Getting to Know the Civil 3D user interface


To begin learning about the Civil 3D environment,  let’s take our airplane analogy down a notch and think about this as learning to drive an automobile. When your parents first sat you down at the wheel and talked about the car’s controls, they probably didn’t mention the air conditioning or the radio. Those, of course, are important parts of the driving experience, but I’m betting they started with the most important parts, such as the steering wheel, gas pedal, and most important of all, brake pedal. We’re going to approach your first experience with “driving” Civil 3D in much the same manner.


There are many, many parts to the Civil 3D user interface. For the purpose of this app, I’ll cover just the ones that will be most important  in enabling you to navigate the software effectively. Figure 1.1 shows the major components of the user interface.

Application Menu   The place where everyday file handling commands can be found that enable you to do things like open, save, and print your drawings

Ribbon   The place where most Civil 3D commands are launched

toolspace The Civil 3D “command center” where all of the data and settings are laid out in an organized fashion

Drawing Area  The place where the drawing is created

Command line    The “chat window” where you and Civil 3D talk to one another

Panorama     A multipurpose  window where you can view and/or edit drawing information and properties

inquiry tool   A tool with many smaller tools within it that enable you to get information about your design


transparent Commands toolbar   A toolbar with special commands that allow drafting and geometric construction to be done in the way that civil engineers and surveyors do it

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