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AutoCAD Plant 3D: How To Customize The Line Number To Match A Client Standard

By on January 30, 2014 in AutoCAD Plant 3D, Autodesk, News, Your Plant Buddy with 8 Comments

Brian Lister

Greetings Readers, and welcome to another edition of Your Plant Buddy. Today’s blogger is Brian Lister.

Brian is a Technical Account Manager with Autodesk and has been working at Autodesk since March 2012. Brian’s focus is in the Oil & Gas industry with many of his clients specializing in this field. Based out of Calgary Alberta, Brian has almost 20 years of experience in design software, having managed projects in the vast Alberta Oil Sands as well as conventional oil and gas projects. His experience runs from junior draftsman to CAD Manager at some of the largest EPC companies in Canada.

Customize the line number to match a client standard

Hello Plant 3D users!! Or would be users waiting for the right moment.
One of the biggest and most common concerns and questions we get regarding Plant 3D (P3D) is how to customize the line number to match a client standard and how to show that standard on the Isometric deliverable. Out of the box P3D provides a line number format of “Size-Service-Spec-Number”. This is the typical format and can be easily changed, however the main concern is that when P3D does its annotations of the lines in either Orthographics or Isometrics it doesn’t use this format. The default for annotation will use the property called P3D Line Group, which by default is the simple line number assigned such as 1001.

So the question is how to I set up this to display the entire line number when I need it shown on an Iso or ortho? The answer is “simple” but only once you are more familiar with the interface of the P3D configuration template.

Let’s walk you all through the steps.

Step 1. Create a new Tag format in P3D

First thing we need to do is to create a NEW format for the P3D Line Group default. I highly recommend not making changes to the Out of Box set up but rather make a ‘new’ configuration instead. In this example I will show you using a P3D Line Group of Service-Number.

  • Open Project Setup from Project Manager
  • Browse to the P3D Line Group section under Plant 3D DWG Settings tab
  • Create a NEW Tag Format (give it a name)
  • 001-create-new-tag

    Select the button on the left after setting the Sub parts option to the value desired

    Select the P3D Line Group and then Service (in this option)

  • 003-select-class-property
    Next select the next item in the string by picking on the “Select Class Property” button for the second item.
    In this case Number has been selected.
    Next Scroll down to the bottom of the Properties window and find the section called TagFormat. Select the new Custom Tag as the Default

    You have now created a NEW Tag Format which will be the default configuration, but we are not done yet. We still need to add the other elements of the completed Line Tag with Size and Spec.

    Step 2: Create a Concatenation String

    Step 2. The next step is to create a Concatenation string using the previously created Custom Tag along with other dependent fields such as Size and Spec.

  • Browse to the section in the Project Set up called Pipe Run Components
  • 006-piperun-component

  • Create a NEW Tag Format again giving it a name such as Pipe Run Tag
  • 007-tag-format

  • In the same manner as above create a new tag format giving it the number of Sub parts desired
  • Then select the items in the order in which you want them strung together. In this example I have used Size-P3D Line Group Tag (just created above)-Spec
  • When creating this tag be sure to again UNCHECK the “Use Target Object’s Property” for ALL items in this string
  • 008-target-object-property

    When you are satisfied with the items in the String, click OK and exit out of the Project Setup.
    You may ask why don’t you just set up the P3D Line Group to include the entire string having Size-Service-Number-Spec all in one place?? You could do this but you will limit the flexibility of the annotations. Some of my clients chose to do it that way and others do not. I am simply showing you some alternative solutions. How you chose to progress will need to be determined internally on an individual basis.
    Now when I go to P3D and draw a new line number I can get the following info updated into Properties

    Final Step: Show new format on the isometric

    The final step is how to have this new format show on the isometric in this manner rather than the simple line number showing.
    This is done through the file called isoconfig.xml which is contained in the project folders under Isometrics. In this case as project contained on my C: drive.
    I would recommend an XML viewer to access the file as NotePad will not be sufficient. A good FREE view can be found here, feel free to use which ever product you are more comfortable with.
    Open the xml file of the style you wish to customize. Remember it is always prudent to make a backup copy prior to making any changes.
    The xml file is not easy to navigate through, but will become easier as you come to understand the logic and layout.
    Browse to this location: This is where the output Scheme will be determined; you should see something similar to below.
    What we need to do here is to ‘rearrange’ the output items and add whatever new fields in the necessary order to attain our desired Line Number output. Currently what the output from above will be is: Pipeline-Reference – size-Spec or BD-1000-6”-CS300. The line called Format will dictate this order, and then later the line called ComponentFormat will also influence the outcome.
    • Remember the PipeLine-Reference Number has already been changed with the previous set up in our Custom Tag creation to be Service-Number or BD-1000
    The changes are indicated with the RED arrows below. Simply redefining the order of the entry as to what fields get placed first and what fields are being populated with what information such as Size or Spec
    The resultant string from the right side of the page will look like this, giving a much better indication of the final product to be reported

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    There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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    1. Kyaw Zaw Htun says:

      why we need to check or uncheck (USE TARGET OBJECT

      • Andre A de Souza says:

        It really depends where you are taking the properties from.. If you need the Size to work you need to get it from your Pipe Run Component. So if you’re creating your tag inside Pipe Run Component you check the obj properties so you can see what will be able to assimilate from the part properties. If you need to compose the tag inside your Pipe Run Component property with data that is outside of that node than you need to uncheck Use Target Obj Properties to be able to navigate to the property you are trying to use.
        What I can figure it out is how to use lists that I created for Pipe Services that are inside my tag to control my layer color settings..
        Any ides?

    2. Andre A de Souza says:

      Great post.
      Not sure if you’re still around.. but maybe you ca give me a light.
      I created list for Pipe Services/Process Lines inside Pipe Run Component and I wanted these lists to control color settings for the Pipe Runs on my model but I can get it to work right. My tag is.
      PipeRunComponent.size-P3d Line Group.Tag(wich reads lists from inside PipeRunComponent).. It works for naming layers but not for Color and Layer settings..
      I appreciate if you can help.


    3. Ramesh Krishna says:

      Hi Brian,

      Is customizing PLANT3D on .net supported?

    4. Joel Harris says:

      Yes, you can download the AutoCAD Plant SDK from the ADN site here:

    5. DON LEMKE says:

      I’m getting extra text in my line number format. Can you please contact me.

    6. Roy says:


      I have created a custom line number format wherein the last digit is a representation for the line Heat Tracing / Insulation . Some of the lines do not have either tracing or insulation in which case i leave the last field blank but the line number tag shows up as “?” for the blank field.

      Is there any option or workaround to remove the “?” when the fields are blank.

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