Civil 3D Fundamentals: Command Settings

Every day, I like to check in with the Autodesk discussion groups to see what people are having to say, what issues they’re running into, or what they love about Civil 3D. As I look lately, it seems as if there are a lot of people just now adopting Civil 3D, so I want to write a post that will help them as they grow in their Civil 3D knowledge.

Do you ever wish that you had a way to set default styles in the program? Do you wish that when you performed a task, that it would pick up on that nifty style that you created automatically instead of you having to pick it? Well, that can be done with command settings – find out how after the jump.

Command settings let you select the default actions that happen when you perform a specific command. They are found on the settings tab of toolspace just under the rest of the styles. An example can be seen below:


You’ll notice in the above image that every surface-related command is listed. Here, you can set the defaults for these commands by selecting the command, right-clicking on it, and selecting Edit Command Settings. If we edit the CreateSurface command, the resulting dialog looks very similar to the ambient settings dialog, as shown below:


Expanding this out, we can see some of the default styles that we can set:


As you can see, you can set the default surface type, default cut and fill factors (for volume surfaces) and the grid surface spacing (for grid surfaces.) You can also set the default build operations, the default styles, the default name format, and the contour labeling defaults. Changing these settings in your template will cause your Civil 3D experience to be much more streamlined.


  1. Russell Lekberg says:

    I have a question that is somewhat related to this (at least to help streamline things), and I have not been able to find an answer as to how to turn off the dynamic list that pops up near the cursor each time I stop an let the mouse sit for a second. It shows the station-offset to all the alignments and also the surface elevations if I am over a surface. I would like the ability to turn this off. I currently have a project that has about 30 alignments, a dozen surfaces and when I am panning around and cutting new profiles, it really seems to be bogging down my system at it calcs out the stations/offsets all the time.

  2. Glen Albert says:

    There is also a useful setting under the General category which is the first one in the list, “Save Command Changes to Settings.” If you turn this option on, any changes you make to these settings when running the commands will be saved back here as the default for next time you run the command. If it is turned off, the commands will not modify the default values.

    As with any of the ambient settings, you can set it via the root Drawing name node to be the default for all commands. You can then set it from any of the feature nodes, such as Surface, to override the setting for all of the Surface commands. Most importantly, you can also set it for individual commands.

  3. Glen Albert says:

    Russell, in the General category of the settings there is an option to turn off the tooltips.

  4. Matt Derr says:

    Russell, you may also choose to turn off the tool tip for specific objects by going into the properties of the object in prospector. On the information tab, you can uncheck “show tooltips”. You would need to do this for each object that you don’t want to see.

    For new drawings, you can go into the Settings -> General -> Edit Feature Settings and set New Entity Tool Tip State to “Off”. Then each new object will be off by default, and you would just have to go into prospector to turn on the items you want to see.

  5. Russell Lekberg says:

    Glen/Matt, thanks that is exactly what I wanted to do. I would have never associated that with tool tips; I thought that this would be a system setting verses a drawing setting, thus I never looked in the right place. I like having the option to turn it off when not needed. It is a handy feature but when I have too many objects, they don’t all display and take up half the screen. I will definitely add this to out company template.