AutoCAD Civil 3D Tip: Missing Properties Palette in Civil 3D 2014

Written by Ben Johnson

One day you are working in Civil 3D 2014 to find that your Properties Palette you use so often is nowhere to be found. You look to the home tab of the ribbon to toggle it on, but it is already on. You cycle through toggling it off and then on again to no avail.

Maybe it has shrunken down to a barely-visible sliver somewhere. Nope, that isn’t the case either. Does any of this sound familiar?

Did this disappearance coincide with you making a change to your STARTUP system variable? If so, I have a possible solution. The STARTUP system variable controls what displays when the program starts up or when a new drawing is opened. Here are the settings available and what they do:

0Displays the Select Template dialog box, or uses a default drawing template file set in the Options dialog box, on the Files tab.
1Starts without opening a drawing template file, and displays the Startup or the Create New Drawing dialog box.
2Starts without opening a drawing template file. If available in the application a custom dialog box is displayed

The out-of-the-box setting is 0 which will open a new drawing at startup using the default template file set for QNEW. If you are interested in setting this variable so that the Create New Drawing dialog shows up prompting you to choose a template to start from then you may set this value to 1. No problem there.

However, if you would like the program to start without opening a new drawing, this is where the problem may occur. If indeed you set this value to 2 AND you have your properties palette docked when you make this variable change, then you will encounter the disappearing properties palette.

To recap, the properties palette will disappear on your subsequent program startup if you have the palette docked AND you set the STARTUP system variable to 2. If the properties palette is not docked, this issue will not occur regardless of the STARTUP setting. If you have it docked, but have the variable set to either 0 or 1, you will have no issues. It only occurs under those unique circumstances of docked palette and STARTUP setting of 2.

The way to fix this issue is, of course, set the STARTUP system variable to anything other than 2, and restart the program. If you really like it set to 2, you can just undock the properties palette and leave it undocked, and all will be fine. This is a known bug, and one that can cause some frustration if the user is not privy to this info.


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