Viewports – yesterday and today

If you are used to using viewports and have wandered over to Civil/Civil 3D 2010, you might be in for an awakening. Let’s check them out after the jump..

In 2009 and earlier, the viewports menu was an all-in-one stop shop for all things pertaining to viewports. The icons from left to right were:

2009 viewports



  • Display Viewports Dialog – this opened up a viewports dialog where you could specify the number of viewports and how you wanted to configure them (horizontally/vertically).
  • Single Viewport – a quick and dirty way of creating a single rectangular viewport by picking 2 points.
  • Polygonal Viewport – to create more complex shapes for viewports
  • Convert Object to Viewport – Use any object and convert it into a viewport.
  • Clip Existing viewport – Does exactly as it advertises. It clips and reshapes the viewport.
  • Viewport Scale Control – Allows you to scale the contents of the viewport to any predefined scale or you can roll your own.


Ok, pretty simple stuff. Now lets wander over to 2010. So in the View tab and Viewports panel, I see the following from left down and then to the right:

2010 Viewports panel






  • Set Viewports (and fly outs for various configurations) – Allows you to set viewports based from model space (ONLY editable in Model Space). This seems similar to the Display Viewports Dialog but only for Model space.
  • Create Polygonal (and fly out to Create from Object) – This is like the Polygonal Viewport in 2009.
  • Named – Allows you to name a viewport configuration. This is handy for complex viewport configurations. The puzzler is that this is also similar to the Display Viewports Dialog in 2009 AND the Set Viewports in 2010. The only difference is that you can name the viewport with this option.
  • New –This is also confusing as it duplicates the Set Viewports and Named options in 2010. Maybe someone from Autodesk can chime in here.
  • Clip – This is similar to the Clip Existing viewport as in 2009. This only works in Paper space/Layout mode.
  • Join – This was not a visible option in 2009, nevertheless it could be accomplished in 2009. This only for model space.

So where is the Viewport Scale control. This the one that I use the most. Start Panic attack. Well, out of the box, this view is disabled. If you navigate to the Windows panel on the View tab, you will see the Status Bar palette and fly out.

Picture 2




      Picture 1


All the way at the bottom of this list is the Drawing Status Bar. Check this and now at the bottom of your screen you will see a new  bar at the bottom that show the Viewport Scale control as in 2009. Breathe a sigh of relief!

2010 Drawing Status Bar




I AM a fan of the ribbon in 2010. It DOES take some getting used to, but after you use it a number of times you will find that your navigating will be a lot smoother. If you have any ribbon-related questions, feel free to ask and I’ll blog it.

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