Custom Line Style Series Part 4: Making Your Custom Line Styles Annotatable

Custom line styles, like many other element types in MicroStation (such as text, patterns, and detailing symbols), can be used in Annotation Scale-based workflows. The key to working with “annotatable” line styles is to consistently size them based upon a 1:1 printing environment (base scale), with Annotation Scale controlling the scale of the display of the custom line style when it is used in design and drawing models, across multiple design files that use different annotation scales, and in reference attachments.


In the past:

Historically, many organizations did not print at a true 1:1, but rather printed at a scale. To help facilitate this style of printing, it was not uncommon for custom line styles to be pre-scaled based upon their most commonly used print scale. This allowed a custom line style to be placed with an active line style scale of 1.0 when used in a “full-size” drawing, or 0.5 for a “half-scale” drawing.

Exploring this further, if the standard print scale was 1:20, the components in a custom line style would have been scaled up by a factor of 20 when a custom line style was created. If the standard print scale is 1:40, the line style components would be pre-scaled by a factor of 40.

Let’s look at the following “Arrow” line style in greater detail using a print scale of 20 (1” of paper represents 20 units):

Custom line styles are based upon Master Units. If on the final print the line style repetition is to be 1 inch in length, and the print scale is 20, the total length of one instance of the repetition needs to be 20 master units when printed. The following stroke pattern illustrates this length of 20 units.

This stroke pattern is composed of three individual strokes. The first “dash” is 9 units, the arrow is 2 units, and the second dash is 9 units in length totaling an overall length of 20 master units.

A base scale of 1:1

To bring this custom line style forward such that it can be used in an annotation scale-based workflow (where printing is performed with a print scale of 1:1), the size of the line style components must be reduced to a true 1:1. In this example, each measurement would need to be 1/20th the original size.

When used with an annotation scale of 1:20, the custom line style would be scaled up by a factor of 20, yielding the correct size.

Furthermore, the custom line style could be used in design files with any annotation scale, with each repetition still being displayed as 1” in length when printed.


Compound Scale

For those that have custom line styles that have been scaled to a predefined base scale (other than 1:1), and do not want to change their custom line style definitions to a base scale of 1:1, you may still be able to use Annotation Scale to affect the size of custom line styles by using “Compound Scale”.

Note: As discussed earlier, a predefined base scale is where the line style components have been pre-scaled by a factor such as 1:20 or 1:40, allowing line styles to be placed using a line style scale of 1.0

In Model Properties, the scale of custom line styles can be set to any one of the following:

  • Global Line Style Scale
  • Annotation Scale
  • Compound Scale

Compound Scale is a combination of Global Line Style Scale and Annotation Scale…meaning it uses the values for both settings to affect the “scale” of custom line styles.

In the example shown previously, the Arrows custom line style components had been “sized up” by a factor of 20. For this line style definition to be used in an annotation scale-based workflow, the size of the existing stroke pattern was reduced by a factor of 20, thus setting it to a base scale of 1:1.

Rather than redefine a set of custom line styles using this approach, the Properties of the model could be altered to accommodate using Compound Scale. In Model Properties, set the following:

  • Line Style Scale: Compound Scale
  • Global Line Style Scale Factor: 0.05

Setting the Global Line Style Scale Factor to 0.05 reduces the scale of custom line styles in the model to 1/20th their original size, essentially sets them to a base scale of 1:1.

Changing Line Style Scale to Compound Scale allows the Global Line Style Scale Factor to be implemented and allows any custom line styles in the model to be influenced by Annotation Scale.

Note: This requires that all custom line styles used within this type of workflow are consistently set to the same base scale such as 1:20. The settings in Model Properties for Line Style Scale and Global Line Style Scale Factor could be pre-set in any seed file to facilitate using this workflow in new design files that are created without a User have to change the properties in the new file.


Physical line styles

For custom line styles that do not need to be affected by a scale factor, meaning that the line style represents something measurable in the real world, the can be made physical using the “Physical” setting available in the Line Style Editor. This can be set individually per line style. This setting prevents a custom line style from being scaled by Global Line Style Scale Factor, Annotation Scale, or Compound Scale.

For more information on creating custom line styles, visit the course on the Bentley LEARNserver. 


Happy LEARNing!