Where’d my dialog box go?

Today, in the Autodesk discussion groups, I answered a question that I’ve been asked seemingly hundreds of times. It’s not really a Civil 3D problem, because it can happen in any AutoCAD-based problem.

Ever start a command and expect to see a dialog box asking you for options, but instead see the command options on the command line? For example, ever click on the “Open Drawing” button only to have the program ask you at the command line what file to open? That’s a little scary, especially if it’s never happened to you before. But, it’s easy to fix. Before I tell you what the fix is, let me say that no, I don’t know what causes this to happen. This is yet another AutoCAD gremlin that only shows up from time to time. I actually made it happen consistently in Civil 3D the other day.

To fix it, there are two system variables that you need to check. To check the system variables, simply type them at the command prompt. The value that they are set to will pop up beside their name in brackets. The first one is FILEDIA and the second is CMDDIA.

Hopefully, this tip will help you avoid panic next time you lose your command dialog boxes.


  1. Terry says:

    Thanks Jason
    From what I’ve seen it is related to the users hitting the ESC key in the middle of a command. I don’t know for sure but that problem slowed down once I got people to stop using the ESC key.

  2. Kevin says:

    Yep, the ESC key is part of the problem in LDT. As I recall, most of the current commands in LDT began as lisp routines and have stayed that way. In order to execute certain commands, filedia & cmddia were toggled so that user interaction was not required and would be toggled back at completion of the command. So, when user X goes into default mode using the ESC key to end commands in LDT, you get this condition.

  3. Greg N. says:

    They both should be set to “1” I think you missed that part.