Looking back to when I first started working on MicroStation there was very little information available to those of us with the fiddler in us. Web sites have come and gone and it's great to see this build up to the BE Community. I've had this list over the years and thought it would be great to republish and get it growing again. Feel free to add and edit.
To check out my latest articles, go to:
Did you know that when you are placing items with 'popset' active you can have the toolsettings box open under your pointer by keying in ctrl-space.
Ever had that frustrating moment when you manage to push the top of a dialog box so you can't grab it to move it? Don't worry. If you place the cursor in the bottom corner until the arrow usually becomes a diagonal double arrow, hold down the data button and then hit the shift key.
You can drag the dialog box away and back to safety.
Did you also know that in the menubar under Window in the numbered pulldown list will be the toolbox or dialog that you lost just select it and hey presto your dialog/toolbox re appears.
Tonight I'd like to share an answer to an e-mail sent in from Juliana. I just want to ask how I could access the macro file as text file,so I would be able to read its contents and understand the program?
No problems here. What you do need to know is that a macro has 2 files to it.
The *.bas file and the *.ba file. The difference between the two is that the *.bas is the file that can be edited in notepad or a similar text editor and the *.ba file is what MS creates when it compiles the *.bas file.
Basically, this means that the file you can edit is the *.bas file.
If this is not available, then I'm afraid you're stuck. there is not a way you can reverse engineer from a *.ba file back to a *.bas file.
One for the barmenu people. Did you know that you can add a rule line to separate sections in a barmenu.
Use the line:
This creates a riled line in the menu at a length dependent on the longest part of the menu.
Makes things look nice and neat.
Did you know that you can select a placement point when using the copy/cut - paste command.
To do this simply select the element(s) you require and then tentative to the point you wish to use as the insert point.
Then select copy/cut. Now when you go to paste, it will be a the point you selected instead of the center as us usually the case.
This point is known as the Ninja point. No joke.
Did you know that you can change the size of the Accudraw compass. Use the keyin: accudraw settings size (number-default is 40) For those who think that the Accudraw compass in just a bit too big.
How many of us use the RQ (rotate quadrant) keyin with Accudraw. Well, if you don't, I'd learn it quick. This allows you to align Accudraw along any line at any angle. Sort of like a quick way of setting up an ACS.
How many of us that do use it, find that we have rotate in the top rotation when we want to change to a side rotation. Well don't despair. There is a way.
Once we have used RQ to set Accudraw to a new rotation, the keyin 'E' and Accudraw with cycle the side, tip and front rotations for the new position.
This is a real killer.
It's amazing the things you pick up that you didn't know For instance, did you know that you can scroll through the last few distances in AccuDraw using the keys 'Page Up' and 'Page Down'.
What is the most powerful aspect of a CAD system. Most of us would come up with a different view, but to me, one of the most powerful aspects of any CAD package is its ability to be customized by the user.
When it comes to customizing we all think of function keys and custom palettes. How many of us use AccuDraw as a part of our personal customisation.
Not many I bet.
Well, it's easy.
First of all go to Settings/AccuDraw and this will bring up the AccuDraw dialog box. Now click on the 'Shortcut Key-ins' button. We should now have two dialog boxes open as in the image below.
What you see is the list of current available key-ins for AccuDraw. From here we can add our own. Almost like an extension to the function keys.
To do this click on the 'NEW' button. The dialog box below will open.
All we have to do now is fill in the blanks. The 'Shortcut' is simply the letter or combination of letters that we want to make up the shortcut.
All fields must be filled in.
Give our shortcut a description and then fill in the command. The command can be anything from a MS key-in to a key-in string as we have looked at in previous Tips. If you're not sure, go back and check out the site.
OK, now we have all this done, where does it all get stored.
Well, this is the clever bit and the interesting bit.
All shortcuts for AccuDraw are stored in the shortcut.txt file under:
The interesting thing about this file is that it can also be edited to create new shortcuts.
For instance, I added:
H "HELP" "HELP"
to mine to create a quick way to access the help system.
The thing to look out for is the way the rest of the file uses spacing.
It's that easy.
Just to be safe though, keep a copy of the txt file just in case.
'Til next time, happy customizing.
A while ago we started to look at keyins and locking elements. Now we are going to look at another method of locking elements and how to add a message to our keyin. The keyin we are going to start with is choose all;change lock;choose none;null This is a great keyin in that it will lock all elements in the file without us having to select them.
The only disadvantage with this is that you can only lock all elements, to lock only a few you would have to use our fence method earlier or define a selection set and modify our keyin to suit.
To unlock the elements we simply use choose all;change unlock;choose none;null Now. What if we want to let the user know that the keyin has finished doing it's job.
EASY. All we have to do is add a little addition to the end of the keyin and we end up with
choose all;change lock;choose none;null;m,stALL ELEMENTS LOCKED
choose all;change unlock;choose none;null;m,stALL ELEMENTS UNLOCKED
Slick hey. The interesting thing with this addition is that it can be used at any stage of a keyin. Remember our original keyin that we use to lock elements using a fence.
place fence;%d;%d;fence change lock;%d;place fence;null
Well, we can prompt the user by adding a few messages to the keyin.
m,stPLACE THE FENCE FOR LOCKING ELEMENTS;place fence;%d;%d;fence change lock;m,stACCEPT WITH A DATAPOINT....;%d;place fence;null
Not a bad little addition.
It's nice to see people sending in their favourite keyin. Today's is from Norbert Frank.
Norbert uses the keyins:
reference display on all
reference display off all
to quickly turn on and off all of the reference files.
Did you know that can also use the keyin
reference display on
reference display off
to turn on and off individual reference files. These can then be use in custom palettes.
More on customisation soon.
