I love data shortcuts but one thing that’s always annoyed me is that in order for them to work well, you need to have all your projects in the same directory.  Many of the people I work with group their projects by client.  For example, their server might be something along the lines of p:/client number/project number.  Data shortcuts in this environment don’t work all that well because in order to work on a different project, I have to change the working folder (client number) and the data shortcut folder (project number).  Read on to find out how Civil 3D 2011 handles this.

New in 2011 is the ability to associate a drawing with a specific project.  It’s really easy to do too.  Open a drawing, set the appropriate project in the Data Shortcuts area of the Prospector, right click on Data Shortcuts and you’ll see a couple new options.  The first is to “Associate Project to Current Drawing…” and the second is to “Associate Project to Multiple Drawings…”

Now, the next time you open this drawing, your project will automatically be set to the correct working folder and project.  Just so you know, this functionality actually exists in 2010 but it was undocumented.  Most likely, there wasn’t sufficient time to test it or fully implement it.  I know of several people this will make extremely happy (Ryan, I’m thinking of you).