AutoCAD 2016 saw the introduction of the Geometric Center object snap. If you aren’t familiar with this snap, it basically will snap to the “geometric center” of an object, such as a polyline. What’s the geometric center? Well, it’s the centroid or center of mass. The problem is, this snap is not available in the Snap Override menu within Civil 3D 2016 or 2017.

<note>It was pointed out to me that this doesn’t work in 2016. The shortcut menu in the ACAD.CUI that is installed with Civil 3D 2016 is incomplete as well. If you are using 2016, you’ll need to copy the menu from the ACAD.CUI that gets installed with AutoCAD, not the one installed with Civil 3D. Open the ACAD.CUI in the transfers tab and copy it over that way. </note>

AutoCAD vs. Civil 3D.png

AutoCAD vs. Civil 3D

You’ll also notice that in AutoCAD, you get the icons showing what the different snaps do whereas in Civil 3D, you don’t. If you want to enable this, you’ll need to replace the Civil 3D Snap Override menu with the AutoCAD version. To do this, go into your CUI editor (type CUI at the command line if you haven’t been there before).


Copy AutoCAD Menu

In the CUI, scroll towards the bottom (I hid the Command List to make it easier to see), expand out Partial Customization Files, ACAD, and Shortcut Menus. Under the Shortcut Menus, right click on “Object Snap Cursor Menu” and choose “Copy”. Now that the AutoCAD version is copied, we’ll go replace the Civil 3D version with the AutoCAD version. Collapse up the Partial Customization Files and expand out Shortcut Menus (directly under CIVIL), right click on Object Snap Cursor Menu and choose Delete.


Replace the Civil 3D menu with the AutoCAD menu

Once the old menu has been deleted, right click on the Shortcut Menus and choose Paste. This will paste the AutoCAD version of the menu that we copied into the Civil CUI file. Now, simply close the CUI editor and return to Civil 3D and be happy with your new snap overrides menu.


Civil 3D with the new snap menu


So, you like to use the Bearing and Distance command while drafting in Civil 3D you say? Well, you might want to be aware of a little inconsistency in the command depending on how you run it.

Rick Ellis over at Cadapult Software Solutions (the author of the Civil 3D book we use here at CAD-1) pointed this out to me and I thought it would warrant a blog post. Thanks Rick!

So, here’s the problem, two lines drawn from the same location using the Bearing and Distance transparent command end up with different bearings depending on how you run the Bearing and Distance command.

Different Results, Same Input

Different Results, Same Input

So, what did I do differently? Well, the bottom line I drew using the Bearing and Distance command by typing ‘BD at the command line (don’t forget the apostrophe). The top line I drew it using the Bearing and Distance command from the Transparent Commands Toolbar (by default on the right side of your drawing area).

This will make more sense if I explain what it is I typed. I start the line command and snap to the center of the circle. I then invoke the Bearing and Distance transparent command using one of the methods listed above (repeat with the other method). I then type “1” for the quadrant, “45.4545” for the bearing, and “100.00” for the distance.

Same input different results

Same input different results

That’s great and all but, which one is wrong? Well, technically, they are both right, they’re just different. When ‘BD is typed at the command line, and you input 45.4545 for the bearing, it sees that as 45o45’45”. when you use the Bearing and Distance command from the toolbar, you are actually using the ‘_BD command and it returns a bearing of 45.4545o which, as you can see in the video, works out to be about 45o27’16”. Neither is wrong, they’re just different.

HereĀ is a video with commentary that I made if you want some additional clarification: