• Civil 3D

Using Autodesk Civil 3D basic functionality

Learn how to navigate around Autodesk Civil 3D and how to use some common features of the interface.

Panning and Zooming

You can use the zoom and pan commands to change the viewing scale of the drawing or move to a different area of the open drawing. This exercise demonstrates using the context menu to pan and zoom. The pan and zoom commands also are available on the Home tab View panel.

Use context menus to pan and zoom

  1. Open Intro-2.dwg, which is located in the tutorial drawings folder (C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD\2023\C3D\Help\Civil Tutorials\Drawings).
  2. Right-click the XGND surface name in the Prospector tree. Click Zoom To.
  3. In the drawing, right-click and click Zoom. Click and drag upwards to zoom in closer to the surface.
  4. To stop zooming and use the normal pointer, right-click and click Exit.
  5. With no objects selected in the drawing, right-click in the drawing and click Pan.
  6. Click and drag in any direction to move around the drawing.
  7. To stop panning and use the normal pointer, right-click and click Exit.

Selecting and Deselecting

There are several ways to select objects in Autodesk Civil 3D:

  • To select an object, click it in the drawing window.
  • To select an individual object that is part of a group of objects, press and hold Ctrl while clicking the object.
  • To select several objects by enclosing them within a rectangular area, drag your cursor from left to right. A rectangle with a solid line appears. Only objects that are enclosed in the rectangular area are selected.
  • To select several objects by crossing over them with a rectangular area, drag your cursor from right to left. A rectangle with a dashed line appears. Any objects that the dashed line crosses over are selected.

If you select the wrong object, press Esc to deselect it.

Experiment with the selection methods using the objects in drawing Intro-2.dwg.

Object Snapping

This standard AutoCAD feature is useful for precision drafting, when you want the line you are drawing to snap to entity edges or specific points. In these tutorials, you may prefer to use a freehand mode for drawing and editing objects, such as horizontal alignments and layout profiles.

Object snaps, also known as OSNAPs, can be used in either of two ways:

  • Individual, or single-point OSNAPs— To snap to a specific type of point, hold the Shift key down and right-click. Select an object snap from the context menu. The object snap stays in effect only for the next point that you click.
  • Multiple, or running OSNAPs—You can toggle Object Snap on and off by clicking  on the status bar at the bottom of the main application window, or by pressing F3 or Ctrl+F. Object Snap is off when the button is in a raised position.

Learn about OSNAPs

  1. Press F1 to open Autodesk Civil 3D Help.
  2. In the Enter a keyword field at the top of the page, enter Osnap and press Enter.
  3. In the Refine by list, clickProduct Documentation under Knowledge Source.
  4. Select from the topics that are displayed.

In most cases, it is recommended that you also turn off other cursor controls on the status bar, such as SnapGrid, and Ortho. The Model button, however, should remain on.

Dynamic Input

Dynamic input is an AutoCAD feature that displays prompts from the command line beside the cursor. Dynamic input provides a place for you to enter values when a command is active. For these tutorials, you may want to toggle off the dynamic input feature. To turn dynamic input off, click  on the status bar at the bottom of the main application window, or press F12.
Note: If the Dynamic Input  button is not visible in status bar, it may need to be enabled. On the status bar, click Customization  and select Dynamic Input.