New Civil Geometry: Overview of User Interaction

Let's take a quick look the user interaction with the new Civil Geometry tools to help you get started.

User Command Interaction 

First, the tools are available in the Task Navigation in the Civil Geometry Group. There are 26 tools covering a wide range of geometric constructions.

We will use the Line Between Points command (which is the simplest command) as an example in this article.  Click the icon and the command will start.  Its dialog will open and the heads up interface will be available on cursor.


For most situations the dialog is actually optional and can be comletely hidden.  Personally, I like to keep the tool dialog docked and pinned on the left side of the screen.


So for this command the first prompt is to set the first point which defines the line, hence the on-screen prompt.  DP anywhere on the screen to start the line construction. NOTE: Civil Accudraw is very tightly integrated with the Geometry tools.  I will demonstrate this integration in my next article.

Now the on-screen prompt changes to the second input for the command.  For this line command there are only two bits of information needed to define the line which is two points.  You can DP to set the second point, but notice that the prompt actually has a user input area for distance.  You can key a distance value into this field to lock the distance. (ENTER key to lock; END key to unlock)

Notice also on the far right of the prompt for distance there are two arrows.  Whenever you see this on a prompt it indicates that multiple inputs are possible at this single prompt.  Use the keyboard right/left arrow keys to cycle thru the prompts.  When you do this you will see that direction can also be keyed in for this command.

You can then lock both the distance and direction for the second point.  Once both of these are locked (or unlocked) to your satisfaction then DP to set the second point and finish the line construction.


Once the element is placed then you can select it to reveal the available on-screen, heads-up editing capabilities.  Once selected notice that there are a variety of dots, arrows and text which appear.  These are called manipulators.  Hover over these for a tooltip to describe what each does.  In general the arrows will move a point (or the entire element) in a certain direction, dots move the point in all directions and text will allow change of value.  For this command the text manipulators allow editing of distance and direction.

Properties Panel

While this element is selected open Element Information.  You will notice that you can also edit the properties of the line here as well.  For this particular command, pretty much everything is editable by way of the on-screen manipulators.  For most commands, however, there will exist some extra properties available in Element Information that is not availble by way of the manipulators.  Some things simple don;t make since for editing in a graphic environment. For some commands the constructions are simply so complex that if everything were presented on-screen it would produce a mess, so in these cases we have tried to identify to most important or most useful manipulators to show on-screen.

  • Robert, I can't get the manipulators to show up.  I also have accudraw and accusnap turned off.  Do I have to have one or both of these turned on in order to see and use the manipulators?