Original Article Date: May 27, 2003
You asked for it, ya got it! The following article is based on Too Cool MicroStation session I presented at the 2003 BIUC....So turn off your cell phone and enjoy! Note, the contents of this article are for MicroStation V8.
Got a spare hour and want to discover discover powerful productivity enhancements in the latest version of MicroStation? Work along with this article and learn how you can accelerate your design and documentation processes.
But honestly, what can be more cool than Models and View Groups? Or how about being able to create a cell that’s 4gig's in size? Or better yet being able to define level definitions and completely changing the symbology of a drawing by just the flick of a switch? And then of course there are all those cool things you can do with a simple right-click of your mouse!
Download this zip file and extract all the files to the folder of your choice. For those of you who saw the presentation, you'll recognise the files as being the ones I used.
The first item on the agenda is the addition of File Icons in the MicroStation Manager. Not only do these icons show you if a file is V8, V7 or DWG, but will also give you a hint of the content or state of the file.
Return of the "bingo card"
As an educator for MicroStation users, I often hear that folks are struggling with the new layout of the View Level dialog and would prefer to have their loveable bingo card back. Although this feature has been around for a while, I thought it would be worth it to share it anyway.
For the following items, open the file TooCool.dgn and explore all of the models. As you work through the exercises below, you can simply navigate to each model by using the View Groups dialog.
Hatching - Alternate Area
The hatching and patterning tools have a few new tricks which we'll briefly cover here.
Hatching - Dynamic Area
Continuing in the same model, do an Undo and then try the following:
We just did a little exercise showing the power of associativity with the hatching tool. Now let's see what you can do with assocative dimensions!
Ball and Chain Dimensioning
Another cool new feature of dimensioning is the addition of the setting called Dimension with Leader. This nifty setting will allow you to easily manage the placement and positioning of the dimension text without worrying about having to drop the dimensions down to componenets first.
As mentioned above, I referred to using the Drop Element to drop the dimensions down to components. Although this may be required at times, you'll probably appreciate this new setting!
Export Shared Cells
Many times you may inherit a DWG file or even a DGN file that’s full of shared cells...and you’d like nothing better than to populate a cell library with them. A super cool new keyin has been added to V8.1 that will do exactly that. (Thanks Mark!!!)
Extract Dialog Contents
By the way, CTRL+C functionality has been added to many dialogs including Models. So, let’s say that you're maintaining an Excel spreadsheet with cell information. You can now extract this information and plunk it into Excel without any problem at all.
The ability to adjust the colours of an attached reference is about the coolest new thing you can do...and not only that but there’s a separate switch for plotting! This definitly rocks!
Many newer users in our world may not be familiar with the old FF= command to export graphics. Although this method works rather nicely and has most certainly served it’s purpose, there’s a cool new way of exporting portions of your file.
Ok, now you may be saying to yourself that I could’ve just as easily with FF=, and you’re right. However, keep this little tidbit in the back of your mind and in just a few moments you’re see just why this is so cool. In the meantime, let’s just take a quick look at merging references.
There are many ways that you can merge files together and I’m sure you know them all. But here’s one that may be new to you and it’s most definitely a cool new feature of V8.
This is the coolest! Rather than using Orphan Cells or Graphic Groups (which are difficult to manage) consider using the newest feature of MicroStation called Named Groups. As the name implies, these are groups of elements that are named. Another thought....just a little while ago, I talked about exporting graphics using Save As in conjunction with a Selection Set. Couple that with these Named Groups and you’ve got a whole lot more power behind the wheel! Let’s explore a model that contains Named Groups:
To show you how easy it is to create a Named Group, let’s make one for elements that define the graphics for Detail A.
Once you see the following, you’ll agree that it's definitely too cool for MicroStation! What we're gonna do is look at something called Display Sets. This is where you can "filter" the display of the graphics so that only a selected Named Group is shown on your screen.
Taking this one step further, we'll attach a border and create a Named Group for those elements.
Continuning on the same theme, the next thing on the agenda is something called QuickSets. These are also a group of elements except that they are numbered from 0-9 rather than named.
Using raster references is becoming a real treat in MicroStation, but being able to clip and multi-mask the attachments if the coolest!
Ok, this last little exercise is worthy of it's own article but until that happens, just follow along. Here we're going to take a look at a cool feature of using Level Filters.
AskInga Article #140