New Ribbon interface, what do you think?

Hi people.

Was talking about the Connect interface with and old work mate from previous office.
Looks like both agree. Ribbon interface is a catastrophic decision.

Personally, I've really felt disconnected with Bentley's vision on how MS should evolve, I love MS, SS3 is like a Ferrari tunned for race so don´t think I'm here for Autodesk fanboyism.

I got into MS after Acad swtiched to Ribbon. I loved Bentley systems because its unique approach to engineering soft with supper serious and practical interfaces, super powerfull design environment, great 3d modelling tool, the keyboard shorcuts that allow you to super quickly change tools etc...

I could not believe Bentley would EVER switch to  Ribbon. I'm so dissapointed. What do you people think? you like it?.

  • Hi Everyone,

    Just jumping in to see if I can help explain the thinking behind our Ribbon implementation.

    The primary reason to adopt a Ribbon is that it's a familiar design pattern to standardize on.
    If we made 1 application, it would be a different situation, but when you look at a suite of products used together with a mix of Ribbon, Task, and Toolbox approaches - we needed to take a step to increase the common ground.

    A while back I emphasized that we didn't just "do a Ribbon". We added key enhancements which will only be defended once they prove themselves in production workflows.

    In fact, there's a key question I can ask to lead our discussion to explore this deeper...

    "Do you use shift+right click to access view tools?"
    (and yes I realize common view operations are directly mapped to the mouse)

    Best regards,


  • Gino,

    I don't use shift+right click to access view tools but will start using it from now on! I'm not quite sure what KEN-T is on about when talking about the shortcut: Press Shift (1st action), right click (2nd), click Window Area tool (3rd) VS Press ESC button/home focus(1st action) press 4 - View tools(2nd), press 4 Window Area tool (3rd). Or am I missing something? 

    I would have to say that the CE ribbon is larger than other ribbons I'm used to, and does slightly take up more screen real-estate, but my main issue is it's responsiveness. It always seems to take a second between my clicks to access the tool and actually opening the tool.

    Best regards,


    P.S microstation has been in need of an interface update for years but you're never going to please the anti ribbon clan, 

  • I think I'm going to stay put with my two click solution from our customized GUI.

    Ivo Blaauw
    = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Look what the CAD dragged in...

  • To me that's not an option for me, call me old fashioned, I remember the days when you had a good interface, good quality icons and you picked the tool and used it, with the focus on design and draughting. I note with Connect edition a new term was introduced called 'Discoverable', as a draughtsman I don't want to happen upon a tool or do some arthritic keyboard combo, I want it in front of my face, I'm a designer not Rick Wakeman.

    Another thing while I'm having a rant, We have large icons (mostly fixed), we have small icons with a text descriptor which is considered medium and small icons, Since we are stuck with the ribbon, a lot more flexibility in the layout is required, I would like to see proper legible medium sized icon as the small icons are just eye strain if you are using a high res. monitor (2560 X 1440).

    Regards Ken
  • Gino,

    I tried it and found it quite "against my hand" if that means anything.
    1. QQ is QA for me on AZERTY, maybe that will be fixed in update 1. I could change it manually as well.
    2. press and hold down shift and right click
    3. press d
    4. press and hold down shift and right click
    5. press v
    6. press and hold down shift and right click
    7. press c
    8. deselect

    If you have your hands set to do just that sequence, you can do that quite fast.
    If you have to look at your keyboard, then the screen to see what key to tap, then the keyboard again and so on it's really not worth it. I'm not in the habit of using the keyboard for view controls anyway (I hide those in PM) and clicking the button that's within half an inch of your cursor was just easier than going back and forth from screen to keyboard.

    With PM in panel mode, I just look at the panel on the screen and see the keys I have to tap 74, Q3, whatever. Then keyboard and I'm in the command.
    With these popups I'm looking back in forth from screen to keyboard, screen again, keyboard again.
    PM Panel mode is also a lot easier to read, vertical, horizontal, 1, 2.
    Popups are zig-zag, hard to read and the popups themselves are quite unresponsive at times.

    With my solution I look for the shift key once, and the rest is on the screen. If I practiced that sequence I'd get faster, then again if I needed to do that a lot Ivo's solution would be the way to go with an additional ";choose none" because I'm just that lazy at times.

