So, it’s not completely dynamic but, it may give you more flexibility then what you can get out of Civil 3D. Currently, the primary problem with Civil 3D line labels is that they can only have one rotation. What if I want to adjust the location of the line label and rotate it just a little bit so that it makes my drawing a bit more legible? Well, using C3D labels, that is very difficult to do as you would have to create a new label style for each rotation.
I think some people for get that the program we all use and love (well, love most of the time) is NOT Civil 3D, it is AuotCAD Civil 3D. It is built on the AutoCAD platform so why not utilize the capabilities of AutoCAD to assist us in those areas that still need a bit of work in C3D. In the following image, you can see a line that is labeled. I can take this label and adjust it however I like. I can move it off the line, rotate, and scale however I want.
How was this label created? Well, it’s simply a piece of MTEXT with a field inserted into it. I’m surprised at how many people are unaware of this capability, especially C3D users. I think it is because we get into the, “I have to use the Civil 3D tools to accomplish this” and we don’t think that perhaps there are other ways. So, what is a field? Basically, a field takes some data from someplace and puts it into a piece of text. For example, if you are creating a report in word and you number the pages, those page numbers are a field that says, “At this point in the text, put in the current page number”.
To create this label, create a piece of text (can be any type of text, I’m going to use MTEXT). If you are using MTEXT you can select Field under the Insert Panel on the Text Editor ribbon tab. If you aren’t using MTEXT, you can right click in the text editor and choose Insert Field… (or you can press Ctrl+F).
The Field dialog box is displayed. There are a lot of options here and I would recommend you take a look at some of them but, for now we want to label that line. Since we want properties from a line, you must select object. The upper left pulldown, “Field Category” simply filters out the field names to make it easier for you to find the specific field you want. The Object filter shows a four different possible fields, the one we want is Object (go figure!). Moving to the right a bit, chose the object you want to get the properties from by pressing the button next to the Object Type text box and select the line in your drawing. The available properties for that object are listed, select the one you want, and then on the right you select how you want that information to be displayed. Click OK and you’re done. For this line label you’ll need to create two different fields:
These are the two fields I created. After the length field, I simply typed in the foot symbol ‘. Since this is simply a piece of text, you can scale it, rotate it, move it, make it annotative, etc. If the line changes, the fields will update according to how you have AutoCAD setup. If you leave it set default, do a regen and you’ll see the text update.
Here’s a quick video that I did showing how this works:
This is a personal comment to other bloggers, please don’t create a blog post that is only a video. I often times will glance through the text of a blog to see if it is something that I don’t know or want to know more about and then I spend the time to read the blog. If it is only a video, I have to spend the time to watch the video to find out if I want to spend the time on the topic. I don’t mind videos but, please, don’t just do video blog posts!