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Do away with Data Shortcuts - just reference drawing elements directly.

Do away with Data Shortcuts - just reference drawing elements directly.

There's a few ideas already that show the frustration with Data References and Shortcuts, Working Folders and the like. This idea is probably the closest, but still not what I want.


I want to be able to reference ANY surface, featureline, corridor, profile, parcel, etc. from ANY drawing as simply as I would XREF a drawing. The workflow I would like to see is:


DataRef command

Pick the host drawing

See the list of referenceable items contained there in (i.e. any named C3d objects)

Set options for absolute/relative file path

Set option for dynamic or static link

Allow option to convert coordinate system if required


Any links in a drawing should be displayed just like XREF manager.


Note that nowhere in this workflow is there a requirement to create/find/remember/set working folders or shortcuts.


- Mick



Also, I forgot to cross-reference this related idea, which is intended to keep track of all the references


- Mick



You already voted for it! Smiley Very Happy


Interesting you chose the x-ref example whereas I thought of it as analogous to Design Center (robbing data from a different drawing without having to open it or do anything else).


This would slow our company production and create too many mistakes.  We would have to go to multiple drawings to reference from that are in separate folders (depts.) this would take longer than the Working Folder Method.  Also pray that we picked the right drawing to reference from or for example picked the correct surface and not a temporary user surface.  I think with 2017 and 2018 version of making folders has helped speed up this process for data shortcuts.  What are your thoughts on the new improvements?


@chris_brenton I just want a way to reference an object without having to first open the drawing containing that object. It should be simple and easy. We do it all the time with x-refs and design center. Why not other objects (Civil 3D stuff)?


(OK, design center doesn't reference the object, it copies it into the current drawing. But I think you know what I mean.)


Personally, I have no use whatsoever for the Working Folder/Project Folder setup and a bunch of .xml files sitting in them.

Instead, I'd like to have a "current folder" button (like this one). Then it would be easy to always browse to the right place for the data I need. We also normally include the project name in the name of C3D objects, so we wouldn't get confused between the "Original Ground" surface for one project and another.


It sounds like you work on much bigger projects than I do. I'd be interested to learn more about the benefits of the Working Folder/Project Folder method to your workflow.


Hey @autoMick, any thoughts to add to this?


For those not already familiar with Civil 3D's Data Shortcuts workflow....




@chris_brenton asked "What are your thoughts on the new improvements?"


Here are some of my thoughts:

Folders sound nice, but in many cases pointless.

I can't create shortcuts for all objects in a folder, with one click. (Yes, I can create references in one click for all, but not the shortcuts. Why is the step of creating shortcut xml files even necessary? Couldn't we just get rid of it?)

If I click on a folder containing many alignments with profiles, and 'Create Reference' the profiles don't get ref.... So I have to go back and do them one-by-one anyway.


The "folders" are a useful tool. Unfortunately it's a very small tool, and mostly serves to reveal the shortcomings of the current system rather than overcome them.


To be honest, I'm not sure what the best solution is - I just know that it is really clunky as it is.

If the working folder concept works for some, then I can't see why that can't still work, but just incorporate a simpler version as well.

I also have the situation where I work at two sites (home and office) on the same projects. I mirror the files between the sites, and xrefs work just fine, but data references - not so much - I end up having to manage xml files as well.




The system of having a project, and all the drawings must be linked to the project seems unnecessary to me. But I can work with it.


How about this as a simple tweak to the current system: once you associate a project to a drawing, shortcuts are automatically created for all C3D objects. From that point on, any time you create an object that can be shortcut, the shortcut is automatically created.

(This could even be optional for the user. Have a toggle somewhere: Automatic Data Shortcuts "Yes/No".)


It sounds like a small thing, but it achieves the main goal: only one step to create a reference to an object, instead of two steps. Any time you want to create a reference to an object, you just click on it in the prospector and get it. No need to open the drawing first and create a data shortcut.



I could dream up other ways of doing shortcuts, but this seems like the easiest one to implement.



@autoMick @BlackBox_ I posted my last comment as a separate idea.

I'd like to get your thoughts on it if possible.


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