allow you to do it.

In that moment you are thinking “I am sure it worked before”

Yes, it really worked and is meant to work the way we remember. The difference comes from system variable called PickAdd.

How does this happen?

The way you can accidentally turn this system variable ON and OFF is by clicking on on the Plus sign in the properties window. When you have clicked on it once it turns to a small down-facing arrow ( the sign is “1”  in older versions).

How to turn selecting objects back to normal?

There are three ways we can get the job done.

  1. We open the properties window (by hitting CTRL +1) and then we click on the “arrow” symbol once so it turns back to “+”
  2. Second way is to type in command line PICKADD and then enter “1”
  3. The third way to get the job done is by opening the Options window ( right click on drawing space and select Options) and going to Selection tab. There we have to uncheck  „Use Shift to add to selection“

We are good to go!

 

Coordinates of a Polyline in AutoCAD? But How and Why?

Coordinates of polyline.

Coordinates are one of the most important properties in our drawings. Unless you are an architect, architects don’t like coordinates, they usually work in orthogonal projection somewhere in drawing. However even if you are working in local system you can find this tip useful.

As we previously dissguesed, polylines are very powerful objects and can be used in numerous cases. There for it will be great if we export their vertexes’ X,Y and Z coordinates. For example: We want coordinates of building outline (polyline), which is magenta color in the picture.

To complete one task in AutoCAD we can use several methods but let’s find which is the simplest yet fast and powerful enough.

 

Manual

This is always an option. We can write down or copy information manually. But this will be pain for long objects with many vertexes.

Points?

Yes we can use AutoCAD points or Cogo points (Civil 3D)  but again we will lose way too much time and energy for this.

LIST command

The fastest way of getting the coordinates of a polyline is one really great command – LIST.

We can use LIST to display and then copy the properties of selected polyline (it works with different objets) to a text file.

The text window displays the X,Y, and Z coordinates relative to the current user coordinate system (UCS) and whether the object is in model space or paper space.

LIST also reports the following information:

  • Color, linetype, lineweight, and transparency information, if these properties are not set to BYLAYER.
  • The thickness of an object, if it is nonzero.
  • Extrusion direction (UCS coordinates), if the extrusion direction differs from the Z axis (0,0,1) of the current UCS.
  • Additional information related to the specific object type. For example, for dimensional constraint objects, LIST displays the constraint type (annotation or dynamic), reference type (yes or no), name, expression, and value.

To use it we just have to type LIST in command line. Then AutoCAD will ask us to select an objets, we select our polyline and hit Enter. Window will pop up there we can see all the information we need. Simple as that!

Don’t forget to explore other great AutoCAD Tips! Amplify your work to the Next Level!

Edit Vertexes and use Linetype Polylines!

This will be a very short post about some really, really basic stuff. More especially how to edit our Polylines.

Polyline

A polyline is a connection of line segments created as a single object. You can create straight line segments, arc segments, or a combination of the two.

Why would we use polylines? As one of the most used objects in AutoCAD, there are many reasons why we would like to use them too. Basic reasons would be: Verticles remain joined after editing, Controlling line width for the entire object or it’s segment, Editing a single object, Application of different line types, 3D capabilities.

Editing Vertexes of polylines

To edit vertexes of our polylines we can use command PEDIT and then go to Edit Vertex option. There we will find a lot of different options for vertexes.

However, there is a faster and easier way to add, delete or stretch polyline’s vertex. We just have to select the polyline and put our mouse above one of the vertexes, then AutoCAD will show us three options we can do with the vertex – Stretch, add or remove. Easy as that!

Note: If we just click on polyline vertex without waiting for the menu we will end up with Stretch command.

Using line type

There is a common issue with Polylines Linetype – When we draw polylines in AutoCAD, they are created with Linetype Generation set to OFF. As a result, some Linetypes are just ugly and are way off what we want. This is easily seen with dashed or dash-dot line types.

We can start trying to change Linetype scale until it looks good, but there is a more elegant solution which won’t harm your Linetype scale – setting Linetype Generation to Enabled.

To set Linetype Generation for the future polylines we just have to change a simple system variable.

We type PLINEGEN in the Command line, and press Enter. When prompted to Enter new value for PLINEGEN, we type 1 and press Enter.

 

 

How to Copy Multiple Text Objects from AutoCAD to Excel

The task?

Have you ever tried to copy AutoCAD text objects to Microsoft Excel? Usually, when you copy multiple text objects from AutoCAD and paste those to Excel they look like a picture. If you double click on that picture, AutoCAD automatically launches and opens a fragment of our drawing which we have copied as a new .dwg file.
Yet, oftentimes we need to copy multiple AutoCAD Text objects and have those pasted to different Excel Cells as texts for example copying coordinates of points in AutoCAD to Microsoft Excel.

