Site Standards #3 - User Preference Seeds

To make the user experience in your organisation consistent seed files can be established for user preferences. (I'll deal with the possible locations for the UPF and other preferences files in another post.)

User preferences will be set to MicroStation's defaults when a new user is created or a user's UPF is deleted, the same applies to the three .xml files that store Docking, Task Navigation and Group Panel states.

There are four files to take control of:

  • the user's .upf


  • ...docking.xml
  • ...TaskNavigation.xml
  • ...GroupPanels.xml

In your Company_Standards.cfg add the following lines to the Seed Files section

MS_USERPREFSEED    = $(_USTN_SITE)seed/$(_COMPANY_CODE)-Seed-UserPrefs.spf
MS_DOCKINGPREFSEED   = $(_USTN_SITE)seed/$(_COMPANY_CODE)-Seed-docking.xml
MS_TASKDIALOGPREFSEED   = $(_USTN_SITE)seed/$(_COMPANY_CODE)-Seed-TaskNavigation.xml

(See Site Standards #2 - Custom Variables for an explanation of the $(_COMPANY_CODE) custom variable I have used in this example. This is entirely optional but I find it helpful.)

Using a test user login (so you don't disrupt anyone's existing settings), before starting MicroStation go to that user's preferences folder and delete the existing .upf; ...docking.xml; ...TaskNavigation.xml and ...GroupPanels.xml files.

Open MicroStation into at test project or a training project if you have one. (It needs to be a neutral location, not an active project so the initial file and folder history go to a neutral location that should always exist.)


  1. Set the preferences that way that you want them, change the name of the peferences to '<MyCompany> Preferences'.
  2. Dock any dialogs or toolboxes in the arrangement that you would like your users to see when they first open MicroStation.
  3. Similarly for Task Navigation, arrange the dialog in the way that you want it first seen.
  4. Group Panels is less important. It controls the panels displayed within dialogs such as View Attributes, but it is good to have a common start point, change appropriate panels to create this seed file.

Close MicroStation and the four files will be created/saved.

Copy these files to the location defined by $(_USTN_SITE)seed/ and (where _COMPANY_CODE = JKL) rename  them to:

  • JKL-Seed-UserPrefs.spf
  • JKL-Seed-docking.xml
  • JKL-Seed-TaskNavigation.xml
  • JKL-Seed-GroupPanels.xml

Back in the test user's preferences folder, delete the existing .upf; ...docking.xml; ...TaskNavigation.xml and ...GroupPanels.xml files.

Start MicroStation and new preferences files should be created from the seed files, this is easily tested by opening the Preferences dialog and checking that the name is '<MyCompany> Preferences'.