Where Did those Reference Files Go?

Avoid having to re-plot sheets due to missing reference files.

By Eiren Smith
Reference attachments can go missing when you least expect it. If reference attachments go missing prior to plotting a set of completed drawings, that's especially bad timing, particularly if you don't know that they went missing. Hopefully, you catch the missing references before you submit your plots to your client. But even if you do catch the error, you have to throw out those plots and re-do them.

Figure 1. RefManager solves just about any reference file problem and keeps MicroStation users in control of their reference files. RefManager also has several reports, such as the “Missing Reference File Report” which can be selected from RefManager’s main dialog box.

CAD users and managers in DOTs, federal and state agencies and top engineering firms use RefManager to change just about anything about their reference attachments. But some RefManager users don't realize how useful RefManager's reports can be in helping them detect problems — such as missing references — early on.

Today, I'll show how to easily use RefManager's "Missing Reference File Report" to warn you about all the missing reference attachments in any number of sheet files, before the unknown missing references cause you a problem. This RefManager report is a great thing to run, before any multi-file plot job, to ensure you won't have to re-do your plots. Here's how to run the report.

Start RefManager from your Axiom menu in MicroStation. For "Action", choose "Missing Reference File Report". (See Figure 1.)

Next to the "Master Files:" field, push {Select...} and the "Choose Files to Process" box will appear. This is a list of the master files or sheets you want to check for missing reference files.

Your active file will already be in the list. If you don't want to process that file, you can remove it.

There are several ways to create a list of files. Today, we'll cover the easiest and possibly the most popular: Just dragging files into the list from Windows Explorer. To do this, open Windows Explorer, navigate to your project directory and choose some of your DGN sheet files. Then, just drag them right into the list area of the "Choose Files to Process" box. You'll notice all the files are immediately added to your list. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. RefManager has an intuitive, easy-to-use dialog box for selecting which master design files to process.

Once you're done making your list of master or sheet files, push {OK} to close the "Choose Files to Process" box. Notice that the "Master Files:" field in the main RefManager box now says "" where "n" is the number of files you have in your list.

Now, let's say that we want to tell RefManager to only report on missing references that have their Display property turned on. That is, we don't want RefManager to report on missing reference attachments that wouldn't be displayed anyway. To do this, push {Attachments...} in RefManager's main box.

In the "Filter Reference File Attachments" box that appears, choose the "Advanced" category. (See Figure 3.) Then, in the "Advanced" category, set "Reference File Display:" to "On".

Figure 3. The reference file attachment filter allows you to very specifically define which reference file attachments will be reported on or modified. This kind of pinpoint accuracy is part of what makes RefManager so powerful.

Push {Close} to close that dialog box and return to RefManager's main dialog box.

Now you're ready to have RefManager run your report. Simply push {Start} in RefManager's main dialog box and RefManager will go through your list of master or sheet files and, when it's done, display a message telling you the process is finished. Push {OK} to close that message box.

Now, push {Display Report} in RefManager's main dialog box to open the "Missing Reference File Report" that it just created for you.

Figure 4. The level of detail in reports is user-definable — over 30 different categories of report detail (for example, file path, model name, logical name, description, master and reference file origins, clipping information, rotation, scale, etc.) can be selected.

Your "Missing Reference File Report" will not waste your time telling you about reference files that were not missing or ones that wouldn't have displayed anyway. It only reports on missing reference files (and their master/sheet files). If you've ever had to re-run plots due to surprise missing reference attachments, RefManager's "Missing Reference File Report" will save you time. And, RefManager has a cool feature that can quickly and automatically fix those missing attachments for you!

Fix Reference File Problems Fast. Call Now!
For more information on RefManager, contact an Axiom MicroStation Consultant today! Call 727-442-7774 extension 3227, e-mail 3227@AxiomInt.com or visit Axiom on the Web at www.AxiomInt.com now!