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Tip of the Week #42 - TBC Point Symbols in AutoCAD

By Joseph Blecha posted 05-23-2018 09:49


Did you know you can use the *.SHX file to assure that your point symbols used in TBC translate exactly into AutoCAD?  Thanks to Evelina from TBC’s QA team, here’s how...


Symbols can be assigned to points in TBC using the Point Symbol command.



However, when you export a DXF or a DWG from the Export command in TBC, the point symbols are not transferring to AutoCAD with the same appearance. These symbol differences are shown in the screenshot below.



To correct this, copy the file symbol.shx from the TBC installation folder to the Autodesk installation Support folder.


These are the default folder locations where each software program is installed: Trimble Business Center -  C:\Program Files\Trimble\Trimble Business Center and Autodesk Support folder - C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD [Version Number]\Support.



If you’ve installed either software package in locations other than the default, the installation directory is likely different so first check where each program is installed. Search for the symbol.shx file from the TBC installation folder and copy it to Autodesk Support folder.


Once you copy the symbol.shx file, export the TBC project as a DXF or DWG again, then all of the default TBC point symbols will be visualized correctly in AutoCAD, as shown by the symbols below:



You'll only have to do this once to assure that your TBC symbols match in your version of AutoCAD.


Thanks Evelina!


TBC - From Field to Finish with Confidence.




04-24-2023 05:57

Anyone else see an improvement with the export point labels workflow? I'm desperate. The firm I work for is a TBC only shop with several DOT agencies as clients. I need a generic DXF or DWG file that contains 2d cogo positions. A cross, point number and description text is all I need. 

All of the TBC gurus here hit a wall pretty fast. They had no idea this was even an issue. Look forward to hearing from others on this.
Take care,

05-06-2022 12:06

Im curious, did this ever get sorted. I posted on this years ago and ended up moving software as clients weren't too happy about having to swap out symbol files, especially when they were using autocads own file. It a joke they still hadn't sorted it out when I was still using TBC. Good luck all who persevere, I hope they resolved it.

07-31-2020 07:42

doubt it..... we can try asking again...again.......

07-28-2020 15:02

Does anyone know if this has been included in the most recent update?

05-13-2020 02:31

Can you keep me in the loop about this, I just cant understand how is been overlooked for so long and seems such a simply ( or should I say symbol) thing to ask for and add?




05-06-2020 02:17

Morning Craig,


Just a quick update for you with regards to the block’s.


I have just found a new guy in Trimble that is heading up the future of TBC. He has seen a few requests now and has written to me to say that he has now put this on the development list and will discuss with the engineering team at the next meeting. He hopes that we should see this in TBC soon. He will keep me updated.


I am not sure why this isn’t already on the list…… I guess we can now call this progress!

04-17-2020 06:39

Hello Trimble is anyone actually acknowledging this almost TEN YEAR OLD request?


04-10-2020 00:24

Another update but still no sign   ♂

01-26-2020 15:02

its been way too long coming surely its simple!!!!!

01-23-2020 22:57

All of the above is spot on () this has to be addressed! Trimble where are you on this? 


Craig Stammers

Survey Engineer @ Norfolk Homes

01-23-2020 17:58

I think about this odd workaround and missing functionality almost every time I use TBC ... and dismiss the suggested workarounds as not worth the time they take.


As it stands & as you all know there are currently multitude faster better methods to put crosses on points & line features without using TBC. As required often/always to be shown on surveyors products, here in UK.


Still with 5.2 the recent version hot off the press, the default point symbols are shape files, I thought I'd bump this up again and also to underscore it, share a similar post I came across from 2017 where someone is expressing similar sentiment.


Point label symbols not exporting  


Has there been any concrete progress on this yet and if not... why isn't it top priority?


Have I missed it?


A quick summary with the situation as it stands - correct me if I'm wrong & a better solution, please:


Methods you can try:

1. Use a different piece of software to process line feature codes for which a X is needed ... no comment...!


2. tick "Export points as point block" when exporting DWG from TBC

then you get a point block entity at the right location when you export as DWG

and in an external CAD software you can then change the point symbol in the drawing symbol table, to a cross (or whichever symbol you prefer and they are even on the right layers)


- this doesn't allow you to differentiate or customise the symbol (cross) colours for different features, without additional steps. They all have the same properties (differentiated by layer).

