This document describes MicroStation printing changes between versions 8.1 and 8.5.
The print dialog's page layout behavior has been significantly modified. Refer to the MicroStation 8.5 Print Dialog Layout Behavior document for a description of how the dialog acts in various situations. The following are some of the more significant changes:
Note that this behavior is highly customizable. The previous MicroStation V8 page layout behavior may be restored in almost every manner. Some of the relevant configuration variables are:
If MS_PLT_MAX_ON_NEW_AREA is set, the print dialog does not attempt to preserve the current print scale when a new view, fence, or sheet definition is selected.
By default, the print dialog now automatically disables the orientation control when a Bentley printer driver is selected. The buttons are enabled for system printer .plt files. This feature can be disabled using the new configuration variable MS_PLTDLG_ENABLE_ORIENTATION. The old MS_PLTDLG_DISABLE_ORIENTATION variable is now obsolete and unused.
The new configuration variable MS_PLTDLG_FORCEOUTDIR allows customers to specify a default plot output directory that overrides the most-recently-used directory.
The new MS_PLT_USE_MRU_DEFAULTS configuration variable allows customers to disable use of most-recently-used default files and directories on the print dialog and throughout the plotting system. Normally, MRU locations are used instead of configuration variables when Open or Save dialogs are presented. If this variable is set to '0' or 'FALSE', the configuration variables will always be used instead.
The preview window is now automatically orientated so that the print area is drawn with no rotation, instead of always using the orientation of the paper size. The previous MicroStation V8 behavior may be restored if desired using the new MS_PLTDLG_PREVIEW_ORIENTATION configuration variable. The old MS_PLTDLG_FORCE_PREVIEW_ORIENTATION configuration variable is now obsolete and unused.
When the current plot driver is a system printer, dashed rectangles are drawn in the preview window that indicate the printer driver's imageable area, and/or usable area determined by page margins or form offsets. This feature is controlled by the "Show entire page in preview" checkbox on the print dialog.
The print preview line colors may be altered via the following configuration variables:
The values of these variables are the same ones used with MS_PENTABLE_DISABLECOLOR.
By default, the usable area rectangle is depicted in red. The usable area consists of the physical form size minus the driver's non-printable area minus any user-defined page setup margins minus any form offset specified in the .plt file. The driver's printable area (which is unalterable by the user) is depicted in gray if it is different from the usable area. If the usable area is equal to the printable area, only the usable area rectangle is drawn.
For system printers in full sheet mode, the preview window always depicts the total page area and the printable area. The printable area rectangle may be hidden by deselecting the "Show printable area in preview" control. In full sheet mode, page setup margins and .plt form offsets are not supported. Thus, the printable area is always equal to the usable area.
For Bentley drivers, the total form size represents the usable area and no additional margin rectangles are drawn. The "show entire page" and "show printable area" checkboxes are hidden.
The scale method user preference that was previously used only for the scale assistant dialog now controls the appearance of the print scale on the main dialog. The default scale method may now be specified in the workspace configuration using MS_PLT_SCALE_METHOD. This variable overrides the user preference when the print dialog loads. The user may change the preference while working in the dialog, but the configuration value will be used when the print dialog is exited and restarted.
The print dialog contains support for a sheet definition stored in the model. A sheet definition may be considered a persistent fence. If a plot description is created for a model with a sheet defined, the print dialog creates an internal fence that matches the specified sheet area. It also rotates the view so the sheet definition is viewed parallel to the X axis. This behavior can be disabled using the MS_PLT_HONOR_SHEET_INFO configuration variable.
To accommodate sheet support, the previous plot entity control has been split into two controls. The first is an option button called "Area" that allows the user to switch between View, Fence, and the new modes Sheet and Fit. The second option button, called "View", is a list of view numbers. The Area choices are enabled depending on whether a fence and/or sheet definition is available.
The key-in command "print boundary" now accepts "sheet" as an argument in addition to "view" and "fence".
The print dialog now supports "Fit Master" and "Fit All" print area modes. If the print area mode is "Fit Master", the print area is automatically calculated to include every element in the master model. For "Fit All", the master model and all its references are included.
The behavior of the auto-fit logic with regards to raster references may be configured using MS_PLT_FIT_RASTER_REFS. By default, raster attachments are not included.
Once calculated, the print dialog's fit design range remains unchanged until "Update from View" is selected. That command forces the design range to be recomputed. If the design range could not be calculated for any reason (such as no elements being present), a message is generated and the print area mode reverts to view.
Note that only file-based elements are examined in the design scan. Transient elements, such as the shadowed sheet definition border, are not included.
Customers not using sheet or fence print area modes may define MS_PLT_AUTO_FIT_VIEW to force the print dialog to come up in either "Fit Master" or "Fit All" print area mode, instead of view.
The following new key-in commands may be used to set the print area mode:
The print dialog now contains a "Display Broken Associations with Different Symbology" print attribute. This plotting control corresponds with the user preference of the same name. It allows customers to see broken associations in the view, but plot them normally (or vice versa). Key-in commands that set this attribute are "print attributes brokenassocsymb on" and "print attributes brokenassocsymb off".
The unused, permanently disabled print dialog print attribute checkboxes for ACS triad, background, dynamics, and grid have been removed. The obsolete fast reference clipping print attribute has been also been removed.
