Remember The Symbol Manager?

So who remembers the symbol manager in Land Desktop? I used it pretty much every day, and really miss the functionality. I figured a roundabout way to include those symbols into a tool palette last March, and wrote about it here. It’s one method, and definitely not the best one. James suggested at the time that I put all the symbols and make one tool palette with Design Center. I didn’t like that idea, since that put all my symbols on one palette. I’d pretty much forgotten about it until today. I was looking for something and ended up finding something that brought it all back to me – follow the link to find out a MUCH easier way to replicate the symbol manager from LDT.

As I was browsing for a file to assist a customer, I found the following information in a folder:


I’m used to folders containing drawing files, but I noticed that the names of these files seemed a little familiar. After looking at them for a few minutes, I noticed that these seem to relate to the names of different areas of the symbol manager in Land Desktop. I took a look at a file or two, and noticed that each file contained a few blocks that correlated to the blocks found in those areas of the symbol manager. Hmmm…..why is this here, and what can I do with it?

The answer may astound you.

If I open Design Center and navigate to one of those drawings, I can right click on the drawing and create a tool palette from all the blocks in that drawing, as illustrated below:


If I go to each of those drawings, I can create individual tool palettes that come very close to imitating the selections that we had available in Land Desktop. What you end up with looks like the following:


Now, you may want to edit some of the settings in the tool palette so that the block behaves as you want it to. To edit the settings of any block, right click on it and select Properties. That will bring up the following dialog box:

Some things that you may want to set here involve the color, layer, and linetype of the block that you’re selecting. More importantly, you can specify the scale, and even set your block scale to be dependent on your drawing scale (or annotation scale – if you’re unaware, those two numbers are the same!) To do that, you must set your Auxiliary scale to dimscale (make sure that your drawing settings set the dimscale by checking the box shown below)


Note that the tool palette created will have the name of the drawing that it was created from – and these drawings are named appropriately for the symbol manager area that they’re intended to replicate.

Experiment with this, and see what you can accomplish with it. Good luck, and have fun!

(note:  I forgot to add the tool properties dialog screen grab last night – it’s there now.    Also, since the dialog box may be a bit fuzzy for your eyes, the location of those drawings is C:\Program Files\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008\Data\Symbols)


  1. mike shick says:

    Nice post, Jason. A few times I’ve had to drag and drop each symbol (that I wanted) onto the pallette. Would have prefered your method 😉

  2. this is so simple, but yet a great find. thanks

  3. Whit McCormack says:

    Hey…..It even works in 2007! I knew you were good for something. I think we just figured out what for!

  4. Joe perkins says:

    Does this work in 2009? I can’t seem to find the Data\Symbols….folder

  5. Jason Hickey says:

    Joe – I haven’t been able to find it in the same location in the 2009 installation. Luckily, I still have my ’08 installation hanging around for such purposes.

  6. Tom Berning says:

    The Data\Symbols is located under All Users in Documents and Settings.

  7. Jason Hickey says:

    wow – it must have been late when I was looking for that one. I’ll also blame just a little of it on my Vista installation – Tom is right for you XP folks, and if you’re running Vista, it can be found in C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D2009\enu\data\symbols. I was looking in C:\Program Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 – now why would THAT be confusing at ALL?

  8. Tina Clark says:

    Thank you so much for this. Have you come up with a way to create a symbol legend?

  9. Rick Wingender says:

    This seems a great way to manage symbols, but is there any hope for the BKM, SSM, and DTL macros? I used those as often as I used the Symbol Manager. IMHO, Autodesk broke a few things and these are a couple of examples of them.


  10. Gary Elswick says:

    and in 2010 look in C:\autodesk\autocadcivil3d\x86\csd\en-us\alluserscontent\data\symbols