Where’d my Symbol Manager go?

I’m going to start this post out by giving credit where credit is due – both Nick Zeeben and James Wedding helped me along with this one. Without them, I’d still be stuck in a hotel in Hattiesburg, Mississippi beating my head against the wall.

One of the first questions I received in my Civil 3D class this past week was “How do I find Symbol Manager?” For you Land Desktop users, you’ll know what Symbol Manager is – it inserts, catalogs, and holds your standard symbols, from north arrow and bar scale to trees, the infamous “handi-man”, and roadway signs. It’s very simple to use and very useful. I thought for a minute, looked around, and tried to think of a good workaround. A good idea didn’t come until later that night.

Now, there’s two ways to do this. There’s the way that James and Nick told me, which is to use Design Center to navigate to the folder where your symbols are stored, and create a tool palette from all those blocks. Well, for those of you who don’t mind a very long tool palette, that’s fine, but I wanted to more closely mimic the Symbol Manager from Land Desktop, so here’s what I did.

I opened a new drawing in Land Desktop using a generic project (this drawing needs to be assigned to a project for this to work). I started with my blank drawing, and just went into Symbol Manager and began inserting blocks into my drawing. I created a drawing that is essentially a library of those blocks. I then saved that drawing in a place that could easily be found (and protected).

Next, I opened the drawing in Civil 3D. and created a new tool palette. I right-clicked on each block and dragged it to my new palette (just to see if it could be done, the only palette that I did was survey symbols.) For what it’s worth, here’s what it looked like:

Now, I can right-click on any symbol on that palette and change the properties. I can give it a name, set the insert scale to correspond to the dimscale, make it non-explodable (very nice for CAD management purposes) and specify what layer and rotation I want it to have when I insert it, in addition to other settings. Here’s all you can do with that:

Now, as long as you don’t delete that block “library” drawing, or move it, you’re set for your symbol manager.

The final question was how to make the blocks to insert to the proper scale, which would be dependent on your drawing scale. This is pretty easy. First, in the block properties on the tool palette, make sure the scale is set to 1. Next, set your auxilliary scale is set to DIMSCALE. Now, go to the settings tab of toolspace. Right-click on your drawing name and click Edit Drawing Settings. Set your drawing scale to whatever you need it to be, then make sure “Scale objects inserted from other drawings” is checked. Your DIMSCALE variable is controlled by your drawing scale, so everything comes in scaled like you want it.

Hope this works for you!

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