The print dialog now preserves the current print attributes if a new fence is placed in the same view as the current plot view. The existing MS_PLTDLG_KEEPVIEWFLAGSONFENCECHANGE configuration variable may be used preserve the print attributes when a fence is placed in a different view.
By default, the print button on the "Configure Windows Printer" dialog no longer submits a plot. It merely updates the plot description with any changes made on the Window Print dialog. This is consistent with the Batch Print setup system printer dialog. The new configuration variable MS_PLTDLG_SETUPSYSPRT_ENABLE_PRINT may be used to restore the original MicroStation V8 behavior.
The new configuration variable MS_PLTDLG_SETUPSYSPRTICON may be used to switch the behavior of the print dialog's "Configure Windows Printer" icon between invoking the Windows printer selection and page setup dialogs.
By default, page setup margins are disabled so that they are not carried from one printer to another. Customers may enable the Page Setup margins using MS_PLT_ENABLE_PAGESETUP_MARGINS, although this is not recommended. Page setup margins are permanently disabled for system printers in fullsheet mode.
MS_PLTDLG_WEIGHTOVERRIDE has been introduced primarily to help DWG customers whose files typically have the line weights view attribute turned off. The default behavior (the variable unset) is similar to the default behavior of MicroStation 8.1, i.e. when a pen table is attached that contains output width commands, the print dialog automatically turns on the line weights print attribute. However, MicroStation 8.5 is different in that it remembers that setting whenever the view is changed, a fence is placed, a new design file is loaded, etc. As long as that pen table is still attached, the weight flag will continue to be overridden.
Note that in the automatic mode, the weight print attribute is only reset when the pen table application informs the print dialog application a new pen table has been loaded. If a pen table without weight is loaded, the print dialog will not automatically turn on the weight print attribute when a weight output action is added during the same pen table session.
The behavior of the original MicroStation 8.0 can be obtained by setting MS_PLTDLG_WEIGHTOVERRIDE=VIEW.
The MS_PLTDLG_WEIGHTOVERRIDE=1 setting forces weights to be turned on unconditionally. This setting should eliminate the need to customize the print menu command to "print attributes lineweights on;plot dialog".
The print dialog Settings pull-down menu now contains a "Raster Options..." item. Selecting this entry brings up a modal Raster Options dialog that allows the customer to set the parameters listed below. These settings are not written back to the .plt file; they are used for the current plot only.
All these parameters directly correspond to raster controls in the .plt file. However, the valid ranges for some settings are not identical to the .plt records. The intention is to maintain consistency across the Raster Manager, Digital InterPlot, and standard print dialog user interfaces, while maintaining compatibility with existing .plt files.
The following key-in commands may be used to set the raster options. The first two are existing key-ins, the remainder are new.
The maximum print colors control may be used to reduce output raster color depth in situations where plot file size is more important than print quality. The recommended setting is 'Unlimited'. 'Binary' or '256' should not be used unless output file size is a critical problem. Foreground/background inversion and transparency issues may yield unacceptable results if color images are dithered to binary bitmaps at print time. Such conversions are best done through Raster Manager before printing. Note that results are dependent on the printer driver. For example, many drivers output 8-bit color as RGB; in those cases lowering the maximum color depth to 256 will reduce quality without creating a smaller output file.Print Border Key-in Commands
The border attribute key-in commands in the table below are now supported.
Note that commands that specify plot border attributes such as pen, comment, filename on/off, and so forth do not automatically enable the border. They define attributes to be used if the border is plotted. If these attributes are turned off, the border will not plot even when enabled.
print attributes border <on or off>
Enables or disables the entire border.
print attributes border comment <string>
Specifies an arbitrary border comment string. The string is limited to 80 characters.
print attributes border filename <on or off>
Enables or disables plotting of the active design file name on the plot border.
print attributes border model <on or off>
Enables or disables plotting of the active model name on the plot border.
print attributes border outline <on or off>
Enables or disables the border outline rectangle.
print attributes border pen <pen number>
Specifies the pen (1 - 255, inclusive) used to draw the plot border (outline and text).
print attributes border textheight <height> [units]
Specifies height of any text appearing on plot border. Valid unit strings are dots, mm, cm, dm, m, in, and ft. If the units are omitted, the current print dialog units are assumed
print attributes border time <on or off>
Enables or disables the plotting of the date and time on the plot border.
print attributes border width <width> [units]
Specifies the width of the border outline in physical units. 0.0 is a valid border width, and means "use thinnest possible line." Valid unit strings are dots, mm, cm, dm, m, in, and ft. If the units are omitted, the current print dialog units are assumed.
The print dialog now contains a read-only Rasterized checkbox. This checkbox indicates if the effective view mode (wireframe, hidden line, smooth, etc.) requires that the view be output to the plotter as a single raster image. The effective view mode is a combination of the real view mode and the presentation states of any reference files. If any reference presentations are set to anything other than wireframe or wiremesh, the Rasterized checkbox is set. When the plot is rasterized, vector features such as pen tables, the vector color mode, and .plt pen records are not honored.
The print dialog now contains a Full Sheet checkbox. This control is visible only when a system printer is selected. Turning on Full Sheet is the same as switching to printer.plt with /fullsheet specified on the sysprinter record.
