CAD/BIM Tips & Tricks
Accelerate Your MicroStation: What’s in Your Garage?
28 March 2023
The Sultan of Brunei may have over 7,000 drool-worthy vehicles in his car collection, but none of them can do the things made possible by what’s in the garage we’re exploring today. Guaranteed. Look, you could drop an internal combustion engine into a cardboard box, add four wheels and call it a car, but — and this is a big but — who the heck would want to drive it? When it comes to choosing a dream vehicle, there are safety issues to consider, as well as driver preferences for a sedan, SUV, or truck, depending on the vehicle’s intended purpose. Budgetary constraints and good old debt-incurring ego also help shape one’s choice of vehicle. As a CAD designer and MicroStation® “driver,” you’re no doubt familiar with some of the constraints of your platform. You can’t do much about the design or aesthetic. It’ll never magically fix its own errors or compensate for its inherent quirks. What you see is what you get. But what if ...?
What if you could complete MicroStation tasks faster, almost as though you had a smoking-hot, invisible, personal assistant?
What if you could virtually automate all those annoying, repetitive, time-consuming tasks? What if all those annoying little quirks went “poof” and quit chewing up your time? What if you could complete MicroStation tasks faster, almost as though you had a smoking-hot, invisible, personal assistant?
Who needs thousands of luxury vehicles when what you’ve got parked in your garage can speed up your workflows, reduce frustration, increase accuracy, and save you a ton of time so that you can get out of the office sooner to go do the things you truly love?
Top 10 Tools
As the name implies, MicroStation Acceleration Garage™ is designed to accelerate your MicroStation tasks and make life easier for you. This sleek suite of ten tools is specifically designed to address some of the most common complaints MicroStation users mention, so let’s tour the Garage.
Microsoft Office Importer
If you’ve ever thought that there has to be a better way to handle imports from Excel® or Word® into your MicroStation files, then this tool is the answer to that prayer. Forget about messy cells, horrendous formatting, row heights and column widths that are uncooperative, the difficulty in getting headers to automatically repeat, or desperately trying to get huge pastes to fit inside your CAD border. With Microsoft Office Importer™ all of those problems simply vanish. Plus you have the ability to link and sync your imports to the source data for automatic updates.
The formatting of your imported data is fast, easy, and — dare we say it? — flawless. Every time. And with no messing around to get things to look perfect. When it comes to imports, Microsoft Office Importer is more than a cool convertible. It’s a sleek savage that you’ll want housed in your permanent collection.
Next, we’d like to introduce you to FileFixer™. Consider this the much-needed mechanic in your garage because this guy can really fix things.
Call the mechanic if you run into a DGN file that gives you an error message when you open it. Got a file that won’t open at all? Call the mechanic. Elements won’t plot the way they appear on your screen? Call the mechanic. Got DGN files that incorrectly convert to AutoCAD® or other file types? Call the mechanic. Stuck with elements you can’t select or delete? You guessed it. Call the mechanic.
All of these issues (and more) indicate that you have DGN file corruption. If you just groaned inwardly, we understand. As in most areas of life, corruption causes delays, makes extra work for everyone, and is simply a pain in the rear — until the mechanic shows up. MicroStation is not immune to corruption, but how hard is it to fix?
With FileFixer, you literally need to do nothing more than select the damaged file. That’s it. And the best part is that you can run it on hundreds of files at a time. (Imagine the state of the world if fixing governments was this easy!)
Title Block Manager
Title blocks not your favorite thing? You’re not alone. These things can be trickier than walking on water. All it takes to upset the apple cart (or, in this case, your schedule) is for someone to do something as simple as inserting a single sheet into a set at the last minute. Guess who’s working late to correct the numbering? And given the size of this project, you might have to kiss part of your weekend goodbye too.
But wait! What is this gleaming roadster you’ve suddenly noticed parked in your garage?
Ah, that would be Title Block Manager™. Put this baby in gear to save time when you need to make massive changes to title block text and tag values.
Let Title Block Manager renumber all of your sheets and carve hours off of a renumbering task. Interested in bi-directional syncing of information between title blocks in any number of DGN files and Excel? Consider it done. Want a general-purpose tag value editor? You’re looking at it.
Fixing title blocks can be trickier than walking on water.
Given half the chance, this sporty little roadster will get you home on time, every time.
Want to solve any MicroStation reference file problem, fast? RefManager™ is your answer, which is why DOTs, federal and state agencies, top engineering firms, and MicroStation professionals like yourself rely on this high-end 4-wheel drive equivalent.
Need to locate references that have been moved, renamed, or deleted? Done. Would you like to clone and replace a multitude of reference files in a single processing run? Done. Wish you could attach reference files to hundreds of design files with a single command, or adjust symbology equally easily? Done. And if that’s not enough for you, you can choose from three powerful reports to check the status of your references any time you like.
This is not necessarily the most exotic vehicle in the garage, but its power and practicality make it the ride you’re going rack up the most miles on.
Like CAD standards, library cells can be problematic and seem to chew up more time than they should. But there’s a vehicle in the garage for this one too and it’s a real multi-tasker.
If you want full control of sorting, moving, importing, exporting, copying, scaling, rotating, modifying, reporting on, renaming, converting, or deleting one or any number of cells within multiple cell libraries, then this is the ride for you.
You can spend hours messing around with cell library issues or get it all under control in about five minutes flat.
Sure, you can spend hours messing around with cell library issues if you really want to. Or you could get it all under control in about five minutes flat. If you’re a pedal-to-the-metal kind of guy, then this go-getter vehicle has your name on it.
If you spend more time than you’d like checking CAD standards, or can’t quite achieve what you want with MicroStation’s Standards Checker, then this sleek little number will have you feeling like 007.
If you want to do more than merely check that valid levels exist in your design file, for example, you’ll feel empowered by SpecChecker™. Imagine a tool that can identify every design file element that doesn’t conform to your standards. Imagine a tool that ensures elements are on the correct levels. Imagine a tool that checks color, weight, style and the type of every element to ensure they follow your drawing standard. Imagine a tool that’ll check the size, font, and justification of text elements. Imagine a tool that checks level settings. Imagine a tool that will check the names of cells to ensure that only standard cells are used. Now imagine all these tools rolled into one — and fully automated —and you’ve got SpecChecker.
In a nutshell, you tell SpecChecker what your CAD standards are, and SpecChecker will report and even correct the elements which violate your standards. It’s like a perfect martini, shaken — not stirred — of course.
Global File Changer
Do you need to make multiple changes in multiple design files, and you don’t want it to take hours or even days? Yes, MicroStation can do some batch processing for you in this area, but it can’t do everything that Global File Changer™ can. Think of this tool as the Unimog U5000 of your garage.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re counting cells in design files, changing file settings, moving elements, or just about any other file-related task you can dream up, Global File Changer will smoothly transport you across virtually any terrain. It’s also fast — so fast, in fact, that your journey will literally take nothing more than a few simple keystrokes. Buckle up for this ride.
This may not be the sexiest vehicle in the garage, but it’ll free up your time so that you can get out of the office to pursue more exciting things. We all know that raster files can be a serious pain in the you-know-what. It doesn’t matter what you do to a raster file, it’s never going to grow up to be a vector.
If you’re already doing business with Mr. Des Cartes, it’s only fair that we tell you that RasterDgn™ is significantly easier to use and way more affordable.
If you need to edit, copy, move, deskew or crop raster reference files — in color — without having to leave MicroStation or OpenRoads®, then RasterDgn is your go-to vehicle. Not particularly exotic, you say? Possibly true, but man, when you need it, there’s nothing quite like it.
This is the self-driving vehicle in your collection and the amount of time it can save you is astounding, not to mention eliminating hours of brain strain and frustration.
You know the torture of comparing multiple versions of the same design file. When all the versions are very similar and there’s a boatload of elements, you know you’re going to be stuck, staring at your screen, until your eyes practically bleed. And no matter how hard you try, you’re going to miss some differences when you’re doing this manually
Or you could use DgnCompare™and get it done — perfectly — in about two seconds. Use one of the two available reports. Hell, use both of them, so that you can see exactly what needs to be done at a glance. And then sit back and let DgnCompare do the work for you. Cheers.
Duplicate Element Remover
Next up in this amazing collection is a sporty little number that’ll save you so much time, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Seriously.
Let’s talk about duplicate elements. When duplicate elements are directly on top of one another, there could be dozens of them, potentially invisible to the eye. Now multiply this problem by the number of elements in a single design file and you see how this problem snowballs into a roaring headache.
Duplicate elements can make MicroStation run slower. Screen updates may seem to take forever. Plots may have unusual problems. And your mood darkens by the minute.
With your hands on the controls of the machine known as Duplicate Element Remover™, you retain control over exactly which files get processed. It’ll show you exactly which elements were duplicated so that you can address them. At your command, it’ll clean out all the unwanted duplicates, which will also restore the accuracy of your automated quantity calculations. It’ll strip out all the delays and unwanted slows so that you can literally zoom off into the sunset. And isn’t heroically zooming off into the sunset one of the most fundamental reasons to have a fabulous car collection in the first place?
A Gleaming Garage
With ten tip-top tools to help you conquer some of the most common MicroStation complaints, what’s not to love? The contents of MicroStation Acceleration Garage will never require washing, polishing, detailing, gas, or insurance. They’ll never break down, be taken from you in a divorce settlement, or get broken into or stolen.
They’re yours, all yours, and come — standardly — with deluxe customer service should you require roadside assistance. For more information, visit AxiomInt.com or call 727-442-7774 to pick the brain of a friendly Service Consultant.
MicroStation Acceleration Garage. CAD made easier.