- this doesn't allow you to use a different point symbol for each different feature

- once you change the "point" symbol to a cross, any other "point" symbols that might be in that drawing are crosses and this might not be desirable.

It can be useful as a quick and dirty to get Point Blocks/Symbols out.


3. export as shape file... put the symbol.shx in the folder of your CAD s/w as Trimble instruct you to ... then use a function (for example Autocad has TxtExp()  to make the shape into polylines ...


This doesn't require your end user to mess about with symbol.shx ...  but then it's not a symbol or a block either which is then quite basic - also suffers the same problem with feature customisation/colour etc as the above.It's not a single entity showing the point.


4. There is of course the option of a LISP routine ... in external software... as detailed elsewhere on this thread, with the drawbacks I mentioned before.


To be competitive at proper feature processing TBC must be able to produce crosses or any point symbol/block of user choosing, as a block entity on a point, customised type colour and origin to suit the feature which displays correctly in any DWG compatible CAD software without any fiddling and customisable right in the feature library. 


What baffles me is, where are the other hordes of people piping up who think this feature is inadequate as it is? Would no one like an improvement on this from TBC except nine people?



A timeframe for an improvement would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance


#pointblock #pointfeaturesymbolexporttocadproblem #tbcexport #tbcsymbolsinfeaturedefinitionmanager #featurerequest #feature_enhancement

01-23-2020 14:45

Please tell me this is being dealt with in the next build? 

10-03-2019 00:58

Hi Craig,


In the next TBC release it won't be addressed but this request is definitely included into the enhancements list which is reviewed and prioritized for each cycle. 




10-01-2019 07:38

Any news?  This should be fairly simple to solve shouldn't it? I'm loving TBC but this no block on a line string is driving me mad! I brought this up with a Korec REP around 2012 (Upside down A's instead of a cross block) and it still has not been fixed!  Geosite could do it so why not TBC?



09-22-2019 16:10

Any update on this? I would love to be able to add a point cross symbol to a line feature feature definition, however the option to add a symbol is greyed out. The current method using a shx file is not ideal.

09-13-2019 02:49

I must add myself to the calls for this most basic of features.


Could we please have an update ETA for the addition of this; as Alan Cliff put it:


"Simply want to be able to add a block ( e.g. circle or cross) to the line string point within FDM"


It was added in January as a request but not yet in the product?


The use of SHX (shapes) for point symbols works but is not as flexible or useful as the ability to use blocks. Both Geosite & other competitor products for survey processing produce blocks or proper Autocad symbols (not shapes) for points and did so right back to early versions. 


In the video that Paul Munoz posted above, Richard is shown shrinking the size of the object to a small nonzero value in order that the symbol position doesn't change when the text/shape is substituted! while at least there is some workaround I think it's obvious how this is an opportunity/risk for error and hard to believe that it is necessary. 


There are posts about this for years. in 2017 and before Joe Blecha's post here, it wasn't even clear how to get the shapes to display in Autocad.


Can we please have a comprehensive update on where you are with this feature!  I live in hope that it will come with the very next update soon!





09-08-2019 17:25

This still requires some form of external scripting and for the file to be opened in an external package and managed. Ideally this would either be a Macro / function inside TBC or we handle it so it doesn't happen to begin with as we should be producing a file without this issue in the first place so it can be shared and used without an issue in other packages and externally.


As a side note here, this issue is not restricted to AutoCAD, any CAD package that doesn't have the same symbols will have this issue.

09-06-2019 17:39

This appears to be quite contentious.


Coming from a software package which is able to export blocks for both point and line features it only seems logical that TBC is able to do the same. Adding further variables and steps to reach a similar/same result doesn't feel like the right outcome.


Having come across a post by the Korec Group to convert text to blocks for line features only highlights the measures users are going to. Changing a Text Symbol to a Block in a Drawing Exported from Trimble Business Center - HappyFox 

09-03-2019 02:27

Thanks for this post guys, it certainly explains why we are seeing a symbol change between AutoDesk and TBC.


