How to place and update fields in MicroStation?

                Fields are basically self-updating text. A field points to a property of an object and display its value. When the value changes, the text update and show the new value.

How to place a field:

                You can place fields using Place Text tool. Select Insert Field icon in Word Processor and select the desired property.

Several types of fields can be placed in MicroStation:

  1. Element Property Fields - Display properties of selected element.
  2. Model Property Fields - Display properties of active model.
  3. File Property Fields - Display properties of active file.
  4. Place Holder Cell Property Fields - Display properties of the parent cell that contains the field. 
  5. Place Holder Link Property Fields - Display properties of an object that the field points to with the help of a design link. 
  6. Place Holder Digital Signature Cell Property Fields - Display properties of a digital signature cell.

Let's see these types in detail.

Element Property Fields:  These are properties of an identified element in the active model or its reference. These fields update to reflect changes whenever a change to the element causes the property to change. You can place different properties like Angle, Length, Area, Perimeter, Color, Line Style etc.

Here is video for placing a Length field of the Line.

Note 1: Double-click to view Full Screen
Note 2: To run this video in Fire fox Click Here to download plug in.

 

Model Property Fields:  These are properties of active model. These fields update automatically depending on the "Update Fields Automatically" check box in Model Properties dialog.

File Property Fields:  These are properties of active file. All these properties appear in "File - Properties" dialog. When a file property is changed, you have to run key-in "FIELD UPDATE ALL" to update the fields.

Place Holder Cell Property Fields:  These fields are placed in cell libraries. When you place those cells, the fields evaluate themselves based on the placed cell's properties. These fields update if you make any change the corresponding property of the placed cell.

Procedure for placing Place Holder Cell Properties field:

  1. From Task - Drawing Menu, select Place Text. This will open word processor dialog
  2. Select "Insert Field" from menu items or right click in word processor and select "Insert Field".
  3. From "Field Type" drop down, select "Place Holder Cell Properties" and click OK. Field editor dialog shows properties available for placing as fields.
  4. Select property you want to place such as Origin, Cell Name etc. and click OK.
  5. Place the field in view window.
  6. Suppose you want to place this field in another model in active file, open that model. With CTRL key pressed, drag the model in which you placed the field to the active model. Place the Model as cell in active model. OR Open Cell Library dialog, select File - Attach file, navigate to the file in which you placed the field. Double click on the model and place the model as cell in view window.
  7. Run keyin "FIELD UPDATE ALL" to update the field.

Digital Signature Place Holder Cell Property Field:  This is similar to place holder cell properties, except they show properties of a digital signature cell. These fields display signing date or other information about digital signature. You can create these fields in digital signature cell libraries.

Place Holder Link Property field:  These fields make use of design links to find their target object. You can create these fields in cell libraries. When you place that cell in your master model and add appropriate link to the field, then it will evaluate itself and display value of the property. You have run keyin "FIELD UPDATE ALL" after adding link the field.

Procedure for placing Place Holder Link Property field:

Here is video for placing a place holder link property field pointing to a model property, adding a model link and then updating the field.

In the video,

  • Place Holder Link Property field for a model property is placed in a cell library.
  • This cell library is placed in as a cell in a design model.
  • A link pointing to a design model is added to the cell.
  • "FIELD UPDATE ALL" key-in is executed to update the field.
Note 1: Double-click to view Full Screen
Note 2: To run this video in Fire fox Click Here to download plug in.

 

This procedure shown in video can be used for placing all types of Link Properties fields. You can place fields for saved views, references, drawing titles, PDF files, MS Office files, etc.

For adding model as cell, you can drag and drop models, with CTRL key pressed, from Project Explorer dialog, if the models in which field is placed, is in different file.

Another method to place cell is to attach the file in Cell Library dialog. Then double click on the model you want to place as cell. This will start the Place Cell tool and you can place the field as cell.

Configuration Variables to update fields:

MS_AUTO_UPDATE_FIELD - This configuration variable controls rules for updating the fields.
In this blog, we have seen different types of field we can place, how to update them.

More blogs are coming up so be there.

Anonymous
  • Fields are great but they miss some of important features:

    1. Too many clicks to attach fields. Need some better GUI or key-ins to add fields.

    2. Not enough options to format results. There is need for some custom expressions.

    3. Not possible to do at least simple calculations for example multiply by scale factor.

    4. Selecting Text doesn't highlight to which element it belongs.

  • Hi Mark,

    I'm interested to your video in Place Holder Link Property. Could you please post it again?

    Thanks.

    jing jing

  • It only appears to work for the "place note" tool not the "place text". If you want to place a block of text I suggest using the place note tool and selecting "none" as the textbox style

  • Hi Mark,

    I can't get the fields to auto-update in V8i SS2, whether by setting auto-update on in the model, or by using MS_AUTO_UPDATE_FIELD/MS_AUTO_UPDATE_FIELDs (both spellings appear on the BE Communities site). I see that others have the same problem - is this feature broken?

    cheers