More on MicroStation XM improvements: What’s in a name?

By Mike Arroyo, Axiom Product Manager
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — Naming something allows us to easily identify it from others. Such is the case with people, animals and computer files. By having a clear and unique name associated with an object, we can identify it better and even recall it faster. Naming things makes it easier to recognize its purpose and function.

What if specific MicroStation settings could named and activated by calling that name? Would that increase your productivity? Bentley thinks it would, and to prove it, MicroStation XM introduces several new tools that exploit the power of a name.

Element templates
Consider the new innovation called “element templates”. An element template is a set of attributes saved under a name that can be applied to new or existing elements.

Named templates may be organized in hierarchical groups for easy organization. For example, multiple element templates defining attributes for interior objects – mdash; such as desk, chair and cabinet – mdash; may all reside under the label “furniture”. Each element template is created and modified inside the Customize dialog box (Workspace | Customize, “Templates” tab).

Create and customize element templates in the Customize dialog box (Workspace | Customize).

Select a template by opening the Element Templates drop-down list.

When an element referencing the template is placed the first time in the design, the template definition is added to the opened DGN file. Element templates may also be stored in DGNLIB files.

What if the template is modified? The changes will propagate throughout all elements placed with that template instantaneously. Splendid!

Project Explorer
Another new feature that uses names is the Project Explorer. The Project Explorer is a Windows-Explorer-looking window, accessible from File | Project Explorer, that allows XM users to easily group project information. To manage project information, a “Project Index” is created in the Project Explorer. The Project Index includes a link to all the files that have been added to a specific project. Links to related project data, such as Microsoft Office documents, PDF and plot files, can also be included in the Project Index. Also, specific models and even saved views can be individually linked to in a Project Index. All the links in the Project Index can be reorganized into hierarchical folders for easy access.

The Project Explorer allows you to organize entire projects and open any file by right-clicking on the file’s name and selecting Open.

MicroStation XM provides the option to “Create Project Index Link” to any available projects that have been set up in the Project Explorer, whenever a new model is created. In other words, whenever a new model is created, you can include that new model in any existing project. This provides a quick way to organize and access project files and models. All this leads to better management of project assets. Astounding!

Named fences
For the first time, named fences are available in MicroStation. The location of a fence is saved – mdash; with a specific name and description – mdash; and may be restored by selecting it from the Tool Settings box when using tools such as Copy Fence or Move Fence.

Create and select named fences from the Place Fence dialog box.

With XM, multiple named fences may be displayed simultaneously, while allowing you to dynamically choose which one is active. Use named fences for preparing plots or attaching references, all without having to recreate the fence. Fascinating!

Moving forward
All these new features allow managers to assign names to settings, store them in DGNLIB files and improve the support of CAD standards. Productivity now has many names, all of which are found inside MicroStation XM.

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