While I understand this solution and see how it works internally within a company to a degree, I don't see how this is a neat and complete solution when sharing files externally, particularly as this still seems to be the case in 5.1 after the change in FXL handling. This process falls down particularly when compared with other packages that seem to be able to handle an export to AutoCAD without needing this to be done. 


It seems this conversation has been ongoing for a while now and we still are resulting in sharing a symbol file with customers to get them to view the data correctly. Is this still an item that is listed to be looked at? If we are working with customers to create more vibrant, versatile FXLs to handle feature code processing, this process is a little messy to handle on the back end when sharing a design with someone. 

01-30-2019 06:30

Hi Martin,


The Courier New style gets assigned instead of symbol.shx only when symbol.shx file cannot be found. I cannot reproduce this issue on my machine if symbol.shx file is copied to the right Autodesk folder.




01-29-2019 12:29

Hi Evelina


Yes the symbol.shx file has always been copied into the support folder.


The problem was that somehow in the exported dwg file the Symbol font entry had switched to point to a Courier New font instead of symbol.shx.


Not sure how this has happened. Using the font manager in CAD you can switch it back.


Is there anything in TBC I need to know to stop this from happening again?




01-29-2019 01:58

Hi Alan,


I have created an enhancement request for symbol/block import creating line feature in FDM.




01-28-2019 11:10

I understand what you are saying but why cant we just have a block on a linestring point?


Or an option to insert a block to multiple points ( like you can with a symbol) not ideal but a work around

01-28-2019 11:09




Exactly right - yes. I cant understand why it hasn't been implemented many years ago, I have been requesting this for at least 6 or more years.


The whole symbol option fails if the end user doesn't have the symbol.shx file correctly placed within their system


Simply want to be able to add a block ( e.g. circle or cross) to the line string point within FDM


This has been present in software since I started surveying in ...19....( well a long time ago!)

01-28-2019 08:43

Hi Alan,


Right now for the Line feature definition you can assign a Point label in Feature definition manager. So, as I understand you would like to be able to create a Point label with a symbol/block not only from standard TBC symbols but from imported dwg/dxf, right? Currently Label style manager in TBC allows to add a standard TBC symbols for creating Point label. Let me know if I understood correctly your workflow.




01-26-2019 01:02

Well said! You can add blocks to points but not points on line strings...

I have requested this many times but nothing has been amended.

just want to be able to add symbol/block to points that are on line strings in FDM    ♂️

01-25-2019 01:29

Hi Robert,


You can easily search for any command in TBC using Command Pane. Press F12 to open Command pane and type in "Point symbol".




01-25-2019 01:27

Hi Martin,


Have you checked if you have symbol.shx file copied from Trimble files to Autodesk Support folder?




01-24-2019 08:10


I am trying to reduce the size of my symbol points in TBC 5.0.  I imported a CSV file from some surveys we completed last year and can not find the symbol editor you mentioned in this post.  Any help is much appreciated!




01-24-2019 07:13


I've just updated my TBC to ver. 5.00.1 and now my point symbols will no longer translate correctly when exported as a dwg or dxf. It seems the update has had an issue there something I'm missing? It all worked before!!




06-06-2018 00:20

Hi Mark,


Civil3D *.shx files are not be supported in TBC.




06-05-2018 11:08


   Can you take the Civil3D .shx in to TBC as well?



   If you want everything in your drawing to go to the client I'd try etransmit. It sends everything that they would need to have a drawing that looks just like it does on your computer to include xrefs, blocks, etc.





05-24-2018 01:03

Hi Alan,


Currently symbol.shx file is not exported together with dwg/dxf files. You can share with the user dwg/dxf file together with symbol.shx file in one folder and it will work this way as well as copied in the Autodesk support folder as mentioned in the tip.




05-23-2018 23:38

20 years ago we stopped using "symbol" (SHAPE) in AutoCAD. We use BLOCKs!

05-23-2018 09:53

Will the Symbol.shx file be saved with the dwg file if you send the dwg to your customer or other user? Or do they have to also place the shx file in the same place?