Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CADD) Users Manual

The CADD Users Manual establishes the CADD standards using US Customary Units (English) and covers many of the resource files needed to complete a project within the Caltrans' right of way. Local agencies and consultants must also use these established standards for Caltrans projects. This manual is subject to changes that reflect Caltrans' current development/delivery process using MicroStation and Civil3D for all projects on the State Highway System (SHS).

The CADD Users Manual is only available from the Caltrans internet website and will be incrementally updated by section as needed. All previous changes to the CADD Users Manual are summarized in a cumulative document titled  ERRATA (PDF). 

MicroStation Is the Standard Drafting Software at Caltrans

The following 2014 Caltrans Memorandum mandates the use of MicroStation as the Caltrans standard drafting software:

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All CADD Users Manual Chapters - Complete Download Version (Updated 2/25/2019) (PDF)

Table of Contents

CADD Users Manual (Chapters/Sections) Last Updated
Foreword (PDF) 10/23/2017
Chapter 1: Purpose (PDF)
        1.1 Purpose of Manual
        1.2 Users of Manual
        1.3 Scope of the Manual
        1.4 Intent of Manual
Chapter 2: Caltrans Data Format
        2.1 Drawing Types and Codes (PDF)
               A. Drawing Types and Codes
                      1. Geographical
                      2. Non-Geographical
               B. Drawing Codes--Highway Construction Project
               C. Drawing Codes - Highway Planting Project
               D. Drawing Codes - Mapping and Preliminary Drawings
        2.2 Drawing File Names (PDF)
               A. Description
               B. Need for Naming Convention
               C. Naming Convention
                      1. District Codes
                      2. Highway Construction Project
                      3. Structures Drawing
                      4. Topographic Maps
        2.3 Drawing File Names (PDF)
               A. Roadway Design Files
               B. Structure Design Files
        2.4 Drawing Data Levels (PDF)
               A. Standardization of Level Convention
               B. Highway/Landscape Leveling Convention
               C. Exceptions or Flexibility from the Caltrans Standard Leveling Convention
               D. Structures Design Leveling Convention
               E. Right of Way (R/W) Mapping Products Leveling Convention
        2.5 Plan Sheet Preparation Using Levels (PDF)
               A. Plan Sheet Preparation
               B. Highway Design and Topographic Information
                      1. Alphabetically
                      2. Corresponding Level
               C. Levels Involved for Various Plan Sheets (Highway Construction)
        2.6 Text (PDF)
               A. Introduction
               B. Text Size - Highway and Landscape Project Plans
               C. Text Size - Structures
               D. Text Size - Right of Way Mapping Products
        2.7 Lines (PDF)
               A. Introduction
               B. Line Weights
               C. Line Codes
               D. Dashed Lines
               E. Line Styles and Linear Patterning
                      1. Overview
                      2. Scale Factor for Line Styles
               F. Line Symbology
        2.8 Color Table/Caltrans Standard Colors (PDF)
               A. Introduction
               B. Caltrans Color Table Files
               C. Standard Colors for Highway Projects
               D. Standard Colors for Right of Way
               E. Standard Colors for Structures
        2.9 Caltrans Cell Libraries (PDF)
               A. Cells
               B. Types of Cells
               C. Cell Libraries
               D. Cells and Conventional Levels
               E. Cells and Plot Scale
               F. Cell Features and Options Not Used by Caltrans
Chapter 3: Electronic Data
        3.1 Under construction
        3.2 Map Projection (PDF)
               A. What is Map Projection?
               B. The Lambert Conformal Conic Projection
        3.3 North American Datum (NAD) 83 (PDF)
               A. Description of NAD83
               B. NAD 83 Epochs
               C. CA Coordinate System (CSS) - NAD83
               D. Summary
        3.4 Under construction
        3.5 Under construction
        3.6 Roadway Design (PDF)
               A. Introduction
               B. Caltrans CAiCE Standard Resource Files
               C. Caltrans MicroStation Standard Resource Files
               D. Existing Topography
               E. Horizontal Alignments