Solution! Copy multiple Text from AutoCAD to Excel!

I am sure that there are some lisps or even software addons for AutoCAD that could help us copy multiple text objects to excel. However, today we are going to look at one basic method which is extremely fast and doesn’t require third-party software.
To complete the task of copying several AutoCAD Text objects to Excel we will go through some very simple steps:

  1. First, you need to convert the text objects to one Mtext object. To do that, type in the command line TXT2MTXT and select the text objects.

    Note: For best results, align the text objects the way you need them in Excel.
  2. Then, double click on the MText object and Copy the text (Ctrl + C)
  3. Now launch Microsoft Excel and paste the data there. All the text will be pasted in a single cell. Don’t worry it is normal!
  4. Now select the cell with the text, then go to the Data tab, there, we click on Text To Columns.

  5. A window will pop up called Convert Text to Columns Wizard. Here we have 3 pages with settings. But don’t worry they require maximum 1 click!
    1. On the first page, select Delimited and hit Next
    2. On the second page, set the delimiters. In the example we select “Space” and deselect “Tab“.
    3. There is nothing worth doing in the third page so we just hit Finish!
  6. The copied text is now Horizontaly aligned in Excel. The last step is to transpose the table (convert it from horizontal to vertical). To do that select the filled cells, copy them and then right-click on an empty cell somewhere on the sheet to select Paste Special > Transpose.

Cool! The text objects are now pasted in Excel. We will repeat the procedure for other text objects if we need it!

Check out more AutoCAD Related Articles in our blog! And don’t forget to share the trick with your friends and colleagues!

Create Polyline around the Outside of Multiple Objects!

As we discussed in the previous post related to Civil 3D – How to find Closest Distance Between 2 Objects? there are a lot of great drafting tools that can improve our work.

Create Outside boundary of Multiple objects

For today’s post, we are going to look at a tool that automatically creates Polyline around the Outside of Multiple Objects.

This can be really useful when we need to compute some overall areas. For example, if we have several parcels and we want to get the whole area they take. Or if we have some irregularly shaped objects and we want to compute their area – like river outline.

The command – LINEWORKSHRINKWRAP

The tool’s command is LINEWORKSHRINKWRAP. Civil 3D will automatically auto-fill the command if we type in “Linewo” so don’t worry if you can’t remember the whole thing…  After starting the command we just have to select objects from which we want to create the outer polyline.

Note: This tool works with all AutoCAD objects like line, polyline, circle, etc. as well as with Civil 3d objects like corridors, surfaces, etc.

 

Create Separate Hatches Fast and Easy!

Separate hatches in AutoCAD? Everyone knows that!

This week we had in our office some engineering students from Architectural University who wanted to see how work look in the real world. Their task was to make some typical cross sections of roads. Usually, we place different hatches for different layers, so they had to do the same. However as I passed through I saw that they are making one hatch, then hit ok, then make another hatch and so on. This could take twice as much time as creating all hatches with just one use of the command.

After we explained to them how to create their hatches faster with much less effort, they looked really amazed.

So the young students are my inspiration to create this post about something as simple as creating hatches. Here we would look at how to create separate hatches without the need of starting HATCH command for every hatch.

So how to do the trick?

It’s very simple we just have to start hatch command by typing HATCH,  then in the Hatch Creation ribbon tab under Options drop-down list we can see the tool – Create Separate Hatches.

Now as we have the option selected can start Hatching without stopping to create new separate hatch! A piece of cake!

Note: If we want to go back to normal Hatch creating we can always go back to Hatch options and click once again on Create Separate Hatches!

You can take a look at this little demonstration:

 

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!

 

 

Auto-Rotate Multiple text Objects!

Rotate manually?

We have multiple text objects aligned to a specific object. However, when we go to layout rotate the view and our text is turned upside down. What should we do? Rotate, rotate, rotate… until all the text is facing the “correct” way. Maybe if we are new to AutoCAD…

Auto-Rotate Text in AutoCAD

Today we will take a look at one more very interesting Express Tool command – TORIENT (to remember it easier I think of Text orientation). We can find the command also in express tools ribbon if we don’t want to remember it.

This command rotates text, mtext, and attribute definition objects so that they end up being more readable. Objects are rotated about their middle point in 180-degree increments.  As an option, we can specify a new absolute orientation angle for all selected text objects.

How to use it? Well, we will go through all the steps here:

  1. Type in TORIENT (or choose it from the Express Tools ribbon)
  2. AutoCAD will ask us to select objects, so we select the one we want to rotate and hit enter.
  3. Now we have to choose an option – New absolute rotation or Most Readable. I find Most Readable great in the most cases. Hit enter and we are ready! Our text is rotated!

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