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The Dataset Explorer is used to browse and edit the Family and Part dataset. The Bentley Structural dataset (and other vertical applications) deliver the default settings for some tools such as symbology (color, line styles, etc.) and some drawing settings in this dataset. Here are some quick tips to make browsing your dataset more productive.
The Building Primary toolbar Family and Part pickers allow a quick "jump" to the selected Family and Part. Press the space key when the focus is in either the Family or the Part drop-down list and the Dataset Explorer should open and automatically select the part.
By default, the Dataset Explorer shows the properties of a specific "View" in a list box for a family of parts (compound parts, components). The Structural-specific Views are (Structural, Structural Data and Analytical Information) in addition to the "standard" Views such as Definition. Each property is shown in a column.
The Properties dialog box (Edit menu or right-click on a list box row) is a much better way to review the properties since it organizes the information in a dialog box instead of a long list of columns. The properties are grouped by function so it's a cleaner presentation.
If you leave the Properties dialog box open and then set the focus to the main dialog box you can click or use your arrow keys to move through the list. As the selection changes, the current selection will be shown in the Properties dialog box. It's a much faster way to browse the dataset since you can quickly compare the properties of different parts.
The Apply button can be used to apply changes to the selected list row. If multiple rows are selected then the properties will be applied to the entire selection.
You can also change the "Parts View" when the Properties dialog box is open and it will change to show the new View for the current selection.
Make sure that the Properties dialog box is off to the side so that it will remain visible when you are changing the list selection in the main Dataset Explorer dialog box.