Make a Grippy Structure Profile Label

In these last days while I wait for Prospector to be born, my memory is failing me.  So my apologies if someone might have blogged this already somewhere else, but it is a label style worth repeating. 

I know a few months ago (has it really been almost a year? sniff!) when Nick was writing for us, he wrote about structure label insertion points, but he didn’t explicitly give a step by step on how to make the label.

Here is an example of one of my TOP 5 most requested label styles:


It looks so simple, but the neat thing about it is that when you drag it straight up, the line gets longer and stays attached to the rim of the structure.


How do you make this label?  Read on…

Here is what a pipe network structure label typically looks like.


The trick with this label, is you must change the FEATURE SETTINGS for Pipe Networks.


Here are the defaults…


Here is what you want to change them to:



Then, you have to compose your label to take advantage of these new attachment points.

In the label style composer, add a line that uses the Label Location as its start and the Structure Dimension as its end.


Adjust or recreate your label to use that line as an attachment point for all of your text bits.  For example, if I want the text to be located at the end of the line, you adjust the text component to anchor to the line end.


After resetting the label (erase what is in the drawing, and add your new label) it looks something like the example below, and reacts to my “grippy” moves up and down.


Making a few changes to the attachment points gives me more of what I want… further customizations are up to your imagination!



For a more detailed step by step, explanations and much more great label information, check out Chapter 15 of our forthcoming book Mastering Civil 3D 2008 which is currently available for preorder and should be shipping within a few weeks.


  1. Rick Graham says:

    Thanks Dana. Now if this style could be used to somehow create offset labeling where the structures and labels are very close to each other. A 45 degree jog would be PERFECT for my needs!

  2. Jon Falkowski says:

    The only work around I found for offset labeling with a line component is to set the dragged state to “as composed”. You then drag it left or right slightly and then manually draw a line to meet the line component.

  3. Greg Perry says:

    Thanks Dana. This works great for structure labels. Any idea how to make this work for a normal profile view label? (for labeling a watermain project without pipe network data.)

  4. Brent Miller says:

    I have just recently made a offset label by using the block component in the structure style. I constructed a left and right block with vertical lines offset in the amount of the expected text width. Then I created a left and right structure style and applied them to individual structures that were very close together. We usually run our text below the structure. I would like to attach the label to the profile rather than the structure. Then the labels would all be even with the band. Any Ideas?

  5. Tommie Richardson says:

    Maybe you could combine the style described in Dana’s post with the Profile View Label style created in this post and through the use of child styles, you could offset your labels however you want (LT-0.5, RT-1.0, etc.)

  6. marc woodell says:

    Is there anyway to label the length and slope of the pipes between manhole structures in a profile that resembles two leaders pointing to a line extending down from center of structure to center of structure. The company I work has been manaully drafting it that way and I haven’t been able to figure out how to get Civil 3D to imitate this format. I did get the grippy Structure labels to work and they are happy with that.

  7. marc woodell says:

    I have my sump elevation set to zero in the structure rule set but evertime I create a manhole it has a default sump elevation of 2 feet?