Command Alias Editor & Adding Breaklines

Have you ever battled with the Command Alias Editor; that tool under Express Tools that lets you set abbreviations for your favorite commands (ie: "QS" to invoke the QSELECT command)?  I have, and after multiple lost battles (lost battle = me giving up) I have finally WON!

Why is the Command Alias Editor important in Civil 3D?  Well, it is a critical component of the workflow for adding Featurelines (breaklines) to a surface, QUICKLY!  So lets get started…

2009.02.16-Express Pull-down

A seldom used command in AutoCAD is Quick Select (QSELECT).  The QSELECT command is basically a filter that allows you to quickly select objects that have commonalities.  So, what does this have to do with the Command Alias Editor?  Well, typing QSELECT each time you want to use this tool takes way too much time – for me at least – and keeping the AutoCAD Properties Palette open slows down Civil 3D.  How do we fix that?  We use the Command Alias Editor!

After the jump learn how to use Command Alias Editor and how to use QSELECT to quickly add all your Grading Objects, Featurelines, Plines, 3Dplines, and 3Dlines to your surface in two steps.

A couple things we first need to cover about the Command Alias Editor:

  • First: AutoCAD only reads the command alias files (*.pgp) from certain locations and each location is different for each product (ie: Land Desktop, Civil 3D, MEP, etc…).
  • Second: The command Alias Editor is just a tool; it does NOT set which files AutoCAD reads when it loads.  Also, it doesn’t automatically take you into the correct command alias file (*.pgp) for the product that you are using.  You need to choose the correct file.

SEARCHING your C: drive you will find the alias files (*.pgp files) under:

  • for Civil 3D 2009 (Win XP) – C:\Documents and Settings\[your user id]\Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2009\enu\Support
  • for Civil 3D 2008 (Win XP) – C:\Documents and Settings\[your user id]\Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2008\enu\Support
  • for Land Desktop 2008 (Win XP) – C:\Documents and Settings\[your user id]\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD Civil 3D Land Desktop Companion 2008\R17.1\enu\Support

You need to know these locations before launching the Command Alias Editor; at least one.  Go ahead and launch the Command Alias Editor (shown above). You will immediately be prompted to open a *.pgp file.  Browse to the appropriate location for the product you are using and select the "acad.pgp" file.

2009.02.16-Launch Editor

Once you have the file opened it is pretty straight forward.

Click "Add" to add an alias, type the alias and AutoCAD command you want it to represent and click "OK".  Note you can also edit aliases…

2009.02.16-Using Editor

After you are finished adding \ editing, save the file under the "File" pull-down.  Also make sure to "Export…" the file for safe keeping and future use.

2009.02.16-Save and Export


  1. You ONLY edited the command alias for ONE PROGRAM (ie: if you selected the Civil 3D 2009 acad.pgp file you only edited Civil 3D 2009).  YOU NOW NEED TO OVERWRITE THE OTHER PGP FILES ON YOUR C:\ DRIVE FOR “QS” TO WORK IN OTHER PRODUCTS.
  2. The other thing that threw me off, for years, is if you open the Command Alias Editor and select a saved PGP file from a special location that does NOT mean AutoCAD will look at that file when it opens!  You need to manually overwrite the “acad.pgp” file(s) on your C: drive OR save over each file using the Command Alias Editor.

    Hope this helps clear things up…

    OH YEAH, back to using QSELECT.  With your Surface-> Definitions group expanded in Prospector use QSELECT (now "QS" with our Command Alias Editor knowledge) to quickly add ALL YOUR BREAKLINES to a surface at one time (no zooming, no isolating, no windowing). Simply make sure all our Grading Objects, Featurelines, Plines, 3Dplines and 3Dlines are on the same layer – for my company "-C3D_SRF-FEA" – and use the following setting in QSELECT to select everything on that layer:

    2009.02.16-QSELECT settings

    After all the Featurelines, Grading Objects, ect… are selected by QSELECT just right-click "Breaklines" under surface definitions and select "Add…"

    2009.02.16-Add Breaklines to SrfTHAT’S IT… hope this helps.


  1. Matt Kolberg says:

    Nice tip. I use QSELECT often. I would say it’s an essential tool for me.

  2. Agreed, I don’t know any other way – that is only two steps of course – to do the complete job of adding breaklines to a surface (Grading objects, Featurelines, plines, 3D plines, 3D lines).

  3. Harold Alberto says:

    I have always used FILTER in selecting/defining breaklines. After the filter selection, all intended breaklines will be hightlighted. I then add the breaklines in the surface definition. If after the filter selection the highlighted objects were cancelled (normally through ESC), I type ‘P’ when asked to Select objects.