Unleash the Power of Layer Filters in AutoCAD and Civil 3D

What are layer filters and why should we use them? Layer filters are used to organize the growing list of layers inside the layer properties manager. Then, as more projects are received, the list of layers grows each time. It can become very time-consuming to scroll through hundreds of layers to find what you’re looking for. Layer filters are created in many ways, and filter through or find a specific layer quickly without the hassle of scanning the entire list.

For example, all existing or proposed layers are easily filtered out, and even existing road layers can be filtered. Adding layer filters for Pipe networks is a useful feature as well. Layer filters can be created for objects that are frozen/thawed and on/off, which creates a one-click easy-to-find solution to manage these objects.

Set Up Layer Filters in Civil 3D

First, let’s look at where and how to set up layer filters in Civil 3D. This is done the same way in AutoCAD.

Step 1: Open layer properties manager from your ribbon home tab under layers panel.

Step 2: Select new Property filter at the top left of layer properties manager as indicated in the screen shot above.

Creating Your Layer Filters

Next, create layer filters from this dialog box. A Color-based filter is added first. For this example, all layers that have White and 255 colors associated to them are filtered.

Step 1: Create a Name for the New layer Filter (Since I’m filtering white, I just named mine White).

Step 2: Under Color column, select the 3-dot button, which brings up the color selector icon.

Step 3:  Finally, select the White for the first row and then do the same for color 255 in the next row. Hit OK on the layer filter after both white colors are added to the filter list.

In the filters section on the layer properties manager, notice the white filter now has all white layers. For this method, add rows of filters in the layer filter properties to add your chosen color with another color.

Separating Filters

Next, let’s discuss a more organized and structured process. Let’s say we want to separate all proposed layers inside a filter with proposed pipe network layers for sewer and storm underneath, like shown below.

This method can be applied in all other aspects of Civil 3D’s typical layers. This makes it very quick and efficient to identify and modify layers as needed.

To replicate this, I created two filter groups and two filter properties.

Step 1: Select New group Filter at the top left, next to New Property Filter and name this ‘Proposed’

Step 2: Click on the all-used layers filter that is the default filter for all users. In the Search box at the top right of layer properties manager, enter in C-*

This only shows all proposed layers in the LPM, so anything starting C- appears on the layers list. Press CTRL – A on the keyboard to select all. Then, drag these layers over to the newly created group filter of ‘PROPOSED.’

Step 3: Do this same process with all other Pipe Network Pipes into a new group called ‘Pipe Network’

Step 4: Right-Click on the folder ‘Pipe Network’ and select New Properties Filter, which creates a properties filter under ‘Pipe network.’

Step 6: In Filter name, enter either Storm or Sewer. In the Filter Definition section under name, enter *STRM* to filter anything that is a Storm pipe. Do the same with Sewer pipes if you started with Storm pipes in another filter properties.

Finally, after these steps are complete, you should have fully-functional layer filtering for your Proposed Pipe Network Layers.


In conclusion, layer Filters are a great tool to learn, and assist to organize and manage layers more efficiently in AutoCAD and Civil 3D. Practicing the above workflows allows you to easily create these filters for your current projects.

For more information on other Autodesk products, please visit our Autodesk Products page.

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This blog is written by Civil Technical Specialist Patrick Smith. If you have any questions or need help with your Civil needs, please email us at whyATG@atgusa.com.

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