7. Select the down arrow next to the Modify panel. Using the pin at the bottom-left corner of
the panel, pin the panel open.
8. Select the Properties command in the General Tools panel to open the AutoCAD Properties
palette. Notice that the Modify panel remains opened and pinned.
It’s All About Style
Before you get into the program itself, it’s important to understand one bit of vocabulary and how
it relates to Civil 3D: style. To put it simply, styles control the display properties of Civil 3D objects
and labels. Styles control everything from the color of your point markers to the interval of your
surface contours, and from your profile-view grid spacing to the text height in the Station-Offset
label of your road alignment. Styles truly are where the power lies in Civil 3D. Label styles and
object styles are the two major categories.
The difficult thing about styles is that it’s hard to talk about them without being specific. Later
chapters spend a fair amount of time talking about the specifics of the styles for each object, and
this chapter looks at the common aspects of style manipulation; but styles may remain a mystery
until you get your hands dirty later in the book.
Label Styles
To get started, look at the styles in the Spot Elevation branch by expanding the Surface branch and
then the Label Styles branch on the Settings tab, as shown in Figure 1.14.
Figure 1.14
Spot Elevation label
There are two basic label styles in the Spot Elevation branch. Let’s create a new one and
explore the options for making labels. Remember, almost all of these options are present in other,
object-specific label styles.
1. Right-click the Spot Elevation folder, and select New in the pop-up menu to open the Label
Style Composer, as shown in Figure 1.15.
2. On the Information tab, change the style name to something appropriate. For this example,
use JW-EG.
Figure 1.15
The Label Style
Who Built That Style?
It’s a good idea to always put something in the style name to indicate it wasn’t in the box. Putting
your initials or firm name at the beginning of the style is one way to make it easy to differenti-
ate your styles from the prebuilt ones. Here, JW stands for James Wedding (EG stands for Existing
3. Switch to the General tab. Change the layer to C-TOPO-TEXT by clicking the layer cell and
then the More button to the right of that cell.
There are a fair number of options here, so let’s pause the exercise, and look at them fur-
Text Style is the default style for text components that are created on the Layout tab. It’s
a good practice to use a zero-height text style with the appropriate font, because you’ll
set the plotted heights in the style anyway.
Layer is the layer on which the components of a label are inserted, not the layer on which
the label itself is inserted. Think of labels as nested blocks. The label (the block) gets
inserted on the layer on the basis of the object layers you saw earlier. The components
of the label get inserted on the layer that is set here. This means a change to the specified
layer can control or change the appearance of the components if you like.
Orientation Reference sets an object to act as the up direction in terms of readability.
Civil 3D understands viewpoint rotation and offers the option to rotate or flip labels to
keep them plan-readable. Most users set this to View to maintain the most plan-readable
labels with the smallest amount of editing later.

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