               F. Vertical Alignments
               G. Superelevation and Cross Slope
               H. Alternate Design Techniques
               I.  Digital Design Model (DDM) and Design Contours
               J. Design Cross Sections
        3.7 Roadway Design Deliverables (PDF)
               A. Introduction
               B. Roadway Alignments
               C. Vertical Alignments
               D. Alternate Design Techniques and Digital Design Models
               E. Design Cross Sections
               F. Design Presentation of Project Plans
        3.8 Master Files (PDF)
               A. Overview
               B. Master Topographic Files
               C. Master Design Files
                      1. Overview
                      2. Utilizing the Master Design Files in DGN Format
               D. Master Clip Frame Files
               E. Master Plan Sheet Files
               F. Contract Plan Sheet Files
               G. Final PS&E Submittal
Chapter 4: Plans, Specifications & Estimates (PS&E) Through As-Built Plans
        4.1 For PS&E Submittal (PDF)
               A. File Formats for PS&E
                      1. Acceptable
                      2. Non-Acceptable
               B. Reference Files
               C. Requirements for PS&E
                      1. General Requirements
                      2. Caltrans Current Standards
                      3. General Plotting Requirements
                      4. Limitations/Restrictions When Using V8 File Format
               D. Consultant Prepared Projects
        4.2 After PS&E (PDF)
               A. Draft Contract Ready
               B. Certification for RTL
                      1. Overview
                      2. Cross Sections
                      3. Survey File Checklist
               C. As-Awarded
               D. Contract Change Order
        4.3 As-Built Plans (PDF)
               A. Overview
               B. Roadway As-Built Plans Using CADD
               C. Structure As-Built Plans Using CADD
               D. Archive Ready As-Built Plans
               E. Microfilming As-Built Plans
Chapter 5: Plotting at Caltrans
        5.1 Purpose of Plotting (PDF) 10/25/2012
        5.2 Plotting Solution (PDF)
               A. Overview
               B. Why a Single Plotting Solution?
               C. Using Interplot at Caltrans
        5.3 Terms and Definitions (PDF) 10/25/2012
        5.4 Accessing Interplot (PDF)
               A. Within MicroStation via "Iplot-Main" Dialog
               B. From Windows via "Interplot Organizer"
               C. From the DOS Command Line
        5.5 Creating Interplot Parameter Files (iparms) for PS&E (PDF)
               A. Creating iparms
               B. Modifying iparms
        5.6 Plotting to TIFF Image Files (PDF)
               A. How to Plot a TIFF Image File
               B. Standard Properties of TIFF Images Generated by "TIFF Output"
               C. Use of TIFF Images
        5.7 Creating and Plotting PDF Files (PDF)
               A. Creating PDF Files
               B. Plotting PDF Files
               C. PDF Standards
               D. Use of PDF Files
        5.8 Things to Watch Out for When Using Interplot (PDF) 10/25/2012
        5.9 MicroStation Print (PDF) 10/25/2012
        5.10 Caltrans Design Scripts (PDF)
               A. What is a Design Script?
               B. The History of the Caltrans Design Scripts
               C. Standard Caltrans Roadway Design Scripts
               D. Functions and Features of the Caltrans Design Scripts
               E. Dropout Logic and Weight and Patterning Values
       Appendix 1: Caltrans English Cell Library (PDF)
               1. Landscape
               2. Photogrammetry
               3. Project Plans
               4. Roadway
               5. Right of Way (Located Under Roadway)
               6. Traffic Electrical
               7. Surveys
               8. Water Pollution Control
       Appendix 2: Structures English Cell Library (PDF) 10/25/2012
       Appendix 3: Right of Way Engineering English Cell Library (PDF) 10/25/2012
       Appendix 4: Caltrans Line Styles (PDF) 5/9/2017
       Appendix 5: NAD Coordinates and Zones - English (PDF)
               1. Design Planes - U.S. Survey Foot (1983)
               2. Design Planes - Metric (1983)
               3. Design Planes - U.S. Survey Foot (1927)
       Appendix 6: Caltrans Fonts (PDF) 10/30/2008
       Appendix 7: Caltrans English CAiCE Feature Table (PDF) 8/19/2008
       Appendix 8: Pre-Named Levels, Section 2.4 (PDF) 7/30/2010
       Appendix 9: DGNLIB Levels (PDF) 10/25/2012
       Appendix 10: Named Level Libraries (PDF) 2/25/2019