If Full Sheet is off, the printing system only considers the printable portion of a sheet of paper when determining the maximum print size. For example: when printing to a letter size sheet of paper (typically 8.5 x 11 inches), the maximum print size may only be 8 x 10.5 inches. If full sheet is enabled, the maximum print size is 8.5 x 11 inches.
Full sheet mode does have some provisos:
When a full sheet system printer driver is selected, the total paper size is displayed under the paper size combo box. Otherwise, the usable area is displayed.
The new key-in command "print fullsheet <on or off>" can be used to set the Full Sheet checkbox.
The print dialog color mode combo box has been renamed from "Vector" to "Color". The grayscale and monochrome settings now affect Raster Manager references, OLE objects printed to Bentley drivers, and rasterized plots (rendered and hidden line views) in addition to vectors. Type 87/88 raster elements and OLE objects printed to system printers are not affected by the color mode.
If the print color mode is set to monochrome, full color rasters are output in grayscale. This generally produces more acceptable output than monochrome, and avoids problems dealing with color inversion and transparency. If true monochrome bitmaps are required, customers may reduce the maximum color depth on the raster options dialog to 'binary'.
The color mode may now be specified via command key-ins. The key-ins are:
When the print dialog is invoked for the very first time, the default display units are now obtained from the system locale, not hardcoded to inches. Thereafter, the display units are obtained from the user preference file.
The minimum-permitted print size in both width and height has been lowered from 0.5" to 0.1".
The new configuration variables MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_PRINTER, MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_FORM, and MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_TRAY allow the user to specify initial printer defaults when a plot description is created using a system printer. This is an alternate method to modifying the sysprinter line in printer.plt.
The "Synchronize" print dialog toolbar button has been renamed "Update from View". This command has also been added to the print dialog's Settings pulldown menu and the full-size preview window's toolbar. The print scale is no longer maximized when the plot description is updated from the model.
The save configuration menu items may now be disabled using the new configuration variable MS_PLTDLG_ENABLE_SAVE_CONFIG.
The print dialog now detects when the model's working units have changed (either from the user editing the current model's units via the units dialog, or the user switching to a different model while the modeless print dialog is active). If the new model's working units are different than the current plot description's working units, the plot description is automatically recreated in same manner as is done when the print dialog detects a new design file has been loaded.
All occurrences of "Viecon" have been renamed "SharePlot". The print dialog now adds the SharePlot item to the File menu only if shareplot.ma is installed. The menu item is enabled only if shareplot.ma is loaded and the CGM printer driver is selected.
The "Rotate 90" checkbox is now an option button with three choices: no rotation, rotate 90 degrees clockwise, and rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Rotation direction may now be controlled from the print dialog, instead of relying on the rotate record in the .plt file.
A new design-color-to-output-symbology resymbolization path has been added to the pen table application. Instead of relying solely on element-based output actions, customers now have the option of creating design-color-to-output-color, output-width, output-grayscale, and output-screening mappings. This method is implemented in the same manner as the "pen" records in the printer driver file, and can be considered a new user interface for that existing feature. This approach offers color and width resymbolization on a per-stroke basis. This is the only way some results can be achieved, such as screening multi-colored associative patterns and custom line styles.
The new pen table pen color maps are only supported for printer drivers using change_pen=color or both.
The pen table now offers the same per-stroke-based, design-weight-to-output-width resymbolization available through the .plt weight_strokes record. This is an alternative to using element-based output actions to map weight to output width, and is better suited to multi-weight associative patterns and custom line styles.
When an AutoCAD CTB plot style table is imported, the pen table now automatically creates a pen color map from the CTB's color-to-width mappings. This results in more accurate output than using element-based operations. The new configuration variable MS_PENTABLE_IMPORTCTB_NOPENMAP may be used to revert to the legacy element behavior.
If pen color maps are currently defined in the pen table, they may be exported to an AutoCAD CTB file using a new option on the pen table's File pulldown menu. MicroStation cannot export to an STB file. When a CTB file is written, MicroStation sets only the data relevant to the pen color map section. Other pen table resymbolization actions, such as end caps, line joints, patterns etc, are not exported to the CTB file. If a CTB file is imported into the pen table, and exported, the extra data that MicroStation does not modify is preserved.
The pen table now supports by-inches as an output line width method, in addition to by-index and by-millimeter. If the user currently has a millimeter width defined, and switches the option button from "By MM" to "By Inches", the width value will automatically be converted from millimeters to inches, and vice versa. If the user switches from a physical-width specification to by-index, the double-precision value will be reset to zero.
When importing an AutoCAD plot style table (.ctb or .stb) whose line width display units are set to inches, the output widths will be displayed in inches in the created pen table instead of always being converted to millimeters.
The pen table text substitution dialog now has explicit menu items for inserting the sheet name, sheet size, model name, and last saved date. These replacements were possible in MicroStation 8.1, but customers had to know the accounting variable names to use.
The pen table text substitution dialog now has a menu item for inserting the short scale factor (stored in MS_PLTSCALE_SHORT).
The pen table text substitution dialog now has menu items for inserting the values of document-set variables published by Batch Print.
A new "Model format" element criteria option has been added to allow customers to test on whether the element is from a DGN or DWG/DXF model. The default selection is "Any".
