ProjectExplorer 3 for AutoCAD® Civil 3D®

User Guide | What's New?

What's New?

New Search Tool

A new Search tool has been introduced which allows you to search for one or more objects in the civil model by name or partial name. Once found, you can immediately zoom or pan to the object in AutoCAD viewport, or navigate instantly to the listed item in the ProjectExplorer window.

The new Search window can be accessed from the Search button which is situated in the top right corner of the main ProjectExplorer window.

Alignment and Profile Enhancements

The validation and reporting of Civil 3D Alignments and Profiles in ProjectExplorer has always been a cornerstone of what users love about the product. In this release, we've addressed some of the most commonly requested enhancement requests for ProjectExplorer, which naturally further improve the experience with Alignments and Profiles.

The Profile View pane in ProjectExplorer now shows ALL profiles associated with the selected alignment, not just the selected profile. The selected profile is displayed in a primary color, whilst all other profiles associated with the current alignment are displayed in a secondary color. The general visual style of the Profile View has also been enhanced.

New filtering tools in the main toolbar of the Alignments tab allow the contents of the list to be limited to certain types of profile, or to exclude profiles from the list entirely.

A new station (chainage) interval lock feature has been added to allow the line, curve and spiral intervals to be locked to a single common value.

New Section Viewer for Corridors

A new Corridor View pane has been introduced on the Corridor tab.

Corridor View allows a dynamic cross section of the selected corridor to be viewed at any station (chainage) along the selected corridor baseline.

As well as identifying the region and assembly name at the current station (chainage), it is also possible to specify one or more shape, link or point codes to be constantly highlighted and monitored in the view. The desired code(s) can either be selected from a list of available codes for the selected assembly, or may be specified as a comma delimited list which supports the following wildcard characters: #, ?, *.

This unique feature provides an unprecidented understanding at a glance of the inner structure of the displayed corridor, assembly and subassemblies.

Any surface from the current drawing may be selected on the fly for display on the Corridor View as a "Comparison Surface" - regardless of whether any targeting parameters are assigned to the selected Corridor.

Pipe Run Editing for Pipe Networks

It has been possible to edit the parameters of individual pipes and structures from the ProjectExplorer window since Version 2. In this new release, we've gone much further.

In ProjectExplorer 3, any pipe run displayed on the Pipe Network View may be edited in it's entirety as a single operation.

Specify the start elevation, end elevation, pipe slope, and pipe drop at each intermediate structure, and ProjectExplorer will do the rest. There is no need to understand the direction of each individual pipe - ProjectExplorer will take care of that for you. You can even decide to maintain/hold the slope between adjacent pipes using the either crown, centre or invert elevations of each pipe.

Any surface from the current drawing may be selected on the fly for display on the Pipe Network View as a "Comparison Surface" - in addition to (and regardless of) the Reference Surface settings applied to the selected Pipe Network.

If a Reference Surface has been assigned to the parts displayed in the Pipe Network View, an hatched area is displayed beneath the surface indicating the allowable pipe cover zone. This zone is derived from Rule Set assignments to the selected network parts. The unique ability to see this zone on the profile allows the pipe network path to be validated at a glance.

Pipe Run Reporting for Pipe Networks

Pipe run reports can now be generated from ProjectExplorer.

Just select a start and end structure, and pipe sampling interval - and ProjectExplorer will choose a pipe run path representing the shortest possible distance between the two structures. Pipe cover values will be reported at regular intervals along the pipe run, for both the Reference Surface and Comparison Surface.

Create & Delete Civil 3D Objects from ProjectExplorer

Since ProjectExplorer 2, it has been possible to edit existing content in the Civil 3D model directly from the ProjectExplorer window.

In ProjectExplorer 3, it is now possible to create entirely new Civil 3D content from the main toolbar in each Object Category tab.

To delete an object from the Civil 3D model, just right-click the relevant item in the ProjectExplorer window and select Delete from the right-click menu.

General User Interface Enhancements

The layout of the main window is now far more customizable in ProjectExplorer 3. This opens the possibility to use different panel layouts depending on the type of editing or validation operation you are carrying out on your Civil 3D model.

Entire Object Categories may now be hidden from the main ProjectExplorer window whilst not in use. This setting is persistent and is therefore remembered between ProjectExplorer sessions. The visibility of each Object Category may be controlled either from the right-click menu for the tab itself, or from the ProjectExplorer Preferences dialog.

The new Pane Layout drop-down button in the top right of the ProjectExplorer window is used to control the layout and visibility of each individual pane of information in the ProjectExplorer window. Pane Layouts are also persistent between ProjectExplorer sessions and layouts may be saved and retrieved from the ProjectExplorer Preferences dialog.

All these settings may now be saved to and restored from Preferences Files via the ProjectExplorer Preferences panel.

Object Set Enhancements

Multiple objects may now be added to an Object Set in a single step. This is achieved from a new dedicated button which has been added to the toolstrip in the Object Sets tab.

Object Set content displayed in the ProjectExplorer window is now formatted using the Layout Template which is assigned to the associated Object Set. Previously, all content in the Object Set tab was displayed using the Layout Template assigned to the main ProjectExplorer window.

Easy Identification for Imported MX and 12d Strings

For alignments and surfaces, a new series of data columns have been introduced which identify the original model name, string label, source file, and import date for objects derived from imported MX and 12d Model strings.

This enables ProjectExplorer to generate reports containing the original MX or 12d model names and string labels instead of the Civil 3D object names. It also makes it easier than ever to identify the original source of any imported geometry in the Civil 3D model.

Although these data columns are not visible by default, they can easily activated by adjusting the column visibility settings in the Layout Options dialog.

Saveable Preferences

It is now possible to save and restore your ProjectExplorer User Interface Preferences in the same way that Layout Templates are saved and restored.

This allows ProjectExplorer User Interface layouts to be designed for specific purposes. It also allows Profile and Section View color scheme preferences to be shared between colleagues.

Preferences are saved to the new .xmpp file extension, whereas Layout Templates are saved to the new .xmpt file extension.

Redesigned Layout Options Dialog

The Layout Options dialog has been significantly re-designed, making it far easier to navigate and much faster to load on screen.

The file format for Layout Options Templates has changed to an XML based format (*.xmpt). These files can be opened and saved far more efficiently than legacy Layout Template files in Version 2.0 (*.ini).

Other Improvements


  • Introduced support for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017
  • Labels on Object Category tabs in the main ProjectExplorer window are now hidden by default.
  • The location and layout of toolstrips in the ProjectExplorer window has been consolidated.
  • Object Icons in the ProjectExplorer window have been updated to ensure that any Civil 3D object which is derived from a Data Shortcut can be instantly identified (affects surfaces, corridors (Civil 3D 2017 onwards), alignments, profiles, and pipe networks).
  • Preferences can now be saved to and restored from ProjectExplorer Preferences Files (*.xmpp).
  • Added an option to specify the delimiter character for reports generated in the CSV file format.


  • Introduced support for feature line based corridor baselines in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 onwards.
  • Added a new icon to the main Corridor toolstrip to allow all Corridors to be rebuilt


  • Introduced a new filtering tool to allow the surface list to be filtered by surface type.


  • Parcels and Site Feature Lines have been split into two entirely separate Object Category tabs in the ProjectExplorer window.
  • It is now possible to filter the list of site feature lines or parcels either to a specific site, or to include content from all sites.
  • Added .NET API support for Site Feature Lines in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 onwards.

Object Sets

  • The last used filesystem paths for layout template files and generated reports are now persistently remembered. This improvement affects the Quick Report function, the Object Set Properties dialog, and the Layout Options dialog.
  • Object Set content is now displayed in the ProjectExplorer window using the same Layout Template which is associated with each Object Set, rather than the master Layout Template applied to the rest of the ProjectExplorer window. If the Layout Template file which is associated with an Object Set does not exist, the master Layout Template will be used.

Preferences Dialog

  • Added support for setting colors and other style attributes of the new Corridor View pane in the ProjectExplorer window.
  • Added support for hiding and showing Object Categories in the main ProjectExplorer window.
  • Modified and clarified the labels and purpose of color settings for various profile and section views.
  • Removed the options for hiding and showing individual profile and section views from the ProjectExplorer window. Visibility of these views is now handled by the Pane Layout buttons in the main user interface.

Installation & Licensing

  • The ProjectExplorer 3 installer no longer supports the "current user" installation context. Earlier installations of this product which were previously installed to a current user context can therefore not be directly upgraded to Version 3. In this instance, the original ProjectExplorer installation should be uninstalled before carrying out a fresh installation of ProjectExplorer 3.
  • The license key format has changed in this release. Existing installations of ProjectExplorer Version 1.x and 2.x will therefore need to be reactivated with a new license key after installing or upgrading to this release.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a problem which caused surface lines to be plotted incorrectly in the Pipe Network View when pipe runs were plotted in the opposite direction to the direction of flow.
  • Fixed a problem which caused the ProjectExplorer window to not initialize correctly when the window was displayed before the first AutoCAD drawing was opened in a new AutoCAD session.

Known Issues

  • ProjectExplorer does not yet support siteless feature lines which were introduced from AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 onwards. This is due to a lack of API support in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
  • The "Zoom to" and "Pan to" functions on various right-click menus in ProjectExplorer does not locate the requested object properly when working in Paper Space.
  • ProjectExplorer does not support Grading Groups due to a lack of API support in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
  • In pipe run reports, angle/direction values are not shown for intermediate points on curved pipes.

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