Custom Line Style Series Part 5: Raster Line Styles

Custom line styles are a powerful and flexible feature that can be used to enhance the quality of your designs. They can be used to embellish a model with graphics that are quickly and easily placed by drawing something as simple as a line. Custom line styles can include vector-based geometry though Strokes and Point Symbols, and with the MicroStation CONNECT Edition Update 8, Raster components (consisting of raster images) are supported as well.

Raster line styles are used to supplement existing (geometric) lines styles, providing an alternative display for geometric styles that are based upon repeating raster images. These “raster” custom line styles are primarily useful in 2D drawing and can be very effective in producing high quality and highly efficient designs.

  • Introduced as a Technology Preview in MicroStation CONNECT Edition Update 7
  • Moved to Commercial Release Status in MicroStation CONNECT Edition Update 8


In the example below, the upper line style is the standard MicroStation {Rail Road} custom line style. It is defined by two continuous strokes for the tracks, and a point symbol (rectangular block) for the track ties. The lower example is a raster line style that is defined by a raster image.

(Shown above is a vector-based custom line style, below is a raster line style)


A Raster custom line style typically consists of a raster component (raster image) along with an underlying set of vector geometry. These components are then brought together using a Compound component.

If a Raster component exists for a line style, it will be used automatically when displaying to the screen or to output devices that support rasterized display. The individual components can be seen in the illustration below.



When the line style is used on non-raster output devices or older versions of MicroStation, the geometric line style components are automatically displayed.

(Raster line style as seen on a non-raster output device)


The MicroStation Connect Edition is delivered a variety of raster line style examples…several of which can be seen in the illustration shown below.

(Raster line style examples)


Placing an element using a raster line style is no different than placing an element using any other custom line style. From Attributes, the line style may be set as active, a scale factor assigned, etc.

(The Line Styles dialog showing the preview of the { Recycle Symbol 36” } raster line style)


The desired placement command is then chosen, and the element created. Raster line styles can be used in 2D and 3D models within virtually any discipline to quickly enhance a design. Possible uses may include:

  • Pavement markings (and other surface treatments that repeat in a linear fashion)
  • Map enhancements and thematic maps
  • Visualization

Here, the recycling “stencil” on the floor surrounding the recycling bins was created using one of the delivered raster line styles.

(Recycling symbol as a raster line style)



Another use for raster line styles is to produce output with a hand-drawn or sketched look. These “sketchy” line styles use a repeating raster image to provide a sketched appearance for the linework in a model. A combination of different sketchy line styles may easily be applied using Level Symbology Overrides and assigning different sketchy line styles to the various levels used within a design. The use of multiple sketchy line styles (of varying widths, darkness, etc.) would allow emphasis to be applied to specific features (such as differentiating between elements in the foreground .vs background) in a design.


(Several examples of “sketchy” line styles)


(Example of a “sketchy” line style in use in a model) 


Take a raster line style for a test drive today!

For more information on raster line styles, as well as step-by-step instructions for creating several raster line style examples, visit the Creating Custom Line Styles course on the Bentley LEARNserver.

 Happy LEARNing!