Customers who define the new configuration variable MS_PENTABLE_REGEX_LEVEL_COMPARE may now use regular expressions in pen table level names. Note that the user interface does not support manually-entered level strings, so the pen table must be edited with a text editor to take advantage of this feature.
The pen table no longer attempts to compare or override text style symbology for text node elements. This matches the MicroStation display.
"Explode Cells" in the global actions group box has been renamed to "Explode Type 2 Cells" to better describe the purpose of the checkbox.
Fill color output actions in the pen table no longer affect pattern color, since an element's fill and pattern colors are unrelated in MicroStation. The original behavior can be obtained by setting the MS_PLT_PNTBL_FILLCLR_AFFECTS_APAT=TRUE configuration variable if necessary.
Elements given the same pen table priority no longer plot in the reverse order than they do during display.
Batch Print is now built around a list box control with multiple, resizable columns instead of a single string list. Drag-and-drop editing is supported. Customers can drag files/models within the list box to change the order. They can drag files from Windows Explorer to add them to the job set, or they can add them by dragging models from the Models dialog (in either the same session of MicroStation or another session).
Batch Print now supports a description for each document in the set. This description may be used in pen table text substitution or other purposes.
By default, Batch Print now adds multiple entries, one per model name, to the print list when a design file is added. The model names are automatically extracted from the input design file. The new configuration variables MS_BATCHPRINT_ADD_ALL_MODELS and MS_BATCHPRINT_ADD_ONLY_SHEET_MODELS can be used to control how models are automatically added to the Batch Print job set.
The recommended Batch Print workflow is one-model-per-row, using Sheet as the print boundary method. However, alternate workflows are supported. Scanning for shape and cell print boundaries may still be performed. It's also possible to use a regular expression for the model name. Batch Print loops over every root model in the design file, and plots those that match the expression. If a model name is specified, print area shape and cell scans are limited to that model. If a model name is not specified, the original MicroStation V8 behavior remains: all models are scanned for matching shapes or cells. If no model name is specified, and no boundary scan is specified, the default model is plotted.
Individual models may be added to the document set via key-in command. The syntax (where the "<>" and "" characters are not literal, but the double quotes are) is:
batchplt addmodel <"design file"> <"model name"> ["description"]
The Batch Print application now supports "Sheet", "Fit Master", and "Fit All" as print boundary methods in the area specification.
The default Display specification created the first time Batch Print is invoked has been renamed from "WYSIWYG" to "As-is".
The Batch Print display options specification now contains a color mode control. The choices are as-is, monochrome, grayscale, and color.
The broken association symbology print attribute may be specified in a Batch Print display specification. The choices are as-is, on, and off.
The obsolete "Fast reference clipping" display option has been removed from Batch Print.
Batch Print now publishes the following variables during its print processing loop. These may be used in conjunction with pen table text substitution or other purposes.
The number of documents (rows) in the Batch Print file list. This number does not change depending on the number of items selected for printing.
The number of documents (rows) in the Batch Print file list that have been selected for printing.
The set document number currently being processed. This number is relative to the start of the Batch Print file list, regardless of the first document selected. For example, the current set document number for second row is 2, even if it is the first document being printed. This number remains constant while multiple models and/or boundaries are processed for a single document.
The print document number currently being processed. This number is relative to the first printed document. For example, the current print document number for the second row is 1 if it is the first document being printed. This number remains constant while multiple models and/or boundaries are processed for a single document.
The number of boundaries to be printed for the current document.
The current boundary number being processed for the current document. This sequence begins at 1, and restarts with every document.
The current page number being processed. This sequence begins at 1, and increments for each printed document, model, and boundary. Given the design of Batch Print, it is not possible to determine the number of pages in advanced if multiple boundaries are used.
The model name of the current document being processed.
The Batch Print description of the current document being processed.
Batch Print now supports a single-output-file document set checkbox in the printer specification, intended for use with the new PDF printer driver. The checkbox is disabled for all drivers other than those containing the new "document_set" keyword. If the driver is document-capable, the checkbox allows the user to decide whether or not to group the pages in the document set.
Batch Print now supports a document set output filename edit field, intended for use with the new PDF printer driver, in both the printer specification (default value) and the print dialog (per-plot override). The edit field is enabled when the document set checkbox is checked. This control allows the user to specify a document set filename that is different than the automatically-generated filename of the first job in the set. This edit field is optional; if empty, the filename for the first job is used for the document set.
Batch Print now supports %m as an Output and Post Processing->Print to File text replacement option. The code allows the customer to insert the model name in the output plot filename.
The new configuration variable MS_BATCHPRINT_SETUPSYSPRT may be used to switch the behavior of Batch Print's "Setup System Printer" button between invoking the Windows printer selection and page setup dialogs.
The Batch Print file format string may now contain variable references.
Batch Print print and boundary sequence counters now begin at 1 instead of 0.
The "New" button in the Batch Print toolbar is now disabled if there are no items in the job set.
In the event MS_PLTR points to a directory instead of a .plt filename, or is otherwise invalid, Batch Print is unable to create a new Printer specification. The error message produced in this case has been improved to indicate which file cannot be opened.
Batch Print now checks to see if the keyin command it plans to send to the print dialog is longer than the maximum allowable keyin length. If so, an error message is output and the command is not sent.
