So, Civil 3D 2013 is just around the corner and I wanted to let you all know a few of my favorite things in this release.


Well, I can’t really comment on the performance yet as I haven’t had much chance to push the software around but, if you listen to those in the know, they’ve made some serious improvements to the performance.


There are some major improvements to the survey tools in this release. In fact, there is an entire new tab on the ribbon for your survey tools. What’s the big thing? Querying your survey database. One of the things I’ve always found awkward about the survey database is the disconnect between it and the drawing. With this release you can query your survey database and add the results of the query directly to a surface. If you add additional data to the survey database that matches the query, when you rebuild your surface, it will update (in my testing, the surfaces wasn’t marked as out of data if the survey database changed).

Survey Query

Survey Query Ribbon Tab

Now that’s pretty cool and really useful for surveyors but, there is also the ability to create a line label, WITHOUT A LINE! How many times have I been asked if you can do this? I’ve lost count and now I’ll be able to say, YES!

Line Between Two Points Label

Basically this tool creates a phantom line that is labeled. Grab the label and you can adjust the points it’s labeling between.


I’m an engineer. Why did I get into engineering? I wanted to drive trains. Three years into college and I realize that I won’t be driving any trains (I was wondering what statics had to do with trains) but now with Civil 3D 2013, I can design rail lines. There are new alignment types and settings (I’ve seen many times on the discussion groups people asking about Degree of Curvature and now we have it). Honestly, I’ve not done much with the rail tools in 2013 so I’ll leave that for someone else to write up (at least for now).

Rail Cant

The corridor creation has a new dialog box that makes it a bit easier. It’s a small improvement but hey, I’ll take anything they’ll give me. The assemblies have had some very nice improvements. When you add a subassembly to another subassembly, it will detect the correct side that it’s on for you so you don’t have to constantly change the sides as you are creating the assembly. Additionally, you can replace an existing subassembly in an assembly as well as insert a subassembly between two subassemblies.

Insert Subassemblies


The Volume Dashboard Extension is now a part of the program. If you have checked out this great tool, check out the write up I did on it earlier HERE.

One thing that I always struggled with is when you need to cut out one surface at the limit of another surface. Not a difficult task but if you change these surfaces, the process for adding the boundary again is very manual in nature. Now you can simply add one surface as a hide boundary to another surface (be careful not to get into a circular reference issue).

Surface as Hide Boundary

Pressure Networks

Yup, you heard me. You can now model pressure networks in Civil 3D 2013. There is a brand new type of object, a Pressure Network. It has it’s own parts lists and everything. Bends, tees, crosses, valves, etc are all available for you to add to your network. This is a pretty big addition to Civil 3D and I haven’t had a lot of time to get down and dirty with this yet so stay tuned for more posts on this topic as I learn the ins and outs of this.

Hopefully you’ve seen something here that makes you go, “Oooh! I can use that!”


So you have some short pipes and you have some long pipes. Labeling the long pipes is just fine but when you label the short pipes, the text is longer than the pipe so you have to manually edit the label and put those line breaks in or you have to change the style the label is using for one that stacks the different pieces of data. Well NO MORE! Come on now! This is CIVIL 3D we’re talking about!

As long as you have Civil 3D 2012 that is…

Anyways, in Civil 3D 2012 there is a new option in the label style to set a maximum length to a text component. We can use this to specify how long we want the label to be. Now, the trick here is to use an expression for the maximum label length. We have to do this because the length of the label is measured in plotted units, not absolute model units.

The expression will look like this:

Expression used to limit label length

To create the expression, on the settings tab in Civil 3D, expand out Pipe, Label Styles, Plan Profile. Right click on Expressions and choose “New”. Give it a name (this will appear in the label style later), a description (this is optional), and the expression itself.

Now that the expression is created, you can add this to your label style. In your pipe label style, simply add this expression to the Maximum Width of the label text component.

Applying the expression

Your expression will now show up as an option for the Maximum width of your label. Once you have applied this, your label will automatically adjust for you.

Labels Automatically Shortened

As you can see in this example, there are some limitations. If any single word is longer than the pipe length, it will not be wrapped. Additionally, if you want a buffer around the ends of the pipe, you can simply modify the expression and subtract off half the twice the distance you want at each end (1/2″ buffer at each end means subtracting 1″ from the expression).

Hope this helps someone with their labeling issues and thanks to Brooke for coming up with the great idea!

CAD-1 has been selling a library of parts for the pipe networks that assist in modeling waterlines, sewerlines, as well as some local storm sewer parts. I’ve had several people call asking for assistance on how to use these parts so I decided to create a series of videos that should help with that. Now, if you aren’t using our part library, there is still a lot of good information in these videos for anyone that is using the pipe networks for modeling your waterlines.

If you are interested in purchasing the library, please see our website at

If you would like to see the entire video, please click HERE

I’ve broken the video up into the different parts and have included them all here for your enjoyment.

Part1 – Introduction

Part2 – Drawing Settings

Part3 – Creating Styles

Part4 – Rule Sets

Part5 – Parts Lists

Part6 – Creating the Network

Part7 – Adding Additional Pipes