How to Add Custom North Arrow to Map 3D or Civil 3D

October 30, 2023 Ryan Wunderlich

You have a custom north arrow in your standards and want to add it to the North Arrow Drop down in either Map 3D or Civil 3D when you are in a layout tab.

This is a fairly easy issue to fix.
First we need to make a copy of the drawing these live in to a place that is editable: 
Navigate to C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx\Map\Sample\Symbols (where AutoCAD 20xx is the version you want to update. In that folder find the Map - North Arrows.dwg and copy that to a location where you can edit it (like your Desktop), then open the file in Map 3D or Civil 3D.

You’ll see all the north arrows in this drawing that you see in the drop down.

In this DWG file, you can delete the ones you do not need / want, and you can add yours to this file.
When you add your own, I recommend keeping at least one of the built-in and use that as a guide.

You will need to make your North arrow block a dynamic block and have the Rotation and Scale functions defined in the block definition.

I typically do a block edit on an existing north arrow, copy my geometry into that block definition, and update the scale and rotation parameters to use the new geometry (after I delete the old geometry) and then save the block.  I can then use the rename function to rename the North Arrow I’ve modified to use the preferred name.

Once you are happy with the look, purge the drawing of all the previous block definitions, save the DWG, then copy it back to the location we got it from (I typically rename the old file and copy the new one).  You will need Administrator level permissions to do this.

Then close Civil 3D or Map 3D, reopen it, start a new drawing, and test the new block to ensure it works properly and then you can work with your users or IT to replace this DWG on all the existing installations to have this now be the common North Arrow in the pull down for all users.

This is the modified file, with a new Arrow3 definition and I left Arrow10, and removed the other blocks in the file.

About the Author

Ryan Wunderlich

Sr. Technical Support Specialist<br><br>An AutoCAD Certified Professional, Ryan is responsible for taking client cases and assisting with issues with the software - everything from regular glitches to software deployments and whatever else goes wrong. He's proficient in AutoCAD (including customization), VBA, LISP, and Civil 3D.

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