Save Settings and User Preferences

                Have you come across situations where MicroStation doesn't seem to remember what area of the model you were working on last time or what active color you used last time, while it does save the elements you created or modified?

                The fact is, there are different categories of changes and MicroStation treats them differently. This blog attempts to explain them.

There are three types of changes are Saved in MicroStation:

  • Design file changes - These are purely element or model changes. They are saved in DGN file. For example, creating a new element or a new model. These changes are saved to file when you select File > Save. These changes are also saved automatically at regular intervals if you turn ON Preferences > Operation > Automatically Save Design Changes.
  • Settings - These are active settings that you change from time to time while working in a DGN file. For example, the active color or active view orientation. You can save these changes in DGN file if you want to retain them for later use. You can do this by selecting File > Save Settings. You can also opt to save them automatically by turning on Preferences > Operation > Save Settings on Exit.
  • User Preferences - These are user's personal preferences such as sizes of icons, preferences of mouse and keyboard, positioning and docking of dialogs, etc. These are not saved in a DGN file because they pertain to how a user operates on all of his DGN files. Each user can have his/her own unique preferences. Also user prefences may store settings for some tools, if the same settings are to be used across multiple DGN files.

If you think of an artist working on a painting, the content on her canvas is the most precious. These are her Design file changes. The color and brush she is currently using in her palette are her Settings. These may not be important when she resumes her painting the next day. The position and orientation of her easel are her personal Preferences.

Let me explain Settings further. Generally Settings are divided into two groups:

  • File Specific Settings
  • Model Specific Settings

File Specific Settings:

  • Changes made in Library styles are saved for Detailing Symbol Styles, Dimension Styles and Text Styles. If you make any changes to the Library style and do save settings, these changes are saved. Changes made in Local Style are not saved, if not saved in respective Styles dialog using Save Style option.
  • All the setting in "Design File settings" dialog - Active Angle, Active scale, Color, Grid, Working Units, View, Element Attributes.
  • Snap Settings
  • Fence mode - Fence Type and Mode changes are saved.
  • View Groups created, Positions of all open View Windows, open models in view windows.
  • Positions of various graphical elements are saved.
  • View Brightness setting.

Model Specific Settings:

  • Level on / off in each view of model.
  • Color, weight, Line Style, transparency last used - When you do save settings Color, Weight, Line Style, Transparency, Priority settings which you used last time in Attributes toolbar, will be saved.
  • Active Locks - Locks activated in each model.
  • View Groups for each open view from 1 - 8.
  • View Attributes related to each view.
  • Grid settings done in each model.
  • Working Units.

More Blogs are coming up so be there:

  • I have a reference file attached to a dgn file. When i change the symbology in the Level manager for the reference file, the change is not saved next time i open the dgn file. I have "save settings to save changes" turned on in preference>reference. Also, i have level overrides turned on in view attrubute. I have "save setting on Exit" turned on in preference.

    Not sure what's going on, but i just could't save the settings for the reference files in my active dgn file.

    Any help will be highly appreciated.


  • I'm having problems with the Weight display on/off in view attributes. I would like to have it turned off by default but every time I exit the file having saved settings, you can just catch sight of the weight display coming back on before the file exits.

  • Hi Bigean;

    Thanks for your comments.

    About the Save Settings list, its really hard to post the full list. I tried to cover most of the settings in above list.

    I am posting a blog on USER PREFERENCES soon, so be there.

    Also your idea to post them on WIKI is good. I will consider this option in future.

    I appreciate your suggestion about adding separate tab for Model Specific Settings. It will be considered in future releases.



  • G R E A T ! ! !

    Are these lists complete? Can you add which settings are stored in the .upf? I mean apart from the settings we see in the Preferences Dialog (these are obvious), what else? What's stored in the docking*.xml and when?

    That would build up a good reference for future lookup (should then go to wiki, I think).

    A suggestion: As you mentioned, some settings are model specific, some DGN specific. Wouldn't it be nice if we could see that in the dialogs as well ... I mean, now we have only "Settings > Designfile", but not all of its content is DGN specific, if I remember correct.

    Good work, Mark"!