Note that Batch Print cannot round-trip unknown data in the .spc file between different releases of MicroStation. In other words, if a MicroStation 8.1 user invokes Batch Print using an .spc file generated using MicroStation 8.5, he will receive warning messages regarding the new specification fields. The older Batch Print will strip off that unknown data when it rewrites the .spc file, and therefore that data will no longer be present when the .spc is loaded by a MicroStation 8.5 user.
A new accounting configuration variable, MS_PLTSCALE_SHORT, is now automatically defined by the print processing engine. The appearance of this variable is controlled by the MS_PLT_SCALE_METHOD configuration variable. No units are included in the value, and the precision is limited to six. For example, if the print scale is 100 master units (meters) to 1 printer unit (inches), MS_PLTSCALE_SHORT will either be "1:100" or "100:1".
The code that sets the existing long scale variable, MS_PLTSCALE, has been corrected to use the units from the print dialog, rather than the internal print engine units.
The new variable MS_PLT_INVERT_WHITE_COLORS permits customers to specify which color numbers will be examined for automatic white-to-black inversion. This is intended for customers who use non-standard color tables where white is an index other than 0 and/or 7. Note that is not possible to invert the background color.
The new MS_PLT_OLE_MAX_MFB_SIZE configuration variable allows the user to increase or decrease the maximum size of the memory frame buffer used to plot OLE objects to non-system printers. This can be used to increase the sharpness of the plotted output at the expense of memory usage, processing time, and plot file size.
The configuration variable MS_PLTSYSPRT_USEEXTCREATEPEN allows the user to override the default operating system check when the system printer driver decides if CreatePen or ExtCreatePen GDI routines should be used. This is necessary for some 3rd party printer drivers that still do not support PS_USERSTYLE on Windows NT or later.
The plot processing engine now automatically grows the print fence boundary by one pixel in order to reduce the frequency of dropped edge lines when a fence is snapped to a shape. The pixel delta used for fence growth may be adjusted via the configuration variable MS_PLT_GROW_FENCE_DELTA.
The print engine no longer forces text rotated about the negative Z axis to be stroked by software.
Reference color adjustments are now correctly applied when the "use reference color table" option is not set.
Plot border text is now supported for system printers in full sheet mode. The text is placed at the lower left corner of the printable area, overwriting any design graphics. To restore the V8.1 behavior where border text is never drawn in full sheet mode, MS_PLT_DISABLE_FULLSHEET_BORDER may be defined. Note that in full sheet mode, the border offset specified in .plt sysprinter record is not meaningful, and the plot border outline is not drawn. This is unchanged from V8.1.
Transparent pixels from Raster Manager are now automatically replaced with background color pixels for RGB and byte map images when the rasters appear first in the update sequence list. This results in a significant reduction in output file size with many printer drivers with no loss in print quality.
The capability now exists to assign screening to .plt pen definitions. This is an alternative to using pen tables to achieve plot screening, and permits screening on a per-stroke basis instead of per-element. It also applies to associate hatches. The syntax is "pen(pen_number)=(<colors, weights, or levels>) /SCREEN=<value between 0.0 and 100.0>". As with pen table screening, 100.0 indicates no screening and 0.0 results in pure white.
The capability now exists to define grayscale .plt pen definitions, without explicitly specifying the RGB color components. The syntax is "pen(pen_number)=(<colors, weights, or levels>) /GRAYSCALE".
Hardware text mapping is now supported for TrueType and SHX fonts, using both printer.plt and the Bentley PostScript printer drivers. Three new options are available:
All quote marks in the preceding examples are literal; they must be included as shown. Wildcards or other pattern recognition methods are not supported; each font name must be specified precisely.
Below are the valid formats for the .plt font record:
FONT("fontName")=(<IGDS font number list>) [/Kern=n] [/Sizeratio=m]
FONT("fontName")=("<TrueType or SHX font name>") [/Kern=n] [/Sizeratio=m]
FONT("fontName")=("ALL TTF") [/Kern=n] [/Sizeratio=m]
FONT("fontName")=("ALL SHX") [/Kern=n] [/Sizeratio=m]
FONT("USE GDI FOR TRUE TYPE FONTS") [/Kern=n] [/Sizeratio=m] (sysprinter only)
MicroStation font numbers have the following ranges: 0-255 for IGDS fonts, 512-1023 for AutoCAD SHX fonts, and 1024-(max_int) for TrueType fonts. Note that only integers 0-255 may be used in the IGDS font number list. TrueType or SHX fonts may not be specified using numerical ranges.
It is legal to use "ALL TTF" and/or "ALL SHX" to assign default font mappings to all SHX and TTF fonts, then override that mapping for particular font names. The order in which "ALL TTF", "ALL SHX", and font name mappings appear in the .plt file is not important.
The new configuration variable MS_PLT_FORCE_HARDWARE_TEXT may be used to force hardware text in certain cases. Since this usually results in an incorrect text appearance, this variable is not intended for general use.
The new .plt record "no_raster_transparency=1" may be used to disable raster transparency within a printer driver.
The new .plt record "max_raster_color_depth" can be used to set the default maximum print color depth for the printer driver. Legal values are 0 (for unlimited), 1 (for binary), and 8 (for 256 colors).
