Data Shortcuts & Xrefs | BIM 360 Collaboration for Civil 3D

Our IT Manager, Bryson Anderson, wrote an article for the February 2020 edition of AUGI World. Here is a portion of that article:

BIM 360 Collaboration for Civil 3D

Autodesk’s BIM 360 platform connects project teams with a suite of products, from design to construction, all working from centralized project data. This unified platform, centralizes data in BIM 360 Document Management, where BIM 360 products can utilize the data across the project lifespan. One product, BIM 360 Design, has been connecting Revit teams for seamless cloud collaboration. The cloud collaboration tools in BIM 360 Design has now been extended to Civil 3D!

Project teams can now collaborate in the cloud with both Revit and Civil 3D through BIM 360 Design. Though the methods for collaborating are different in Civil 3D and Revit, both enable Realtime collaboration, Anytime, Anywhere. In this article, we are going to focus on the new tools for BIM 360 Design, Collaboration for Civil 3D.


Next you need to set your Data Shortcuts working folder. Data shortcuts in BIM 360 Design use the same Data Shortcuts in Toolspace, on the Prospector tab as when your working locally, but you will now select a BIM 360 location via the Desktop Connector. If you do not yet have a Data Shortcuts Project folder in your BIM 360 project folder structure, create one. Then set the working folder to that location. Right click on Data Shortcuts, and select Set Working Folder, then browse to the BIM 360 location for your shortcuts. Once selected, you will see a Blue cloud icon, as well as a BIM 360:\... location set.

You can then create and reference Data Shortcuts the same way you are used to working locally.

Civil 3D X-References are also supported. When dragging and dropping / pasting files through the Desktop Connector, XREFS are automatically checked, uploaded to BIM 360 and paths updated. Even if you only copied in the host drawing, the XREF check will see that drawing has a reference, automatically go get that reference file if it can be resolved, and upload it, updating the path to a BIM 360 path. The referenced file will be copied to the project location, replicating the directory structure where it was found. If it is not able to resolve the reference, you will get an error message saying ‘Failure Gathering References’ and the missing XREFS will be ignored and the host drawing uploaded with a broken reference.

To create a new reference, you follow the same procedure you normally do, but select the file to be referenced from the Desktop Connector folder structure. If you look at the absolute path for a reference you will notice its pathing to your C:\Users\UserName… Folder. But don’t worry the BIM 360 Design system makes the translation in the background to the cloud. Even though it shows a local path, when another user opens, it shows their local location of the desktop connecter, the translation from local folder to cloud is being made in the background.

To check for any updates to References and Data shortcuts, on the Collaborate tab, Cloud Collaboration panel of Civil 3D is a ‘Check Reference Status’ button. Clicking that will check for any updates and give you the pop-up message to reload to see the changes.

To learn more about BIM 360, click here.