MicroStation - AccuDraw and AccuSnap: Exercise 1

This is a very trivial drawing exercise intended only to demonstrate use of the keyboard to drive element creation and manipulation tools including AccuDraw, AccuSnap and the Position Mapping key-ins.

The result is a grid, this is not the most efficient way to draw a grid! It is not a real-world example but hopefully will highlight the possibilities available to you and reduce mouse mileage.

Before Starting:

Create a new file and ensure that:

  • AccuSnap is on (Settings Menu > Snaps > AccuSnap > Enable AccuSnap is ticked).
  • AccuDraw is on (use the Toggle AccuDraw icon in the Primary Tools to turn on/off, if you can see the AccuDraw dialog it is on!).
  • Check that your snap is set to Keypoint and snap divisor is 2 (Settings menu > Locks > Full).

always keep an eye on the command prompts at the left hand end of the Status bar for a description of the next input expected by MicroStation.

Follow the steps exactly!

The Exercise




Draw first X Grid line:




Press Q > 1

Starts Place Smartline command.


Left mouse (Data) click to start line.

Left mouse click will be referred to as Data from now on. Note that the X or Y field in the AccuDraw dialog is highlighted.


Drag the mouse to the right, then up and down.

Note how AccuDraw offers a snap to the X axis.


Allow the line to snap to the X axis then press Enter to lock to the X axis

The line is now locked to the X axis wherever you move the mouse


Type 30000 then click Data to accept.



Right-click to Reset

This ends the Smartline command. Note that the Home icon is displayed at the right of the Status Bar. Right-clicking will be referred to as Reset from now on.

Arrange your view




Press 4 > 4 or 4 > 5

Starts Window Area tool or Fit View tool.

Multiple Copy Grid line



Copy X grid lines




Press 3 > 1 > F10 > 5

3  > 1, selects the Copy tool, F10 moves to the Tool Settings, in this case to the number of copies, 5 is the number of copies


Select the line with the mouse, drag down, type 5000 in the highlighted Y field of the AccuDraw dialog. Reset to complete the copy

Mouse movement and entered value defines the spacing of the copied lines, the number of copies is already defined. Compare this with using Copy Parallel and having to click for each copy of the line.

Copy Y Grid lines:




Press 1

Starts the Element Selection Tool


Press Esc

Displays the shortcut keys used by Element Selection


Press J > P

Sets Element Selection to Add by Line using these shortcuts.


Data to start selection line above first gridline, drag down across all lines, Data to end selection line.

Select the six lines by dragging the selection line from top to bottom.


Press 3 > 4

3 > 4 starts Rotate tool.


Hold Esc then press Y to select the Rotate method, set it to Active Angle.

Holding down Esc then pressing Y will cycle through the available rotate methods.



Press F10, then press Tab and set the angle to 90° by typing 90. Press Tab twice to move to the Copies tick box. Press Spacebar to tick, leave the number of copies at 1.

F10 moves Focus to Tool Settings allowing Tab to movedown through them.

If the number of copies is not 1, just type 1, note that once Spacebar is pressed to tick the box Focus moves to the number field.


Enter the pivot point by snapping to the middle of the fourth line down, Reset to complete.

Note: using rotate by active angle avoids the set angle step and gives a useful preview of the rotation as you hover over any available rotation point.

Delete the top and left hand lines to leave a neat square grid.




Press Esc then  ; to clear the selection.

(otherwise F10 > Esc > ;)


Press 8 then click on the lines to be deleted.


Extension Exercise

An alternative way to create a grid is to use the Crosshatch tool, but the point of this exercise was to demonstrate the keyboard tools with a simple example. However, to create a grid quickly using the Crosshatch tool:




Delete the existing grid:




Press 1 > F10 > Esc > J > U

Sets selection to Add Block


Drag across the existing grid from right to left to select by overlap, then press 8 to delete.


Draw the grid again:

Press R > 2 > F10 > Esc > H.

R > 2 selects the tool, F10 moves to the Tool Settings dialog, Esc displays the Tool Settings keys allowing you to press H to select method By Points.


Press F10 then Tab to move around the available fields. Set spacing both to 5000 and angle to 90° and 180°.

Mouse click on the padlock icons to lock the spacing and angle fields, you then only need to enter 5000 then Tab and  90° to set all four values. (I haven’t found a key stoke to access the padlock icons yet.)


Tab down and press Spacebar to untick the Associative Pattern option then F10 and tab down to tick the Snappable pattern box

Pressing Spacebar clears or fills a tickbox, but also moves focus to AccuDraw so another F10 is needed.

Draw top edge.

Data > drag right enter 30000 into highlighted AccuDraw X field. Data to accept end point of top edge.


Draw right side.

Drag down allowing AccuDraw to snap to Y axis, when you get to 30000 AccuDraw will show a thick crossbar at the end of the line, data to accept.


Draw bottom edge and complete.

Drag left along X axis, accept at the crossbar. Reset to complete square.


Tidy up edges

Check that Graphic Group lock is on. To drop the hatch from its Graphic Group press 6 > 6 > data on the grid to select > Data to accept.

Hatching is always placed as a Graphic Group. You will may want to drop the lines from the graphic group.

Alternatively you can leave the grid in its graphic group in which case skip this step. Turn Graphic Group lock off, delete the unwanted lines and point, then turn Graphic Group lock back on.


Press 8 then delete the unwanted lines on edges of the grid.