Hi, I’m Charles Ellison, Civil 3D designer and trainer at autocadcivil3dtraining.com. Today, we’ll be investigating managing points with point groups in Civil 3D 2020. Point Groups save a lot of time when you’re looking to style thousands of points in your drawing. These groups can also be set to a particular hierarchy for added control over the stylization of your points.
We’ve looked at styles and really to manually manipulate each point and then each point label style on thousands of points, it’s going to be cumbersome to say the least. So what if you could automate the process of setting the label style for the points and even the style for the coordinate or the marker as well? Thankfully, Autodesk Civil 3D provides multiple ways to do just that, to automate that process. Most simplest way of automating point styles is to go through point groups and use point groups to manage it. Well, let’s go ahead and open up our exercise file for this video. I’m going to go to my quick access tool bar, choose open, and from chapter three, choose 03_02_PointGroups.
In this drawing you’ll see the two points that we added in our last video. No overrides to any of their point styles, or any of their styles whether it’s point or label. In other words if I select this and choose properties from the contextual ribbon, you’ll see both the styles for the point as well as the label set to default. Well, what does default mean? Well, let’s go back to the home ribbon. I hit escape to clear out my selection. And from the home ribbon palates panel, choose tool space and under the prospector tab of tool space, notice there’s a section called point groups. And if I expand that out, there’s already a point group in the drawing called all points. What does all points mean? Well, it’s a collection of all the points within the drawing. If I right click on that point group called all points under prospector and choose properties, it’s going to open up and provide me the information about that point group. Notice on the information tab of the point group properties there are default styles.
So now we have a better understanding of when we look at the properties of a point, and it says that the point style as well as the point label style is default, what it’s doing is it’s simply saying it’s going to read whatever the point group default styles are. Now let’s test this out. We’re going to create a new point group. So I’m going to cancel this, and I’m going to right click and create a new point group, so I right clicked on point groups and chose new. What is a point group? Point groups are just a means of tagging a point. It’s a way of categorizing, or putting them together. In today’s social media we’re used to hashtags. We probably don’t see them used as they were first meant to be used, most of them still use hashtags more of a description of a picture, but hashtags really are a way of filtering or categorizing the picture. So you can have a hashtag of 2017, hashtag New York, hashtag vacation, and at any time if you want to filter and look at your New York vacation pictures you would just look up both of those hashtags.
So a point group works similarly. The picture can be in multiple categories or groups as well as a point can belong to multiple point groups. Let’s name this new point group that we’ve created Fire Hydrant. We’ll even add an S for multiple. We’re going to change the point style, the default point style for this point group to make the coordinate, that marker, look like an existing fire hydrant. IM-V-UTIL-FIRE-HYDRANT. And we’ll change the point label style to just description. Now what points are to be included in this group? We’re going to go to the include tab to filter such points to add them to this group or include them. And you can do them by numbers, which is a little bit more manual, I want number one, and then number two, number five to be in this group. But you can also use other means to filtering or including points that are found in the drawing. And the most common way of including points automatically is by using a raw description.
So we’re going to say any point with a raw description of fire hydrant is to be included in this point group or FH. And you notice I have an asterisk after it, so that’s a wild card, so I could have an FH-301 to number that equipment ID for that fire hydrant and I could have FH-302 and both of them would show up in this point group because of that wild card, the asterisk. I could also add a comma and add additional raw descriptions to look for. And all of those raw descriptions, if the drawing finds a point with that raw description it will automatically add it to the group. I’m going to go ahead and take that out, we’ll leave fire hydrant with a wild card, go ahead and click okay, it’s created a new point group called fire hydrants and you notice now both of our points are stylized according to that group.
Now here’s the interesting thing. If I go to the all points point group you see the little square with the dot? That tells me that there is a collection of items within this object, so this is a Civil 3D object called a point group and it contains a collection of points. So when I select anything with a square and a dot you’ll see a collection of items, a list of items, in that object listed below.
So point one and two is still in the all points point group. If I click on fire hydrants you’ll also see point one and two in that point group. So which point group stylizes the point? Ultimately it’s the one at the top, whichever one wins, whichever one the point is found in first. And so if I pick on this point here, and look in the properties palate, scroll down, you’ll see there’s a section called primary point group and it lists the fire hydrants point group as the primary. The primary point group is what wins in stylizing a point that has its styles set to default. How do you control the order of the primary point group? Well in prospector, right click on point groups and choose properties, and a list of all the point groups in the drawing will show up and I can take let’s say all points, and I can move it up in the list. And now, it will find itself in all points before it finds itself in fire hydrants.
So I’m going to go ahead and click okay and you’ll see now the points turn back to the default styles found in all points. So, point groups are one way of managing how points are going to look. Now we go back again to our point properties. Now within the point properties, it does say default but we can override this at any time. So a better way of looking at default, I’d like to refer to default, instead of saying default, it is by point group. We’re use to by layer for color and for line type, and generally speaking we’re used to leaving by layer alone. So whatever that layers color is, the line is going to be that color. Whatever default style the primary point group is, that is the style of the point so just make that connection. Here’s the difference though in using that analogy, most of the time the rule is don’t change the line color from by layer, leave it with few exceptions. With points, usually the label style if overridden because how the point looks is more often controlled not by point groups, but by description keys. Let’s talk about them next.