The direction of automatic print rotation may now be controlled on a per-paper-size basis, and automatic print rotation may be disabled for certain sizes. The size record now contains a new qualifier (the angle brackets and quotes are not literal): /auto_rotate = <"cw" or "ccw" or "none">
If auto_rotate is not specified for a paper size, the default value is taken from the global .plt rotate record. If the global rotate record is not defined, or is set to 'none', then the default paper size auto_rotate is clockwise.
If the per-size auto_rotate qualifier is set to 'none', then automatic print rotation is disabled for that paper size. This is useful when printing to long forms, where non-optimal rotations are desired, while maintaining auto rotation for all other paper sizes.
The .plt record "rotate=none" is no longer meaningful and has been removed from the delivered .plt files. For existing drivers still containing rotate=none, the behavior is the same as rotate=cw. Auto-best-fit rotation is now the default behavior in the plot description layout code. The CW and CCW values of the rotate record are still meaningful; they set the default auto rotation direction for the paper sizes defined in the .plt file.
The .plt border record now supports a /model qualifier. If present, the model name is inserted in the border label after the design filename.
If the new .plt record "default_outfile_from_model" is present, MicroStation uses the active model name for the basename of the suggested plot output filename. If the record is not present, MicroStation continues to use the basename of the active design file.
The title string embedded in PostScript files by the Bentley printer drivers may now be customized via the .plt file. The delivered PostScript .plt files now contain the following record:
; This command sets the title string embedded in the PostScript file.
CmdName /appname="pscript" /command="PostScriptTitle" /qualifier="Plot of $(MS_PLTMODELNAME)"
The Bentley PostScript printer driver has been improved to take advantage of PostScript Level 3 raster transparency masking. This may result in a significant reduction of plot file sizes when raster transparency is used. The default pscript .plt files contain the following new record:
; This command sets the maximum PostScript language level to be used.
CmdName /appname="pscript" /command="LanguageLevel" /qualifier="3"
If the output device does not support PostScript Level 3, the qualifier should be changed to 2. This is default setting used when the command is not present. Only the values 2 and 3 are recognized.
For both level 2 and level 3 PostScript, grayscale raster output has been improved to reduce output file sizes. True one-byte-per-pixel grayscale raster is now written, instead of grayscale RGB raster.
Grammatical errors have been fixed in several .plt files, and obsolete records removed.
The form orientations in delivered hpglrtl.plt file have been corrected to reflect the values that produce desired output.
The default printer.plt now contains commented-out default_extension and default_outFile records. If these records are enabled, or the customer selects "Print to file" in the Windows print dialog, the print dialog opens the same output file selection dialog used when printing to a Bentley driver.
The plotting section of the workspace configuration dialog has been brought up-to-date with all the standard plotting variables that are suitable for publication. Some obsolete variables have been removed, new ones added, and many descriptions updated. Below is the current variable list. Variables introduced in MicroStation 8.5 are noted earlier in this document.
Name of the default printer driver (.plt) file that describes printer features, if the most-recently-used .plt file is not defined. Note that in some circumstances, this variable is used both as a search path and as a default plot driver file.
Default output directory for plot files, if the most-recently-used directory is not defined.
If this variable is set to a printer driver (.plt) filename, that printer driver will be loaded (instead of the last used printer driver) when you open the Print dialog box.
Fully qualified name of a text editor to use for when 'File->Edit Printer Driver' on the Plotdlg menu is activated. Setting this variable to 'HIDE_MENU_ITEM' will prevent the 'File->Edit Printer Driver' and the
'File->Reload Printer Driver' menu items from being shown.
Output directory for plot files, if not specified in the .plt file or on the keyin command. The variable takes precedence over the most-recently-used directory.
Search path for saved plot configuration (.ini) files.
Controls whether the print dialog is unloaded when its window is closed. If '1' or undefined, the print dialog application unloads itself when its dialog is closed, and all settings revert to their defaults when the dialog is reopened. If this variable is set to '0', the application remains loaded after the window is closed, and certain settings are retained when the print dialog is reopened. For consistent behavior of the print dialog, it's recommended that this variable be undefined. Note that selecting File->Exit from the plot dialog menu always unloads the application.
When a new fence is placed, the print dialog obtains new view information from the view the fence was placed in, and resets the print attributes if the new fence view is different than the current print view. However, if MS_PLTDLG_KEEPVIEWFLAGSONFENCECHANGE is set, the print dialog will always preserve current print attributes.
MS_PLTDLG_WEIGHTOVERRIDE can be used to set the print dialog's weight print attribute automatically to a value other than the one obtained from the view. This is may be desirable when plotting DWG files (which typically do not have weights turned on) with pen tables. The override is applied whenever print dialog settings are obtained from the view. The following values are honored:
'0': Weight override is set; the print weight attribute is
turned off regardless of the view setting.
'1': Weight override is set; the print weight attribute is
turned on regardless of the view setting.
'VIEW': Weight override is not set; the print weight attribute is
obtained from the view setting.
'PENTABLE': Weight override is conditionally set; the print weight
attribute is turned on if a pen table is attached that
contains output width specifications. Otherwise, the
attribute setting is obtained from the view. This is the
default value when the variable is not defined.
