Civil 3D Forum
Welcome to Autodesk’s Civil 3D Forums. Share your knowledge, ask questions, and explore popular AutoCAD Civil 3D topics.
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Feature Line - "Error inserting PI"

Message 1 of 19
9637 Views, 18 Replies

Feature Line - "Error inserting PI"

When editing a feature line, using the "Insert PI" button from the ribbon, I am usually able to click wherever I wish to add a PI.  However, while trying to add a PI to a curve on the feature line _sometimes_ the PI won't be added, and I get "Error inserting PI" on the command line.  


Oddly enough, sometimes the Insert PI command works fine on a feature line up until a certain point, and then starts giving me "Error inserting PI" part way through the editing.  


The spots that I am picking (where I wish to add a PI) are inserts of text objects.  When I get the error message, I can click to one side of the line and add a PI there, but that is not where I want it.  I can't figure out why it will let me add a PI in one spot but not another.  


So far, I believe it has only happed while trying to add the PI to a curve in the feature line.  (Like I said, sometimes it works fine, sometimes not.)


Any idea what might be giving me this trouble?  I suspect it might have something to do with the text objects I'm clicking on, but I haven't been able to figure it out.


I'm running Civil 3D 2014.




Message 2 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

I'm trying to wrap my head around why you are adding points to a feature line from the insertion of a text object. If you could explain what you're doing, I'm guessing there might be an alternate solution. Don't mean to pry, but I can't say I've ever needed to create a PI on featureline from the insertion point of a text object.

Message 3 of 19
in reply to: LeafRiders

This all being done for the purpose of exporting the feature lines to machine grading control software, and also to use the feature lines to prepare data for construction staking.  


I have a DWG with a couple thousand text objects that represent proposed spot elevations.  (The contents of each text object is the proposed elevation.)  I was able to move all of the text objects to the elevation listed in its contents, and I am moving each object so that its insertion point is at the correct horizontal location.  I have proposed features (arcs and lines) at elevation zero, and I need to create feature lines (in the location of those lines and arcs) that go through each of the text objects.  However, each line and arc has many spot elevations along its length.  It seems easier to click on the insertion point (since I have them at the correct elevations) than manually keying in a couple thousand elevations. 


I'm at home right now, so I can't post a screenshot or file.  I can do that tomorrow if that will help explain the problem.





Message 4 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

I get this a lot when I am inserting PI that lies on the original FLine path. In other words placing the PI directly on the FLine. I think this only on closed Flines but I may be worng. Regardless I get around it by picking a point close to my desired location that does not lie on the original path and the command inserts the PI. I then of course need to grip edit the new PI to the correct location, confirm the elevation or mess with sites to avoid the elevation confirmation.

John Mayo


Message 5 of 19
in reply to: jmayo-EE

I'm having the same issue right now, and I usually am sucessful doing what John Mayo said, but this time it's being stubborn.

The feature line I am trying to add a PI to does have a grading on it, but I've been able to do it before.

For some reason on this one, I can't add a PI anywhere on the line

Mike Porter
Message 6 of 19
in reply to: CADmgrMike

I got it to work, but I had to delete the gradings first. Smiley Mad


Mike Porter
Message 7 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

Does it HAVE to be a PI? Would adding an elevation point get you what you need?


Another possible option, add the text to a surface and then get elevations from the surface.

Brian J. Hailey, P.E.

GEI Consultants
My Civil 3D Blog

Message 8 of 19
in reply to: BrianHailey

No, it needed to be a PI. We needed to change the horizontal layout of the feature line.

I could have deleted it and started over, but I needed to keep the original feature line so that the surface it was inserted into would stay intact.

It was also partially a training exercise helping another user that is still learning.

Mike Porter
Message 9 of 19
in reply to: CADmgrMike

Have you ever found a solution?  I'm having the same problem regardless of where I try to insert the PI.  Below is a list of all the combinations where I get this "Error - Unable to Insert PI" with a feature line


  • Insert PI on a curve:  Result: "Error - Unable to Insert PI"
  • Insert PI at the apperent intersection of two lines:  Result: "Error - Unable to insert PI"
  • Insert PI at the actual intersection of two 3d lines:  Result: "Error - Unable to insert PI"
  • Insert PI at the end of a line: Result: "Error - Unable to insert PI"
  • Insert PI at the apperent intersection of a line and a curve: Result: "Error - Unable to insert PI"
  • Insert PI at the center of a circle:  Result: "Error - Unable to insert PI".
  • etc., etc., etc.,

I keep getting the error in so many different situations that I wonder if the command even works.  Occasionally, I do get lucky and the command will actually create a PI on an featureline where I wanted it to be created in the first place.  When that happens, it's "Vegas, here I come Baby!"


I discovered the following work arounds will get around this problem.


  • Create the PI off-centered from the feature line and grip edit the new PI to the desired location as mentioned by the OP.
  • Break the feature line.  Extend or grip edit the ends of the two new feature lines to the desired location and rejoining the feature line.
  • Redraw the feature line.
  • Use elevation points instead of a PI.  Warning:  Elevation points will slide around on the featureline like a pig in a mud pit when you try to trim, extend, or break the featureline.


-Civil 3D 2016 sp2
-Windows 7 64-bit
-Intel Xeon with 3.5 GHz
-16 GB of RAM
-Nvidia Quadro K2200
-Civil 3D user since 2007
Message 10 of 19
in reply to: Cre9engr


Just ran into this while working on a couple intersecting Gradings. Ran AUDIT..found 49 errors and subsequently restored insert capability.

Fred Ernst, PE
C3D 2025
Ernst Engineering
Message 11 of 19
in reply to: CADmgrMike

I get the error if there is an elevation point in close proximity i.e. there

Joe Bouza
Did you find this post helpful? Feel free to Like this post.
Did your question get successfully answered? Then click on the ACCEPT SOLUTION button.


Message 12 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

I've faced the same problem sometimes.


One thing I noticed is that having DRAGMODE ON/OFF is effecting the PI insertion. For me it needs to be on to be able to insert new points in a featureline. I usually keep it OFF since I have problems with performance while using certain commands such as scale for 3dsolids.


Using C3D2016

Message 13 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

OSNAPZ will affect it too.

Message 14 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

It's been awhile since this post, but to update:

I did figure out that if the elevation between two PI's is drastically different, then you will get the error inserting PI message when trying to add a PI between the two. That has been my problem when the issue has come up.

Mike Porter
Message 15 of 19
in reply to: Cre9engr

I found that copying the feature line, then erasing it, then pasting it back in solves the issue. Seems to be an error in the feature line.

Message 16 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

I have the same problem. Cannot insert PI or elevation points on Civil 3D 2023, but I am able to insert PI and elev points on feature lines on the same dwg. on Civil 3D 2019

Message 17 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

I turned on and off dragmode,and I was successful in Civil 3D 2019 & 2023. thanks!!!

Message 18 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

Turning DRAGMODE command ON fixed it for me in 2024

Message 19 of 19
in reply to: Anonymous

Autodesk please fix this bug. We are sick of doing working-arounds for simple "insert PI" to a basic feature line.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask the community or share your knowledge.

Post to forums  

Rail Community


Autodesk Design & Make Report