The Explorer – Part Two: The File tab

In Part Two of the Explorer blog series, we will take a closer look at the Explorer dialog, File tab.

Browsing and Managing File Content

The File tab displays file content in categories such as models, saved views, references, levels, and so on.

File content can be browsed and managed by displaying the following content:

Browsing and Managing Model Content

You can also view the content of the active model. The model content includes saved views, levels, named groups, rasters, point clouds, references, elements, and so on. The model content is displayed by expanding the active model under the Models category. You can view the content of the active model only.

Right Clicking Categories

Expanding each category within the File tab, such as models, saved views, references, levels, and so on, lists items within that category or further sub-categories.  Here you will discover that there are numerous capabilities when right-clicking on items.   For instance, you can manage the file content displayed in the Explorer File tab in the following ways:

  • Right-clicking a category — You can select a menu item from the pop-up menu to perform actions on the file. For example, if you right-click the Models category you see Manage, New, Import, Details, and Properties. Selecting Manage opens the Models dialog.

  • Right-clicking an item within a category — You can select a menu item from the pop-up menu to perform actions on the selected item. For example, if you right-click a saved view within the saved views category you see Apply, Attach Item, Update, Rename, Delete, Details, and Properties. Clicking Properties opens Properties dialog in which properties of element appear.

And not limited to the Properties dialog, but selection of the objects in Explorer dialog are synchronized to the selection of the corresponding objects in various modeless dialogs.

  • Right-clicking the Elements category — You can select Organize By to organize the elements in the list by Type, Name, Level, Color, Style, Weight, Class, Template, Transparency, and Priority.

  • Right-clicking an Element — When you right-click an element in the Elements category you see menu items related to the element type. For example, in the image below, here you can see a Text element has been right-clicked.  The contextual menu displays Manipulation commands like Copy, Move, Scale, etc.  Text editing commands, and so on.  Options found in the contextual menu are completely dependent from the element that was right-clicked and will vary.

  • Double-clicking a category — Expands or collapses the category.
  • Double-clicking an item within a category — Activates or opens the item, if possible. For example, double clicking on existing model will open the model.
  • Drag-and-drop operation — You can drag saved views and models (from the Models and Saved Views categories, respectively) into the view window. You can drag a model into a view window to attach it is as a reference in the active model. Similarly, you can press <Ctrl> and drag a model into a view window to place it as a cell or press <Alt> and drag a model or saved view into a view window to place it as a link on an element.

When you drag a model, saved view, model link, or saved view link from the Models, Saved Views, or the Explorer dialogs, the corresponding model or saved view is attached to the active file, the Reference Attachment Properties dialog opens so that you can make the required reference settings.

File Tab Icon bank

The icon bank provides the following functions:

  • Refresh Active Tree refreshes the active tree to reflect changes to the DGN file.
  • Transparent turns on the transparency for selected graphical items.
  • Zoom will zoom to the selected graphical items.
  • Isolate will isolate the selected graphical items.

Performing Searches

In the File tab – and as we’ll see later – the Items, and Resources tabs of the Explorer dialog, you can search for objects within the tree. Based on the requirements, you can either perform a Simple search, Criteria search, or an Advanced search.

  • Simple searches allow you to conduct a search based on searched text.
  • Criteria searches allow you to create simple queries.
  • Advanced searches lets you build complex search conditions that can be saved for later use. Search results are stored in a folder that is named after the search condition. From the right-click menu of the search results folder you can save the results as report definitions (only for Criteria and Advanced search), edit search criteria, delete search criteria, or view properties.

So, as you can see, the File tab is a great way to browse and manage the content of the file.  It is a central location where normally you would have to investigate perhaps multiple dialogs for the information you are looking for.  For instance, what levels are being used in the active model.  Or how many Drawing Boundaries there are in the model.  Or even what references are attached – and their content, as well. 

Next in Part Three of the Explorer blog series, we will take a look at the Items tab.  If you were familiar with the Item Browser dialog in previous versions of MicroStation, then it has been merged into the Explorer dialog.  The Items tab displays a list of folder-like nodes representing the “item types” which is the non-graphical, business data behind the graphical elements.