CONNECT Edition - Configuration Tips : Where should I keep my DGNWS files?

The DGNWS file, full name DGN WorkSet file, is very important. It contains WorkSet properties, custom properties, WorkSet sheet index, and the WorkSet Link Set. Each of these, other than the sheet index, involves some initial data input. As a project proceeds the sheet index will build up automatically.

If a DGNWS is accidentally deleted a new blank DGNWS will be created, any data will be lost, so this is a file that needs to be backed up.

The default location is in a WorkSets folder alongside the WorkSet.cfg and the project data folders:

In practice the WorkSet folders that contain the live project data will be on a separate share, a method for this is outlined in CONNECT Edition - Custom Configuration - Part 5 : Separating Project Data from Standards.

All configuration and other organization content will be in the Organization location. This will preferably include the WorkSet.cfg files, to maintain consistency these should only be edited by CAD/BIM administrators so need to be in a secured location.

Having set the location for the WorkSet.cfg files there is a choice about where to locate the DGNWS. It can either follow the WorkSet content to the project data share or be located with the WorkSet.cfg. Administrators may prefer to locate the DGNWS with the configuration where it can be managed and secured separately from the more accessible project data. However as the DGNWS has to be user writable to allow the sheet index and other content to be updated as the project proceeds this requires some quite specific file access permissions. It may be as effective to rely upon good backup routines and place the DGNWS in the WorkSet with other user-writable project data.

WorkSet Root Variables

We have two slightly different variables that can enable this choice.

_USTN_WORKSETSROOT (the plural) points to a location within the Organization's (Custom) Configuration folders

_USTN_WORKSETROOT (the singular) can be set to point to a different location.

In an example where _USTN_WORKSETSROOT resolves to:


This is the location where all the WorkSet.cfg files will be located.

_USTN_WORKSETROOT can be set to resolve to:


G_01_Project_001 being one of the WorkSets within the JointVenture_01 WorkSpace.

This allows the project data folders to be in a different location from the Configuration, the default requirement if most organizations.

DGNWS Variable

The _USTN_WORKSETDGNWS variable can be used to specify the location of the DGNWS. In the example configuration above, the default value will locate it in the ProjectData share with the design data, which is generally the most appropriate location for the DGNWS.

However, as the DGNWS is an application driven file that must not be directly modified by users, the location could be tuned using the _USTN_WORKSETDGNWS variable to locate the file with the project standards/resources, for instance:


This locates the DGNWS in the WorkSet Standards folder (note the singular ...WORKSET... used here):


Alternative Approach:

To locate it in the Configurations share, add the following statement at the appropriate configuration level (generally the Organization level so it applies consistently to all WorkSpaces)


This will locate the DGNWS alongside the WorkSet.cfg. (note the plural ...WORKSETS... used here). In the example above this would be:


Ensure that users have write access if an administrative location is chosen. (For instance, Windows permission can be used to allow write access while denying delete permission.)


When archiving projects, both the DGNWS and the WorkSet.cfg should be archived with the project data wherever they are located.

Translated German Wiki article:
CONNECT Edition - Konfigurationstipps: Wo soll ich meine DGNWS-Dateien aufbewahren?