I wrote this tutorial years ago, while I still working in a Bentley reseller. I wrote it in Indonesian, when it’s still V8XM. I decided to rewrite it in English, and update some screenshot with V8i. Thanks for my partner, I can get 30 days trial to do so. I know there are not many MicroStation tutorial available. That’s why I decided to share this on my blog. I hope this tutorial series will be helpful to you. Enjoy!

MicroStation Manager

MicroStation is a Windows compliant software. As any other software, you can start it from Windows start menu, double click the icon from desktop, or clicking the icon in quick launch if you put it there.

When you start MicroStation, you will see a dialog box: MicroStation Manager.

MicroStation Manager

Not like another popular CAD platform, MicroStation allows you to select user, project, and interface at this dialog. You can find these options on lower right of this dialog.


Let’s change the user to examples. And change the project to building. What we just did is we set the folder to examples>building at default location. This is where is it on Vista. If you use XP, you will see it on different folder.

user and project folder

Let’s just open folder drawings, and select file BSI300-GroundFloorPlan.dgn. You should see it because it’s included in default installation. Open it.

MicroStation Interface

This is how MicroStation looks like. It’s not as complicated as this actually. I just arrange them closer so you can see all components in limited image.

MicroStation Interface


I assume that you already get used to Windows applications. Menu in MicroStation work just the same. You can access all MicroStation tools and settings through available items in MicroStation menu.

Task Navigation

Task navigation is where your tools are.

You can change active task from tasks list. Let’s say you need to give your objects dimension. If you want to focus to dimension tools only, you can switch the active task to drawing>dimension. You will only see dimension tools in active task.

Main tasks are the tools you will see no matter what your active task is. Main task mostly consist tools related to objects manipulations and modifications.

task navigation

See several icons next to active task title bar? You can change the display by clicking it. Choose which you think suit you most.

Now try to click the icon. That will activate the tool. Yeah, aren’t all Windows application works that way? But now try to click on Place SmartLine tool, hold your mouse button. What do you see? You will see all similar tools to create lines! You can select any other tools you want.

Try to click the ‘open linear as toolbox’ from the selection. That will open a toolbar for linear tools.


Activating and Using tools

Now you already know how to start MicroStation. You know where you can access MicroStation tools. You just need to click on a tool from the list to activate it.

So how do you know what tool is active? You can see it from status bar and from tool settings.

tool settings

Tool settings will show you only settings related to active tool. In this example, place smartline. Try to click several points in your drawing area. There you go! It’s easy isn’t it?

Next, we will learn how to work with files.

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Source: CAD Notes – Introduction to MicroStation
Go to Source: CAD Notes