Migrating from V7 to V8

30 Apr, 2003 By: James Dyer

This month's Productivity Corner focuses on a few primary areas of MicroStation to pay close attention to during your migration to MicroStation V8. You will learn the steps required to configure MicroStation V8. We'll pay attention to dynamic navigation acceleration, annotations, change management, and Office integration.

AccuDraw Shortcuts

If you use a modified list of MicroStation AccuDraw shortcuts in pre-V8 MicroStation, you will need to update these shortcuts for use in V8. V8 adds two shortcuts and removes one from AccuDraw, making it easier to modify your existing V7 shortcut file than to update the one in V8 to reflect your changes. This will involve copying the modified V7 AccuDraw shortcut definition file from the V7 workspace\system\data folder over to the delivered definition. The MS_ACCUDRAWKEYS configuration variable points to AccuDraw shortcut definitions (located by default in \workspace\system\data\shortcut.txt).

To migrate V7 AccuDraw shortcuts into V8 workspace, you need to first copy the file \V7Workspace\system\data\shortcut.txt to \V8Workspace\system\data from Windows Explorer and overwrite the V8 file. Then use Notepad to edit the file \V8Workspace\system\data\shortcut.txt. Next, add these lines to the text:

U "Suspend AccuSnap"
"AccuSnap Suspend"
J "Toggle AccuSnap"
"AccuSnap Toggle"

And delete this line:

GM "Go to More Settings"
"AccuDraw Dialog MoreSettings"

Now, save the file. At this point, your shortcuts are saved and ready for use in V8.

Move Your Text Font Resource

MicroStation V8 provides direct support for Windows TrueType fonts and SHX fonts. In addition, MicroStation continues to support existing pre-V8 font libraries stored in rsc files. As with MicroStation/J, the configuration variable MS_SYMBRSRC is used to locate MicroStation font files. Copying an existing V7-based workspace normally includes the font library files.

One of the new capabilities of MicroStation is its direct support of SHX fonts when working with DWG and DGN files. However, by default, MicroStation is not delivered with such fonts, so it is up to users and administrators to configure MicroStation to locate SHX font definitions within their operation.

MicroStation locates the SHX fonts by looking for the defined configuration variable MS_DWGFONTPATH. The MS_DWGFONTPATH is normally undefined. Simply set its variable to the directory where the SHX fonts reside and restart MicroStation. This configuration variable supports multiple paths so you can manipulate it as you would any other search path variable, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The MS_DWGFONTPATH is normally undefined, so you can set its variable to the directory where the SHX fonts reside.

Although MicroStation V8 provides direct access to the Microsoft Windows TrueType fonts, it does not automatically convert existing design files that use the older MicroStation font technology (the rsc format). In many companies, TrueType fonts (such as Arial) are imported into MicroStation via the Install Fonts Utility (Utilities>Font Install), as shown in Figure 2. When legacy design files that use the imported font are converted to V8, they will still continue to point to the MicroStation font resource rather than to the Windows TTF resource of the same name.

Figure 2. If you import True Type fonts into MicroStation via the Install Fonts Utility (Utilities>Font Install), when legacy design files using the imported fonts are converted to V8, they'll continue to point to the MicroStation font resource.

Define Your Dictionary

If you like, you can add words already included in your Office applications to MicroStation's Dictionary, as shown in Figure 3.

  • From Microsoft Word, locate and record the path to the dictionary that you are using.
  • Launch MicroStation.
  • Go to Workspace>Configuration.
  • Select Spelling from the Category list.
  • Select Spelling User Dictionary.
  • Select the location that you recorded from Microsoft Word.
  • Restart MicroStation to use the new Dictionary.

Figure 3. If you like, you can add words already included in your Office applications to MicroStation's Dictionary.

If you prefer to edit your configuration variables directly, the variable is MS_SPELLINGUSERDICTIONARY. You can also edit both Dictionaries using notepad. This method allows you to combine them to make certain all the words you have added inside MicroStation are included in the Microsoft Office Dictionary, or vise versa.

Running in Secure Modes

The default.mvba project will always be shown in the VBA Project Manager if there is no other project set as an auto-load VBA application using the MS_VBAAUTOLOADPROJECTS MicroStation variable. Default.mvba is an example project that is not signed. If you want to prevent users from accessing files in a secure mode, use the following technique to stop it from loading.

First, create this script file (c:\startup.scr):
vba unload default

Lock MS_VBAAUTOLOADPROJECTS from being changed. In \ProgramFiles\Bentley\Program\MicroStation\config\system\msfiles.cfg, uncomment and make the following edit to MS_VBAAUTOLOADPROJECTS:


Manage Your Digital Signatures with Design History

One of the challenges of large, complex designs is the need to track the design information, including the changes to that information. Design History provides tools allowing you to record, review, and restore states of design information, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Design History provides tools that allow you to restore states of design information as they were when they were signed off.

In MicroStation, digitally signing a model or file can be used to indicate approval of the design. Another user can then detect the signature, verify the signer's identity, and confirm that the design has not been changed since it was signed.

Design History can be used to restore broken digital signatures. When a Model is changed, any signature attached to it becomes invalid. Design History allows you to graphically review the changes made to the design file and rollback to the original state when the design was signed off on, thereby restoring the digital signature. The incremental changes that led to the signature breakage can be reviewed using the color-coding method.

Design History can also be used to restore deleted digital signatures. If a digital signature is deleted, it counts as a change to the design file that can be committed to Design History. Design History can then be used to undo that change, restoring the digital signature. The restored digital signature will be in a valid state only if the rest of the design is in the exact state that was originally signed.

The author welcomes MicroStation tips. You can email them to

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