Navigating the AutoCAD Civil 3D user interface


If you’re new to the AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software environment, then your first experience has probably been a lot like staring at the instrument panel of an airplane. Civil 3D can be quite intimidating, with lots of buttons, strange shapes, and strange icons—all packed into a relatively small area. In addition, you may be even more intimidated by the feeling that there is a lot of power under the hood.


This leads us to our main objective for this chapter, which is to alleviate that feeling of intimidation and make you feel much more at ease within the Civil 3D environment. Let me start you down that path by saying that there’s a big difference between an airplane and Civil 3D. In Civil 3D, if you really mess up, you can simply close the drawing file without saving. When piloting an airplane, it’s a little more difficult to undo your mistakes.

After completing this chapter, you will have achieved a greater comfort level within the Civil 3D environment by being able to identify the main user interface components and utilize them for basic functions. You will also be able to use two specific features that will serve you well throughout the program: the Transparent Commands toolbar and the Inquiry Tool.

 Getting to know the Civil 3d user interface 

Using the application menu

Using the ribbon 

Using the Toolspace 

Using the drawing area


Using the command line

Using the Transparent Commands toolbar
Using the inquiry Tool

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