Seed Models in MicroStation



In this blog, I am going to explain the concept of seed models in MicroStation and its benefits. This is actually a beginner topic and has been widely used by MicroStation users.


While creating a new model, you have the option of using a seed model. This is been supported for all the model types; design, drawing and sheet.   


In the above dialog, you can choose the model type from the available choices: “Design / Drawing / Sheet / Design from Seed / Drawing from Seed / Sheet from Seed”.



If you choose one of the “from Seed” options, it lets you choose the appropriate seed model in the next dialog. The location of default seed models is defined by configuration variables given below. You have the liberty to choose your own seed model. When you create a new model using seed, the contents of the seed model get copied to the new model. You can see all the graphical elements and dependent non-graphical elements of the seed model in the new model. An example of non-graphical element is Levels. All the levels which are used in the seed model would be copied to new model.


If you do not choose one of the “from Seed” options, some of the properties and settings like annotation scale and linestyle scale are copied from the active model. Note that graphical elements of the  active model are not copied to the new model.


Consider a scenario where in you use a sheet border with particular origin and rotation for each sheet model. In this case, you may like to simply create a sheet model with these specifications and set this as sheet model as seed model using configuration variables.


There are a set of configuration variables for setting seed models. For each model type, there are two configuration variables. One of these locates the file containing the seed model and other one chooses the model from the list of models in the file. Following are the configuration variable for the three model types.

MS_DESIGNMODELSEED, MS_DRAWINGMODELSEED and MS_SHEETMODELSEED (Name of file containing seed model for new design, drawing and sheet models respectively.)

MS_DESIGNMODELSEEDNAME, MS_DRAWINGMODELSEEDNAME and MS_SHEETMODELSEEDNAME    (Name of seed model for new design, drawing and sheet models respectively.)


MicroStation defines the set of default values for these configuration variables depending on User/Project configuration that you  choose while opening  any file. In case you choose “Untitled”, ModelSeed.dgn file in the workspace is been chosen as seed file which contains seed model for each model type.


If you create a model without using seed model, the active model is been chosen for some of the settings. In the “Create Model” dialog, the default values for annotation scale, line style scale, update fields automatically flag, can be placed as cell flag etc come from the active model.


The same procedure is been used for “Create Dynamic View” using callouts. If you choose to create drawing and sheet models, the seed models are been chosen from the above set of configuration variables. You have the liberty of choosing your own seed model using browse button which gets saved in the user preference file.


 To know more about “Create Dynamic View”, please see


More blogs are coming up, so be there….


  • If you create your seedfiles the "clean" way is to start with a copy of one of the delivered seed files in .../workspace/system/seed. You may never know the "history" of a file...

    Then check the settings as named in Andreas comment. Depending on the purpose you may also consider to add coordinate system(s), a grid for orientation (ACS) and switch that visible in views.

  • Some experiences with seed files:

    - Microstation V8i has implemented new functionality. Do not use your old XM seed files when working with V8i. Modify Bentley delivered seed files to your need.

    - Always check Settings - Design Files - Working Units - Advanced Settings- Resolution. That's a critical setting which should always be checked.