If you have a favourite keyin to share, drop in to me in an e-mail.
From Kirk Dunlap-----------
refrence display off;%d Turn reference display off by data point
reference activate;%d Activates Reference file by data point
This one in thanks to AskInga. You can change your working units by using a keyin. For example, to change the sub-units to 100 and positional units to 10, use the following keyin:
MDL LOAD CALCULAT;calc tcb->subpermast=100;calc tcb->uorpersub=10
A little while back I started to set up a keyin that would help to automate the plot command. My initial effort was
This simply lets me place a fence at the corners of my title block and then opens the plot dialog box. OK for a start.
Next I did a little digging and wanted to automate the 'plot using fence' option. To do this I changed the keyin to 'place fence;%d;%d;plot;plot entity fence'. Great. Now I'm getting there. From here I started to get a little frustrated as to go further without going over the keyin character limit.
No worries. I started to use macros.
The great thing about all I did next, was that I used the 'record macro' function to see what I needed to do.
Firstly I needed to change the plot scale to 90%.
To achieve this I changed the keyin to
'place fence;%d;%d;plot;plot entity fence;macro plot_95'
At the end of the keyin I have added 'macro plot_95'. What this does is load a macro I created that sets the plot scale to 95%.
' Start a command
MbeSendCommand "plot scale 95%"
A very simple macro to do. Now we're cooking. Now, I have all of this going well except for one thing.
For this to work, I need to have the plot file I want to use already open. As soon as you open a new one, the setting reset.
Next challenge. Edit the macro to load the plot file. Again I used the 'record macro' function and then edited out the bits I didn't need.
In the end I ended up with the macro below:
MbeSendCommand "_PLOT _DEVICE _SELECT "
MbeSendCommand "MDL COMMAND MGDSHOOK,fileList_setFilterCmd *.plt"
MbeSendCommand "MDL COMMAND MGDSHOOK,fileList_setDirectoryCmd C:\BUSINESS\CLIENTS\KOMAE\standards\plot files\"
MbeSendCommand "MDL COMMAND MGDSHOOK,fileList_setFileNameCmd hp750Cblack.plt"
MbeSendCommand "MBE1 CLOSEMODAL OK"
It's a little crude, but what I'm trying to show is that anyone can do this sort of thing.
Learning the basics is just a matter of having a fiddle. All you need to do now is set up a keyin that will load the macro for each plot file.
I did this by creating a plot custom palette. All you need change in the macro is the path to the plot file and then give it a new name.
Those of you who have had a fiddle with the plotting tip will have noticed one annoying thing about using the 'create macro' function. In some cases you have the dialog box appear and disappear during the running of the macro.
This is because the function will record exactly what has happened during the recording of the process. This is good for those of us who don't know the correct keyins for the macro.
Well thanks to Cameron, one of the group, we now know the correct keyin that negates the need for loading the plot file dialog box.
Previously we had:
To stop the need for opening the dialog box, the macro now reads:
MbeSendCommand "set plotter C:\BUSINESS\CLIENTS\KOMAE\standards\plot files\hp750Cblack.plt"
Much better. Thanks Cameron.
Thanks again to Kathy at ADS. What is the keyin for placing a series of numbers in a set direction:
Place your first number manually.
Start the 'copy and increment text' tool.
Select the text. Set the 'Tag Increment' to your interval value (i.e.. 1)
Keyin dx=(+/- offset value)|number. eg. dx=100,0|3
Not a bad little keyin. the '|' or shift \ can be used for operation that requires a series of data points.
Did you know that you can rotate a view in line with an element. Key-in 'rotate view element'.
This can be set on a hot key or put on a custom palette for quick access.
One thing to be careful of is that it is sensitive to the Accudraw rotation.
For instance, if you try and align a view in top view and it rotates to an elevation. This is because Accudraw was in either front, back, right or left planes.
Did you know that you can scroll through the levels in a file by using the keyin: lv=+1;of=1-63;selview 1
What you need to do is set the level you wish to start, simply use the active level.
Now you activate the keyin and it will switch all other levels off except the next level in line.
To use different views change the selview variable. This can be placed on a function key.
Key-ins are always a good short cut. We've been playing around with a few from time to time and now we need to add a few things and make our keyins more efficient. Initially we started with
place fence;%d;%d;fence stretch
What I have found with MS since going from DOS to Windows is that there is a habit for icon commands not to select/activate with the first. One of the worst offenders if the place fence command.
To help this problem we add a few things to our first keyin to first of all get rid of the initial fence and then reset the commands.
place fence;%d;%d;fence stretch;%d;%d;place fence;null command
Here are a few others that can be used as well.
rotate view element
place fence;%d;%d;reference clip boundary;%d;place fence;null command
place fence;%d;%d;fence change lock/unlock;%d;place fence;null command
If you've got any more drop me an e-mail and I'll add them to the site.
All of us at one stage has edited the text in a dimension. Bit isn't it annoying when you need that dimension again and you don't want to have the text set. Well, you can reinstate the original dimension text by editing it again and just placing *. When you accept it it returns to it's original setting and off you go again.
Did you know that you can add and remove placed dimensions from a dimension string using the 'delete vertex' and 'add vertex' tools. This gives you the flexibility to remove unwanted dimensions from the string or add then as the need arises.
You can quickly attach reference files to a design file by selecting them in 'Windows Explorer' and drag and drop over the 'Reference File' dialog box.
Can't see colour  on a black background?
Go to Workspace > Preferences > View Options > Gamma Correction and increase the value.
(note: this will change the View Window as soon as you hit OK, it will also affect the Tool Palettes and GUI - but only after a restart)
There's a set elevation command in the Civil/Site tools application. You can get it from here:
do you have an MDL download that works similar to the old 'set z' command