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With MicroStation V8.5 and higher, you can access all the power of your Windows desktop applications and batch routines from within MicroStation.
This ability can be accomplished by using the MicroStation key-in browser. The key-in command can be assigned to a MicroStation function key or toolbox icon for easier usage.
Note that some MicroStation users may have become accustomed to using MDL programs like NTBANG.MA or WINSTART.MA to start their Windows programs from within MicroStation. MicroStation V8.5 now includes SHELLEXECUTE.MA, which offers more options than either NTBANG or WINSTART.
Before we take a look at some examples, let's take a moment to examine the key-ins available in the SHELLEXECUTE application by performing the following steps:
From MicroStation, select Utilities>Key-in. Select the SHELLEXECUTE MDL application from the application list on the key-in browser (See Figure 1).
From the key-ins listed, it is important to note that there are currently three symbol key-ins available: "!," "%," and "%%." Each has three respective alternate keyword key-ins: "bang," "percent," and "percentpercent."
Each symbol key-in performs a slightly different operation:
Used to open a command prompt and optionally to execute a system command or batch file from that command prompt
Used to enter a key-in in which a MicroStation configuration variable is embedded as a parameter
Used to temporarily run another Windows application. After you enter this key-in, you can return to the MicroStation application window only by exiting the other application
Used to enter a key-in in which a configuration variable is embedded as a parameter
More advanced examples:
Please note where spaces are being used between these key-in symbols.
If you find other useful or interesting key-ins, share them with other users by E-mailing them to the editor of the BE Newsletter. Your key-in may be included in the next User Tips section.
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This Client Server article is republished in its entirety from 2004 for reference purposes. It was written for MicroStation v8.5 and may not apply to any other version.
By Melissa Hook, Technical Support Analyst, Bentley Corporate Office 18 October 2004