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This article is a continuation of Part 1 and explores how the Settings Manager deals with the issue of scale.
Authors Note: This article has also appeared in the October 2000 issue of The MicroStation Manager magazine and is Part 2 of 2. Go to Part 1
In Part 1 we introduced the Settings Manager, explored the delivered sample files and had a peek at modifying the drawing components. Hopefully you've had a chance to explore this wonderful production tool and perhaps even tried your hand at customizing the settings to suit your own needs. If so, you may have had some trouble dealing with the issue of scale and how it impacts paper-related drafting items such as cells and text.
Setting the Scales
There are two scales associated with the Settings Manager. The first scale encountered deals with mismatched working units of the original drawing component, such as a cell, and the design file. For example, the drawing component was built in imperial units and the design file is in metric. When this occurs, the Settings Manager will automatically try to reconcile the scale by establishing a 1:1 scale between the file and the component cell. Once that's done, each subsequent time the cell is placed it's size will be correct for that current file.
The other scale that needs to be dealt with is the final plot scale or simply put the output scale. The output scale of the drawing can be selected by the user from the Category > Scale of the Settings Manager. When an output scale is selected, the Settings Manager defines how many master units to plot per inch of paper and it adjusts the size of text and cells accordingly. This is only true however if the Drawing Scale and Use Paper Size option is enabled during the creation of the drawing component. Although these options have different names, they in fact execute the same process - that is - they "normalize" the size of the cell or text based upon the final plot scale selected.
To define available plot scales:
From the Edit Settings dialog, Category > Scale > Edit > Create Group > Rename as necessary > Double Click to define the scale.
To use Drawing Scale with cells:
Final Plot Scale X Component size = Active Scale for Cell Placement
(Plot Scale 1:1000) x (Component size 0.001) = Active Scale of 1.0
(Plot Scale 1:2500) x (Component size 0.001) = Active Scale of 2.5
To use Use Paper Size with text:
Final Plot Scale x Component Size = Active Text size for Placement
(Plot Scale 1:2000) x (Component size 0.002) = Text Size of 4
(Plot Scale 1:5000) x (Component size 0.002) = Text Size of 10
In both cases, you'll notice that the size of the component is simply a “multiplier" and may not necessarily imply the size of the component when it was initially built.
Hint: When creating the graphics for your cells, it's helpful to build them all at one common “base scale”. This will ensure that all cells are placed at the correct size regardless of the output scale.
Dealing with Working Units
An option to modifying the working units during the design of a settings file is to establish the working units at the start of a project and then develop seed files for that project. This will resolve many scaling issues and improve the work flow of the design process. It will also eliminate unnecessary operator error from selecting the incorrect units for a design file.
On the other hand, should you choose to develop the Settings Manager to allow the user to change the working units of the file you can easily add your preferred working units via the Edit Settings dialog box: Category > Working Units >Edit >Create Group > Rename “Unnamed” appropriately > Double Click the new group > Select the Master Unit and Sub Unit labels > Define the Resolution.
Creating and modifying Dimension and Multi-line components
Using the Settings Manager, we can create a “library” or “pick list” of Dimension and Multi-Line styles. The following outlines the general procedure for doing so:
Using key-ins to execute the components
As with all of MicroStation's tools, you can use key-ins to call up the Settings Manager and it’s drawing components. This would allow you to create a custom tool box or a menu item instead of using the delivered dialog box. In any event, the syntax for the key-in is:
[Active settings] [type] [group name]:[component name]
For example the key in for activating the Linear component called "Draw lot line" from the group called "Lots" would be:
active settings linear lots:draw lot line
In order for the tool bar to be functional it is important that a button be created which will load the appropriate settings file, the key-in for it would be: MDL LOAD SETMGR
ASCII Group Utility
The ASCII Group Utility (ASCGROUP.MA) is an MDL enhancement first introduced in MicroStation SE which allows you to create, import, export and merge settings using ASCII text files. By utilizing text files, you can quickly edit the definitions of the drawing components and even cut and paste between files in order to transport large amounts of data. In order to accomplish this however, you must however follow the a strict syntax: