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External management of layer, style, and civil style definitions

External management of layer, style, and civil style definitions

One of th biggest headaches I always hear about AutoCAD & Civil3D is layer and style management. It would be great to be able to define layer and style definitions from an external source (could just be a template).  These resource would not be embedded in the dwg until they are used or could be updated easily from the template when they are used.


This sounds interesting @michael_robertson but I'd like more details.

What would the ideal user expirience be like?

How would this method of style management be better than what we have now?


Styles and layer definitions would be stored in a template like they currently are, but, when you create a new file all those definitions wouldn't have to exist in your new file. When you accessed the layer selecter or style selector it would populate it's listing from the external template (not the current file), when you actually use the definition it is then moved into the active file so that it no longer depends on that external file for the definition (so when you ship it out to someone else). The second part is then if you need to update a layer/style definition then you can update your external template then just run a sync command on your existing files and they would suck in the new definitions from the external template.


There are methods now to pretty much update layers & styles from other resources but it is very manual and required many different tools, this would give you a single point of having to define resources and a single method of keeping things in sync.


There would need to be some work on how you handle the need for different files needing different resource definitions but this is a starting point.


So long as the update is requested by the user and not just an automatic link, I'm in favour!


Doesn't the CAD Standards Manager product do that now?

Status changed to: Accepted

Thanks for the suggestion. We'll track this internally as PF2449. 

Not applicable

I fully agree with this idea, this is exactly the way Land Desktop worked  There are times when we are preparing small surveys, when do we need all 300 survey blocks in our drawing when we may only need 20 to 30 different blocks.  Not only does having the entire point style library and all 400 layer names that can be derived from National Cad Standards, when these Point Styles and Layers be automatically loaded "On Demand".

Status changed to: Future Consideration

This idea should also include a way to 'push' a layer/style/label style from the current drawing into the template, without having to open the template drawing.

Can't wait to use this functionality in newer versions. Also see my idea here to hide layers for styles that arent been utilized as well. VOTE IT UP!!



Status changed to: Accepted

Hi @peterfunkautodesk


Have you ever used Istram Ispol software?

The Spanish constructors such as ACS,OHL,Ferrovial,Sacyr,FCC,Acciona... use this Spanish software.


This idea is covered in this software:




In the "General Settings" of the software, you can define a path for each library.

There are 3 libraries, the "First library" which is the priority one, the "Second Library" and the "Third Library".


When you install that software, automatically generates a new folder with all default styles (each style is a file in that folder).

This folder will be by default the "First Library".

We usually name it as System Library.  Level: System


If you want to create other styles for your company,then they recommend you to create a new folder which contains this new styles (then this folder is the "second library").

Level: Company.


Finally, if you have a particular project and you need particular styles, then you create a new folder to contain this new styles. This folder will be the "third Library".

Level: Project.


So, this way, Ispol drawings don´t have styles per drawing. If you want to send this project to another subcontractor, you must attach the second or third library in the zip.




Imagine that we have a style called "red_dashed_line" in the 3 libraries.

When we open the drawing, Ispol looks for this style in the First Library, if it is not found, then it looks for in the Second Library and finally in the last library.


In Ispol, if you want, you can change the priority of this libraries changing the path of each one as you can see in the attached picture. 










Status changed to: Implemented

One of the new features of Civil 3D 2017 is the ability to use cascading referenced templates.


To break that down a little "referenced templates" are template files that the drawings stay connected to. When styles change in the templates, drawings that reference the template are automatically updated.


Cascading templates: you can reference multiple templates to allow you to have a state of country standard, then incremental changes for the company and incremental changes for a project.




Peter Funk
Sr Product Manager
Civil 3D
Autodesk, Inc.

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