When the view flags have line weights turned off, all lines are drawn with the thinnest line available. However, as printer DPI has increased over the years, the thinnest line is getting too thin. Setting this variable allows you to set minimum line thickness in millimeters.
The MS_PLT_SCALE_METHOD determines how the print scale is displayed in the print dialog. This variable overrides the corresponding user preference. The following values are recognized:
'1': the scale display is paper-to-design format (default).
'2': the scale display is design-to-paper format.
If this variable is not defined, the user preference controls the scale method. This variable also controls the appearance of MS_PLTSCALE_SHORT.
If MS_PLTDLG_ENABLE_SAVE_CONFIG is set to '0', the plot dialog save configuration menu items are disabled.
Defines a default pen table that is loaded when you open the Print dialog box.
The orientation control on the print dialog allows you to quickly reverse the X & Y values of the paper size record without having to edit the .plt file. This is necessary for printer.plt, and helpful for some PostScript-to-PDF workflows, but not desirable for most HP-GL/2 and HP/RTL workflows. To reduce confusion and prevent any accidental swapping of the X & Y sizes, the orientation control is disabled by default for Bentley printer drivers. You may control this behavior using the MS_PLTDLG_ENABLE_ORIENTATION variable. Valid values are:
'0': orientation is always disabled for Bentley drivers (default).
'1': orientation is always enabled for Bentley drivers.
This variable does not apply to system printers.
If MS_PLT_ENABLE_AUTO_ROTATE is set to '0', the print dialog does not automatically change the plot rotation in order to achieve a best fit. This variable only applies to Bentley plotter drivers.
If MS_PLT_ENABLE_AUTO_ORIENT is set to '0', the print dialog does not automatically change the paper orientation in order to achieve a best fit. This variable only applies to system printers.
If MS_PLT_ENABLE_PRESERVE_SCALE is set to '0', the print dialog does not attempt to preserve the current plot scale when a new view, fence, or paper size is selected.
If MS_PLT_ENABLE_SCALE_CLIPPING is set to '0', the print dialog does
not reduce the plot fence or sheet size in order to accommodate the
user-specified scale factor.
The MS_PLT_HONOR_SHEET_INFO variable can be used to prevent the print dialog from applying sheet definitions stored in the model when it creates a plot description. Normally, if a sheet definition is present, the plot defaults to sheet print area and the plot boundary is set automatically from the sheet boundary. If this variable is set to '0', the print dialog acts as if there are no sheet definitions present.
If MS_PLT_AREA_PRIORITY is set to '1', sheet definitions in the model take priority over the active fence. New fences are ignored when the print area mode is sheet. This is the default setting. If this variable is set to '2', the active fence takes priority over sheet definitions.
If MS_PLT_FORM_SCALE_PRIORITY is set to '1', the default form scale specified in the .plt file is re-applied whenever the paper size changes. By default, the current print scale is preserved.
If MS_PLT_MAX_ON_NEW_AREA is set to '1', the print size is automatically maximized when the print area is changed. This includes when a view number is selected or a fence is placed. By default, the current print scale is preserved.
If MS_PLT_FIT_RASTER_REFS is set to '1', the print dialog includes raster references when computing the design range for the Fit print area modes. By default, it does not.
If MS_PLT_AUTO_FIT_VIEW is set to '1' or '2', the print dialog automatically sets the print area mode to 'Fit Master' or 'Fit All' respectively when first invoked (and a fence or sheet is not defined). Otherwise, the print area mode is set to 'View'.
By default, MicroStation displays the preview window in the orientation that results in no plot rotation, regardless of the orientation of the paper size definition. You can use MS_PLTDLG_PREVIEW_ORIENTATION to change this behavior. Recognized values are:
1: the preview uses the orientation of the paper size definition if the plot is not rotated. Otherwise, the opposite orientation is used (default behavior).
2: the preview uses the orientation of the design.
3: the preview uses the orientation of the paper size definition (V8.1 behavior).
4: the preview uses landscape orientation.
5: the preview uses portrait orientation.
Note that if the preview is displayed in a different orientation than that indicated by the orientation control, then the preview display of 'rotate 90' will be reversed as well. This variable does not apply to system printers.
MS_PLT_PREVIEW_USABLEAREACOLOR specifies the color of the usable area rectangle in the preview window. If zero, the rectangle is not drawn. For legal values, see the description for MS_PENTABLE_DISABLECOLOR.
MS_PLT_PREVIEW_PRINTABLEAREACOLOR specifies the color of the printer driver's printable area rectangle in the preview window. If zero, the rectangle is not drawn. For legal values, see the description for MS_PENTABLE_DISABLECOLOR.
MS_PLT_PREVIEW_PLOTBOXCOLOR specifies the color of the print bounding box rectangle in the preview window. If zero, the rectangle is not drawn. For legal values, see the description for MS_PENTABLE_DISABLECOLOR.
MS_PLT_PREVIEW_PLOTFENCECOLOR specifies the color of the print fence shape in the preview window. If zero, the shape is not drawn. For legal values, see the description for MS_PENTABLE_DISABLECOLOR.
If this variable is set to a fully-qualified printer driver (.plt) filename, then this will be used instead of printer.plt when Windows Printer is selected in the Print dialog box.
MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_PRINTER allows you to specify the printer name that is selected when a default system printer is opened.
MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_FORM allows you to specify the form name that is selected when a default system printer is opened.
MS_PLT_SYSPRT_DEFAULT_TRAY allows you to specify the tray name that is selected when a default system printer is opened.
MS_PLTDLG_SETUPSYSPRT_ENABLE_PRINT can be used to control the print behavior of the 'Configure Windows Printer' icon on the print dialog. By default, the print button on the Windows Print dialog in this mode saves printer driver changes without submitting a plot. If this variable is set to '1', the print button will submit a plot (original MicroStation V8 behavior).
PLTDLG_SETUPSYSPRTICON can be used to control the behavior of the 'Configure Windows Printer' icon on the print dialog. The following values are recognized:
'PRNSELECT': (default) the icon invokes the Windows printer selection
'PAGESETUP': the icon invokes the Windows page setup dialog.
If MS_PLT_ENABLE_PAGESETUP_MARGINS is defined, the margins are enabled on the Windows Page Setup dialog. By default, the margins are disabled. This variable only applies to system printers not in fullsheet mode.
Search path for pen tables.
By default, during AutoCAD plot style table import, pen table sections which have no effect (the settings are default) are ignored. Setting this variable to '1' will cause empty sections to be created.
A disabled section in a pentable is shown in medium gray by default. You can modify the disabled color by setting this configuration variable to one of these numbers: blue=1; red=4; magenta=5; light-gray=8; medium-gray=10; turquoise=13; dark-green=14; maroon=15; dark-yellow=17.
If MS_PENTABLE_REGEX_LEVEL_COMPARE is defined, regular expressions will be evaluated when comparing level names in the pen table.
By default, a pen table reference slot number match applies to both a parent reference and its children. If MS_PENTABLE_SLOTNUM_MATCH_APPLIES_TO_CHILD is set to '0', then the slot number match applies only to the parent reference.
By default, the pen table creates printer driver pen maps when importing CTB files. This permits proper color-to-width resymbolization of multi-colored elements. The legacy, element-output-action-based behavior may be restored by setting the MS_PENTABLE_IMPORTCTB_NOPENMAP configuration variable.
Name of the .spc file containing batch printing specifications.
Name of the directory containing batch printing job files. Defining this variable may be useful if different batch print job directories are used for different workspaces. If this variable is undefined, the batch print 'open' and 'save as' dialogs will default to the most recently used job filename regardless of the workspace.
Used to set the name of the batch printing log file.
If MS_BATCHPRINT_ADD_ALL_MODELS is set to '0', Batch Print will not add multiple entries, one per model, to the job set when a design file is added. The default is '1'.
If MS_BATCHPRINT_ADD_ONLY_SHEET_MODELS is set to '1', Batch Print will only add sheet models to the job set when a design file is added. The default is '0'.
MS_BATCHPRINT_SETUPSYSPRT can be used to control the behavior of the Batch Print Setup System Printer dialog. The following values are recognized:
If set, the RTL/PCL drivers will not insert the DGN name in the output file. Adding the DGN name should allow a printer to display the name in its front panel window, etc. but setting this variable will allow the feature to be disabled, since some printers cannot handle it.
The MS_PLT_INVERT_WHITE_COLORS variable allows you to override the colors that are automatically inverted from white to black if necessary. If this variable is not defined, the default inverted color numbers are 0 and/or 7, depending on the drawing file format and color table. The syntax for this value is the same as a level number list, with range 0-254.
When plotting OLE objects to non-system printers, MicroStation must render the object at device resolution into a memory frame buffer (MFB). By default, the MFB is limited to 4096 pixels in both width and height. This is approx. 13x13" at 300 dpi, and consumes 48MB. If the paper size of the object is larger than 4096 dots, the MFB is scaled accordingly. That can reduce the sharpness of the image. For sharper plotted OLE objects at the expense of memory usage, processing time, and plot file size, you may set MS_PLT_OLE_MAX_MFB_SIZE. The valid range is 1024 through 16384 (units are pixels). This variable does not apply to system printers.
If MS_PLT_FORCE_HARDWARE_TEXT is defined, some text that otherwise would be stroked in software is sent to the printer driver as hardware text. These conditions include rotated, slanted, mirrored, and vertical text. Note that it is likely the text will not be output correctly in these cases. Therefore, this variable should only be set if the text representation is more important than the text display.
When the print engine processes a line segment with coincident vertices, e.g. a single point line string that is not an official point in MicroStation, the line segment is grown so that output width can be applied. Typically, this is done for dot segments in a line style. By default, one vertex is incremented by one pixel in the X direction. The extent of this growth is controlled by the MS_PLT_GROW_POINT_DELTA configuration variable. The default value is 1. If the value is zero, the single-point line string is not modified and the output behavior depends on the printer driver. This is the behavior of MicroStation 8.1 and earlier. Some printer drivers (such as hpgl2.plt) always grow the point by a pixel, while others (such as the system printer driver) draw the point using the point_size specified in the .plt file.
The MS_PLT_USE_MRU_DEFAULTS variable is a convenient way to disable use of most-recently-used default files and directories throughout the plotting system. Normally, MRU locations are used instead of configuration variables when Open or Save dialogs are presented. If this variable is set to '0', the configuration variables will always be used instead.