Project Explorer for Civil 3D - Part 5 Object Sets

March 30, 2021 Brian Johnson

If you have been reading this blog series on Project Explorer for Civil 3D, you would have recognized a reoccurring benefit in that this tool helps to improve efficiency by minimizing the number of picks and clicks it takes to get information and make edits to Civil 3D objects. Expanding on those capabilities we have learned that Project Explorer provides some much-needed reporting tools and the ability to export Civil 3D objects to 2D DWG files. Parts 1-4 explored each of these topics which brings us to yet another highlight of the application to finish the series, Object Sets.

The use of object sets provides a way to automate the creation of reports, AutoCAD tables, and 2D drawings and do so with individual objects or a combination of multiple objects. Object set definitions are saved to a drawing and can contain specific actions that can be used to launch the set.

Building Object Sets

To start the process of building an object set you have two options.

  • Right click on any object in the object pane and select Add to Object Set then New Object Set or select an existing object set in the list to add the object to. This method will both create the object set and add the selected object to it.
  • Click on the Object Sets tab on the far right of the Project Explorer object type tabs. Select the New Object Set button to open the Create Object Set dialog. This method will create an empty object set and will require you to add the objects you want in the set afterwards.


The Create Object Set dialog will open:

  1. Create a descriptive unique name for the object set. This name will show up in the Object Set Name list. Optionally a description can be entered to help explain the use of the object set.
  2. Object Set Action; An action can be assigned to an object set to automate the creation of the desired output. Actions include Report to Text, CSV, HTML, PDF, DOCX, RTF files, Export to 2D AutoCAD DWG, AutoCAD Table(s) in MODEL Space, Export to AutoCAD Table(s) PAPER Space. Each of these actions that result in a table format have their own requirements for the use of Layout and Report styles to be defined when necessary. See Project Explorer for Civil 3D – Part 3 Reports for details on Layout and Report Styles.
  3. Object Set Action Type; determines how the assigned action should be set in motion. All actions can be set to Manual which means the action will occur when the Run Action button is clicked. This is the default behavior for all Actions. Dynamic can only be used for generation of AutoCAD Tables. This setting will dynamically update the AutoCAD table when the Civil 3D object is edited and Project Explorer is open. If Project Explorer is not open, the table will be updated the next time it is opened.
  4. There are two options for defining the Layout Style. Use the Layout of Project Explorer Window and Use Specific Layout Style. See Project Explorer for Civil 3D – Part 3 Reports for details.
  5. File Output Options are required when the Object Set Action is set to Report to a File. The File Name Template is used to name the file that gets generated. There are several default options in the drop-down, text can be entered manually, or a combination of the two can be used.
  6. There are two options for Report Style, Use Default Report Style for Object Sets and Use Specific Report Style. See Project Explorer for Civil 3D – Part 3 Reports for details.
  7. The AutoCAD Table Output Options tab will be available to edit when the Object Action Set Export to AutoCAD Table(s) is selected. The purpose of this tab is to set the insertion point of the table in the drawing. The insertion point will be the to left corner of the table. The Title Cell Text Template is used to generate the title of the table and displayed in the title cell.

Adding Objects to an Object Set

Once an object set has been defined, objects can be added to the set via two options.

  1. Right click on the object in the object pane, Select Add to Object Set, Select the destination Object Set.
  2. From with the Object Sets tab, click on the green plus sign to add objects.

The Add Object(s) to Object Set dialog will open. Select the tab representing the object(s) you want to add and place a check in the box next to the objects.

A highlight for this feature is that It is possible to include more than one object in an object set to create a combined report.

After adding objects, the Project Explorer dialog will return to the Object Sets tab displaying the results. Where the Action can be run to create the report.

Object Sets persist in the drawing they were created in so that when the drawing is opened, the object set is always available, and the action can be run when needed.

Project Explorer is a useful tool that has been added to Civil 3D. It provides extended functionality and improved efficiency with a single location for working with Civil 3D objects for editing and creating reports. I hope you have found this series to be helpful in learning more about Project Explorer. Should you need assistance or have questions, please do contact us at IMAGINiT.

About the Author

Brian Johnson

Civil Applications Expert<br><br>With extensive experience in both engineering and IT, Brian helps organizations make the most of their design technology. Whether it’s through a custom setup, training, implementation, or creation of organization-specific templates and styles, Brian helps both users and managers understand the best methods and processes to get the most from their chosen solutions.

Follow on Linkedin More Content by Brian Johnson
Previous Article
New AutoCAD 2022 Collaboration Tools
New AutoCAD 2022 Collaboration Tools

Two new features to aid in collaboration are Trace and Share. Both use the AutoCAD web platform as the bas...

Next Article
Project Explorer for Civil 3D - Part 4 AutoCAD Tables and 2D Drawings
Project Explorer for Civil 3D - Part 4 AutoCAD Tables and 2D Drawings

Quick Report to AutoCAD Table creates a static AutoCAD table and is an easy method to generate it.


Sign up for email updates

First Name
Last Name
Thank you!
Error - something went wrong!