  • As you all probably know I don't like the ribbon as it is just not productive. Could never use it is a production environment. Tasks and PM work just fine and are a lot quicker and allow you to access tools a lot easier.

    Also as noted above the icon sizes are just plain weird. Too big and too small. I noticed this at EAP stage, along with a number of others, which was obviously ignored!!
  • I agree on the ribbon icons. In EAP 3 Gino posted this "Advanced Ribbon".

    I really think this should be the standard ribbon instead of the current one with the different sized icons.

    Rod Wing
    Senior Systems Analyst

Reply Children
  •  Just for comparison and discussion using the same ribbon area.

    Regards Ken

  • Hi Rod, Ken,

    Thanks, and that's a good lead in for my next point...

    When you request a piece of the Ribbon at your cursor, the key-in can map to other Ribbons.

    For example if you use the key-in "ribbon grouppopup *\Home\Placement" it will work with the Advanced Ribbon shown above. Meaning that if you have a shortcut to that key-in (mouse, keyboard, etc.) you can use it in different workflows.

    Or you can use the whole path like "ribbon grouppopup MyWorkflow\Home\Placement" and it will only show that one.

    To review:

    1. The Ribbon is made of named customizable panels (named Ribbon Groups)
    2. There are many ways to issue a key-in in MicroStation (function keys, device buttons, keyboard shortcuts, and screen menus to name a few)
    3. The content in a Ribbon Group Popup has keyboard shortcuts (note that these are called "Key Tips" in Ribbon Customize)
    4. You can bring any Ribbon Group via key-in to your cursor (even from other workflows).

    The reason I bring this point up, is that it's hard to NOT think of the Ribbon as a just row of stuff at the top of your screen.

    If you click on the locks icon in the status bar is shows the locks Ribbon Group. If you customize that Ribbon Group it will show up when you click the locks icon.

    Ok - here is my prediction (since I've been through this pattern several times in my 19 years with Bentley).
    Today we'll access the Ribbon the same way and click on what we want, but the longer we work with it, the more we'll start leveraging bringing pieces of the Ribbon where we're working.

    Best regards,


  • As others have mentioned, the ribbon takes up too much real estate. Programs like Word, Excel, Outlook are fine for a ribbon interface. How often do you change the tool you are utilizing at any given time in those products? How often do you need to change tools to zoom in/out or pan around? Not very often. The beauty of the Task Menu is that it is relatively small & can be docked along the side of your screen where we have move room. I was able to customize the task menu so that all of the tools that a drafter will use is under 1 tab. No flyout menus, no switching from tab to tab. Everything needed on a daily basis (+ some) are right in front of you. Nothing is hidden. I have not used Connect very much and from what I see, if I tried to create a Ribbon in the same manner it would take up have of one of my monitors. The position mapping & task menus have been the best improvement in the GUI as far as I am concerned. Do we really need to "Keep up with the Jones's". Hey everyone else is doing it so let's jump off the bridge with them!

    Quit changing the way we access our tools! There is no other software that I am aware of that used the Task based interface as v8i. It is unique, works extremely well in a production environment, is very efficient & customizable.

    And yes, I know you can still access the task menu and position mapping in Connect, but it is not nearly as user friendly.

    It's unfortunate that Connect has already gone to the Ribbon menu as Bentley will not abandon the idea give the R&D already invested.

    Microstation CONNECT

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1

    Microstation v8i SS 10

    Power InRoads v8i

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1


  • Unknown said:
    Programs like Word, Excel, Outlook are fine for a ribbon interface. How often do you change the tool you are utilizing at any given time in those products? How often do you need to change tools to zoom in/out or pan around? Not very often.

    The ribbon is done well in Autodesk Revit, I use it just as much as MicroStation and I need access to the Revit tools just as much as the MicroStation tools. The issue is not that there's a ribbon, (unless you're part of the anti-ribbon clan) the issue is that the current CONNECT ribbon is not executed correctly. Which, if I'm honest, isn't surprising as most software that migrated to a ribbon didn't have a perfect interface off the bat.

    Can we please stop looking back and focus on improving the ribbon? Or is that beyond the realm of possibility for some?


  • Hello Gino,

    I'll comment more about the ribbon later when time permits, I would like to hear your views on the size of the small icons used in the UI, the lack of medium sized icons and of course the over the top giant icons which take up too much space. Please take a look at these in light of todays hi-res monitors.

    Regards Ken