Using Design History in your projects to track changes

The Design History tool in MicroStation CONNECT Edition gives you full control of revisions made in an active DGN file to manage your design process. You can view and track changes made to the design, who made the changes, and when. If needed you can restore changes to a prior state using the Design History tool. Each change is associated with a:

  • Revision number
  • Filename
  • Date and time
  • Author
  • Description of the change
  • Tags

Once Design history is enabled in a DGN, changes made to the DGN are identified and saved as revisions. MicroStation carefully saves revision history within the DGN file saving space on the hard drive. Even when a DGN file is saved with a different name, the design history is safe. You can read more about Design History in the product Help.

How to use Design History

Design History should be ideally turned on when you create a new DGN file or at the start of a design. It can be initiated in a Seed file to ensure it is active when a new file is created from the seed. However, you can initiate it at any stage, keeping in mind the fact that changes made to the DGN before the initialization of Design History will not be recorded.

You can initiate Design History from the Ribbon:

Drawing > Utilities > Design History > Initialize


Click the Design History icon in the Status bar at the bottom and select Initialize.

After initialization the Initialize icon is disabled.

Note: You can terminate Design History by setting the MS_DESIGN_HISTORY configuration variable’s value to “delete=1”. Remember to restart MicroStation after setting the configuration variable.

Commit Changes

Once Design History is initiated, all changes made in the design file are identified and saved when you commit the changes. To save a set of design changes, you must periodically commit revisions using the Commit changes tool. You can decide the frequency of committing revisions based on your project needs.

When you commit a revision, the set of changes made after the last committed revision are recorded as a new revision and displayed in the Design History dialog. Revisions pending for committing are displayed without a revision number as ‘Recent’ in the Design History dialog.

Design History only records the “net” changes between two commits. You may make several edits in a design after committing a change, but these will be jointly recorded as a single change when you commit the next time. For example, if you add 50 elements to a design after committing a change and then commit after adding the 51st element, Design History will only record the addition of the 51st element as a single new change.

In the Design History dialog, you can view the revision number, file name, date and time, author, description of the change, and tags.

You can find more information on the tools in the Design History dialog here.

NOTE: If one user has not committed changes and closes the file, and another user opens the file, it brings up an alert dialog that says another user is working on the file and has not yet committed the most recent changes. At this point, the user takes ownership of the file if OK is selected. If the user selects Cancel, it will close the dialog. The user who has taken ownership of the file must commit the changes.

Set Revision Number

You can set a revision number after a set of committed revisions. This revision will act as a milestone. This revision will show as “Set Major Revision Number” in the corresponding description.


You can apply Tags to revisions to identify a particular revision. For example, if you committed revision 5.3 when your design was 50 % complete, you can apply the tag “50 % complete” so you can identify it better. The tags will appear under the Tags section in the Design History dialog.

Restore Changes

You can also choose to Undo or Redo changes in a selected revision. Read more on Restoring Recorded Changes.

Audit Trails

The Audit trail shows a record of Design History actions like initializing, combining, and retiring. In the Design History Audit Trail dialog, you will see information about the type of action recorded, timestamp, username, and other details.

To find out how you can use Design History in your projects, read here.


You can delete Design History using this tool or by using the key-in HISTORY MANAGE DELETE. Note: You must set configuration variable MS_DESIGN_HISTORY to “delete=1” and restart MicroStation for the key-in to work.

In MicroStation, you will find a set of Configuration Variables that help you set up various aspects of Design History.

It is recommended that you save your work often and only commit a change after a significant amount of work is done.

For more information on Design History please visit the product Help pages.