Sharing Tool Palettes on a Network

Did you ever want to share a tool palette with other users? And have it dynamically update when you make changes? You are probably aware of the export/import functions of tool palettes. Those, however will just deliver a boring static palette to the other users. That might be fine for AutoCAD users, but this is Civil 3D! We need things to be dynamic! Read on for a step-by-step procedure.

From the Cad Mgr or Admin’s computer:

  1. Create a shared folder on the network. (For this write-up, we’ll call it T:\)Set its rights to Full access (for now).
  2. In Civil 3D choose Options > Files tab. For Tool Palette File Locations, ADD a path to T:\. Move it up so it’s listed first, above the default location.
  3. In Windows Explorer, browse to the default Tool Palette File Location, (typically C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2007\enu\support\ToolPalette) and set this folder to Read-only (just for now)
  4. In Civil 3D, create your custom Tool palettes and Groups. Since the T:\ is listed first and since the default path is read-only, the new palettes and supporting files will be saved to the T:\ location.
  5. Delete any palettes ad groups that you don’t want to be part of the corporate set. In other words, delete the ones that don’t need to be read only.
  6. Sort your custom palettes into your custom groups and then exit Civil 3D.
  7. Browse to C:\Documents and Settings\ username \Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2007\enu\Support\Profiles\ and copy to a network location (e.g. S:\) accessible by end users. The AWS file is where the Tool palettes groups are stored. If you don’t need to share custom _groups_ then you can skip this step.
  8. Set T:\ to read only
  9. Set default Tool Palette File location to full access again

From End User’s computer

  1. Copy Profile.AWS from S:\ to C:\Documents and Settings\ username \Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2007\enu\Support\Profiles\, overwriting the existing file NOTE: do this only at time of installation or before user has made any workspace changes! If the user has already made changes to their workspace, you can still share the Tool palette groups. From Admin’s computer, export the custom group(s) to XTG file, save to S:\ and them import on end user’s computer.
  1. In Civil 3D, add T:\ as the 2nd Tool Palette file location path.
  2. Restart Civil 3D.

From the end user’s computer, you should now see tool palettes from the local drive, which are editable and palettes from the T:\ which are locked (as indicated by the padlock icon on the lower left of the Tool palette).

Note: The groups are not read-only.


One comment

  1. Steve Kohler says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this posting. It really helped.
    I ran into two issues:

    1. After following step 5 to delete all the palettes and groups that were not custom, but part of the standard C3D distribution, I had no way to get them back for myself without reinitiating the secondary installer or copying another user’s file back to my local support\tool palette folder. I should have made a copy of this file before performing any modifications.

    2. Based on my testing, this method works great for any future additions or changes to the contents of the palettes. However any additions to the group list, or adding palettes to a group, requires a reexport to the XTG file, and reimport to each user. Therefore, it may be beneficial to add all the anticipated future groups and palettes in the beginning, to avoid having to reexport later.