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Original Article Date: Feb 21, 2001
What if you could set up a one-stop-shop for all your drafting standards and employ it throughout the entire department? What if MicroStation could adjust the size of cells and text automatically based on your output scale? Interested? Keep reading!
Authors Note: This article also appears in the September 2000 issue of The MicroStation Manager magazine and is Part 1 of 2. Go to The Settings Manager - Part 2IntroductionPick the tool, adjust the settings, place the element. Adjust the settings, place another element. Pick another tool, adjust the settings. Oops, wrong size. Adjust the settings. Place the element. For many of you, your design session may consumed by adjusting the settings of the selected tool based on your required output. You may find yourself flipping through your production notes to find the drafting standard for that text label or cell size. Or perhaps you've had to go into an existing file to determine the settings of an element. What if you could set up a one-stop-shop for all your drafting standards and employ it throughout the entire department? What if MicroStation could adjust the size of cells and text automatically based on your output scale? Interested? Keep reading!Using the Settings ManagerThe most powerful yet least understood productivity tool in MicroStation is The Settings Manager which provides a “one-stop-shop” for the selection and set up of your corporate drafting standards. MicroStation is delivered with excellent sample files which can be explored and accessed via the example projects. To take a look these files, ensure that your workspace component ‘Project' is set to Arch, Civil or Mapping and open one of the delivered design files. To access the settings file go to Settings > Manage. If by chance you've set to ‘No Project' then MicroStation will open styles.stg which will allow you to select and place a variety of dimension and multiline styles.The image below is showing the Large Dialog format for clarity.
The Settings Manager dialog is dockable and can be shown in the default form or in the large format by going to Options > Large Dialog. In either case, you'll have a pick list for Groups and Components which allows you to easily place a variety of elements in the file. Simply select the Group and then select the Component. MicroStation will then invoke whatever settings have been defined for that particular component: the active attributes, the placement tool required, and the element size in the case of text and cells.There are three categories of information or settings:
To better understand how the Settings Manager works, let's spend some time looking at the files involved.
The Settings FilesThe foundation of the Settings Manager are the Settings Files(".stg" files) which are used together to store and set your drafting standards.
The main file is the primary file being read by the Settings Manager dialog. It contains Drawing Groups which are based on real world objects such as “Fences” or “Water Sources” and provides the organizational structure for retrieving and using Drawing Components.Drawing Components are specific tasks such as draw “Chain Link Fence”, or “Streams” and can be one of seven element types: Linear, Text, Cell, Point, Area Pattern, Dimension or Multi-Line.When a Component is selected by the user, the Settings Manager will invoke the proper drawing tool, and adjust the settings as defined in this settings file. The main file is often associated with a project – which allows you to set up several settings files for a variety of projects you may be working on. Each file can have a unique name, will contain drawing Groups and Components specific for that project, and should be stored in the ../project/data/ directory.The main settings file reads or uses three support files which also have the .stg extension: SCALE, UNITS and STYLE. These three files are utilized by all main settings files and are found in the default directory: .../system/data/.The SCALE file contains your output scales which specifies the number of plotting units relative to design master units. These scales are used when the Drawing Scale Processor is invoked for paper-related drawing components such as text and cells which may need to be scaled at the time of placement. For example, a text label placed at 1:1000 will be placed at a different size than the same label at 1:5000.The UNITS file is used as a seed file when creating your own working units - any working unit components that are created are actually written to the SCALES file. In the event that you’ll be sharing or transporting your main settings file, it won’t be necessary to include this particular file.Finally, the STYLES file, stores the definitions of multi-lines and dimensions.
Modifying the SettingsAlthough you can create settings files "from scratch," it often is much easier to copy and modify an existing settings file. MicroStation's sample projects contain settings files which are excellent examples and starting points for customization and can be found in the project "data" directories. Just copy and rename one of the delivered settings files and place it in your ../project/data/ directory.Since the delivered file may refer to to other types of module data, working units and output scales, you will likely want to modify the existing settings via the Settings Editor. Creating and modifying Drawing Groups and ComponentsThe general procedure to modify drawing Components requires you to access the Edit Settings dialog from the File > Edit menu item of the Settings Manager and ensure that the Category option is set to “Drawing”.
If you intend to use one of the delivered settings files as a ‘seed' for your file, you may want to delete the existing Groups and Components by selecting Edit > Delete from the Edit Settings dialog. Once the existing settings have been deleted you can proceed to build your own based on your drafting requirements.There are seven types of drawing components you can define: Point, Pattern, Cell, Dimension, Linear, MultiLine and Text and the settings associated with the component are dependent upon the componenent type. By following the general procedures outlined above, the creation of drawing components is really quite simple and intuitive. With that said though, there are two areas that need clarification: The Use Paper Size option for cell components and the Use Drawing Scale option for text components. These and other topics related to the Settings Manager are dealt with in The Settings Manager - Part 2. Till then, I encourage you to drill into the delivered sample files and discover a whole new way at organizing your drafting standards!This article is Part 1 of 2. Go to The Settings Manager - Part 2AskInga Article #53