• Civil 3D

Understanding the Civil 3D Toolspace

Learn how to use the Autodesk Civil 3DToolspace, which provides an object-oriented view of your engineering data. 

Explore the Prospector tab


This tutorial uses Intro-1.dwg from the previous tutorial.

  1. In Toolspace, click the Prospector tab.

Toolspace can be docked, but it can also float. The Prospector tab provides you with a categorized view of all objects in the drawing.


If the Toolspace is not visible, enter ShowTS on the command line. The command line is not case sensitive, but in this document, commands are written in mixed case.

  1. Click  next to the  Sites collection.

The drawing contains only one site, Site 1.

  1. Expand the Site 1 collection.

Notice that the Site 1 collection includes sub-collections for the following objects:

    •  Alignments
    •  Feature Lines
    •  Grading Groups
    •  Parcels

A site provides a logical grouping of objects that form part of the same design project, or are otherwise related. An object can belong to only one site.

  1. Expand the  Parcels collection to see the names of individual parcels in Site 1.

Notice that the drawing includes different types of parcels, such as Single-Family and Easement.

  1. Click a parcel name.

The parcel is displayed in a preview region of the Prospector tab.


If the preview does not work, you can activate it. First, ensure that the item preview button  at the top of the Prospector tab is pressed in. Then, right-click the Parcels collection and click Show Preview.

  1. Right-click one of the Single-Family parcels. Click Properties.

The properties of the parcel are displayed in a dialog box. Note the detailed survey data shown on the Analysis tab. Review these properties as you wish, but do not change anything.

  1. Click the Information tab. Change the Object Style from Single-Family to Open Space. Click OK.

Notice that the appearance of the parcel changes in the drawing, and in the item view preview. The name of the parcel changes in the Parcels collection on the Prospector tab. This happened because the style name is part of the naming template that is associated with the parcel.

A distinct set of custom styles for each Autodesk Civil 3D object type can be saved in a drawing template. Object styles can be changed as needed to change the display of an object.

Explore the Settings tab

  1. Click the Settings tab.

The Settings tab contains a tree structure of object styles and settings for the drawing. Like the Prospector tab, it has object collections at several levels.

  1. Expand the Settings tree by clicking  next to the  Intro-1. Expand the  Parcel Parcel Styles collection.

This collection displays the styles that are available in the current drawing.

  1. Right-click the Standard parcel style. Click Edit.

The object style dialog box displays the current style attributes. Explore the contents of the tabs to see the various attributes that can be changed when you create a style.

  1. Click Cancel.

Further exploration: Expand the Settings tree and look at several style objects and commands. Right-click various objects to see the available menu selections, but do not change anything.