Published 15 October 2019
Updated 30 December 2021
Want to speed up your design work in V8i or XM? Need to call up a tool, but you’re sick of clicking all over the place with your mouse? If your right hand is tired from all that clicking, while your left hand is idle and bored, this quick “how-to” article will balance the workload for your hands. Try using these nifty keyboard shortcuts that will help save you time on your MicroStation projects.
Since the introduction of V8 XM, you can easily interact with MicroStation’s Main Toolbox, Tasks Toolbox, View Toolbox and Tool Settings dialog box using keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts allow you to quickly call up a specific tool or tool option without moving the mouse cursor all over the screen. In order to take advantage of this new functionality, you simply need to enable it. You do this from the Workspace | Preferences menu. Once the dialog box is open, make sure “Position Mapping” is enabled as shown in Figure 1.
In order to get the shortcuts to also work predictably, we need to understand how MicroStation processes a keyboard shortcut.
When you press a key on the keyboard, MicroStation processes that key differently depending on which part of the interface is currently active and in focus. If you use AccuDraw, you already know that AccuDraw has its own set of keyboard shortcuts that are accessible only if AccuDraw is active and in focus. By enabling Position Mapping, we have now added another part of the MicroStation interface that can accept keyboard shortcuts. This new interface is called the “Home” interface. For this reason, there is a simple way of switching the focus between the “AccuDraw” and “Home” Interfaces. (See Figure 2.)
MicroStation XM and V8i are delivered by default with the F11 function key assigned to provide focus on “AccuDraw” and the F12 function key assigned to provide focus on “Home”. Press each of these function keys and note the new icons that display in the status bar.
Press the [F12] function key again and also note that the Tasks toolbar icons have text characters below them that will “wake up”, or become active. These are the shortcut keys associated with each tool set (as shown in Figure 3). As long as the “Home” icon is displayed in the status bar, you can press the corresponding highlighted shortcut key in order to activate the tool.
By pressing the shortcut key [Q], for example (as shown in Figure 4), the associated toolbar menu appears. Now, simply press the number key associated with the tool you want to load. (Note, if AccuDraw was active, the letter “Q” would cause AccuDraw to “Quit”.)
In addition, if you want to load the tool that is already showing in the toolbar (like the “Place SmartLine” tool in the example above), you just press [Shift] and the shortcut key and the tool is activated and ready to use.
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