Civil 3D’s Project Explorer: Reports and Object Sets

May 10, 2022 Jeff Morris

Civil 3D is a data-rich program. The various Civil 3D objects are both graphical and informational. Traditionally, gaining access to the information within a Civil 3D object was rather arduous and convoluted, differing on the type of Civil 3D object.

Project Explorer simplifies accessing and reviewing such data through a single interface. You can edit Civil 3D objects, validate design assumptions, and create reports and tables in one place. This blog focuses creating reports and tables.

Reports and Object Sets

The use of Object Sets lets you automate the creation of reports, AutoCAD tables, and 2D drawings. You can select a variety of data from different Civil 3D and AutoCAD objects for content. The Object Sets are a collection of such objects, along with a series of steps that are activated, such as what the action is and the format and options for such an action.

Object Set definitions are stored in the current drawing and can contain specific actions that can be used to launch the set.

Create Object Sets

Each Object Set requires a unique name, and you can add an optional description. There are a set of predefined actions to pick from, along with the options for such predefined actions and layout styles, as shown.

If the Export to AutoCAD table(s) Object Set Action is used, the tables can either be dynamic or manual (static). Note that the dynamic feature of the AutoCAD tables is only available when the Project Explorer is open. If the Project Explorer is closed, the tables will behave as static until the Project Explorer is opened, and then the content of the tables will update automatically.

For all other actions, the content is static and does not update as the data within the objects change.

The Layout Styles can either be the current layout within Project Explorer, be edited and saved as a layout style within Project Explorer, or be loaded from an external file.

For the File Output Options (if a report action has been selected), the name and location of the output file is required, as well as the report style.

For the AutoCAD Table Output Options (if a table action has been selected), the insertion point for the table, the content for the title cell name, and the table style are required.

Example: Create an AutoCAD Table for Storm Sewers

In Project Explorer, create a new Object Set, as shown.

Then, in the Create Object Set dialog box, do the following:

  1. Give the new Object Set an appropriate name (e.g., Pipes in Mspace).
  2. Select the proper Object Set Action (e.g., Export to AutoCAD Table(s) in MODEL Space).
  3. Set the Object Set Action Type to Dynamic.
  4. Set the Layout Style to Use Layout of Project Explorer Window.
  5. Pick an appropriate Insertion Point in AutoCAD Modelspace.
  6. Leave the rest as their defaults and click OK to close the dialog box.

Now you need to build the Object Set by going to Add/Remove Objects to/from Object Set, as shown.

In the Add Object(s) to Object Set dialog box, go to the Pipe Networks tab and select the proper pipe network (e.g., Storm, as shown).

Note that the table appears at the insertion point you had selected earlier; however, there is too much information in the table. You will change that as follows:

  1. Double-click on the name Object Set you had created earlier (e.g., Pipes in Mspace) in the Object Set pane to edit it.
  2. In the Edit Object Set dialog box, in the Layout Style area, select Use Specific Layout Style, then click the Edit Style... button.
  3. In the Layout Options dialog box, click on the Pipe Network tab.
  4. In the Pipe Network Column Chooser drop-down list, select Set Column Layout for Pipes.
  5. In the lower right corner, click on the blank square to deselect all columns.
  6. Select the columns you want for the table.
  7. Use the First, Up, Down, and Last arrow buttons, if needed.
  8. Click Save and store it somewhere appropriately with a proper name (for reuse or for using in other drawings).
  9. Click OK to close the Layout Options dialog box.